Why Might Ubisoft Have Changed Their Minds On DRM?

By John Walker on September 6th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

The staring eye of change.

So, Ubisoft, eh? It’s been quite the 24 hours for the publisher. Having spent a few years seeming to actively seek the loathing of PC gamers – despite releasing a stream of good games – there appears to be a concerted effort to turn their reputation around. And this is something we certainly welcome. With an official pledge to abandon their deeply silly DRM, and a promise to try to release PC versions as close as possible to the console versions, they’re meeting gamers’ demands like we’ve got their families held hostage. (We don’t, do we?)

Yesterday’s interview was spread far and wide across the gaming internet, and met with an a roaring cry of “Oh, I’ll buy their games again now,” tinged with a hint of skepticism from the harder cynics. From what I saw of comments on RPS, many other gaming sites, Reddit, and elsewhere, if just those who said online they’d start buying their games again prove true, Ubisoft should be seeing a sales spike. If they’re indicative of a wider response (and let’s be careful – people who leave comments (like me) are always biased by being a sample of the sorts of people who leave comments), then this could be one of the wisest financial moves Ubisoft has made in a long while.

And let’s be very clear – this is, of course, motivated by money. To an extent, the correct response to that is: who cares? So long as the net result is that we receive Ubisoft’s catalogue of games without DRM that breaks it, and we receive those games alongside our console chums, then it’s all we’ve ever wanted. Why they’re now choosing to do it remains interesting to consider, but doesn’t taint the benefits for us. But why are they choosing to do it?

Ubisoft is a massive company, worth an enormous amount of money – money that’s owned in a large part by its shareholders. And when you’re a corporation with shareholders, you have certain obligations. One of those is to always seek to make more money than you ever have before. Another is to appear to be actively attempting to protect your shareholders’ money, and for a long time it’s been thought that appearing not to be doing anything about piracy is a failure in this regard. Publishers don’t smear their games in DRM because they’re just so protectively jealous of their creations. That’s the bullshit you’ll hear spun when they’re challenged, obviously, but it’s code for, “We have to keep making money, and people are getting our stuff without paying for it.” While some individual developers, and maybe even employees of publishers, may feel personally affronted when they see something they worked so hard on being downloaded without first being paid for, publishing companies absolutely do not see it this way. It’s not about the art, it’s about the cash.

And that’s why the argument against DRM has always necessarily focused on enquiring into the reality of how piracy affects cash. And it’s also why the debate has always been so stultifyingly pointless and ineffective, because the publishing side pretends it’s not focused on that at all, and talks about how it’s a matter of morality, arguing that piracy is wrong, and therefore, er, DRM. One side says, “Can you show how DRM is effective at preventing piracy and increasing sales?” The other side screams, “PIRACY! PIRACY! Won’t someone think of our daughters?!”

Yesterday Ubisoft took a huge step in not shouting that. While many interpreted the responses from Stephanie Perotti and Michael Burk to be unsatisfactory, a lot of sites calling it “corporate speak”, that misses the nuance of what happened.

Asking someone a question they aren’t prepared to answer is often far more revealing than pressing “next” on a company’s prepared responses. It’s the same reason a Newsnight or Radio 4 presenter will ask a politician the question they know they’re not prepared to answer – their not answering it is the response the public needs to hear. So while I hoped very much that Ubisoft representatives would acknowledge that ‘always-on’ DRM had been a mistake – because of course it had – from their perspective this isn’t something they can sensibly do.

It comes back to the shareholders. If Ubisoft were to publically say, “The technology we’ve invested huge amounts of money in, and insisted on putting on many of our games, has been a failure, inhibited sales, and not prevented piracy in any way,” it would make for a bloody great interview response, but it would also very likely see shareholders rearing up and demanding to know why their money was wasted, and asking for the heads of those responsible.

Instead Ubisoft had a pre-programmed answer: “We’ve listened to feedback, and our plan now is to…” It’s frustrating, certainly, but it’s pretty crucial for them that they not mea culpa, and that no swords are fallen on. Sure, it would be brilliant if things didn’t work this way, but hey, capitalism, eh?

So why now? Well, they’re not going to say. So we can take guesses, and we’d be pretty silly if those guesses didn’t focus on money. Always-on DRM had, from any perspective we can see, been a failure. With Ubisoft calling the claim that it had reduced piracy “unfortunate”, and pirated versions of the game running just fine without an internet connection, its immediate purpose doesn’t seem to have worked out at all. Then rather more massively significantly, it’s proven to be disastrous for legitimate customers. With server downtime through accidents, malicious attacks, and even days of scheduled downtime due to a server house migration, it clearly demonstrated that it was a deeply flawed system for managing game access. People who paid for the single-player offline games could not play them. People who had downloaded them without paying could. That’s exactly the opposite of the intended goal.

At a certain point, this failure had to be having a financial effect. The volumes of gamers who were now not going to buy Ubisoft products because of the DRM had to be making a difference. And perhaps most of all, the company’s reputation amongst PC gamers was absolute mud. While we would have liked to see other gaming sites doing an awful lot more in the fight against this treatment, there was no doubt that the DRM was widely derided by the press (beyond a few apologists), and the sentiment was shared by readers. With PC releases receiving frequent and unexplained 11th hour delays, and in some cases porting issues when they were finally released, the PC gaming community received a message from Ubisoft, no matter how much it was or wasn’t intended: We think you’re pirating scum, and you are our last priority.

When a platform makes up around 10% of your revenue (in a field also containing Xbox, PS3, Wii, 3DS, DSi, and mobile), that’s not a great position to be in. And Ubi had two choices – abandon PC as a lost cause and lose 10% of their revenue, or try to fix it.

Fixing it makes more sense, right? Especially when the publisher has created a series of initiatives to pursue the free-to-play market, only viable on PCs. With Anno, Silent Hunter and Might & Magic browser games in development, and new IPs like The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot ready for beta, releasing these into a widely hostile environment was possibly not a great plan. And with the current generation of consoles ending their lifespan, and the next gen still not announced, there are uncertain waters. Now is a bad time to be neglecting the steady ship of the PC – the place where there’s currently good potential for growth. It was perhaps time to not-quite-say sorry.

We don’t know if that’s all the case. I suspect it, but I was wrong about something once before, and it could happen again. But who cares how cynical that decision might have been? The end result is that there has been a decision made to stop breaking their games, they’re treating legitimate customers with more dignity, and focusing on PC as an important part of their market. It’s a win.

