Assassin’s Creed 2 DRM

Posted in General at 9:55 pm by jw

I’ve been rather upset by the DRM in Assassin’s Creed 2.  Essentially it’s a single player game but Ubisoft in their effort to become even more draconian with DRM has decided that the game will constantly check with their online servers so if your internet drops out while playing then the game stops.

That’s right – a single player game that requires a full-time internet connection ONLY for making sure you’re not a criminal.  That’s what Ubi thinks of its customers and frankly this really has the capability of hurting them.  The pirates (and make no mistake, the game will be “cracked” and available for download within a day of release) have a significantly better product that can be enjoyed by anyone at anytime, so the only real result I see for Ubi is much more piracy.

I have no intention of purchasing the game with that sort of restriction.  My internet is not too bad, but I don’t want to be held to something out of my control while enjoying a single player experience.  I can imagine how this would work for someone on satellite internet, dial-up or worse (like in the armed forces).  It’s fundamentally a really dumb decision.

In any case, I find the whole thing extremely deceptive and have lodged an inquiry to their behaviour with the ACCC:

I am concerned by the evolution of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) used in the games shortly to be released by Ubisoft, in particular “Assassin’s Creed 2” and “Splinter Cell Conviction” but reportedly included in all future titles. Details can be found at Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/02/ubisoft-details-drm.ars) but to summarize: Despite being a single player experience the game will not permit the user to play without being continuously connected to Ubisoft’s license verification servers. Disconnection or interruption of that connection results in the game terminating and Ubisoft maintains the ability to remotely terminate the end user’s ability to use their licensed product without significant recourse from the consumer.

Games are marketed as boxed products, which give the impression and feel of a standalone product and while it may be recognized that many current games require some form of “activation”, these do not mandate a continuous connection and there is no consumer expectation that this should exist. Without significant warning labels it is likely that a large section of the consumer market (which either do not have internet, do not have continuous connections or have interrupted connections) will be impacted by this decision and potentially find themselves with a product that may not work at all in the way expected. Similarly, with internet bandwidth being metered in Australia users may find themselves liable for additional costs.

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