Last week it was discovered Ubisoft is launching one of the most draconian Digital Rights Management systems yet seen for the PC. Given the demands of constant live connectivity throughout even solo play, we queried Ubisoft on how they are aiming to ensure Australians aren't going to be really stung if living with less than stellar broadband. Here's what they had to say.
In what is very much a 'bad news' situation, the closest thing to good news Ubisoft had to offer is that the system will have "worldwide coverage including Australia." The system was created with consideration to "sometimes unreliable Internet connections" in various parts of the world, and we have been told specific testing has been done in Australia and they feel the system works fine.
An interesting technical point is that the maximum bandwidth required for the system will be 50kbit/s. Fine for those with any sort of reliable broadband connection. Definitely out of the question should you be stuck on dial-up which is somewhat unimaginable for someone interested in playing a spanking new copy of AC2 on a recent spec PC?
The official line on what happens in the event of lost connectivity is that the game will pause and automatically try to reconnect once your connection is restored. However, with Assassin's Creed II this will actually drop you back to your previous checkpoint. For Settlers 7, the game will pause at current state and continue from that point when you resume.
Words still fail to describe how hard this DRM concept punches devoted PC gamers in the throat.
This is Ubisoft's ultimate gambit in the war on PC piracy. What is the ultimate aim? To sure up the security of their PC titles? Or perhaps to drive console-owning PC gamers over to the couch for good?
Remember, just last year Ubisoft released Prince of Persia for PC completely DRM free. We asked whether this latest DRM move was a response to a severe case of piracy around that title, but Ubisoft states this new platform has been in development "for some time" and it is not a direct reaction to the last Prince of Persia release.