Ubisoft Hopes Value Can Make DRM 'Go Away' In The Future

DRM protection in games is often controversial, but Ubisoft's PC games have a record of shipping with restrictive, always-on activation that strikes a particular sore spot with gamers.

In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Chris Early, VP of Digital Publishing at Ubisoft, acknowledged that including anti-piracy measures in games is a tricky balancing act that, if done poorly, can cause problems for players who purchased their games legally. Early added that while the company very clearly desires that players pay for their content, they understand the need to avoid alienating players:

Is it fair for someone to enjoy our content without us receiving some value for that? I think at the core of that is, no. "Otherwise, other than works of charity, there would be few games made. The balance, however, is, how do we do anything about that and not harm the person who is giving us value for that?

That's been the delicate balance that the industry has walked over time. It continues to be one that we grapple with as an industry. How do we create content and receive good value for that, and at the same time, not inconvenience the player who has given us value there?

Very few players would argue that Ubisoft has yet mastered the art of not inconveniencing customers. "I don't know that there is a perfect answer today," Early added, explaining that no one has "a single, good answer yet" and that the problem was complex. There are nearly as many approaches to DRM as there are publishers of games, with a small handful developers beginning to skip content protection altogether.

Ultimately, Early suggested, the best solution for Ubisoft in the future would be to "create enough value that the need for DRM goes away." He cited "MMO systems" as a way of creating continuous, constant content updates that create strong incentives for players to own legitimately sourced games:

The question is, with enough on-going content development, content release, engagement at the community level, can we create that kind of MMO value system? I think we can. As the rest of the game industry continues to evolve, the more you hear about cloud gaming, the more you hear about companion gaming, the less a pirated game should work in all of that environment. So, therefore the value of that pirated content becomes less.

It is slowly becoming understood across the media landscape that the best way to get consumers to pay for your product, instead of pirating it, is to make it simply, readily, easily and affordably available on platforms the consumers are willing to use. The question then becomes, in gaming: how willing are consumers essentially to become subscribers to, rather than owners of, their single player games? We're only just now beginning to find out.

Ubisoft wants to offer PC gamers so much value the need for DRM "goes away" [Eurogamer]

Image: Shutterstock.


    or they could stop being stupid mother fuckers and realise that their games will be cracked regardless of what they do and just release them all DRM free.

      to add to this, people might actually buy Ubisofts titles rather then pirate them if they didn't make craptastic, bearly functional ports of their games that were layered with the worst DRM that they could think of. It's as if they had a meeting and were like 'hmm, what's the best way to piss off the PC community and make our PC sales go really, really, really low? I KNOW! Always-on DRM!'

      It was in another article that since introducing their DRM their PC sales are down 90%. Perhaps they should learn something from that..

        I'm fairly sure that their pc game sales being down proves to them is that obviously the pc is a dying market, and they shouldn't even bother. I really can't imagine them coming to any other revelation.

      they will never learn, they spend thousands of $$$ making a drm that cracked in minutes, forget drm, put the money into making a better game

    Just remeber that CDP said that the pireted copys of The Whitcher 2 where not the DRM free GoG copys, but cracked retail ones. This leads me to belive that DRM actully makes games with DRM a target, as most people who do tjhe craking are probubly only doing it for the challenge, and then they post it on the nets as a way of saying 'look what I did!'

    Ubisofts DRM is better than it was.

    "Is it fair for someone to enjoy our content without us receiving some value for that?"

    Of course not Ubi, but they do. They're called PIRATES. Now, a more important question: Does DRM work. No.

    A more important, important question: Does any pirate subjugate themselves to DRM: No.

    Do legitimate buyer subjugate themselves: Yes.

    Who was affected when servers at UBI went down? Only legitimate people. Pirates went on playing.

    See where this is going?

    Talking about encourage sales through value of the product? Sounds like they've been talking to VALVe. I wonder if this is in anyway connected to the flood of AC Revelations discount coupons that have been turning up on steam.

    I have always believed that Valve do is the best approach. Gabe himself said that if you offer a product that is good enough, people will pay for it. Honestly just look at Steam games. They are cracked in minutes yet sell like hot cakes.

    I made the mistake of buying splinter cell conviction. at the time our exchange was heavily congested (bloody telstra) and we were getting horrible lag daily. so while im trying to play this game in single player, its constantly disconnecting and reconnecting every 2 seconds to the always on drm making it literally impossible to play the game. I ended up having to crack it just to play it properly D: made me rage so hard

    I have developed such a hatred for Ubisoft I refuse to even download their games anymore.

    Its a shame because I really like the Anno series and I wanted to buy it when it was on sale for 10 bucks the other day, but they will never receive another cent of my money.

    "Is it fair for someone to enjoy our content without us receiving some value for that?"


    You want to get paid. I BUY your game. I trade money for your product. The value you give ME is what affects your bottom line. You jerk people around and nobody gets any value.... Except pirates I suppose.

    Sidenote: I never understand why people don't think Steam's DRM is unacceptable. If the internet connection goes out and I wasn't in offline mode (or if the computer was off), it may not be able to open in offline mode because you can't connect to Steam.

      You don't have to be in offline mode. As long as you were signed in, and the your net cuts out, it will put you into offline mode.
      If you were not signed in altogether, you're screwed.

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