Ubisoft cans activation limits, always-on DRM

Talk about an unexpected turnaround. On the heels of its CEO's weirdly implausible allegations about PC game piracy, Ubisoft has announced that it's officially scrapped two of the most annoying features from its PC game DRM: activation limits and the requirement for an always-on Internet connection.

Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft's Worldwide Director for Online Games, broke the news to the folks at Rock, Paper, Shotgun earlier today. The strict always-on requirement was actually lifted last year—we reported on the change back then—but it's now clear this is a wide-ranging policy change for the game publisher. Upcoming Ubisoft titles aren't going to be saddled with activation limits, either, as Perotti explained in her interview with RPS:

RPS: So, with Assassin's Creed III, and other forthcoming releases, we're going to see a one-time activation, and there won't be limits on that activation. Is that correct?

Perotti: It's correct. And then you'll be able to play offline on PC. Whenever you want to reach any online service, multiplayer, you will have to be connected, and obviously for online games you will also need to be online to play. But if you want to enjoy Assassin's Creed III single player, you will be able to do that without being connected. And you will be able to activate the game on as many machines as you want.

Activation limits have been a particularly frustrating problem here at TR, since our game benchmarks require us to install and test any given title on a multitude of configs, often through multiple hardware generations. The limitation poses problems even for more typical gamers, though. Being able to upgrade one's machine is a key selling point of the PC as a gaming platform, and having to worry about your next hardware purchase making games unplayable runs entirely counter to that.

In any case, kudos to Ubisoft for turning over a new leaf—even if it comes after years of aggravating legimitate customers while doing little to thwart pirates.

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