Ubisoft relaxes DRM on select titles

Publisher pulls permanently online requirement from PC versions of Splinter Cell: Conviction and Assassin's Creed II; restrictions being removed on case-by-case basis.

Last year, Ubisoft rolled out a new digital rights management system for its PC games that required the titles to be constantly connected to the publisher's online servers in order to run even the single-player mode. However, the DRM proved troublesome from the start, with Assassin's Creed II and The Settlers VII: Paths to a Kingdom both rendered unplayable for portions of time near launch thanks to server issues.

Ubisoft no longer insists on a constant connection to the Animus to play some of its PC games.

As spotted by a Reddit user, Ubisoft recently relaxed that DRM for a handful of titles, including Splinter Cell: Conviction and Assassin's Creed II. The publisher confirmed the news for GameSpot, saying, "The permanent online connection is no longer needed for a few of Ubisoft's titles. It is a case-by-case decision, and from the beginning, we have said that we might choose to patch out games at some point."

The games still need to connect with Ubisoft's servers in order to launch, but losing connection midgame will no longer force the player to a pause screen. Not all of the publisher's catalog has had the always-connected requirement lifted. For example, The Settlers VII still insists on players being connected to the Internet throughout the entire play session.

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Discussion

67 comments
Creed02
Creed02

well this article can be useful if they said that PERMANENT Internet connection will not be required for AC:BROTHERHOOD

nickolas92
nickolas92

I finished AC2 by offline crack an it's really beautiful game.

kyphe
kyphe

@thisranks ubisoft needs to balance dealing with copyright infringement with not pissing its consumers off, ubisoft have no right to deny me the ability to enjoy the use of something i have purchased from them because of what other people have done/are doing, you may be aware of the term collective punishment, and the fact that it is illegal, and yes I ended the argument with you as you haven't got an argument in the first place. As far as pirating a game that I legally own to bypass unethical restrictions on how i use my own property, it is a morally and ethically sound position, even though governments may back the prosecution of people for bypassing DRM, that only confirms the huge bias towards big business over private citizens that exists in the world. I do urge people to refuse to purchase games which are secured by methods that place unfair and unwelcome obstacles to our personal liberties, but not commenting is not from my mouth but yours, As it is not enough simply to boycott such material you must effectively communicate the fact you are boycotting certain products to make sure your underlying message gets across clearly or else what is the point, the producers may mistakenly believe there is something wrong with the product not the DRM As for gaming going to hell first that is a subjective opinion second even if i agree there are many factors negativity impacting the gaming industry but piracy is a minor issue complexly unrelated to the stifling of creativity in game design. PS how long have you been working for ubisoft?

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

And they think this little morsel is going to make PC gamers love 'em again? I think NOT!

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

thisranks
thisranks

@kyphe So i guess this means life is only fair when you want it to be? Besides, i believe you pretty much ended the argument for me with the "you do have the choice to buy the game or not comment". The fact that you would pirate a game to enjoy it (never mind bypassing said company's methods of protecting itself) says all i need to know about you. BTW, once again i point out the fact that if YOU were the one in Ubisoft's shoes, and you were losing money because of this issue....wouldn't you be figuring out the best way to protect your product? It's discussions like this that remind me why gaming is going to hell in a handbasket. People would rather cheat the system to get what they want rather then remember what happens when you don't properly support these companies. The fact that there even is a game to argue about this should wake you up, because tomorrow there might not be.

