DRM Blues: Ubisoft PC Titles Rendered Useless Next Week

Yes, we agree that piracy sucks, unless you're Rovio of course who opens their arms wide to naughty "fans". But for the legitimate customer who must pay the price for the thievery of others, DRM sucks even more, especially when it's embedded in our systems or gives publishers the power to disable our favorite titles with a flick of a switch.

This latter scenario is apparently what will happen to a good number of Ubisoft titles next week according to the company itself. In a community letter released this week, Ubisoft said that it will be transitioning the hosting of many of its online services from a third-party data center to a new facility starting next Tuesday, February 7. This will have an impact on the online portion of a majority of its games for an undisclosed amount on time.

But here's the real kicker: there will also be a number of PC games that will be inaccessible online and offline including Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7. Mac gamers will lose access to Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction and The Settlers. That said, these games will be rendered useless for an undisclosed amount of time.

The downtime may be short, but the fact that Ubisoft customers shell out loads of cash for software they can't even use is disappointing. Unfortunately, Ubisoft isn't the only publisher practicing this type of software control, following the likes of Blizzard and a few others that require an online connection to play a single-player game. Piracy isn't the only thing killing the PC gaming sector -- it's the hoops legit customers have to jump through too, thus pushing them to play the same titles on consoles (if they're available, that is).

This week Ubisoft also said that Uplay on PC will go dark during the transition. However, PC games not previously listed will remain playable offline if already connected at least once via Uplay. But if they haven't been activated through Uplay, they too will be locked tight like a bank vault. So far there's no indication of when players will regain access once the Ubisoft "blackout" goes into effect. Anno 2070, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Driver San Francisco, Just Dance 3 and The Settlers Online will not be affected, remaining fully playable online and offline, Ubisoft said.

"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience," the company said. "This move ultimately will help us improve the maintenance of our infrastructure and deliver better uptime and greatly improved services for our customers."

While DRM is understandable, has it gotten better over the years, or is it getting out of hand?

  • James296
    it had to happen sometime, when DRM forces a company to shove it's own foot up it's own A**
  • DroKing
    Lol @ Piracy killing PC gaming. Indie is more popular than ever along with free games. You are kidding me right?
  • RoboTree
    Built a new PC last year, and our internet went down straight afterwards for a week. So I eagerly went out and bought a couple of games (in boxes, just like the old days). When I got home, I gasped in horror, as both of them needed steam to play offline. I'd just spent 1.5K and couldn't even enjoy the spoils.

    Piracy might not be good, but sometimes DRM can be a pain in the ass. A smarter solution is needed that won't unintentionally screw with paying customers.
  • fritters
    good thing the people who are pirating those titles are totally unaffected by this.

    if drm doesn't stop piracy, then what is the point in it?
  • Djhg2000
    Ironically, piracy seems to be keeping gaming alive.
  • pharoahhalfdead
    So many times I bought a game just like RoboTree did, only to find out only part of the install is actually included in the box, I had to download the remaining 30% of the game. Piracy is what's keeping my PC gaming alive.

    I've bought dozens of games off Steam, Direct2Drive(formerly), amazon, etc, but I don't use their services. After I bought them, I found a way to download them else where. I want to have the entire game at my disposal without the need for online downloading, verification, etc. I don't always have the internet, and a couple times a year I do a fresh Windows install. Without certain torr sites, I would have stopped buying games long ago.

    I know people will disagree with my approach, and they have their right to their opinion just like I have a right to mine.
  • alhanelem
    if they know that DRM's dont stop piracy then why waste time, money and paying customer's patience in this fail of an anti piracy method?
  • molo9000
    Companies like Ubisoft and EA have yet to understand that making customers happy and earning money are not exclusive alternatives.

    Happy customers=more money
  • kettu
    Imagine the day when publishers start to disable older games (or some features like multiplayer) to make room for new ones.
  • And this is why AC1 was my last Ubisoft game...