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150 Comments »

  1. Suits says:

    Let me hold you and share your pain Ubisoft.

    • Rebel640 says:

      Purchased their Splinter Cell: Conviction this summer sale on steam for $5. Its a 2009, SINGLE PLAYER game. My biggest regret and worst purchase ever, because ubisoft treats its customers likethieves. The game kept showing a pop up window that i need to be onlien to continue to play (just because my unstable dsl went down).

      Again, a 3 year old single player game, with annoying always on DRM. What makes them think i’ll bother with their next game? Needless to say I didnt bother playing that $5 game after those initial 10-15mins. Useless buy.

      They need better strategies than always on DRM and shitting on their legit paying customers.

      I also bought AC: brotherhood the same summer sale for $12-$13 iirc. I love that game to bits but I’d return it if I could just to boycott their nazi-like draconian DRM. Again, DRM doesn’t stop piracy. These games get ‘cracked’ on day 1 and pirates get the best deal with no headaches of annoying-pop ups when their internet goes down.

      I dunno who makes these policies, but they sure don’t play their own games in the same setup that their clients do. I don’t want to give up my right to play a game that I paid for just caz my interent won’t be back up for another few hours.

  2. Slinkyboy says:

    Fuck console versions. I want official PC versions!

    • Diziet Sma says:

      I’ve never found anything wrong with the PC versions of Anno 2070 and The Settlers 7, in terms of the quality of porting from their non existent console brethren. :P

      • mouton says:

        Settlers 7 was horribly slow and unoptimized, despite being PC exclusive. Particularly ridiculous, if you consider that neither this genre nor cartoony graphics require a lot of resources. Had no issues with much more advanced games, btw.

  3. SpakAttack says:

    Finally enjoying being treated like a valued customer rather than the scum of the earth. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a long way to go to fix their reputation, but this is a good start in the right direction, and I want to reward them for it.

    As a result I purchased my first full-price Ubisoft game in over two years today.

    • Prime says:

      Interesting how you take a statement that says “We’re stopping our myriad abusive practices” to mean “I am now being treated like a valued customer”.

      First, it’s merely a statement. The proof is in the pudding, as my adopted granny probably said once or twice in her life. EA have made similar claims that came to absolutely nothing, as have Microsoft, so let’s give Ubisoft some time to make good on their promises before rushing out and buying up their back catalogue.

      When the PC and console releases consistently coincide, when Ubisoft consistently release titles with sensible levels of protection, when Ubisoft PC games are known for their clear effort to provide PC gamers with a smooth and platform-specific experience, then and ONLY then will I welcome them back into the fold. Right now they’ve got a lot to prove before my wallet feels happy emptying in their direction.

    • MaXimillion says:

      But they’ve not changed anything. Their games still come with an online component like the dynasty system in HoMM VI or Anno 2070′s voting system that means that if you’re playing the game offline or after their servers are gone the game experience is worse than if you’re connected. Just because they’re not calling it DRM doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you negatively.

      • Baines says:

        Indeed, they aren’t so much changing their policy to an anti-DRM stance, they are changing their DRM.

        Instead of a generic unnecessary always-on model, they are going to games where some/all of the features require a connection. Things like Anno’s (single-player) features that were only available when connected, free-to-play in general, online multiplayer in general…

        EA is arguably taking a similar approach with its push to put online multiplayer into everything. Get people playing online, and you can monitor what copy they are playing with. (And, in the case of EA, sell them a “Season Pass”, so you can make up some of that used game market money.)

      • DrGonzo says:

        ‘Not changed anything’

        Haha, wait what?

        So switching from, no internet, no game. To no internet, you don’t get a couple of features. I would say the latter is an absolutely massive step in the right direction.

      • xellfish says:

        Wait what? Did you really just complain that they used the Internet to make their games better? Just because you would feel disadvantaged if you didn’t want to use the internet? What kind of backwards thinking is that?

        Granted, if they force you to be online to allow you access to features that would be easily possible without being online, that sucks. But the voting or dynasty system don’t really make much sense without Internet access.

        Giving players an incentive to buy the game by providing online services is *not* a bad thing, as long as they don’t force you to use it. You know, like Blizzard did back in the day before they became greedy. That “forcing” part is obviously something Ubisoft has to work on, but the feature itself is fine.

        • Vorphalack says:

          From the perspective of HOMM6, there is absolutely no reason why the online Dynasty features could not be offline Dynasty features. It would be a trivial matter to allow achievement tracking client side. That is unless they have some insane paranoia about people hacking their achievements in the single player environment………. It is more correct to say they are forcing the internet into a system that does not require it. If you actually give a crap about achievement fluff, it is still a ball ache when the server has a wobble and you cannot access the Dynasty system, or that offline saves are not compatible wit online Dynasty saves. To conclude, they made it better by allowing offline play, but it still sort of sucks.

          • Archonsod says:

            The only reason I could see for not allowing the Dynasty system to work offline would be anti-cheat, and even then it’s just lazy (why not have a separate offline dynasty?).
            Mind you, I’m not sure I’d say the Dynasty system particularly improves the game *that* much; about the only thing it lets you do outside multiplayer is utilise the dynasty bonuses and any artefacts you’ve levelled up; characters are reset to whatever level the scenario demands and the artefacts aren’t really necessary (in fact most aren’t even as good as what’s available in the scenario).

            Anno is far more integrated and thus dependent on it, can’t really complain about that one.

      • Superpat says:

        It’s also important to understand that these games came out before this cahnge on drm policies, so while they can stop the game from closing when the internet is down, they cannot enable a offline version of online features without significant work.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Tbh some post launch TLC would be quite welcome. HOMM6 still suffers from some fairly serious bugs, including a memory leak, and while they promised a patch ages ago it has still to materialise. If they ever get around to fixing their back catalog they might as well enable full offline support to get some consumer good will back.

          • Superpat says:

            True, but I would prefer them to concentrate on fixing those bugs and adding new content rather than working on an offline version of the dynasty system.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    Best guess is that their Super Sekrit Numbers showed that not only was DRM not working, it was negatively impacting their bottom line.

    Hence the humility-but-not-admitting-fault line they tried and failed to hold yesterday.

