Another game to boycott

By | February 19, 2010

I loved Assassin’s Creed.  It was entertaining in its own way, the graphics were stunning, and though the storyline was slightly bland it was not boring.  I bought it on sale on Steam early last year.

I have been quite excited about the sequel.  It’s supposed to come out on the PC next month (it has been out on consoles for a few months already).  From all appearances, they’ve fixed all the problems with the original game’s gameplay, and refined and improved it, until what they had left was pure liquid awesome.

As it turns out, Ubisoft has decided on adding something else to the game: a horrendously draconian DRM scheme.  In order to play Assassin’s Creed 2, you must be online at all times.

What’s worse, if your internet connection drops at any time, for any reason, your game pauses until the connection is restored.  When this happens, Assassin’s Creed 2 will resume at your last checkpoint, which could be anywhere from five seconds ago to five minutes ago (if its checkpoints are spaced anything like the original).

Five minutes might not seem like a big deal.  But what if your connection is flaky?  What if you’re on a weak-signal wireless connection?  It could happen every five minutes.

What if you just don’t have an internet connection for whatever reason?  What if your ISP decides to shut down your connection for maintenance, or reset your modem remotely, or any number of other things that ISPs like to do which interrupt your connection?

It gets worse.  If Ubisoft’s servers go offline, you can’t play.  What’s more, if they go out of business entirely, you can’t play ever again.

And all this for a single-player game.

There is absolutely no reason for them to be informed of every moment I spend playing their game.  And even if they do want to know for some reason, the game could simply cache data until the connection comes back, and allow you to continue playing uninterrupted.

Anyway, I really, really hate invasive DRM, and this rates an 8 out of 10 on the “Invasive DRM” scale.  The only way it could be worse is if they installed CD-ROM-checking drivers even if you buy a digital copy.  (Other games are guilty of that.)

As a result, I’ll be boycotting Assassin’s Creed 2 — a game I was really looking forward to playing, at full purchase price — until such a time as they remove these measures.

5 thoughts on “Another game to boycott

  1. Nate

    Sounds like you would be happier if you switched to Console games where producers aren’t so worried about stopping dirty PC pirates.

    1. Dan

      Nate: except on consoles, I’d have to deal with my games being even more in the hands of publishers. See, for example, EA shutting down servers for games which are only two years old. Edit: link!

      At least with most multiplayer PC games, I can keep playing them long after the publisher has lost interest.

      Unless they have online activation.

      Also, I hate FPS games without a keyboard and mouse.

      Zach: I wish it were a rumor.

  2. marshzd



    I can’t believe that. Like, it seems like one of those really far fetched rumors cause that is just plain ridiculous.

  3. Michael

    This seems to imply that they also have the ability to terminate your game at any point, remotely? Otherwise this system really does nothing to deter pirates. I guess they learned nothing from when Apple tried to take back what customers already paid for.

  4. Dan

    By Apple you mean Amazon, of course 😉 For the record, Amazon restored those purchases.

    Yes, it does seem to imply that ability, and that’s yet another troubling thought with respect to such strong DRM.


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