Ubisoft defends phone home DRM

Games giant Ubisoft has defended its decision to make playing even the single player versions of its games dependent on a robust internet connection.

Speaking to PC Gamer, the unnamed Ubisoft spokesman said that piracy was "a huge problem that all serious companies need to address."

The company reckons that its new anti piracy policy offers more advantages than disadvantages because gamers won't need physical media, can install the game on as many computers as they like, and can save game progress to a central server, meaning they can pick up the game at the point they left off regardless of their physical location.

"The real idea is that if you offer a game that is better when you buy it [rather than steal it], then people will actually buy it. We wouldn't have built it if we thought that it was really going to piss off our customers."

The spokesman dismissed complaints that a lot of gamers want to play their games when they are not able to get an internet connection with a terse, "We know that requiring a permanent online connection is not a happy point for a lot of PC gamers, but it is necessary for the system to work."

Asked if Ubisoft would continue to offer full online support for older games in the future, the spokesman said "If for some reason, and this is not in the plan, but if for some reason all of the servers someday go away, then we can release a patch so that the game can be played in single-player without an online connection. But that's if all of the servers are gone."

Confronted with the accusation that Ubisoft was deliberately trying to kill off the PC games market in order to concentrate on more lucrative console games, the spokesman said, "No, we're not trying to kill the PC market. Are we frustrated by the PC market? I think everyone is. In the end it all comes back to one single truth: piracy is a big, huge, hairy problem. It's a market that suffered a lot because of piracy, and we're all just trying to figure out what we think is the best way to deal with it."

Games with the new internet-dependant DRM include Splinter Cell, Silent Hunter 5, Assassin's Creed 2, Prince of Persia and the newly announced Ghost Recon.