February 27, 2010 12:00 PM |
['Alt Space' is a regular GameSetWatch column by critic and writer Phill Cameron, discussing the relationship between the personal computer and gaming. While attempting to keep a calm head about things, he's taken some time to have a look at the new form of DRM Ubisoft are implementing in their future releases.]
The idea of Digital Rights Management is something that's either completely avoided or at least treated with a healthy distance by the media in general. It's a difficult subject to approach, because we're here to look at the games, not the packages they come in, per say. It's analogous to complaining about an overly-strict usher in a cinema and saying that the film is bad because of it. The only problem with that is that here it's a case of the usher coming with every copy of the game. It has become part of the product, and because of that we arrive at the tricky situation of being forced to talk about it.
Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem. So far we've seen DRM come in various shapes and sizes, from the oft criticized Starforce and SecuROM services to the mostly accepted Steam platform from Valve. They're there, but for the most part they're mild annoyances that you can ignore, or in Steam's case, you accept and work with. Essentially, they're there to make it that bit more difficult for the pirates to crack the games, and in doing so they reduce the quality of the product the paying customer can enjoy, without being so ubiquitous as to be a constant source of frustration.
However, in the past few weeks Ubisoft have announced and implemented what I think is the most intrusive and thoroughly unacceptable form of DRM yet to be seen. Starting with The Settlers 7 and Assassin's Creed 2, all Ubisoft games will come with a 'service' that does a list of things.
Categories: Column: Alt Space