    The simple truth seems to be that gamers are (mostly) prepared to tolerate DRM as long as it’s no more restrictive than Steam and offers the advantages of Steam. So basically stick your game on Steam and leave it at that.

    But we could have all told them that a year ago and saved them all a lot of bother. But then we’d never have got a year of quality angry Internet man posts. And maybe that’s the point.

    • Rumpel says:

      oh, but we would.
      if there is one thing i know about the gaming industry, its that there is always one publisher trying to be the worst cooperation on the face of the planet.

      • phuzz says:

        There’s a lot of competition.

        • Rumpel says:

          there are however not many who play in the video game publisher league. to dethrone them, one has to either run a successful baby kitten tear factory or be a member of the senate.

    • programmdude says:

      DRM will never work, because crackers will always make cracks for it. The only way to not get your game pirated, it by having copy protection and an unpopular game that no good crackers will try and break.

      Just putting it on steam won’t work, because even I know how to make a steam crack. Instead of focusing their efforts on pointless DRM, they should instead focus on making a better game.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        You can crack every game in the world, but actually downloading and playing a cracked version is always a conscious choice. Different people pirate games for different reasons. If enough people only use it as an alternative to something unpleasant, and the publishers stop antagonizing those people, they’ll be more likely to buy it.

        Not everyone is an unscrupulous bastard, continually on the hunt to take advantage of every opportunity and motivated solely by greed.

        • Rumpel says:

          “The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”

          -George Bernard Shaw

        • Camerooni says:

          “Not everyone is an unscrupulous bastard, continually on the hunt to take advantage of every opportunity and motivated solely by greed.”

          Not on the gamer side no – most of them are working for the publisher trying to work out how to get as much money as possible from ‘service a’ and ‘customer b’.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I’m really glad Ubisoft didn’t use Blizzard’s Super Sekrit Numbers!

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    > “While some individual developers, and maybe even employees of publishers, may feel personally affronted when they see something they worked so hard on being downloaded without first being paid for”

    I am just a consumer, but I too get affronted when I see stuff other people have worked really hard on being downloaded without it first being paid for.

    • Gnarf says:

      This. Very.

    • woodsey says:

      Yeah, same. If you can’t afford it you don’t get to play it.

    • lizzardborn says:

      And who says that downloading is before being paid. Some ways of obtaining the games code are 5-10 times faster than the game companies download managers. If you pathetic CDN cannot provide the same 100Mbits that the p2p provide, where is the logical point of not using them.

      It is usually much more faster and convenient to just download the game and enter the serial number you already have. And also the game may be censored in your region and you want to be able to see the proper version, do not want the localized etc etc. There are many reasons aside from piracy.

      Or in a case – I have the full DND collection of bioware/balck isle games sitting in a shelf, but my pc doesn’t have optical drive, because who uses them anyway … how can I install and play the games I have already payed for?

      • RodHope says:

        Buy a DVD Drive. Buying DVDs without a DVD drive is pretty silly.

        • Glycerine says:

          There’s a few things to take issue with in there, but i’m not sure “having DVDs without a DVD drive” is the most pressing one. I have plenty of old games on DVD/CD that i brought when i had a fully-functioning optical drive, but i haven’t had a working drive in years – i’ve just moved the same broken drive from computer to computer like an idiot because it doesn’t seem complete without one.

          I’m not sure i’ve felt compelled to dig out Red Alert 1, Worms 2, Theme Hospital, Sonic CD or the various other classics/abominations i have lying about recently, but if i did, you can bet that pirating it would be the easiest way to get hold of the data that’s sat on that cd in my hand.

          Although i realise i sound like a bit of an apologist now, erk.

          • Archonsod says:

            I’ve found GoG far easier. In fact, if I didn’t know better I’d swear they were targeting the “I’ll happily pay £5 to avoid having to dig through the numerous boxes in my garage for a particular disk” demographic.

            Mind you, I bought Startopia from them this week, despite the case being about three feet away from the PC.

      • Gnarf says:

        “And who says that downloading is before being paid.”

        No one.

        “And also the game may be censored in your region and you want to be able to see the proper version, do not want the localized etc etc.”

        Buy the proper version instead? That’s a reason for piracy, not a reason “aside from piracy”. You may consider it a good reason and may admit that it is better than some other reason. Still, you’re buying a product you don’t want in order to make up for taking something else without paying for it. I don’t think that’s generally considered to be the way one should go about things. (I mean, in some sense it’s the least sensible thing you can do, making your money counts as a sale of the localized version, when that was the thing you had a problem with to begin with.)

        And I know that there are some totally gray areas and in this case or that case I might agree that it would not be way totally wrong. But for the most part it’s “if only I got to dictate the terms when doing business I wouldn’t have to take everyone’s stuff all the time”.

        • Archonsod says:

          As the software companies keep pointing out, we’re paying for a license to use their product, not the actual product itself. There’s no part of that arrangement which specifies how I get the licensed product onto my machine in the first place, for good reasons.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Why?

    • airmikee says:

      It annoys me as well to see other people playing a game they stole, but what annoys me more is being treated like I stole the game by the company that made it after I purchased it.

      • tetracycloide says:

        It’s also pretty annoying when people use loaded language like ‘stole’ when they really mean ‘copied’ in a transparent attempt to cut-off discussion with a crass appeal to emotion.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          “obtained without due payment”

        • derbefrier says:

          whether its copied or stolen off the shelf, your still taking something you didn’t pay for. the choice of words you use to describe your theft is irrelevant and only servers a purpose of trying to make your actions not seem as bad. stealing is the appropriate word to used here because that’s what your doing when you pirate a game, a movie, a song, a book or whatever. trying to sugar coat your actions or mislead people with words like copied is a direct attempt of the guilty to ease their conscience and try to convince others they are not the bad guys here in an attempt to sway popular opinion in their direction.. there’s nothing “loaded” as you say about calling these people what they are. This is the truth if you pirate anything your a thief. It really is that simple all this BS back and forth about how there are certain situations were its okay are bullshit. we are not talking about a man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family we are talking about a bunch of spoiled brats that think the world owes them everything just by virtue of being alive.

          • kud13 says:

            no, it is not. it certainly is not.

            Piracy is not theft. It is copyright infringement.

            Example: I owe the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. collection on Steam. I paid full price for it.=, did not buy it in a sale.

