Based on a post on the Ubisoft forum today (via Blue's News), it sounds like the French game publisher is trying harder than its Electronic Arts to make digital rights management less cumbersome on its customers. An Ubisoft forum manager outlined the DRM plans for the PC version of its upcoming shooter Far Cry 2. Assuming it works as described, you'll get a bit more freedom to reinstall the game at your leisure than EA has offered with Spore and Crysis: Warhead.
According to the Ubisoft Forum Manager:
- You have five activations on three separate PCs.
- Uninstalling the game "refunds" an activation. This process is called "revoke", so as long as you complete proper uninstall you will be able to install the game an unlimited number of times on 3 systems.
- You can upgrade your computer as many times as you want (using our revoke system)
- Ubisoft is committed to the support of our games, and additional activations can be provided.
- Ubisoft is committed to the long-term support of our games: you'll always be able to play Far Cry 2.
The biggest difference between Ubisoft's and EA's DRM is that EA lacks the "revoke" function. Once you've installed one of its games on three systems, you need to contact EA's customer support and ask for authorization for future installs.
Interestingly, EA CEO John Riccotello was quoted yesterday by PaidContent saying, "We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice." That speaks to the question, who needs to load a game on more than three systems? We suspect that Riccotello is correct, and that install limits on its games won't affect the majority of its customers.
Still, we applaud Ubisoft for taking the extra step and empowering PC gamers to, in effect, manage their own digital rights. We'll also confess a personal interest, in that we've had our eye on Far Cry 2 as a new PC gaming benchmark. We still need to learn more about how it really works, but what we've heard so far sounds promising.