Ubisoft Ditching Its Intrusive DRM For PC Games

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Posted by patrickklepek (5460 posts) -
Assassin's Creed III will be one of the first new games to benefit from Ubisoft's new DRM policy.

After years of deserved criticism and endless threads on Reddit, Ubisoft is finally backing off its DRM policies for PC games, according to an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun.

“We have listened to feedback,” said Ubisoft worldwide director for online games Stephanie Perottiand, ”and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline.”

When Assassin’s Creed III comes out later this year, it won’t require an always-on connection to play single-player. That changes for multiplayer, obviously, but that’s never been the source of angst for players. When Ubisoft’s servers have gone down, preventing players from continuing their single-player experiences is when the ire has been greatest.

Ubisoft prompted some eyebrow raises from the world when CEO Yves Guillemot told GamesIndustry.Biz that the company was noticing a 93-to-95% piracy rate. It didn’t provide much evidence for those statistics.

"It's a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue,” said Guillemot. “On PC it's only around five-to-seven percent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 percent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content."

When pressed Ubisoft for more details about Guillemot’s statistics, I didn’t get much in response.

“That was an internal estimate for a few of Ubisoft’s popular PC titles like Assassin’s Creed and Driver, based on our own measurements,” the company told me a few weeks back. “It’s similar to broader external estimates from groups like the UKIE [Association for UK Interactive Entertainment], and to some recent examples of popular PC games from other companies.”

Better late than never, I suppose.

#1 Posted by patrickklepek (5460 posts) -
Assassin's Creed III will be one of the first new games to benefit from Ubisoft's new DRM policy.

After years of deserved criticism and endless threads on Reddit, Ubisoft is finally backing off its DRM policies for PC games, according to an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun.

“We have listened to feedback,” said Ubisoft worldwide director for online games Stephanie Perottiand, ”and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline.”

When Assassin’s Creed III comes out later this year, it won’t require an always-on connection to play single-player. That changes for multiplayer, obviously, but that’s never been the source of angst for players. When Ubisoft’s servers have gone down, preventing players from continuing their single-player experiences is when the ire has been greatest.

Ubisoft prompted some eyebrow raises from the world when CEO Yves Guillemot told GamesIndustry.Biz that the company was noticing a 93-to-95% piracy rate. It didn’t provide much evidence for those statistics.

"It's a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue,” said Guillemot. “On PC it's only around five-to-seven percent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 percent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content."

When pressed Ubisoft for more details about Guillemot’s statistics, I didn’t get much in response.

“That was an internal estimate for a few of Ubisoft’s popular PC titles like Assassin’s Creed and Driver, based on our own measurements,” the company told me a few weeks back. “It’s similar to broader external estimates from groups like the UKIE [Association for UK Interactive Entertainment], and to some recent examples of popular PC games from other companies.”

Better late than never, I suppose.

#2 Posted by Angryhead (8 posts) -

Success!

#3 Posted by Monkeyman04 (1144 posts) -

Well it's about time a big company listened to its costumers.

#4 Posted by xdaknightx69 (450 posts) -

Finally, anno2070 DRM is just annoying to say the least.

#5 Posted by Dragon_Fire (368 posts) -

It's about time!

#6 Posted by Brackynews (4090 posts) -

That's good. But I still don't imagine I'll play Ubisoft games on PC.

AC3 will look best on Wii U after all. Oh Shane. ;)

#7 Posted by NicksCorner (419 posts) -

Yay, about time.

#8 Posted by BluPotato (453 posts) -

It was fun watching them gradually back down from their original DRM as they realized that it was mostly just hurting their paying customers. This is a good thing because most of their PC ports, asides from the DRM issues, were pretty good.

#9 Posted by JetForceGemini (174 posts) -

Yay, now I don't have to avoid buying their games anymore!

#10 Posted by Phobos (110 posts) -

Templar's estimate that 93-95% of all Desmond animus use is the result of piracy.

#11 Posted by PillClinton (3291 posts) -

Good.

#12 Posted by Elow (45 posts) -

That interview on Rock Paper Shotgun really is fantastic. John Walker is both aggressive and persistent in his questioning about the DRM.

Why don't you ask questions this way Patrick? I have no doubt you would bring up a DRM question in a similar interview, but would never go at it this viciously (or passionately?).