            I am from Eastern Europe, Russian is one of my mother tongues (the other being Ukrainian). It jars me to play a game made in Ukraine in English.

            Living in North America, I have no convenient legal access to a Russian version. I torrent a Russian version. I play the Russian version offline, never touch multiplayer.

            Did I steal the code? no, GSC retains possession of it.

            Have I deprived GSC of money? no, in fact I provided them with a much larger dollar amount then they’d have received if I paid in roubles via yuplay (which hasn’t become available several years after I originally bought the games)

            have I violated their right to exclusively distribute their IP? yes I agree I have, to a small degree.

        • Eclipse says:

          piracy is stealing dumbass. It’s worse than stealing actually because torrenting something you are actively helping others to get that game, keeping the torrent alive and sharing it

          • Milky1985 says:

            Its NOT stealing dumbass. You are not removing the inital item from the location thus not stealing.

            Its copying thus copyright infringement, two different things.

          • Hidden_7 says:

            Theft is the depriving someone of something they are legally entitled to. Copyright infringement is to infringe on someone’s rights to dictate the conditions by which their intellectual property is copied.

            It is copyright infringement, not theft. Copyright infringement is illegal, and definitely wrong in many cases, but it’s not theft anymore than assault is vandalism.

            Calling it theft is an attempt to solve an issue that in some cases may be open for discussion, an appeal to emotion to shut down an argument before it even begins, and betrays a real lack of faith in the strength of ones position. Call it what it is, and debate the position on its own merits.

            Common rebuttals to things I have said:
            “When you copy something you are depriving them of a sale, so you’ve stolen that sale.”
            No more so if you simply do not buy nor play something because you aren’t interested. You are a potential sale — you could have bought it, but chose not to– that never materialized. The net effect to the publisher/developer (no money) is the same.

            “You’re taking something you haven’t paid for.”
            So too when you take air for free, or water, or a walk in the park. Theft isn’t the mere act of getting something for free.

            “You’re taking something without paying that people would like you to pay for.”
            I’m sure someone out there would love to figure out a way to charge me for air.

            “You’re taking something without paying that people would like you to pay for and who have a legal right to charge you for said thing.”
            Well, yes, that’s certainly true, which is why it’s illegal and wrong. Still not theft, though. Unless we want to get all garuda on it and call every crime some variety of choice-theft.

    • lurkalisk says:

      I’ll never understand this line of thought. Copying data without first paying for a license to use what would never be yours in the first place isn’t exactly a mortal sin. I don’t agree with the practice, that is, pirating games just because one doesn’t wish to pay, but it’s hardly that big a deal, especially since I’ve never borne witness to such an act, or any evidence thereof. The only piracy I’ve seen evidence of is the sort that doesn’t deprive anyone of revenue. That’s the important part. Not this childish nonsense.

      • Abbykins says:

        I also want to chime in that a pirated game does not equal a lost sale. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on games over the last couple of years, after a long break from gaming. But, thirty years ago, I’d happily play a pirated game on the C64, simply because I was young and couldn’t afford to buy my own. If I weren’t able to play any pirated games, I wouldn’t go out and buy them, I’d simply content myself with whatever freeware might be available.

        The situation nowadays, I can’t really condone. If you can afford to build a modern gaming PC, then you either buy current games for it, or be happy with the MULTITUDES of cheaper slightly older titles and freeware. Still, while I can’t condone it, it’s simplistic to state that a pirated game results in a lost sale.

      • Gnarf says:

        “Copying data without first paying for a license to use what would never be yours in the first place isn’t exactly a mortal sin.”

        Not what anyone’s saying.

        “The only piracy I’ve seen evidence of is the sort that doesn’t deprive anyone of revenue.”

        I’ve seen people arguing that it is better to pirate games than buy them from GOG. Because all the money does not go directly to developpers and so clearly it makes no difference if good games sell or do not sell. Besides, you really don’t want to support GOG’s obviously immoral practice of buying things and then also selling things.

        And I’ve seen a ton of people arguing that they’re only pirating things that they wouldn’t buy anyway (often some most charming variation of “yeah I took your game, but only because it sucks”). Even if these guys were being honest and it was not just post hoc rationalization, I would not find it a particularly attractive attitude. For me it’s like, when some guys spend years of their lives making really awesome stuff, they’ve earned enough of my respect so that I’ll allow them to like, set the terms when doing business with the awesome stuff they’ve made. Even if one or two of the choices they make might not be my most favorite choices. “Oof, there is no demo, what choice do I have?” and the like do not cut it for me.

        “I’ll never understand this line of thought.”

        So ultimately it’s just “stuff I don’t like”. For me, the financial side of it is not as important as it appears to be in pirate rethorics. It’s more like, don’t be like that. In particular, don’t be like that to guys I happen to think are really cool guys. And if people keep being like that I’ll do stuff like saying that I don’t like it when they do that, like if it comes up on the internet or something.

        “I also want to chime in that a pirated game does not equal a lost sale.”

        People chime in and point that out all the time. Seldom as a response to anyone saying anything to the contrary, just as “did you know that [obvious thing]?”

    • fooga44 says:

      If copyright laws and software ownership laws were sane I’d agree but they aren’t. People who make software and entertainment need to be burned at the stake. Only when games can enter the public domain in a reasonable time frame should ANYONE even begin to start to shed a tear for publishers and developers.

  6. medwards says:

    This is pretty speculative and focussing on the illusion of consumer power by ‘voting with your dollar’ in an era of huge numbers of purchasing.

    If I may propose an equally likely alternative: Always-On DRM is not something you just ‘slap’ onto your product. There is a good chance that they have a reasonably sized engineering team focussed on the DRM libraries and the exposed calls that the games need to use. This isn’t all the engineering though, the game developers themselves need to hook these calls up inside their game. Then QA needs to do the testing. Then you have to maintain the servers well after launch (which, by the way, is the only time the publishers seem to care about preventing piracy). So there we have server-side QA and system administration.

    So all-in-all Always-On DRM is a commitment of more than ‘lets buy a DRM solution and slap it on top’ that could end up costing a non-insignificant amount of money. If you then compare before/after rates of piracy and don’t see a significant impact then maybe you’ll reconsider this entire expenditure.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Don’t forget support costs either.

