Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nerd Rage: Ubisoft DRM lifted back in June

What an appropriate topic to follow up my last post about Yves Guillemot's comment about Ubisoft's PC piracy rate. In an interview today with Rock Paper Shotgun, Ubisoft actually confirmed that their 'always-on' DRM that I hated on in that last post was quietly changed back in June. It wasn't until today at their interview that they made an official announcement about it. While this is a fortunate step in the right direction, I will remind readers that their DRM had been like this for years, at least as far back as the release of the first Assassin's Creed on PC which was in April of 2008.

Ubisoft is adamant that they had not made a mistake by instituting such strict DRM. Michael Burk, the corporate communication's manager said: "No, I wouldn’t say that. I’ll let Stephanie [Perotti, Ubisoft’s worldwide director for online games] say what she thinks, but I wouldn’t use those words. This is a process, and we listened to feedback." While I can understand backing your decisions because you don't want to appear as if you don't know what you're doing, it would be nice if Ubisoft would at least acknowledge that they should have pulled back their DRM sooner.

Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Another bit that rubs me the wrong way is that Ubisoft, like all other publishers, refuse to release any data about their DRM's effectiveness, claiming that it is competitive information and so they keep it confidential to not give a leg up to other companies. I really can't see how your DRM's effectiveness is going to give you an edge over another company. Gamers buy games based on the gameplay and story, not based on how many copies are pirated. If someone is going to pirate your game, their going to do it, no matter if somebody else is doing it or not, at least that's the way I see it.
Connor from Assassin's Creed III

Some final notes from the interview is that Ubisoft acknowledges that their delay of PC releases has been detrimental to their image, especially with delays of several months only weeks before a game was originally scheduled to release. Citing a desire to ensure that it's the best that it can be for the PC, Perotti said: "This year you will be able to enjoy Far Cry 3 at the same time as the console version. Assassin’s Creed III, which is a huge game, is coming just a few weeks after the console version, while in the past it was – what – months after. So we’re really focusing on making sure that at the same time we provide a really good PC experience, and really as close as possible to the other versions." Which I believe does show Ubisoft working to repair the damage they've done to their PC community.

Rayman and friends from Rayman Legends

Burk relayed a bit of information after the interview to the guys at RPS; that 7% of their revenue from the last fiscal year was from PCs and last quarter 12% came from PCs. Do you guys think that's a big enough share of revenue for them to keep consoles as their primary focus or they should reach out to PC gamers more?



Kyle Borden said...

I am seriously starting to dislike Ubisoft.

Lonrem said...

I'm starting to like them a little more now that they are starting to cater to PC players more.

Also, I love AC and Splinter Cell...