Ubisoft reveal next step in DRM technology

By: Phil Savage

Published: June 5, 2012 Posted in: E3 2012

Quietly, just after their press conference last night, Ubisoft outlined the details of Always Online 2, the evolution of their DRM system.

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The first Always Online demanded that users connected to Ubisoft’s servers while playing certain games. AO2 expands on the features offered by that release by requiring a constant connection be present at all times.

“Our first attempt was a step in the right direction,” said Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot, “but its limitations were obvious. We could check a user wasn’t pirating our games while they were playing them, but what about the rest of time? The moment they closed out of The Adventures of Tintin they could be doing /anything/. Pirating Shaun White Snowboarding, writing HAWX 2 slashfic, uploading a Safety Dance music video set to scenes from Silent Hunter 5. These are not activities in keeping with the values of Ubisoft corporation, and we will do anything in our power to safeguard our customers from such temptations.”

The announcement sparked a backlash when it was revealed that AO2 would come bundled with the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3. Within minutes of the news, fansite DR-Gems had posted an editorial stating, “DRM fans do not care about games. Why would Ubisoft punish their supporters by forcing draconian entertainment on them? I won’t be buying this until Ubisoft remove the requirement to install their past-future historical sci-fi tosh from my computer just so I can connect to their servers.”

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Phil Savage