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 Ubisoft Prepares to Do Right By PC Gamers

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PostSubject: Ubisoft Prepares to Do Right By PC Gamers   Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:14 am

Ubisoft is not held in the highest esteem among PC gamers. There are a variety of reasons for that, the most prominent being the manner in which the publisher has handled DRM. Its games have been saddled with what is perceived by many as being unacceptable forms of digital rights management, the technology used to combat piracy. The company has now declared it is changing the way it handles things, and while it hasn't given us the satisfaction of admitting it was wrong, the important thing is one of the world's biggest biggest publishers now appears to be taking computer gaming much more seriously.

To be fair, Ubisoft had already taken some steps to further capitalize on the PC gaming market recently. It announced several new free-to-play titles last month and then launched Uplay PC, a digital distribution platform for its PC games that operates like Origin or Steam. Whom this was targeted at was unclear; with Ubisoft having the reputation it does, many hardcore PC gamers shy away from buying PC versions of Ubisoft's games in the first place. (I count myself among this group; I think Anno 2070 looks great, and even though it has been discounted numerous times on Steam, tales of its DRM were enough for me to take a stand and not buy it.) The odds that these people would not only support its games despite the way they are treated, but do so directly through its own distribution service were not high.

That the company would bother investing in such a service seemed unusual, since shortly thereafter CEO Yves Guillemot claimed PC games see a piracy rate of 93 to 95 percent, a figure so staggeringly high it was hard to believe. It was presented, as such claims almost always are, without any hard evidence or specifics as to which games or regions these numbers applied to. It also seemed curious considering the always-online DRM Ubisoft often uses, which requires players to be online in order to play even single-player content, was deemed a success by the publisher last year.

The fact that Ubisoft would even open up and discuss the subject with anyone seems like a promising sign in and of itself; aside from these seemingly baseless comments about piracy rates and the ability of DRM to keep pirates locked out, it typically avoided broaching the subject. That changed this week when worldwide director for online games Stephanie Perotti and corporate communications manager Michael Burk spoke with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Neither was willing to admit regret over the form of DRM used in the past or that doing so had been a mistake -- something RPS' John Walker surmises, and I agree, could be to avoid shareholder backlash -- but we did get some encouraging news regarding the way things will be handled going forward.

Full Story at http://www.1up.com/news/ubisoft-prepares-do-right-pc-gamers
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