#13 Posted by super2j (1732 posts) -

There are a couple of companies that i never think about, but when i think of some of there games in a row, i realize how much i really like the stuff they put out, a lot. 2k is an example, civ 5 and borderlands being what i can think of off the top of my head...but there are more, i will remember it later, and Ubisoft. the rainbow 6 vegas's, assassins creed's, prince of persia (2009), and other things i cant remember to associate with the company. I feel like the drm thing really hurt my impression of the company. I really dislike the ubisoft game launcher...its a useless extra step. But luckly, i havent played the single player in brotherhood and revelations yet. so for now, Ubisoft is still a sleeper favourite of mine.

#14 Posted by whylessness (77 posts) -

Watch Dogs?!

#15 Posted by dr_mantas (1973 posts) -

Good. I hope more people buy their games now.

At least the people that cried "DRM is why I don't buy ANYTHING from UBISOFT!"

I really really do hope that. But I doubt it.

I'll keep buying them, however, and this is an improvement.

#16 Posted by familyphotoshoot (654 posts) -

I don't have a PC capable of playing them, but I still plan on pirating AC3 and Far Cry 3 out of spite.

#17 Posted by Nettacki (1319 posts) -

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

#18 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

@Nettacki said:

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

Better to overreact than slowly give complete control to a company and get stuck in those ways.

#19 Posted by dvorak (1497 posts) -

@Monkeyman04 said:

Well it's about time a big company listened to its costumers.

If this was the first time, we'd never have got Coke Classic back.

#20 Posted by zeekthegeek (391 posts) -

@Nettacki said:

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

Not even close. Tell me how you feel when your singleplayer game progress is lost due to a minor connection hiccup. It was always shitty and solved nothing - pirates still got the games, with less problems than paying customers.

#21 Posted by Argo15 (49 posts) -

good news

#22 Posted by Shuborno (938 posts) -

I will now consider Ubi games on PC again.

#23 Posted by Draxyle (1874 posts) -

Loved what Ubisoft represents, hated what they did for the PC market. Glad they're finally coming around on the latter. They still need to work out some of their porting issues and delays, but this is a good start.

I might actually buy Anno 2070 and other steam titles now if this includes all of em.

#25 Posted by Rekt_Hed (848 posts) -

Thank god

#26 Posted by Ben_H (3377 posts) -

Well then I might actually get AC3 on PC then. Ubi's DRM is 10 types of terrible. I have used it in AC2 and others and yeah, it's really bad.

#27 Posted by IceColdGamer (605 posts) -

Good on Ubisoft. Maybe this will actually increase their revenue on the PC market this holiday season. Smart moves these days with this happening and the Steam Greenlight 100 dollar fee. These companies seem like they're learning!

#28 Posted by CosmicQueso (570 posts) -

@Relshak said:

Even if the 93%-95% piracy rate is accurate to the number of players versus those who bought it, that absolutely does not equate 93%-95% loss of sales.

Blah. Blah. Blah. The fact is some percentage of those pirated copies are lost sales. And all of the pirated copies represent some opportunity cost of either pennies or $60.

And it doesn't matter if 95% is the rate or 50% or even 5%. Companies have a right to try to protect their shareholders. And when one way of trying to prevent loss doesn't work (like this DRM), then they have to try something else. They can't just throw their hands up and say "it's impossible to stop! We give up."

#29 Posted by Nettacki (1319 posts) -
@zeekthegeek said:

@Nettacki said:

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

Not even close. Tell me how you feel when your singleplayer game progress is lost due to a minor connection hiccup. It was always shitty and solved nothing - pirates still got the games, with less problems than paying customers.

And it's those pirates that led to this DRM system being used in the first place, however ineffective it was. The same people who claim that DRM is evil and always has been, that they are always entitled to someone else's work without paying for it. And if your connection was fast and stable, you'd almost never have a problem with it. (of course, not everyone has a good connection, so I can see some of the frustrations that rise from it.)
#30 Edited by Kosayn (453 posts) -

Hmm.. I thought from previous reports, the deal was that they made a crazy statement about moving entirely towards Free To Play, thus eliminating the need for DRM at all?

Hopefully they've backed away from that statement and are testing the idea of 'if our games don't harass legitimate customers, we will have more legitimate customers.'

#31 Posted by jaks (244 posts) -

Take every person torrenting a game off piratebay and multiply it by one hundred thousand to accurately calculate how many paying customers you are losing out on due to piracy.

#32 Posted by JesterPC238 (344 posts) -

I don't pirate games or support the practice unless it's impossible to play the game otherwise, even then I would always buy a digital release even if I finished the game. That said, I think it's on the company to either provide seamless DRM or give players a reason to want to support the developers. For instance, Diablo III provides, in my opinion, a good feature set to require you to be online or single player (chat, auction house, etc.). Ubisoft wasn't providing that, so I'm glad they are backing off.

