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?