Ubisoft are renowned for having some of the strictest DRM on the PC gaming market to date. They’ve had ridiculous measures such as forcing an online connection for offline single player games, only being able to play on one PC and more. They even put your PC at risk by putting a back door into your browser that malicious software could access. The DRM has been off the games for a little while now, though they’ve just officially announced it. In an interview with RockPaperShotgun they discuss their previous DRM and why there was need for change.
After the statement by Yves Guillemot last month that piracy rates for Ubisoft’s games were around 90-95%, they clarified that those rates can be reached by specific or popular titles, but the number varies depending on territory. Obviously this astronomical rate is the reason behind their very strict DRM but when asked if they found it had damaged Ubi’s rep with gamers they acknowledged that they had heard PC customers were unhappy and they had to make changes, yet refused to call it a mistake.
When questioned on why no publishers would release data regarding piracy or the efficiency of DRM they said that the data varies so it’s hard to pin an exact figure on it. Also the information is competitively confidential, they don’t want to risk giving their competitors an advantage. When asked if they understood that this opaque manner of dealing with fans undermined their argument they conceded that yes, it wasn’t ideal.
Over and over they refuse to call extreme DRM a failure, saying they are taking feedback on board to meet a middle ground between protecting their IP’s and reducing frustration for gamers.
You can read the full interview over here at RPS. It was a really great read and PC gamers will be happy that someone is willing to take Ubisoft to task for what they’ve done.