Assassin’s Creed 2 DRM is worse than imagined

Unsurprisingly, Ubisoft’s latest attempt to stop piracy is causing problems for legitimate buyers of its games.

A new method of DRM from Ubisoft, which debuted in the blockbuster Assassin’s Creed 2 and in Settlers VII, requires a constant Internet connection to play, because all saved games are stored on Ubisoft’s servers. So unlike Steam, whose Internet authentication at least lets you set up an offline session, Ubisoft’s DRM doesn’t allow offline play whatsoever.

This was reported last month, but PC Gamer just had a chance to try the games in action, and reports that the DRM is even worse than expected. Not only do you need the Internet to play and save games, but you get booted from the game the moment your Internet connection drops, thereby losing all progress made in the game since your last checkpoint or saved game. PC Gamer’s Tom Francis found this out by unplugging his Internet cable during play.

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As RockPaperShotgun points out, a legitimate player might lose their Internet connection in the following scenarios: “Router crash, ISP problems, cat playing with the cable, microwave muddling your wi-fi connection, train going into a tunnel when you’re on 3G, Windows having a networking befuddlement, someone else in the house torrenting the bandwidth dry…”

That’s not to mention all the existing situations where you wouldn’t be able to play at all, such as on an airplane or in a remote location that doesn’t have Internet access, or if Ubisoft’s master servers go down, or become non-existent some day should Ubisoft decide to pull the plug. It’s pretty ridiculous.

I tend to be wary of people who complain that five or 10 installs aren’t enough for them with traditional DRM, but there’s no excuse for this. Assassin’s Creed 2 won’t be released on PC for another month, but I won’t be surprised if the game gets cracked and uploaded to BitTorrent sites soon after. It’s a great game, worth paying for, but not if you can’t play it whenever you want.