DRM has been getting a lot of press recently, especially with the recent announcement by Ubisoft of their new server-based rights management system. The system works by requiring a constant connection to Ubisoft’s servers in order to play any of the their DRM-enabled single player games, thus continuing the proud tradition of developers and pirates in their arms race to see who can dick over everyone the most. Point Ubisoft.
Now, most people, ourselves included, believe your gaming PC should function as a stand-alone device for any single player game you purchase. Ubisoft, by contrast, insists you have a hypothetical uninterruptible internet connection run by ISP fairies and overseen by gnomes. Under their new system, all of their future games will require a connection to their servers in order to play. This means that if your internet connection goes down, the DRM stops your game, and you might lose any progress you’ve made since your last save point. “We realize people sometimes go to great lengths to make sure they don’t lose their progress,” said the company, “but we wanted to show them that their dreams are unattainable.”
However, never fear, Ubisoft has also announced the existence of a kill switch for the DRM in case they decide to shut down the servers. We’re not sure if this is Ubisoft’s attempt to taunt gaming PC pirates by painting a big red bulls-eye on their software or if this is evidence of something more sinister. After all, robot apocalypse movies have taught us that a system override is crucial for any automated system. Could Ubisoft be laying the groundwork for an AI piracy detection algorithm that may develop a mind of its own? Maybe Ubisoft’s new DRM includes a cold, emotionless computer that thinks about nothing but hunting down pirates using a private army of robotic minions, and the kill switch announcement is some rogue programmer’s attempt to send word to a rag-tag team of motley adventurers assembled to take down the machine before it tries to wipe out all of humanity in an overzealous attempt to put an end to piracy forever. Or maybe the folks at Ubisoft are just a bunch of jerks.
Only one thing is certain. We’ll be in our underground bunker stocked with guns, ammo, and canned food, waiting for the end to come.