Could 2010 be the year PC game digital rights management schemes lose their fangs? Yesterday, we saw 2K Games had dropped the five-machine activation limit for BioShock 2. GameSpy now reports that Ubisoft has unleashed a new DRM system unburdened by installation limits and disc-based authentication.
Rather, the new Ubisoft DRM scheme requires users to be connected to their Ubi.com accounts to play. Unlike Valve's Steam, the Ubisoft system won't include an offline mode. Ubisoft Customer Service and Production Planning Director Brent Wilkinson told GameSpy about the subject, "We think most people are going to be fine with it. Most people are always connected to an Internet connection."
On the upside, games outfitted with the new DRM will store saved games on Ubisoft's servers, sort of like Steam Cloud with Steam titles. Also, users will be able to install their games on as many PCs as they want and access their saved content from anywhere.
The folks at Shacknews have pressed Ubisoft for more details and received a handy list of frequently asked questions. According to the FAQ, "most upcoming Ubisoft PC games" will use the new scheme. Losing one's Internet connection will cause games to pause, and if Ubisoft happens to scrap the system and kill its servers eventually, the company vows to patch games "so that the core game play will not be affected." The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom FilePlanet beta will be the first Ubisoft product to use the new DRM.