Ubisoft drops StarForce DRM for new online platform

By on January 27, 2010, 2:46 PM
Ubisoft has confirmed that it will not use the much-despised StarForce DRM mechanism in upcoming PC games. Instead, the company will rely on its new online services platform for anti-piracy protection. The new scheme is reportedly present in the Settlers 7 beta.

Ubisoft said in a statement that the new online platform allows users to install titles on as many computers as they wish, play games without a CD or DVD, and even it supports saved game synchronizations between systems via the Internet.


There is a catch, though: the platform requires a permanent Internet connection. Acknowledging its decision is controversial, Ubisoft said the connection requirement is justified "by the gameplay advantages offered by the system and because most PCs are already connected to the Internet."

The company added, "any initiative that allows us to lower the impact of piracy on our PC games will also allow us to concentrate further effort on the creation and expansion of our intellectual properties."




User Comments: 15

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Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Read about this yesterday, a bit disappointed but not really surprised. There old DRM had a bad reputation so lets bring in a new form but not call it DRM! Ya!

I don't mind the always online model if it's an MMO or a multiplayer game, even online activation which some dislike I can live with and understand. But this I highly despise especially since it will target single player games. I don't need there "cloud" system to save and play my offline single player games nor do I want it. I don't care about your single player stat and achievement tracking or whatever else you'll spin to make it sound pro-consumer when in reality it's worse then your old DRM. There is a reason for single player games, and I especially enjoy them on the go where I do not have access to the internet.

But I sadly see this as the future for PC gaming by some companies, it's easier for them to control content if they control the access to it. Unfortunately not everyone has unlimited access to the internet everywhere at any time and this will hurt some legitimate users.

thatguyandrew92 said:

Hmm this is interesting, I guess it may not be as much of a hassle. But when my internet goes out, the first thing I go to is single player games, ie hitman and splinter cell. What would I do then?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So, Ubisoft basically reinvented their own limited version of Steam...

Won't take long to enable an offline mode like Steam has, requiring the connection only for the initial registration and/or things like installs and updates. In fact, I'd bet that this new online platform will end up remarkably similar to Steam in almost every aspect as it matures.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And you know, that reminds me... I won't buy a single game on this system until they have an offline mode, because with as much travel as I do, odds are my laptop isn't connected the majority of the time. I won't buy a game I can't use when I want to, and I would wager a vast number of potential customers are of the same mentality.

Clrabbit said:

Same here Vrmithrax, the main time I game is when I'm not around the Internet, and I really don't want to hunt out a hotspot or buying some ungodly pricey Cell-net, just so I can play games well I'm not on the net.

Besides that I only have 1 of 3 of the desktops I game on even connect to the Internet.

All companies do when they do stuff like this is make reasons why we need piracy.

If I want online DL save sync and stuff like that I will start using Steam or some other service.

I've liked Ubisoft games in the past but until they get rid of this online only crap I guess I'm officially boycotting them.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"All companies do when they do stuff like this is make reasons why we need piracy."

There is NO excuse to "need" piracy. You have it backwards - all of these alternatives to DRM that companies like Ubisoft are coming up with is because of the rampant piracy.

If the thieves of the world would just knock it the hell off, we wouldn't have to be dealing with this crap.

Timonius Timonius said:

If the thieves of the world would just knock it the hell off, we wouldn't have to be dealing with this crap.

Unfortunately they won't and the companies will come up with new ways to protect their profits. It's a viscious cirlce. I personally am a fan of lower prices. Some of these companies are just too damn greedy! Try the latest MMOs for instance. Pay $59.99 for the software AND then a subscription fee?!?

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

TomSEA said:

There is NO excuse to "need" piracy. You have it backwards - all of these alternatives to DRM that companies like Ubisoft are coming up with is because of the rampant piracy.

If the thieves of the world would just knock it the hell off, we wouldn't have to be dealing with this crap.

It's about control not just piracy. Real piracy has been and always will be an issue no matter what they do. But it's also a great excuse to ramp up content control over everything just like other industries do. Copyright will always be infringed on until laws change appropriately, even then it'll still happen. Both parties are equally at fault here.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"But it's also a great excuse to ramp up content control over everything just like other industries do."

Not really following your statement, Relic. Examples por favor?

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

...and what happens when the service on the other end of my Internet folds in an economic death-spiral and I cannot authenticate my game?

Emin3nce said:

Well, either way, looks like i won't be buying ubisoft titles in the future.

DJ83 said:

I hope Ubisoft will lose customers, cause while the developed world has solid internet connection in my home country I use dialup. I'll be paying per min to have an internet connection just to play a game!!! there is no way I'm doing that

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

My only real complaint about this is that they don't seem to be using Steam. I finally gave in to Steam and must say that I like it, but I refuse to have a daemon running for every publisher of games I have. They all need to jump on board with Steam so I can keep a single client.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

TomSEA said:

"But it's also a great excuse to ramp up content control over everything just like other industries do."

Not really following your statement, Relic. Examples por favor?

Control over content they sold, easiest example is the article from MusicDNA. They want to sell you a product but still control and monitor you. Maybe I'm just being too cynical, but I dislike having to ask for permission to play a game like I'm a child and then talk to them again to save my games. It's like I have to walk over to there office and show them my receipt. And of course they can pull the plug on anything whenever they want. I don't see this as a pro-consumer/gamer decision as they are making it to be.

LNCPapa said:

My only real complaint about this is that they don't seem to be using Steam. I finally gave in to Steam and must say that I like it, but I refuse to have a daemon running for every publisher of games I have. They all need to jump on board with Steam so I can keep a single client.

Wont happen, there are several that compete against each other and I just see more coming out in the future with Steam leading the way. A lot of publishers seem to be coming out with there own system types as well from Ubisoft now too EA, Blizzard and more. At least not all are so intrusive which is nice and helps you choose .

bmaytum bmaytum said:

Well reality is that UbiSoft likely found that StarForce DRM is not compatible with Windows 7. I have some older games that use StarForce, those games cannot be re/installed on Win7 because Win7 will not allow installation of digitally-UNsigned StarForce "virtual drivers", and hence the games won't run w/o StarForce.

German racing game developer wised up and issued a patch for WR2 (World Racing 2) title that's very popular in Europe both SP and Multi-player. Synetics patch removes calls to StarForce in the WR2 executable.

Unfortunately UK developer CodeMasters says they "can't" make older titles ToCA Race Driver 2 and TRD3 compatible with Win7 - very disappointing they don't just follow Synetics method and issue StarForce-free TRD2 & TRD3 patches for we 10,000+ players. Very weak, Codies.

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