kyphe
kyphe

@thisranks some DRM is expected but ubisoft chose a draconian approach and lost business as a result, forcing people to be online for the whole play session is like forcing shoppers to strip naked to prove they are not shoplifting. people who complain about this are well within their rights as consumers, as anyone denying me access to "MY" property!!! as in the game i have just bought and the full unrestricted use of said game, is being just as much a thief as any pirate. Imagine you bought a car but the manufacturer would not let you drive it, unless you were logged in to that companies proprietary sat nav system. You do have the choice not to buy the game, that is true, and that is the best way to show your objection in my book, but even so you are then being denied access to games you wish to play and you life is therefor being unjustly detracted from in terms of basic liberties. some may even actively seek to obtain pirate copies of games by manufacturers who are too heavy handed with their DRM assuming as often happens the pirates find a way of circumventing said DRM, in fact if i had purchased a copy of assassins creed2 i would feel no shame in downloading a pirate version if that meant I had a copy I could play when offline

thisranks
thisranks

NeilCardiff Posted Jan 7, 2011 1:46 pm ET @thisranks Sorry, but I don't feed trolls. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ That's extremely interesting considering you replied to my original post first, making you the troll...or even worse, the troll who doesn't want to admit I'm right. 1) Ubisoft has every right to protect their games. 2) People who didn't like it are whiners because you and everyone else damn well knows that were you in Ubisoft's shoes you would be doing the exact same thing. It's all about the money, and that's what keeps them in business. Next time please check the mirror before you call someone else a troll. I'm nothing like you.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

chronolzx
chronolzx

the government should just ban all drm. cause, drm and piracy are just two sides of the same coin!

veryfrost
veryfrost

Ubisoft are reall jokers: DRM didnt help much to fight pirates anyway.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@thisranks Sorry, but I don't feed trolls.

Cloud737
Cloud737

This is funny, I just stumbled onto [url=http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/01/not-so-moronic-dece-drm-scheme-a-big-improvement.ars]something similar[/url] today. Like it says, I believe no DRM would be the best option since there are no burdens (for consumers) and no costs (for the company) associated with it, while the effect is largely the same. Still, a relaxed form of DRM is a good second option. Also, my favorite quote from that article: "For the industry, the benefits are also clear: they won't look like such morons. Apart from Apple's iTunes Store, selling digital video hasn't become the huge business it could be thanks in large part to interoperability concerns caused by DRM. [...] The industry knows it has already missed a huge opportunity, as one of DECE's 2008 presentation slides made clear. [...] The industry needs something like this to avoid giving iTunes too much power (like it gained over the music business). [...] All of this could have been accomplished years ago by just selling the video without DRM, like the music industry finally did, since anyone interested in pirating the content had no difficulty in doing so anyway."

thisranks
thisranks

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

I wouldn't buy DRMed version, I would buy the xbox version, at least I don't have to be connected. what if my internet died for some hours? when it fact for me,the rare occasions of internet disconnection is the perfect time to play.

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

that's still not enough ubi, I will continue to use cracks for my legal versions till you make it so it has something like rssc that just lets you launch it offline. Drm is a losing battle against pirate who will make it work whatever leaving the buyers of the games with the crippled software. Why do it need steam and ubi.com just to play offline games? The steam drm is more than enough to stop the causal pirate.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

@thisranks There's always one fool who thinks anyone with a different opinion to theirs is whining. What I find funny is they can't resist whining about it.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Go to GOG.com people. :) All the games they have there are 100% DRM free always. :D That's one of the reasons I get stuff there.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

See I knew they'd do that. That's frickin awesome. I have Splinter Cell: Conviction so that's great. I don't always have an online connection so that's awesome.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I find it onerous and unfair that as a PC gamer I have to jump through hoops that console gamers do not. It would be unconscionable to tell a console gamer that he couldn't do a single-player campaign if he wasn't signed in to XBOX Live or PSN, so why do it to PC gamers? One of the advantages of PC gaming is that it can be portable with the right hardware. You completely remove that advantage if you require gamers to be tethered to the Internet during their entire session.

jdog8888888
jdog8888888

I think everyone misses my point. I think it is wrong to blame the company, blame the pirates. Piracy costs companies millions of dollars a year. DRM is a side effect of Piracy. Chemo therapy sucks too. Blame the cancer.

