If you ever want to test your customers’ loyalty and willingness to put up with irritation, try making them stand in line all day just because you can. If your product is exclusive enough, they might just buy it anyway. Ubisoft was really pressing its luck by re-instituting its infamous “always on” DRM with its latest “Driver” game. Now the software maker says it has removed it.
The catch is “Driver: San Francisco” will still have DRM (digital rights management), but gamers will no longer be required to stay connected to the Internet in order for the game to keep working. Instead, Ubisoft explained, they will only have to log on to start playing. In other words, it will still require an Internet connection to play, crippling PC gamers who may have poor Internet service or simply happen to be offline when they want to play.
This is not the first time Ubisoft has flirted with a PR disaster. The company made headlines when its DRM in Assassin’s Creed II caused the game to stop working after Ubisoft’s servers went down temporarily in 2010.
Ubisoft has defended its use of DRM in PC games arguing that it curbs piracy, but evidence seems to indicate the contrary. All games, with DRM or otherwise, have been pirated, and most appear on file sharing sites hours after they are released. Paying customers, on the other hand, must deal with the inconvenience of a game that only sometimes works.