Ubisoft Slays Online-Only DRM for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

By  |  Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

A year ago, Ubisoft started requiring a persistent Internet connection to play its latest PC games. If for any reason the connection dropped, the game would either freeze or quit. Offline play was out of the question.

Now, Ubisoft is backing away from this restrictive form of digital rights management for one of its blockbuster titles. Ubisoft confirmed to VG247 that the single-player portion of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood will only require an initial login, and then will be playable offline.

Ubisoft hasn’t said that it’s finished with online-only DRM forever. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has a significant multiplayer component, so the publisher may feel that it doesn’t need such heavy DRM to deter pirates. But Ubisoft has also been patching the online-only requirement out of its older PC games. R.U.S.E., a strategy game released last August, didn’t require a persistent connection either.

Ubisoft wasn’t the only publisher to dabble in online-only DRM last year. Electronic Arts tried it with Command & Conquer 4, released in March 2010, but also appears to have backed off. Rumors that the recently-released Bulletstorm would require a persistent Internet connection were quickly squashed, and the upcoming Dragon Age 2 will only require a single authentication.

I’m no pirate, and I’m not categorically opposed to publishers trying to protect their creations, but PC gaming suffers when players have to jump through too many hoops to enjoy their games. Let’s hope that the games industry has written off last year’s experiments in online-only DRM as a bad idea.



2 Comments For This Post

  1. Anon Says:

    The problem with this is that there just isn't a business model for games that are easily pirated or resold. Retail PC game sales continue to shrink, while sales of games digitally– usually with frequent built in online verification– continues to grow. Usually the online verification it cloud saves or cloud achievements, which users don't seem to mind.

  2. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    This kind of DRM only hurt honnest customers: a few months after the release of AC2 the DRM-system was cracked and pirates could play the game without any problems. Opposed to the real customers, who actually were hindered in their gameplay by the always-online obligation.

    It's a good thing Ubisoft is looking for ways to protect its work from piracy, but it may not hurt the regular customer, because then they actually encourage people to use a cracked version.
    So I'm glad Ubisoft came back to its senses and ditched this horrible system.