      But I think you’re on the right of it. The cost of people not buying their games due to the DRM is hidden, and not easily (if at all) measurable. Much more likely the decision was based on the cost of implementation, ongoing costs, and analysis of its effects on sales figures and the piracy rates as Ubisoft are measuring them.

      • TNG says:

        “The cost of people not buying their games due to the DRM is hidden, and not easily (if at all) measurable.”
        Precisely, just as it is nearly impossible to measure losses due to piracy. It becomes a simple “we invested this much on this new DRM system, we gave it some time and it turned out that the costs to run it outweighed any (hypothetical) gains in sales during that period of time so let’s take what is nowadays consider a more standard approach, the one time activation”. If they get an added bonus of better brand image with the consumer, so be it.

      • Stuart Walton says:

        I wonder how much they will now save in support costs as the majority of support calls are generally to do with the DRM. One portion coming from legit users with issues with the DRM , another portion from people having difficulty with the first wave of pirate copies (Yes, there are people who pirate a game and then call up for support).

        • medwards says:

          That would be a really interesting number. Like maybe that Ubi exec was saying 95% of their support issues come from pirate users.

          In which I would measure their defect finding rate and determine if we can just fold the losses in under the QA budget :P

    • alundra says:

      This is pretty speculative and focussing on the illusion of consumer power by ‘voting with your dollar’ in an era of huge numbers of purchasing.

      Uhmm….no, it’s not speculative and/or illusory, things like Actiblizz begging their user base to stay in Diablo 3 and UBI stating that they listened to the feedback they received are anything but illusory.

      Of course, it must be that to you a game success is built on the amount of units sold, mere cash, not the reputation. Since the PC platform is composed of way more than pubescent kids, we don’t have parents to whine to when we want the next iteration of COD for our nextbox, we like to receive our money’s worth, and to be treated with support and respect by the company we just spent our money on.

      Always on drm took an even bigger hit after that huge PR disaster called Diablo 3. Why don’t you just take your greedy industry shilling bullshit elsewhere?? We the consumers are having a party here, one of the worst companies out there might have decided to start treating us with respect,

      • medwards says:

        Probably shouldn’t respond, but its not ‘industry shilling’ to suggest that the power of the consumer boycott is overrated in the face of mass appeal. There are some vegetarians and vegans who think that by refusing to eat meat they’ll eventually bring down the meat industry. Instead they have simply created a new niche market and the lofty goal is clearly seen as laughable.

        This article and many of the comments are a bunch of people tooting their own horns who had no significant impact on the overall bottom line of a company. If the preceding year had including direct assaults on the server and support infrastructure around Always On DRM then I would credit the community with having been a driving factor. There is willful blindness to the real causes of Ubi’s shift within this community.

        I don’t want to rain on the self-congratulation parade, I just want to help us remain objective and analytical so people *can* find the direct, effective methods to being the cause in the future.

      • Fiatil says:

        You’re assuming a whole lot by saying that Diablo 3 has been killed by its always-online requirement. Not a single one of my friend has ever complained about the online requirement. They were sad when the servers were wonky at launch, but despite the hyperbole being spouted everywhere on reddit/RPS/randomforums that inconsistency lasted for about two days. People are quitting because most people don’t play a single game for 100+ hours! They bought the game, it has no subscription fee, so they pick it up and play whenever they want. You can say that people are quitting for lack of content or what have you, but to lump Diablo 3′s “failure” in the same category as Ubisoft’s DRM and say that that’s the reason people are leaving in droves is completely ridiculous.

        (Just a sidenote, I would prefer a singleplayer offline option too! But most of the people who buy Blizzard’s products really really don’t care.)

        • Dark Nexus says:

          Oh! I’ve got anecdotal evidence too!

          Plenty of my friends have complained about the online requirement for D3, and have noted that they regret buying it (some only for buying it at full price, though) due to the issues they were complaining about.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            Arguments over what people’s friends like are silly when you’re talking about the fastest seling PC game of all time. People in suits drive game development now, and they don’t care about what your friends thought of the game, they care about sales figures.

    • jrodman says:

      I suspect it’s a bit of both, but I’ll buy your version as the larger factor.

  7. Lenderz says:

    John, I like and approve of these words, and your measured and realistic views. Thank you.

    The most annoying thing about all the DRM for me was that Ubi do publish some interesting titles I’ve wanted to play and buy but after Splinter Cell Conviction was unplayable as apparently my rock solid 50 meg cable connection which I’ve only had 1 issue with in 8 years kept being timed out from Ubi’s servers every 2-3 mins I’d be resigned to not buying any titles with Ubi DRM, which was a shame as FarCry 3 and Watch Dogs are very much on my radar.

  8. Orberi says:

    So i can buy Ubisoft games? Cool..

    Which is the best Assasin’s Creed to get then everyone?

    • Meat Circus says:

      AssBro. Though it’s not clear they’ll be removing the DRM from games already on Steam.

      • Optimaximal says:

        Steam doesn’t have to do anything – every game runs uPlay when loaded, it phones home as part of its Launcher processes and updates the game if required. Once they patch the game via uPlay, it affects every version of the game, regardless of its source.

    • Suits says:

      Ass2

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      The first one is the best.

      It’s also available completely DRM-free from GOG: http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/assassins_creed_directors_cut

      • Revolving Ocelot says:

        The second line is true.

        The first line should be punished with defenestration.

        My personal opinion: Bro > 2 > Rev >>>>> 1.

      • TNG says:

        That is a bold opinion and one that will gain you much derision in the land of the Internet… but I completely agree with you. While the following titles have a more fluid gameplay, the first Assassin’s Creed was the one that I found most interesting and is still my favourite one of the series (although I have yet to play Revelations).

  9. Zanchito says:

    I do not buy the “they can’t share the data, they can’t afford to be honest”. Some companies do, and they do just fine (CDProjeckt, Stardock, lots of indies). In places where you really want innovation and advance, you have to share the data or you will just not be listened to (science and engineering). And if the truth might hurt you, that really does tell something about you, and it’s not good at all.

    And again, I won’t ever get tired of saying it: there was a time when “the customer is always right” used to be a common motto. I refuse to waste my hard earned money on companies that treat me like scum.

    • Skhalt says:

      I doubt “lots of indies” have to answer to shareholders.
      Doesn’t excuse Ubisoft, it was their choice to go public in the first place, but John’s point is still valid.

