Just recently information about a new DRM system developed by Bioware caused quite a stir among gamers. PC Games Hardware got into contact with Ubisoft to get some answers and details.
The US/UK Beta version of Settlers 7 will already use the new copy protection system. [Source: view picture gallery]
Copy protection or DRM are sensitive topics in the gaming industry. Ubisoft is developing a new system to curtail the impact of piracy. But while some features of this new service are appreciated by the gamers, there are other keywords that cause heated arguments. On the one hand you can install the game on an unlimited number of PCs, but on the other hand you have to create an account at ubi.com and need a permanent internet connection.
PC Games Hardware got into contact with Ubisoft and asked for more information. Below you can find our questions and the answers we received from the publisher. PCGH:
What's the main reason for the new antipiracy technology
as discussed with Gamespy?
Ubisoft: Like all video game publishers, Ubisoft seeks to ensure the innovation and creativity of its products by protecting itself from the impact of piracy to whatever extent possible. This is not only an anti-piracy technology, but a new online services platform. PCGH:
The goal of this new platform is to provide added value such as enabling players to install the game on as many PCs as they wish, to synchronize games online so that gameplay can be continued from where they left off (from any computer with an installed version of the game) and frees players from needing a CD/DVD in order to play.
When do you start your new antipiracy technology (with which game)? Will all new games come with the new technology?
Ubisoft: Our consumers can discover this new online services platform in the Settlers 7 beta version. Most of our forthcoming PC games will feature this technology. PCGH:
The new technology requires permanent internet connection for savegames, right? How do you prevent data losses due to internet problems related to the ISP (or other technical problems related to the WLAN or DLAN router)? Is there any way to save data on local drives for people not having a flat rate? As for the Settlers 7 Beta in Germany, it seems that online saving is just an option.
Ubisoft: The saved games are stored both locally and on servers. It only synchronizes with the server when the game starts up and closes down. Not during the gameplay. If you lose the internet connection while synching or you abort the synch manually, next time you start or end the game, the synch will resume. PCGH:
How long do you store the savegames on your servers?
Ubisoft: There is no time limit for how long we store the save games. PCGH:
Do you take care of the size of the savegames when building your upcoming games? In some games, savegame may become really huge so that may be a problem when saving onto the internet storage.
Ubisoft: This was obviously a big issue for us when we designed the platform and we make every effort to keep the saved games as small as possible. PCGH:
Imagine, you talk to a typical PC gamer who doesn't like any DRM measures at all. How do you explain him why your new technology would help him?
Ubisoft: We realized that many PC gamers are against any kind of DRM. We, as a business, have to find the right balance between protecting our products and pleasing our customers. Before designing this system, we pulled PC players to find out what they wanted and we've specifically put in their most requested features like saved games, being able to install the game on as many PC as you want, being able to play the game without a CD/DVD.