Ubisoft's draconian DRM has long been a thorn in PC gamers' sides, but the publisher apparently plans to remove the need for it entirely by providing a huge amount of extra value that will encourage players to invest in the retail version. To do so, they'll attempt to create an "MMO value system" that bolsters the PC experience with companion apps, post-release content drives and online services.
Ubisoft's digital boss Chris Early explained the problem to Eurogamer.
Is it fair for someone to enjoy our content without us receiving some value for that? I think at the core of that is, no. Otherwise, other than works of charity, there would be few games made. The balance, however, is, how do we do anything about that and not harm the person who is giving us value for that?
That’s been the delicate balance that the industry has walked over time. It continues to be one that we grapple with as an industry. How do we create content and receive good value for that, and at the same time, not inconvenience the player who has given us value there?
The answer, apparently, is to bolster PC releases with regular content updates, community initiatives and companion apps, much like MMO makers use to keep their players invested and unwilling to pirate a copy.
The question is, with enough on-going content development, content release, engagement at the community level, can we create that kind of MMO value system? I think we can. As the rest of the game industry continues to evolve, the more you hear more about cloud gaming, the more you hear about companion gaming, the less a pirated game should work in all of that environment. So, therefore the value of that pirated content becomes less.
Will some people still pirate? Yeah, they will. Will the person who really wants that broad experience pirate? We hope not.