Ebougile
Ebougile

I've been a gamer on the PC since 1991 but gave up buying and playing new PC games 2 or 3 years ago when I found out that EA was going to implement DRM on Red Alert 3 and that other publishers were going to implement some form of DRM with their games. As a paying customer, I resent being treated like a pirate. So I bought a PS3 and Xbox 360 and can just go out and buy games and not worry about stuff like this. My 4-year-old gaming tower with a Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU is likely to be my last tower. It runs all of my pre-DRM games great.

Crzy1
Crzy1

Well, if Brotherhood ships without the invasive DRM, it will be the first Ubisoft game I've bought since they started this scheme. Looks like a step in the right direction, hopefully they'll remove it from Settlers 7 as well, really would like to play that.

paradoxaction
paradoxaction

The most people that plays piracy games does not go to buy the original version, because some cases they dont have the money and some another cases they just dont want to spend money in that game. So, the point is: Ubisoft will not sell more because of the DRM. They can sell more 5% (for example) to people that plays piracy games, but it will also lose more than 5% of the good custumers. This DRM is really bad to the custumers. Like me, a lot of people dont like to be connected to the internet just to play a game, and an additional new group of problems and bugs come with it. My opinion, this DRM is a mistake from Ubisoft.

de_graph
de_graph

@jdog8888888 Relating DRM's to "locking your doors at night" is a pretty weak analogy. With that type of mentality, then you should only be able to enter your house X amount of times before it locks you out and then you have to buy a new house. What I do agree with is, yes, there should be a form of copy protection, but nothing past the extent of a serial check is needed. Nothing is "unstealable" and creating layers upon layers of protection is wasted resource, time and punishing to the consumer. It's the same reason why when people go out at night, they don't lock their wallet and car keys in a safe with a thumbprint lock... because 1. its a nuisance to the person 2. its costly and 3. if someone REALLY wants to steal your wallet or keys, they're going to steal it. When the day comes that I read in the newspaper that EA or Ubisoft files for bankruptcy because of lost sales due to piracy, then ya, maybe you have a point... but trust me. 99% of the time when someone creates something that people WANT, it will sell.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Well, until Ubisoft gets rid of this DRM and instead just relies on Steam I refuse to buy any of their games on console or PC. Not that I'm a fan of their games anyway.

DKant
DKant

Couldn't they have said this BEFORE the Steam sale ended? This kind of paranoid bat-crazy DRM is the reason I didn't buy EITHER of Assassin's Creed 2 or Splinter Cell: Conviction for the PC. Goddammit. Btw, was this (permanent online connection) required for the 360/PS3 versions of these games too? I guess not...

Cloud737
Cloud737

@jdog8888888 "Vilifying those who protect their living with DRM really only shows the rest of the world you don't understand what makes it go around. " ... Aaand what you just said clearly shows you have even less of a business sense than companies do (and IMO, it's surprising how much they themselves lack), amongst other things. What good can come out of treating your customers like thieves and punishing them for nothing? Do you think this is what will make the world (or at least your company) go round? If this wasn't such a bad idea from a business point of view, tell me, why did Ubi relax their DRM, or why did they gave up (along with the rest of the industry) on using the draconian Starforce years ago when the outcry against it became extremely loud? PS: And if you need force to keep honest people honest (that is, there is no honest person anywhere in the world), then I think DRM is already a lost cause. Conversely, look at the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humble_Indie_Bundle]Humble Indie Bundle[/url] and how much it made, with zero DRM and you choosing how much to pay (even as little as 1c). Well gee, that sure proves how much companies need DRM to earn a living, doesn't it?

tachsniper
tachsniper

Ubi's DRM is taking something too far. i have never bought a Ubi game that has employed this nazi like strangle hold. For instance if i move to a new city potentially my internet will not be on and ready to go as soon as i walk in my new door. So that means i couldn't play any Ubisoft game until i set up my internet which could take maybe even weeks. bright idea Ubisoft make paying costumers automatically feel like criminals. Also piracy doesn't stop game companys from making a billion dollars, just look at Black Ops, most pirated PC game of 2010 and yet made over a billion dollars. So the argument that piracy is making you homeless doesn't fly.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

