Ubisoft doing away with 'always-on' DRM
Ubisoft is doing away with its always-on digital rights management (DRM) policy, the company's worldwide director for online games Stephanie Perotti told Rock, Paper, Shotgun in a recent interview. The policy dictated that those playing Ubisoft's PC games would have to maintain a constant connection to the internet, even when playing single-player content. According to Perotti, Ubisoft PC games will now require "a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline." In fact, Perotti noted that this has been Ubisoft's policy since June of 2011.
Digging into the ol' Joystiq archives, it looks like that isn't exactly true. While there have since been high-profile releases that shipped without the typical always-on DRM – notably Assassin's Creed Revelations – others definitely shipped with the restrictive protection. From Dust and Driver: San Francisco, both released after June 2011, each shipped with always-on DRM – only to see Ubisoft patch it out after receiving negative feedback.
Still, if the new policy is now firmly in place, it marks a huge change in direction for Ubisoft's PC releases, especially considering that CEO Yves Guillemot stated only two weeks ago that the company's PC products have a "93-95 percent piracy rate."
Beyond the issue of piracy, Perotti also addressed the customary delays faced by Ubisoft's PC games, saying, "We need to improve our communication, and make sure we provide better visibility to the PC community on our release dates for PC." She added that Ubisoft is "committed" to doing better and releasing its PC games "as close as possible to console releases." As an example, she mentioned Far Cry 3, which is slated to release on the same day as its console counterparts, and Assassin's Creed 3, which arrives November 23, "just a few weeks after the console version."