      • Zanchito says:

        I was referring to institutionalized stupidity and hypocrisy. The company, as a whole (including shareholders) faces the same risk as an indie, and has the same moral responsabilities as a business entity and part of society.

        • mickygor says:

          Would that that were true, but publicly trading companies face the wrath of people owning their business that know absolutely nothing about them other than what their stock’s valued at. A minority, sure, but a minority of a high value company is still a lot of money.

          • Brun says:

            This, really. Five or so years ago when all of this UbiDRM really kicked into high gear the shareholders were probably screaming their heads off about piracy because they didn’t understand it – they simply saw it as no different from common theft. While morally it is simply theft, in practical terms electronic piracy is a completely different animal. Securing your software against piracy is like trying to secure your shop against invisible ghosts that can walk through walls to steal your stuff. It’s just not cost-effective when your business model is based on volume (i.e. pushing out multiple high-profile AAA releases per year) like Ubi/Activision/EA, vs. releasing one or two extremely-high-quality games every year a la Blizzard.

            Moreover, piracy is really part of the internet’s culture, and while that’s no justification for its existence it does mean that it won’t ever go away, no matter how hard you fight it. The Recording Industry has already fought and lost a war with online piracy, and Hollywood is quickly losing its own war as well. Both of those organizations have vastly more influence and financial resources than the video game industry – what chance did Ubisoft really think it had?

  10. AbyssUK says:

    Great results RPS, if it wasen’t for RPS we might have had other companies following Ubisoft, a big thank you should come from PC gamers across the world!

    Now please would you get the head of games for windows live on :)

    Also some clarification on what Windows 8 is going to do to our indie scene etc..

    • Dark Nexus says:

      We might have other companies following them? MIGHT?

      We already do, and they’ve taken it even further than UbiSoft did. It’s called “Diablo III”.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Further? How does it go further?

        • Dark Nexus says:

          Ubi’s always-on DRM was (relatively) light weight. It was a constant authentication, with a few game bits held server-side to make it harder to crack. They game was still run on your local machine. While the connection needed to be stable, it didn’t need to be particularly fast or low-latency. A drop in your connection could reset your progress to the last checkpoint, but a sudden lag spike wouldn’t affect your game.

          Diablo III games however, are hosted on the Battle.Net servers. It makes much heavier use of the internet connection. So while Ubi’s DRM only required the connection to be stable, with D3 you need to worry about connection speed, latency, as well as server performance. In D3, lag can kill.

          Sure, the Ubi games would require the same things to play multiplayer, but there is a definite difference in what each requires for playing solo.

          • Brun says:

            I really get the impression that Diablo 3 is not having the long-term success that Blizzard was hoping for. That’s likely due to core design flaws that resulted from having to implement the DRM/anti-cheat scheme to protect the RMAH, rather than from consumer disapproval of the DRM/anti-cheat itself. In other words, in order to accomodate the RMAH and the DRM, Blizzard had to turn Diablo 3 into a rather mediocre game. And while the initial sales spike was doubtlessly impressive to other companies, it’s really the long-term performance that matters.

  11. malkav11 says:

    Let’s not make the mistake here of talking like Ubi has in any way abandoned DRM. They’ve backed down from its worst excesses, certainly, but their current plan of one-time server activation can still safely be read as them forcing uPlay with every game they offer (that is, after all, how that’s been working), it still potentially cripples the game down the road, and it’s still DRM. Will I buy their games now? Sure. My moratorium on purchase is only for the extreme that is always-online. But I still don’t plan to purchase them at launch or for anything like full price until they skip the DRM thing altogether and let their games have a future.

    • Skhalt says:

      Let’s not forget the DLC nonsense either, while we’re at it. DRM or not I’ll still keep my “wait for an ultimate edition of doom to come out for half the price” policy.

  12. rapier17 says:

    It’s because they’re listening to feedback. I don’t think they quite mentioned it enough in the interview. They’re listening to feedback and have been listening to feedback since June last year so they could adjust things based on the feedback they’ve gotten, because feedback is important to them. As is feedback.

    FEEDBACKFACE?

  13. Surlywombat says:

    Don’t lets get too excited. Ubisoft have changed their stance on DRM more than something that happens a lot has happened.

    It’s very likely they will do it again in the future.

    • HothMonster says:

      Like when new consoles come out and they don’t need our precious dollars anymore? Wouldn’t surprise me.

  14. serioussgtstu says:

    Will somebody please think of all those poor DRM salesmen who are going to have to go back into homeopathy!

    • NathanH says:

      Don’t worry, they can retrain easily as salesmen for games that should be single-player but are in fact multiplayer-only games where critical code is kept server-side.

  15. darkwhite says:

    True.. certainly.. in a lot of ways.
    But, being a shareholder -luckily not of Ubisoft- I can say that I am not the only one who invests ONLY in companies with good management. Even good management makes silly decisions every now and then. BUT they are able to say “Ehrm.. sorry, that was crap” instead of some yabba-yabba-we-don’t-tell you and let the shareholder in the dark.
    Will Ubisoft never ever use this DRM again? Have they learnt anything? I do not know. Both as a shareholder and a gamer, not knowing what will happen will certainly not drive me (back?) to the company.

    It’s about the money. Yeah, sure. What else? But money hates uncertainty. The ones who noticed that pirated Ubisoft is much better than bought Ubisoft will not be convinced by company speak and random bubbles. Ubisoft = Fail again.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I found the belief that it’s okay to mislead / withhold information from your shareholders in this article a bit off-putting.

      • Brun says:

        Especially since doing so is illegal, at least in the United States.

        (See also: Enron)

      • HothMonster says:

        There is a big difference between what you put in a shareholder report and what you say on a glorified blog that will be repeated on the whole of the internet.

        They can probably get away with telling their shareholders that we have found DRM to not be cost effective or that they found their recent strategies to be anti-consumer. Chances are no one will really follow up.

        If they said to the internet, god did we fuck up and waste a lot of money in the process, which is the answer we all wanted to hear, fucking heads would roll.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Most of the time significant changes on a shareholder report will be picked up by Gamasutra and spread to the major blogs anyways. Especially numbers if they’re surprising.

  16. Lemming says:

    I’m not sure why RPS hasn’t put the same 2+2 together that I have:

    This is about Uplay. They know they don’t need any other DRM because of Uplay.

