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Ubisoft PC policy requires one-time activation, scraps always-on DRM

by Steve Watts, shacknews.com, Sep 5, 2012 10:30AM PDT

Given constant delays and onerous always-on DRM requirements, PC gamers have long held Ubisoft in contempt. However, Ubisoft's director for online games Stephanie Perotti claims that the publisher has had a year-long policy committed to ending its controversial always-on DRM. The reason? Consumer feedback. Instead, the publisher is now committed to a one-time online activation.

"We have listened to feedback, and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline," Perotti told Rock Paper Shotgun.

She notes that, for obvious reasons, you'll need to be connected to access online services like multiplayer. "But if you want to enjoy Assassin's Creed 3 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."

While that may have been company policy since June 2011, Ubisoft hasn't applied it completely consistently. For example, Assassin's Creed Revelations did actually ditch the always-on requirement in favor of a one-time activation, but From Dust famously required verification at start-up. It was later patched to allow offline play.

Considering Ubisoft's new push into digital distribution, it's clear the publisher needs to make amends with the PC gaming community. While removing aggressive DRM requirements is a good step, perhaps the next step would be to make PC games launch simultaneously as the console versions?