No DRM for Prince of Persia PC

A post over on the Ubisoft forums states that the PC version of Prince of Persia 2008 shipped without DRM protection.

"You're right when you say that when people want to pirate the game they will but DRM is there to make it as difficult as possible for pirates to make copies of our games," says Ubisoft's Community Developer going by the alias "UbiRazz" in a recent forum post.  His reply echoes the current battle between software pirates, and the developers and publishers they rob. Recently PC games using anti-piracy software have come under fire, more so than usual thanks to the quirky sim game Spore launched months ago.

But as forum members have pointed out, the piracy issue is a vicious circle: pirates crack DRM protection because they're against the imposed restrictions; publishers include DRM with their software to protect the overall investment and revenue, to prevent their property from falling into the hands of thieves. Many consumers understand both sides of the struggle, especially in the case of Spore: it secretly installs SecuRom without the consent of the end-user, and the software not only causes instability issues, but cannot be removed without reformatting the hard drive.

"A lot of people complain that DRM is what forces people to pirate games," UbiRazz said.

There's no question that piracy is a bad thing, leeching off the industry and eventually hurting the legitimate consumer. DRM implications are certainly understandable; developers and publishers have bills to pay and mouths to feed. But when the industry steps over the line of absurdity, violating the rights of the end-user, it only re-invests the determination of software pirates.

So what's the answer? Many believe in taking a different approach. A handful of publishers think that removing the DRM will actually lower the percentage of pirated software. "{But as} PoP PC has no DRM, we'll see how truthful people actually are (in regards to pirating the game). Not very, I imagine," UbiRazz added. "Console piracy is something else entirely and I'm sure we'll see more steps in {the} future to try to combat that."

While developers and publishers of PC games complain that piracy is killing that portion of the industry (and ignoring the fact that perhaps gamers just don't want to spend $1,500 on a new system every few years), console piracy is certainly just as evil, if not worse. Recently a playable demo of Resident Evil 5 hit the Torrent scene, apparently coming from Japan and playable on North American Xbox 360 consoles without modding the hardware. In October, the industry experienced a surprise attack by insiders, as Fallout 3, Fable 2 and Far Cry 2 found their way into the pirating scene before the games were even published (story).

"Everything gets pirated, so it's not limited to PC gaming," said CD Projekt's Tom Ohle in a recent interview. "But really, you just want to put out a game that's solid for your platform. If you're making a PC game, make a great PC game and people will buy it. I don't know of any pirates that buy games. They all seem to be pirates for life, y'know? So why fight it? Just make a good game that people want to pay for." He goes on to say that services like Steam and Gamer's Gate help fight piracy of PC games to some extent, but wants to see some evidence that piracy really has an effect on the industry. Consumers who download the demos are more than willing to purchase the game; they don't pirate games to check them out. Rather, Ohle says that it's the career pirates who make an impact on overall sales.

"So the key here, I guess, is to make kick-ass games that people want to pay for," he added. "Stardock's getting a lot of goodwill from fans who just buy their games because they don't use any intrusive copy protection. The games are good, so that helps."

Ubisoft has not spoken out on its reason for not including DRM with the latest Prince of Persia release on PC. It's quite possible that the company finally sees that it's a battle not worth fighting, that DRM software only causes legit consumers more headaches than the price of the game. Will DRM-free software be the way to go in the future? Probably not, but apparently Ubisoft is testing the waters to determine the ratio between pirating the game, and honest consumers shelling out the cash and credit cards.

  • Pei-chen
    I thought PoP re-imagining didn't get favorable review compares with Sands of Time.
  • Tyellock
    I have never been a fan of the PoP series, but I will be purchasing this game to support the "No DRM" release, and hopefully other game releases follow
  • I will probably get this game today just because it is DRM free. I was going to get Spore, but they messed that up for me with the DRM crap. When you reload your PC on a 3 month basis like I do, DRM is not a good feature to have.
  • I expressly did not buy any DRM-ridden games (or download the DRM-free ones), which hurt a lot because I was looking forward to several of them and even upgraded to a high end PC earlier this year. I'm glad to hear at least one publisher has cracked under consumer pressure. PoP is not my favorite series, but it's DRM-free at least so I'll probably go get it before Christmas. I hope the rest of the publishers will follow soon and retroactively disable DRM on some great titles, I still want to play them, but legally DRM-free.
  • truehighroller
    Agreed ^^^. I am tired of DRM shiat messing up my PCs stability and maiing me have to reinstall everything to get rid of issues caused by it and there for taking my install #s down at the same time...................
  • The only Prince of Persia I own is the orginal computer one, and the one on Sega Genisis. I'll be buying this game come christmas.
  • techguy911
    Thats a good idea drm is 100% useless most games are already cracked BEFORE they hit the shelf, the company has to pay to put drm in there games why put something in that cost money when it does not do what its designed to do?.

    Has drm stopped people from pirating a game no, with current drm not only does it cause problems for machine stabability but some even cause hardware damage to dvd/burners alignment.

  • kamkal
    simple cd check for when the game is released is all that is required to thwart most casual pirates

    after like 6 months, release a patch that removes any cd checking

    this is what epic did with unreal tournament games, seemed to be a good balance
  • Just release a good game and I will be willing to buy it legally, my and friends download games if we really enjoys them/ if we want to play multiplayer we buy legal games. That happened to GTA4, I torrented that to see if my system will handle and if I liked it, after that I got the game from steam and now I'm enjoying multiplayer.

    If they released gta4 demo to get the feel for the game I wouldn't have to go thru all that mess and check it out legally if you know what I mean.
  • Horhe
    ignoring the fact that perhaps gamers just don't want to spend $1,500 on a new system every few years

    Fortunately there are consoles, which means my 8800GT will be high end untill the next-gen consoles appear.
    The truth is that graphics haven't improved that much since Oblivion (except for Crysis), and pirating a game because you don't want to spend 1500$ every 2 years is the lamest excuse. You don't have to cranck all the settings to max and get a 24" or bigger monitor if you don't want to spend lots of maoney on a PC. And today you can buy a more than capable PC with less than 1000$ which will play all the games (except Crysis) maxed at 1680x1050 or less.