    I will bet anything that the next thing we here from Ubisoft is how all their old titles are going to be available “DRM-free” exclusively via their Uplay store.

    This is going to be the next Origin-gate, I promise you.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Do Steam copies of Ubisoft games also come with uPlay? I’ve never paid much attention to it.

  17. InternetBatman says:

    Removing DRM is nice, but they have more to do to convince me that an adversarial relationship with PC gamers is not in their DNA. The fact that so many people in the company were willing to say so much dumb crap about PC gamers makes me believe that DRM was as much symptom as a problem.

  18. Alexandros says:

    I have no problem with Ubisoft doing this to make more money. I’ve enjoyed a lot of their games but I only bought them when the awful DRm was removed (as happened with Assassins Creed 2). The end result will probably be more money for Ubisoft and less hassle for consumers, so everybody wins!

  19. YogSo says:

    It comes back to the shareholders. If Ubisoft were to publically say, “The technology we’ve invested huge amounts of money in, and insisted on putting on many of our games, has been a failure, inhibited sales, and not prevented piracy in any way,” it would make for a bloody great interview response, but it would also very likely see shareholders rearing up and demanding to know why their money was wasted, and asking for the heads of those responsible.

    And what exactly is wrong with that? Money was wasted, sales were inhibited, piracy wasn’t prevented. Those shareholders need to find out this as soon as possible, and those responsible have to be fired off, or they risk their money being misused and wasted, again.

    • malkav11 says:

      Nothing, but considering that the people who made that response in the interview would probably be among those fired, it’s easy to understand why they wouldn’t want to do it.

    • mickygor says:

      They probably already know. Those that matter, anyhow. They don’t want their shares devalued if the public finds out officially.

    • gekitsu says:

      i wouldnt be as harsh as you – i think its okay to make failures. thats pretty inevitable. i give ubisoft that their primary incentive was to do something about piracy, not to fuck pc gamers over. (“lol we’ll just tell them we need to do that because of piracy. let them computer scum have, like, totally no fun playing our games! what a riot!”)

      what i find more alarming is the stance that its okay, or necessary, to treat failures in a dishonest way. whats wrong about saying “well, we tried that, and it didnt work. we are a little wiser now”? final fantasy xiv tanked. like, bad. and square enix did the best thing they could have done: admitted that this product doesnt work, and started working on bringing it up to par. what good is it going to do to treat the failure as if it wasnt one? i think theres something in the hagakure, about not trusting a man with a flawless record with important stuff. what happened to that? a shallow theatre play about no-one ever making a wrong call on anything, ever, when actually, bad decisions are made one after the other? i dont see how that is going to be of use to anyone worth considering.

      (no, the nerves of someone with a big wallet and big ignorance about where he put his money is not, and should not be worth considering. shit is easy to read up on. would everyone want their doctor to tell them wrong diagnoses just so it doesnt sound bad?)

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        what i find more alarming is the stance that its okay, or necessary, to treat failures in a dishonest way. whats wrong about saying “well, we tried that, and it didnt work. we are a little wiser now”?

        This. The evasive, dissembling answers from the interviewees does not encourage me to trust that Ubisoft will make good decisions in this area in future.

  20. jkz says:

    Good they seem to have got the message. DRM, the way to punish people who actually pay for your games.

  21. nasenbluten says:

    Still don’t like the uPlay thing, it’s a bloated unnecessary pain like GFWL.

    And that one time activation… for what? Better than before, but it’s stupid that pirates will have a better product for free than the one they are trying to sell.

  22. Shooop says:

    Likely good news, but I’d still proceed with caution. Ubisoft has serious communication problems.

  23. Loopy says:

    Well this whole episode has now moved Watchdogs (which I hope comes to PC) from my “It looks really cool but I’m still not buying it if it comes with that DRM on it” list to my “Almost certainly a day one purchase going by the E3 demo” list and this is from someone who hasn’t purchased a Ubisoft game in over five years thanks to their previous DRM decisions.

  24. iniudan says:

    Will still wait and see, but I might finally be able, to permit myself, to buy Anno 2070. YAY !

    • Prokroustis says:

      That’s my thought as well.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I would be cautious. I actually have and play Anno 2070 extensively. Without online connection it is half a game even in single play. They could do it properly, by enabling keeping career progression, ark storage, daily quests (their data is already in game files) and other items on machine. Even world events could be done offline, for people who don’t want to contribute. But I doubt Ubi would allow this.

  25. bill says:

    I think they deserve some credit for taking the interview (at least those particular employees involved). They must have known it’d be a tough situation and they wouldn’t be able to answer many questions. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it.

    Given the industry’s recent move towards F2P online games I’m not sure they aren’t thinking that that’s the solution to all their (perceived) piracy woes. So they can drop the always on DRM, try to improve their image, and still tell their shareholders that the F2P games are online and so piracy won’t be an issue. Wins for all. (except people like me that don’t like multiplayer).

    i REALLY wish we could get some concrete numbers on the effects of their DRM though. Not because of the “it doesn’t work anyway” argument. But because it ACTUALLY DID WORK for quite a while. So this might be the first time we could honestly see the effects of DRM on those 90% piracy figures.

    Given that Ubisoft invested money in this, and that it actually seems to have worked (at least for a few months for each game). The fact that thay’re abandoning it seems to imply that even functioning DRM has no financial benefit for the company. Which implies that piracy figures dont really affect profits.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      Of course piracy figures affect profits. Certainly not 1:1, but there is an impact. If piracy magically ceased to exist, at least some of the people who pirated the game would buy it instead.

      But of course, it’s not going to magically disappear on it’s own.

      The flip side is that dealing with piracy also affects profits. Cost of implementation, PR issues, buyer dissatisfaction, etc can all serve to take a chunk out of those profits. All of those things can make a heavy handed DRM system be “worse than the disease” and cost more than the profit lost to piracy.

      • malkav11 says:

        This seems reasonable to assume. But we don’t know it to be true. And conversely, piracy might well have positive impact on sales from positive word of mouth, post-piracy sales (i.e., the pirate liking the game enough to buy it), etc. Does this happen? It seems reasonable to think so, but we don’t know it to be true. Which number is larger? And of course, does it vary from title to title (again, seems reasonable to think so).

        Ultimately, I don’t think it’s possible to draw relevant conclusions. What can be determined is what -does- sell and in what amount, and that’s what should be focused on.

