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Color us mildly impressed. Ubisoft has announced that it will completely remove its DRM from the recently launched PC game, "From Dust." The developer apologized for the authentication process in a forum post and said it would release a patch within two weeks to remove the mechanism. That time is required to ensure existing installations of the game retrieve their saved progress from Ubisoft's servers and store it locally. Once the update is released, it will be installed automatically on your next login and subsequent sessions will be entirely offline.
Enraged customers lambasted Ubisoft when From Dust arrived last week on PC. Although many users criticized the title's unrefined in-game controls, capped framerate and lack of anti-aliasing as well as other advanced graphics options, most of the complaints focused on Ubisoft's DRM. Prior to launching the game, the developer said that From Dust would only require a one-time activation. Much to gamers' dismay, that was inaccurate -- if not a bold-faced lie. In reality, players are required to pass an online authentication every time the game is launched.
Unfortunately, this concession is unlikely to change Ubisoft's overall policy in the near future. In the statement, Ubisoft apologized for misleading customers about From Dust's DRM, but it doesn't acknowledge that its control scheme is hasslesome to paying customers and ineffective at thwarting pirates. It's awesome that Ubisoft decided to honor its previous commitment but we don't think this will discourage the developer from using its DRM in upcoming titles, such as Driver: San Francisco, which faced its own bout of controversy last week.
Driver was supposed to launch with Ubisoft's always-on mechanism that requires players to maintain a constant Internet connection throughout their entire session. Naturally, gamers were displeased with that news, so Ubisoft responded by saying it would reduce the DRM. Instead of requiring a permanent connection, the game would perform an online validation during each launch -- just like From Dust. Although that's an improvement, it doesn't address the primary issue: many customers want to play the game when a connection simply isn't available.
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