#33 Posted by MrMiyagi (929 posts) -

So what about the current games? Are they losing the always on DRM too? Does this mean I can finally buy the Assassin's Creed pack on Steam?!

#34 Edited by zaglis (910 posts) -

Didn't they do this already, like 2 or 3 times?

#35 Posted by Slaegar (725 posts) -

@Shuborno said:

I will now consider Ubi games on PC again.

Samesies. The wound from pre-buying From Dust on Steam is finally starting to heal.

#37 Posted by Avatar (18 posts) -

Hooray! I know what I'm buying ACIII on.

#38 Posted by Shortbreadtom (820 posts) -

93-95% seems way too high. Where are they getting these figures?

#39 Posted by Evilsbane (4641 posts) -

WE WON! VICTORY! HUZZAH OR Ubi just realized that no matter how much they sat in the corner and pouted it wasn't going to change anyones mind about their shit policies

#40 Posted by Zatoichi_Sanjuro (945 posts) -

@Nettacki said:

@zeekthegeek said:

@Nettacki said:

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

Not even close. Tell me how you feel when your singleplayer game progress is lost due to a minor connection hiccup. It was always shitty and solved nothing - pirates still got the games, with less problems than paying customers.

And it's those pirates that led to this DRM system being used in the first place, however ineffective it was. The same people who claim that DRM is evil and always has been, that they are always entitled to someone else's work without paying for it. And if your connection was fast and stable, you'd almost never have a problem with it. (of course, not everyone has a good connection, so I can see some of the frustrations that rise from it.)

So, the pirates who don't have to deal with DRM, "are the same people who claim that DRM is evil and always has been"? People who complain about DRM are pirates? Yves, that you?

#42 Posted by Shivoa (634 posts) -

The gama piece/interview seems to get more actual meaningful comment out of Ubi people but without the enjoyable bite to the questions from RPS.

Online
#43 Posted by BlastProcessing (921 posts) -

Who cares about Reddit threads? They are not the center of the internet for fucks sake, everyone has been bitching about Ubi's horrendous DRM, not just that infested shithole of goonery.

#44 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3387 posts) -

@familyphotoshoot said:

I don't have a PC capable of playing them, but I still plan on pirating AC3 and Far Cry 3 out of spite.

I'm sure that's reasonable somewhere.

#45 Posted by Vexxan (4623 posts) -

About time they got rid of that crap.

#46 Posted by Nettacki (1319 posts) -
@Zatoichi_Sanjuro: I never said that. You merely twisted my words to make it seem like I did. Maybe we should settle this in the PMs.
#47 Posted by zeekthegeek (391 posts) -

@Nettacki said:

@zeekthegeek said:

@Nettacki said:

Personally, I thought people overreacted to Ubi's DRM policies in the first place. But whatever.

Not even close. Tell me how you feel when your singleplayer game progress is lost due to a minor connection hiccup. It was always shitty and solved nothing - pirates still got the games, with less problems than paying customers.

And it's those pirates that led to this DRM system being used in the first place, however ineffective it was. The same people who claim that DRM is evil and always has been, that they are always entitled to someone else's work without paying for it. And if your connection was fast and stable, you'd almost never have a problem with it. (of course, not everyone has a good connection, so I can see some of the frustrations that rise from it.)

Nice Ad Hominem. I am not a pirate but I do not support always-online DRM. It doesn't help them - check a torrent site and see how many times Assassins Creed II has been downloaded. It ONLY HURTS CUSTOMERS. Even 1 percent of paying customers not being able to enjoy the product is a massive failing and hurts hundreds of thousands of people who legitimately purchased the product.

#48 Posted by lazarenth (28 posts) -

@BlastProcessing said:

Who cares about Reddit threads? They are not the center of the internet for fucks sake, everyone has been bitching about Ubi's horrendous DRM, not just that infested shithole of goonery.

Something Awful takes offense to you calling Redditors goons.

#49 Edited by Nettacki (1319 posts) -
@zeekthegeek: I don't support Always-Online DRM either, but I can understand why some developers go that far to protect their IPs. You realize that this whole DRM thing is a vicious cycle, right? People pirate on a large scale, companies establish DRM policies that are rather strict, other people complain and pirate more. But the key thing is, we wouldn't have this discussion if PC piracy wasn't so widespread in the first place.
 
EDIT: also, I wasn't referring to you as one of those pirates. I was referring to half the pirates in general.
#50 Posted by RazielCuts (2971 posts) -

But..but..the piracy!

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