Ubisoft has announced use of a new digital right management (DRM) system for PC games in lieu of existing Starforce DRM. This announcement is a good news- bad news situation—the good news is that player will be able to install the game on unlimited number of systems and will be able to run the game even in the absence of the game's disc. The bad news is that user will need to be constantly connected to the Internet, to be able to play the game, even if it is in single-player mode.
This new DRM system will require the users to create an account on UBI.com and then login using this account information to activate the game. After the initial activation, the game will regularly contact the authentication servers while you are playing the game. Now this is where it gets really bad: if the game is unable to contact the servers for any reason, the game will pause for the duration and it may even force you to restart the game from the last checkpoint if the authentication attempt fails. In the absence of an Internet connection, the game will be completely unplayable. In exchange for this inconvenience, Ubisoft will spare some of its server space to store your saved game files—similar to what Valve is offering with its Steam Cloud system.
Ubisoft believes that this measure will curb on piracy, but historical evidence suggests that this kind of strategy has a high probability of backfiring. The publisher appears to be well aware of potential community backlash, as one the question on the official FAQ reads: “Why is Ubisoft forcing their loyal customers to sign up for a Ubisoft account when they don't want to give their private data and only play single player games?” This PC authentication system will make its debut with the Settlers 7 beta.
[Interesting fact: Ubisoft are European publishers for Pirates of the Caribbean games]