Ubisoft insists DRM 'a success'
Sales against pirates
Ubisoft has responded to backlash over the company's determination to use an Internet-at-all-times DRM policy, insisting it is a success and does protect its products from piracy.
A Ubisoft rep, who spoke to PC Gamer, said the developer has seen "a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent on-line connection, and from that point of view the requirement is a success."
Yesterday, news broke that Ubisoft would return to the harsh DRM restrictions with Driver: San Francisco, released this September. It has also been widely reported that the PC version of From Dust would also feature the DRM when it sees release at the end of August. This has recently been denied by Ubisoft, though.
No pirates here
Many of you took to the comment forums yesterday to express the view that the strict DRM measures have an adverse effect. Opinions suggested that gamers, unhappy about the always on-line prerequisite, will be drawn to alternatives. In some instances, that will be different publishers and others the temptation is to assume a pirated version will appear without the always-on protection.
Either way, the suggestion was that sales would be damaged in the process. Ubisoft clearly believes its measures to limit piracy are worth the risk. Even so, the problem remains that legitimate players who have paid for these DRM titles, will still suffer if their Internet connection is lost, which isn't the most enticing prospect for a potential buyer. ®
...at killing the PC market
Yes, Ubisoft, you have successfully helped destroy the PC market for me. You have destroyed any hope of me ever buying a PC game from you, and ensured that any console titles I buy with your name on them will only reach me second hand. I will not give a penny to a company that treats its own customers like criminals and supplies a deliberately broken product.
I'm not sure how this is good for your business, though. You honestly think that there's pirates out there who said "oh well, I might as well pay them £50" due to the DRM? Are you that stupid?
Listen for a minute Ubisoft
I didn't buy Settlers 7 until you removed the silly DRM for that, and the same will be for this game too. Fact is I would have paid £30 or whatever for Settlers on release and didn't because of the DRM. Stop bullying your customers and bully the pirates instead. Seriously whoever thought that up truely needs to try it themselves. I live in a rural area with very poor broadband so its not even a starter for me.
Making life better for the pirates.
Every game ever written will be pirated. Don't bother pretending that it won't because it will. There are hundreds of eager little bedroom jockeys just itching to break the thing that took your small team of developers months to create. Getting some credit and a minute of fame from 'the scene' is what makes them tick. Once cracked the game will be downloaded by the pirates with almost zero chance of being caught and costing them a few pence for the bandwidth. They will play the game wherever and whenever they want without your DRM giving them a moment of bother.
On the other hand, honest Joe (who lives just down the road to me) will shell out his hard earned cash for your game and be frustrated when his cable connection is down, his ADSL connection is slow, he is abroad and doesn't want to pay roaming charges, can't get access to wireless connection, the network driver on his computer has stopped working, the cat has knocked his network cable out, etc., etc.
So, the pirates get it easy and the legits get it hard. Nice one.
I expect they don't look at it that way
If you were to draw a graph of gamers with 100% pirates on the left and 100% customers on the right that most people would fall some way away from these extremes. The 100% pirates, the lamers obviously would never buy a game, but as you go across to the right the inclination to buy increases. As a publisher, the idea is to move the inclination bar left and scoop up a lot more sales.
Ways to do that might include:
* Serial codes for online play
* Frequent patches that add new content, features.
* Cheaper store prices
* Collectible stuff in the box
* Trial versions which can be unlocked with the purchase of a key
... and meanwhile ...
* Prosecute pirates
* Release glitched, broken / buggy versions into p2p channels to frustrate people who spend days downloading 9GB games for them to not even work.
I suppose Ubisoft's "big idea" is to ignore the other ways they could incentivize people to buy and squeeze on the DRM as hard as they can. But DRM is a slippery thing - try to grasp customers too tight and they pop right out of your fingers.
To me a game which is crippled and does not work on a plane, or a train, or on holiday is a game I don't want to own. I can understand multiplayer not working, but the entire game? Why the hell do I want to bother with that? If anything it wants me to seek out the pirate copy even more than I would have before.
So I think Ubisoft are being monumentally stupid here. It's not like there are many Ubisoft games worth owning to begin with and this sort of crap is hardly going to help their bottom line.
SHOCKED! SHOCKED I AM!
...that a company representative would say that a company policy is working as expected, while completely failing to provide figures with which to back up their assertion! ;-)
I suspect it's not working at all, but they can't really measure it. After all they don't have DRM-free sales of whatever-title to compare to....
Alien because whoever thought of this strategy is from another planet.