I was looking forward to the release of Assassin’s Creed 2 for the PC this month. I saw it in a store today, even. I didn’t buy it, though, for two reasons.
One, it was sixty bucks. Fifty is high for a PC game, but ok. Forty is reasonable. Thirty is a bargain. Sixty is right out. Two, there was a huge disclaimer on the front, announcing that a ‘permanent internet connection’ was required to play the game.
Ubisoft seems to have avoided the small plastic cups of DRM (Digital Rights Management) Flavor-Aid and gone straight for the serving bowl. This is just ridiculous. The back of the box even tried to sell it as an advantage for the consumer – look, no DVD in the drive! Yeah. Right.
There are perfectly reasonable ways to have single-player games interact with the internet. This is not one of those perfectly reasonable ways. All of the perfectly reasonable ways are OPTIONAL. At bare minimum, I should be able to play the game on an isolated box (which is, increasingly, the only way to maintain a virus-free machine). Copy protection on the disc is a waste of time and hardly a challenge anymore in this digital age, but I can endure it, generally, knowing that I don’t have to be spied upon, and that it will take a week or two for a clever hacker to make the latest innovation in DRM completely obsolete.
Steam is a wonderful thing. I even enjoy the MS service that accompanied and supports my copies of Fallout 3, Bioshock 2, and Batman: Arkham Asylum, among others. These entities are handy critters, and it is easy and even pleasurable to give them money. In fact, I think Steam has something I’d like to purchase right now… I wanted to play AC2, but I don’t think I’ll be doing so.