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10 reasons why the Watch Dogs Uplay disaster has to kill DRM

Ubisoft's done it again. Here's why online DRM needs to completely vanish from PC gaming.

Watch Dogs! It's out and it's everywhere, but maybe not quite for the reasons Ubisoft wanted. Uplay fell over on launch day, meaning many people couldn't play the PC version. Uplay does have an offline mode which allows PC gamers to play whether or not Uplay's live, but you still have to sign in to authenticate. If Uplay's down, no game.

Ubisoft has a long history of trying and failing to make DRM work on its PC games. This is the end.

Dear Ubisoft: here's why Watch Dogs should kill any kind of online requirement for your single-player PC games forever.

1 - People can't play it day one.

Why you'd want to stop people playing a game on the day it comes out is beyond me. Because by implementing always-on DRM that's exactly what you're doing. A popular game with this style of lock always breaks at launch.

2 - All the people who pre-ordered will probably never do it again.

pre-orders

They might, of course, but they're certainly going to think twice. Isn't your triple-A business built on pre-ordering?

3 - Your PR story turns from talking about the game to fire-fighting thousands of pissed off gamers.

steam_review

Sucks to be Ubi PR. You've got a great game people can't get enough of and the mood's gone from, "These NPCs are really cool," to, "Why the fuck can't I play Watch Dogs?" We feel pretty sorry for the guys having to "manage" that message.

4 - And it isn't just the gamers. You get headlines like this.

ars

And this.

eurogamer

And this.

gamespot

And this.

ign

And this.

joystiq

And this.

kotaku

And this.

polygon

And this.

tech_crunch

Like, dur.

5 - User feedback matters on PC games.

burn_in_hell

User feedback on PC products is vital. People can see what other people are saying. You have to be the good guy online. All anyone thinks of Ubisoft in the PC games community right now is that yet another triple-A PC launch got screwed. That's not good.

Head through to page 2 for more incredible logic-based anti-DRM points.

6 - People are going to pirate it anyway.

skull_and_crossbones

There's very little people won't do rather than pay. They'll torrent 50Gb to avoid downloading from Steam. Just accept it. There really is nothing you can do about it. People with internet connections share files.

7 - You're abusing the people who buy the product. The pirates get a better experience.

happy_pirate

It makes no sense. People are buying your game and they can't play it because your DRM doesn't work while the very people you're trying to stop, the pirates, can play hassle-free. Let's engage some logic here.

8 - Your F2P games are brilliant. Is no one over there getting the message?

ghost_recon

I've been playing Ghost Recon Phantoms all week. I'm in a clan! I'm hitting the "pay-to-play" wall, but I've been playing for many hours with friends and I've had a blast. I'm about to pay to upgrade my armour, weapon and so on. I'm happy with it! I can just log on and play. Sometimes I can't, obviously, but it's free and it's an online-only game, so that's OK. But Watch Dogs isn't free. It's really expensive. And it's a single-player game. So that's not OK. If I'd bought it on PC I'd be livid. Why do you do this to people?

9 - You've undone two years of goodwill generated through careful marketing.

watch_dogs_marketing

Everyone wanted this game. It's been the most popular thing we've been tracking for weeks. Now all the PC guys are "fuck you". Again. All that money spent on advertising, special editions and God knows what else, and the internet's just covered in moaning about the most basic thing: logging on. You're getting a good first day hit, but everyone sitting on the fence has just gone into wait mode on the PC version. Just silly.

10 - You know it's shit. Stop it.

How many times does this have to happen before you stop it?

I wrote a stupid article about Blizzard's DRM when Diablo III launched, essentially saying that it doesn't matter it's broken and everyone will get to play it eventually. I was right about that, but completely wrong about the business sense involved.

Blizzard's sorted Diablo III now (it's an amazing game now it's been patched and had the Reaper of Souls content added), but that's because the DRM isn't an issue any more and the Auction House has been dropped. Those are the two things Blizzard hoped would stop people pirating the game. It's taken two years to fix it, and the damage done to the reputation of both the game and Blizzard by insisting on always-on features was far, far stronger than I anticipated. It really does matter.

Just stop it, Ubisoft. You make great PC games. Just let people buy them and play them. For your own sake, you know?

Image:

Pirate lady

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