  26. ButchCore says:

    This article certainly helped me understand better. Thanks. :)

  27. mr.ioes says:

    Ubisoft still forces uPlay, right? And only one time activation in future titles or also past ones? Also, about this one-time activation… I can hardly believe that’s true. Something tells me this whole thing looks better than it actually is.

  28. Prokroustis says:

    We love John Walker.

  29. Dark Nexus says:

    So do we have any kind of actual confirmation that the always-on DRM is being patched out of previous games that have it?

  30. Shortwave says:

    I will humbly say.
    As long as we get to enjoy their otherwise really enjoyable games without the DRM shit.
    I don’t care WHY they do it. As long as I can simply enjoy my game as I should.
    Not too much to ask for, nope!

    Oh, and please fix HAWX 2.

  31. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah, I still want them to say on the record they’ll remove the DRM from their old titles, and that they will support LAN multiplayer.

    For the first thing, I have some hope. For the second, none. So, perhaps I’ll start buying some Ubi single player titles. No multiplayer titles for me, though.

    Edit: Oh, and to those who say that complaining doesn’t accomplish a thing and that companies will never listen: you’re welcome.

  32. tetracycloide says:

    Still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I bought From Dust based on similar promises and we all know how that turned out: surprise DRM.

  33. Cam says:

    DRM and DLC are my main justifications for (dare i say) piracy. When i can get a game that i can play whenever i want, and don’t have to worry about being repeatedly charged for more content, i feel much more comfortable paying full price.

  34. Farsearcher says:

    I’m one of the people who held off buying Ubi games because of the DLC scheme. Now I’ll be buying Assassins Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations as I’ve wanted to play them for ages.

    Thanks for your tireless pointing out of how silly their DRM scheme was John

  35. WarKiel says:

    There is an error in this article.
    Here it says “capitalism, eh” this is incorrect.
    “Capitalism, Ho!” is correct.

  36. sophof says:

    As others have said, you can’t measure ‘lost sales’. You can measure the cost of implementing DRM and roughly its effect over many games since you implemented it. Since DRM is by principle (unless you make it a ‘service’ like Blizzard) only-impacting legitimate buyers, the numbers were probably pretty clear.

    DRM is stupid for everyone, not just the consumer.

  37. Zarunil says:

    Hesitantly optimistic.

  38. mickygor says:

    I wonder if there was any pressure on Guillemot from the principal shareholders for all these “unfortunate comments” that he likes making. ‘Repair your reputation, or you’re gone.’

  39. MythArcana says:

    Fix Heroes VI and get that horrible netcode out of there. I enjoyed that series up until VI when they completely lost their minds. The only reason they did change is that 97% of the Internet hates Ubi now.

  40. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Clearly their DRM wasn’t effective enough to justify its existence. This is not some kind of mystery.

  41. D3xter says:

    Why the long article? Shouldn’t this be Captain Obvious for everyone?

    They just said that “Assassin’s Creed III will be one of the last AAA games”: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/366637/assassins-creed-3-the-last-of-the-triple-a-dinosaurs/

    They’ve also modeled their entire PC games library around for F2P bullcrap, there’s Settlers Online, Anno Online, Silent Hunter Online, Ghost Recon Online and Might & Magic Online… if they don’t want to pursue traditional SinglePlayer games anymore despite Anno for instance being a franchise with more than 5 Million sales worldwide and if they’re all “Online” anyway, there’s no point for DRM, is there ?: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/08/15/ubisoft-classic-franchises-going-online-en-mass/

    And obviously they need better PR and a better reputation if they want to make money off those…
    I don’t think this is an “altruistic” move or a great realization on their part at all, but a necessary shift in regards to their changing business model. They’ve likely just got rid of the DRM as I’m transitioning to not care much about what they have to offer anymore, and if they change it again I’m not skeptic about them being back on their DRM shenanigans after all. (and they’re still using uPlay and Activation, that hasn’t changed much)

    Regarding the PC being only 10% of their sales, that’s a hilarious thing to say when all their game releases are staggered by multiple weeks or months. The Assassin’s Creed release was like 5 months behind consoles and Assassin’s Creed III is still at least a month away. How do they exactly expect the PC versions to sell better or make a high percentile of their sales this way with many multi-system households?

  42. The Random One says:

    Great piece, John.

    I’m glad you bring up the issue of investors. Many gamers seem to think that publishers are heartless golems that think of nothing but money and see us as data on a spreadsheet. They are not. Investors are, and publishers merely act on their behalf.

  43. El_Emmental says:

    Sweet sweet analysis, you gained a lot of points there Mr Walker ;)

    Even if many of us “knew” many of these points, you listed, organized and put them into context nicely and accurately, and for a few minutes put down the Angry Gamer Hat to talk about the problem intelligently, and this is priceless.

    If you ever feel the need to make more “contextualization” articles like this one, go ahead !

  44. Captain Hijinx says:

    “but it would also very likely see shareholders rearing up and demanding to know why their money was wasted, and asking for the heads of those responsible.”

    Isn’t that what should be happening?

  45. Droopy The Dog says:

    Oh god, he mentioned newsnight. I hope he really isn’t aiming to become Paxman.

  46. Jimbo says:

    Is there any point even reading articles about Ubisoft anymore? You can report their policy today and it’s out of date by tomorrow. In fact, their policy on PC release dates is just ‘lie about it until a week before it isn’t going to come out’. That’s the one thing they’re consistent with.

    The thing about their DRM policy is that they still don’t *know* whether it was the right thing (from a business perspective) to introduce it or not. They best-guessed that it would be and now they’re best-guessing that it wasn’t. They still don’t know for sure and nor does anybody else. They keep flip-flopping on their DRM policy and I see no reason to believe they won’t do so again.

  47. Kadayi says:

    “With an official pledge to abandon their deeply silly DRM”

    You mean the DRM they stopped using back in June last year, and haven’t used in any of their game releases since.

  48. Rikard Peterson says:

    Bring on BGE2!

  49. Irishgamer01 says:

    DRM is still working.
    I only managed to get Ghost recon working last week after
    being locked out by DRM for 3 weeks. Customer care took 3 weeks to
    release thier UPLAY DRM

    Don’t be fooled, these are just ubisoft marketings planted stories, DRM is still working away

  50. rockman29 says:

    It’s a win indeed. Very nice article.