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Ubisoft Ditching Its Intrusive DRM For PC Games

Company finally responds to endless condemnation of its DRM policies.

Assassin's Creed III will be one of the first new games to benefit from Ubisoft's new DRM policy.
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.

Patrick Klepek on Google+