In the gaming industry, the issue of DRM has always been a touchy subject. Publishers want to make sure they are able to protect their intellectual property and, of course being a business, make sure they are making their money. Gamers, however, simply want to enjoy the games without jumping through hoops to do so.
Game developer Ubisoft has decided to implement their own, proprietary DRM system. Thankfully, it does come with some perks. The system involves a server synch up, allowing users to play without the CD/DVD. In addition to this, save files are stored on the Ubisoft servers, which lets players continue from where they left off on any computer that has the game installed. Ubisoft's system also allows for an unlimited number of installs on any number of machines.
However, all of this does not come without a price. In order to play their games, users must be connected to the Internet. There is no offline mode. Authentication with the server is handled through your own personal Ubi.com account to which each of your games are linked. Unfortunately, this has another side effect in that it essentially prevents you from selling your games.
Knowing players would complain, Ubisoft released a statement defending their choice.
"We know this choice is controversial but we feel is justified by the gameplay advantages offered by the system and because most PCs are already connected to the internet," said the company in a statement.
"This platform also offers protection against piracy, an important business element for Ubisoft and for the PC market in general as piracy has an important impact on this market.
"Any initiative that allows us to lower the impact of piracy on our PC games will also allow us to concentrate further effort on the creation and expansion of our intellectual properties for the PC - our goal is to deliver the best gaming experience to our customers."
Considering the outcry over 2K's recent announcement of Bioshock 2's DRM requiring the user to connect to the Internet at least once, this move is incredibly questionable. It certainly is true that the majority of households do have an Internet connection and free Wi-Fi is getting more and more prevalent. However, that still doesn't mean one will have access to such connections every time you have the desire to play.
The sytem will make its debut with Settlers 7 and will be a "feature" of most upcoming Ubisoft games.
For more info about the system, head over to Ubisoft's FAQ page here.