A few years back, I was a HUGE Ubi fan and bought a ton of their titles. Now, with their huge abuses of the internet only getting worse, I've pretty much written them off. Unless some serious changes are made to keep the offline gaming community in mind, then they won't get another penny from me. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if they crash and burn. I can see why pirating is getting worse, and I predict it will be getting quite a influx of new members, most of whom who would normally prefer to purchase as long as they're not being taken for a ride. For many, unless you can purchase the complete game on disk and play if offline, then it's useless. If they are forced into obtaining a digital copy or only being able to play while connected, then they will wonder why they should pay for it at all when they can do the same thing for free. I hope that those in the gaming community who feel the same will send messages to Ubi to hopefully make them realize their error and make massive corrections.

jdog8888888
jdog8888888

Piracy= Stealing. Putting DRM on games is like locking your doors at night. The dedicated theif will still get in. It keeps the honest people honest. Who can blame the company for trying to earn a living making video games. Vilifying those who protect their living with DRM really only shows the rest of the world you don't understand what makes it go around.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

small but meaningful improvements. :roll: it's one step closer in the right direction!!

Valacan
Valacan

Hmmm well still no Settlers for me then.

oneligas
oneligas

DRM is a hand grenade in the underpants of the gaming industry

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

Ubisoft's DRM is the reason I didn't buy AC2 at launch. I took my money elsewhere.

Decrate
Decrate

@guildclaws haha you didn't even read past the title did you? you still have to be connected to the internet to START playing, the thing they changed is that once your connection drops, you can keep playing. but you still need an internet connection at the start. so theres still DRM, just a little relaxed

guildclaws
guildclaws

Finally! i can play Assassin's Creed 2 and Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 without Ubisoft DRM :D

GabrielOnuris
GabrielOnuris

It's about time, doesn't it, Ubisoft? I've already downloaded a DLL to overthrow this DRM of yours, because like most people said: this kind of DRM punishes only who buy the original version, and it encourages people to do piracy.

de_graph
de_graph

It's being proven over and over that copy protection and drm's are nothing but wasted expenses for software developers. There is always someone out there willing to crack it. Most people who use newsgroups and or torrents are going to have the knowhow of image mounting, using keygens, running patched files, editing reg files or simply, replacing an .exe. Most cost effective line of defense is a serial number check with a server. Steam is a great example. The reason Steam does so well is because it's simple. If you make the process of obtaining the game legally EASIER than it is to steal it, well, then most people will buy it. People are going steal games whether we like it or not, but if you create a game worthy of peoples money and make it accessible, then the world is your oyster. My case and point is made with CoDMW1+2. Heavily pirated and still one of the most successful games.

alert0
alert0

Soooo, can we be hopeful for ACB?? I mean, you do have the 'awesome multiplayer' incentive to be online. Kinda unnecessary to not roll it back after that..... Actually, I predict piss-poor sales for PC ACB if they don't. Especially with the interminable delay in releasing the PC version.

thisranks
thisranks

Smart move. It'll shut up the whiner class of gamers. Nah, it won't.

shansss123
shansss123

drm sucks big really it just not make any sense to me

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

My read here is that Ubisoft is going to slowly phase it out to avoid it looking like the whole thing was a massive mistake in the first place.

HIT3kNology
HIT3kNology

Note to all you whiners, Ubisoft cares... less about you not wanting to buy the games they release. Your just a small fish in the sea. It's like a billionaire buying a stick of bublegum. You not buying Ubisoft titles does not, never did, and never will make a difference. And besides who's to say your not lieing about not buying Ubisoft titles in hopes that DRM will be scrapped?

bonander
bonander

I'll never buy another game with this DRM again. I bought AC2, was able to play for about an hour until I lost connection and couldn't reconnect for the rest of the day. I ended up getting a pirated copy so that I could play. That's the first time I ever pirated a game. So their DRM doesn't stop pirating, it pushes people to do it.

fartmoo
fartmoo

the pirates always win I dont know why they even wasted their resources with the servers