Ubisoft Clarifies PC DRM Restrictions for Assassin’s Creed 2

Last week, PC Gamer had an opportunity to play a retail version of Assassin’s Creed 2 for the PC and noted that not only did the game require an internet connection to register and be able to play the game, but the game requires a constant internet connection to play. PC Gamer was a bit peeved at the situation, citing that you could essentially drop your connection and be disconnected from a game.

PC Gamer said in their article,

The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you’re not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft’s ‘Master servers’. The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen—all my progress since it last autosaved was lost.

Obviously, this raises numerous issues. Most importantly, the need to be connected to the internet constantly while playing a game that is solely a single-player experience is befuddling. While it’s understandable that Ubisoft wants to reduce the amount of game piracy – which runs rampant on the PC – the restrictive DRM requirements could cause huge headaches for gamers who aren’t able to always be connected to the internet and for people with spotty internet connections like wireless networks. Furthermore, it stands to reason that people on large networks such as at colleges and universities may find themselves unable to play the game because of network firewalls.

After PC Gamer reported the issues they were having, Ubisoft sought to clarify the situation. In a response to a request for clarification by Ars Technica, Ubisoft said, “As long as you do not quit the game, the game will continue to try to reconnect for an unlimited time. Once the game is able to reconnect, you will immediately be returned to your game.”

Furthermore, they said, “Where exactly you are reconnected in the game may differ from title to title. Settlers 7 reconnects at the exact point where the connection was lost, AC2 reconnects you at the last checkpoint. There are many checkpoints so you’re back to the point where you got disconnected in no time.”

In addition, Ubisoft stated that the game only requires a minimal internet connection of 50 kb/s, meaning that even dial-up gamers can play. Of course, that begs the question – do gamers on dial-up really want to block their phone lines for hours so that they can play a single-player game?

The DRM policy is also going to apply to Settlers 7.

Quite frankly, if I were still a PC gamer, I would be angry. Trying to eliminate piracy is one thing. Requiring a constant internet connection for a game with no multiplayer component is quite another.