Ubisoft's new "always connected" DRM scheme launched alongside its WWII naval war simulator Silent Hunter 5 this week, and it may have flopped big time. The mechanism, if you haven't heard, requires a constant connection to Ubisoft's servers -- even on single player titles. When that connection is severed, gameplay halts and unsaved progress is potentially lost.
Most gamers resent the developer for relying on such draconian tactics, but a handful have made a reasonable point. They argue that while the DRM will inevitably be cracked, it would hinder pirates long enough to boost launch sales. Well, it seems that may not be the case. Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic was reportedly cracked and uploaded on Tuesday -- the first day of sales.
In a quick response, Ubisoft said the new DRM has not been foiled yet. "You have probably seen rumors on the web that Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter 5 have been cracked. Please know that this rumor is false and while a pirated version may seem to be complete at start up, any gamer who downloads and plays a cracked version will find that their version is not complete."
The developer's statement does hold some truth. Although a few pirates report the game works just fine, Ubisoft contests that it is "not complete" without the DRM. The company has not elaborated on precisely what is "missing" in the illegal version of Silent Hunter 5, but many downloaders say they cannot make it beyond the first campaign mission.
Some suggest that Ubisoft has stored essential game files on its servers, and obviously, they can only be retrieved with a legitimate version of Silent Hunter 5. However, if that is the case, how long before hackers get their hands on those files and use them in a pirated copy?