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


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Mar 19, 2012
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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]


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Even if a game had $1 million worth of value and sold for $1, there will still be many, many pirates for numerous reasons. This sounds like pandering babble to me. If Ubisoft wants to do everyone a favor, start patching games like Assassin's Creed II to not use their uPlay/persistent connection DRM and expand it to newer titles (like ANNO 2070). They'll probably see a surge in sales.
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Even if a game had $1 million worth of value and sold for $1, there will still be many, many pirates for numerous reasons. This sounds like pandering babble to me. If Ubisoft wants to do everyone a favor, start patching games like Assassin's Creed II to not use their uPlay/persistent connection DRM and expand it to newer titles (like ANNO 2070). They'll probably see a surge in sales.
I agree. And moving to a subscription-based play system? That sounds even worse...
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Pirating is no better or worse than the used game market for consoles, with the main difference being that you have to wait a week to buy a game used. Yet I don't hear them whining nearly as much about that.

Lucky for me that I don't care nearly enough about Ubisoft's console ports to buy or pirate them.
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Some ppl will always pirate stuff, but if you make quality content without dork restrictions with DRM it will sell. And release the game with realistic expectations, because nowadays every game is expected to sell in billions even if its average or complete crap. There were always just few triple A titles and you can't expect all to sell that well and then complain with every excuse there is when they don't. Gaming industry because a serial churning of games that all look nearly the same. I really wonder why they look so surprised if games don't sell where there are 50 games with the exact same content. In the past games were diverse and unique. It was easy to make a great and unique game and sell it in millions of copies. But if everyone try to use same recipe it just won't work. Imagine all restaurants selling exactly the same dish and then expect it to sell in millions. You could compare current game industry with fast food industry. You can get the same thing everywhere but you sort of get tired of it rather quickly...
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The thing is that all these DRM sytems are targeting the wrong people. The people who pirate games download the already hacked games, i.e. no DRM which also means no hassle. Ubisoft is actually putting the legitimate buyers and loyal customers in a worse situation where they all suffered from these intrusive/obstructive DRM systems, e.g. permanent internet connection which is needed to monitor (i.e. harassing) the legitimate customers 24/7, with other words Ubisoft doesn't even trust Ubisoft's own paying customers, while the pirates are playing a different, i.e. hacked DRM-free version of the games.

And there's something said about second-hand games that's bad if not worse than piracy, to some extent I can imagine why some people are saying this, but the second-hand games business can never be as big as the original retail business, since the availability of these second-hand games depends how many new games are brought into the market that are firstly sold to the consumers. Also the video games market has been dynamic and is decided by trends, if the games industry is afraid that people keep buying second-hand games, then the industry is definitely doing something wrong in promoting their new(er) games.
Apr 2, 2011
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They want to be WoW? Am I reading this wrong?

Both Euro-dousche and Amero-dousche companies (Ubisoft and EA) have finally recognized that DRM is a bad thing for the people who are willing to fork over money. Rather than actually foregoing DRM, and making games that people will purchase (either more game ala Skyrim, or cheaper games like almost every Indie release), they put the focus on subscription based services. What kind of subscription based services would anyone buy from them, given the BS associated with how much DRM is already present in their games?

If Ubisoft can release a service where I get access to 100% of their titles with DRM similar to Steam, and I pay $20 per month, then maybe I'll care. Ubisoft doesn't have the balls, and they lack anything resembling the whit. Wake me when this article becomes anything more than PR pandering to consumers that are butt-hurt because of the DRM Ubisoft forces onto them.