Ubisoft To Introduce Online Copy Protection For PC Games

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 20, 2010
Updated • Jun 27, 2016

PC game publishers, like the music or film industry, face the challenges that piracy pose.

A game for instance is usually available on the Internet before it can be purchased. The game that is provided this way comes without copy protection and other forms of protection. Regular buyers on the other hand have to wait longer usually, and face copy protection that the publishers have added to games to protect them from being copied and spread.

Legit customers sometimes cannot install or play a game because of copy protection. It has happened in the past that a game could not be installed if a virtual DVD drive was installed on the computer for instance.

The most common form of protection nowadays is online activation that forces a legit buyer to activate the game online. This does mean however that the customer needs to have access to an Internet connection to activate the game. That was, until now, a one-time job.

Ubisoft now decided to up the ante by linking their games to the cloud which essentially means that games can only be played if the user has an online connection. If the connection breaks the game will stop working.

This obviously improves the copy protection of the game but to what costs?

  • Games cannot be resold anymore because they are linked to an account (selling the account would work but one would have to create single accounts for any game)
  • Users with no Internet connection cannot play the game
  • Users with shaky Internet connection will have a mediocre gaming experience
  • The game cannot be played if the master server drops (either because of technical problems on the server side, on the user's Internet connection side or because Ubisoft decides to stop supporting the game or files bankruptcy)
  • Users cannot play games while on the go
  • Games cannot be lend to friends anymore

The main question here is if the protection will keep piracy at bay. History has shown that this is likely not the case. Until now any game has been pirated eventually. It might take a little longer for the first game or so to become available but it will happen eventually. And the score will be again Pirates:1 Legitimate Customers:0.

What's your opinion on this always online copy protection? Do you think it is the right step in protecting games from being pirated or do you see it as another fruitless idea that will only punish legit customers of the game?

Article Name
Ubisoft To Introduce Online Copy Protection For PC Games
Ubisoft announced plans to improve protection of its games against piracy by requiring an always-on Internet connection to play games.
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  1. Average User said on December 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Will play all Ubi games without net protection, while waiting for some genius hacker to discover a way around it. Don’t deal with Ubisoft for a while and eventually they will get the message. Love Ubi games, never gave them a dime…

  2. Tom said on February 21, 2010 at 1:22 am

    ok that has to be the most bullshit idea i have ever heard of, i love ubi games, mainly the tom clancey ones, love them, especially endwar, but why should i have to connect to the internet, just to stop some prick from stealing a game, wanna do it, then find the bastards one by one, an hang em

  3. kalmly said on February 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Answer B – another fruitless idea that will only punish legit customers of the game.

    I like games. Have, uh, several. I acquired them all legally. I really don’t care for any cloud computing and this is another example of why. I like my own games and all other software stored on my own system, available to me whenever I wish, without the need to depend on an internet connection with all the attendant vulnerabilities.

    I am sure Ubisoft will suffer for decision. And rightfully so.

  4. Mosh said on February 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Utter arse. I hop between two properties, both with broadband – one ADSL, one cable. Both drop (either due to router or provider issues) between 3 and 10 times a day as far as I’ve noticed – likely more often at times when I’m not present to see it.

    So I can expect my game to keel over 3-10 times per session if I’m on it for long enough? In the old days that was called a bug. Now it seems like a deliberate programming effort?

    Are Ubisoft actively *trying* to get people to download cracked versions of their products?

  5. yogi said on February 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I think it’s always a great idea to make the legally bought product much less valuable than the pirated one…what a way to shit on your customers.

  6. Diablo1123 said on February 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

    To me it seems like a version of Steam
    without the community, offline mode, and forcing you to stay online.

    Which are pretty much the good parts of steam.

  7. Anonymous said on February 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

    when out on the sea of bullshit do as the pirates do.

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