Lately it’s become clear that PC gaming companies are so nervous about game piracy that they’d rather screw their customers over a boogeyman than actually approach the problem rationally. Diablo III‘s online requirements are about to get them dragged into court. StarCraft II fans are extremely vocal over that missing LAN support Blizzard keeps insisting is totally unnecessary.
And now Ubisoft is facing a serious legal and commercial problem: Their UPlay DRM/achievements mix turns out to also have been a serious security hole. Ubisoft blames shoddy coding of a browser plug-in: Ycombinator flatly calls UPlay a rootkit. Either way, Ubisoft has a lot of explaining to do about this browser plug-in just months before Assassin’s Creed III hits shelves.
And this is just the preview. This is only going to get worse.
Honestly, I think Blizzard’s clumsy anti-piracy attempts are not the wave of the future. They can afford to anger their audience because frankly, that audience is still going to buy the games and still shell out $15 a month for World of Warcraft. But they’re in an extremely rare position in the games industry, a publisher with a handful of beloved titles they can take their time on and a cash cow that mints them billions every year. Valve is really the only other company in that spot, and they handle things completely differently.
Companies have the right to protect their copyrighted material, but the question becomes how far gamers are willing to let them go.
So I put it to you: how far is too far on DRM?
Image courtesy Ubisoft