There has been a lot of talk going on recently about Ubisoft’s new DRM for Assassin’s Creed 2 for the PC. Some people hate it, and a lot of people know little about it. I’m glad some light is being shed since one of the worst things you can do on a computer is install software, be it a game or otherwise, and it does something in the background that you don’t know about which could be a security risk. The main issues that a lot of people are having with this is that in order to play a game, you have to have an internet connection. If your internet connection goes down while playing the game, you get booted off the game. No warning, no saving the game. If you do have a solid internet connection, but the Ubisoft servers are down for maintenance, you cannot play the game.
Ubisoft has recently released their side of the story. The most interesting bit about this is that Ubisoft alludes to possibly patching out DRM for games when servers go offline permanently. The problem is that there is no guarantee of that. Some game companies shut down their servers for games on a regular basis, although you can at least still play the offline portions of the game.
As a consumer and a software developer, I find myself looking at both sides of the debate. Is DRM necessary for PC games? Maybe it is, but there are other developers out there who would ultimately beg to differ. There are other services that do a much better job, in terms of what the user can do, than what Ubisoft is proposing. Ubisoft even admitted themselves that it’s all DRM’s fate to be hacked. If Ubisoft is so scared of the PC market that they have to shoe-horn something like this in their games, why do they develop for the PC in the first place?
I understand that developers want to protect their intellectual property; they have every right to do so. What I don’t understand is why would anyone go to such lengths, at the expense of losing trust to your consumers, to protect it.