Why Ubisoft's DRM screws me over, and you can't presume everyone has decent internet

April 03, 2010 | categories: Gaming

One of the most annoying recent developments in gaming is Ubisoft has, and EA plans to, implement a always-on internet requirement for their DRM in the games, including single player games. This means that even for single player games, you need to be online to play it. Which is very annoying, to say the least. Yet I frequently see people online saying that you must have a always on internet connection, and presume if you don't, it's your fault for being cheap or lazy.

Most frequently, this seems to come from American users, who have become accustomed to having decent internet (as much as they complain about their standard of internet). There are countries other than America out there. Here in Ireland, I have a 1 megabit connection. An unreliable 1 megabit connection, with an ISP that works 9-5, Monday to Friday. This means if my connection crashed at 6pm Friday, I have no internet until I get home at 5pm Monday. So long internet outages do happen. And, because of my ISP's hours, they tend to happen at times when I might be at home, wanting to, maybe, play some video games.

Sure, it's your own fault, get a better ISP, I hear some of you say. But, there is no better ISP here. I can get a more stable connection alright. It's called dial up. But now I have to pay for usage, rather than monthly, rendering it (a) significantly dearer, and (b) on even less.

And apart from the big outages, between the fact that I have a wi-fi network, and my internet connection is a rural satelite dish pointed at tower on hill affair, smaller ones, maybe a minute long, are par for the course. Do I want to be kicked out of my game EVERY. SINGLE. TIME? Nope.

Oh, well you're a minority, living rurally in a country with poor broadband. If I moved to a city (other than Dublin), I could get 7 meg broadband. And I've read Americans on forums complain at the state of broadband in America (usually whilst comparing themselves to Sweden or Japan), but on the other hand, I've seen Americans scoff at 10 meg connections. Which would leave the average Irish internet connection in the dust, even in a city.

There is another part to the poor internet connection, one that Ubisoft would be delighted to hear about. It renders me incapable of pirating a game, because of the sheer length of time it would take to download. Between unreliable internet corrupting downloads, the fact that I'm not home all day, and my slow speed, downloading a 5GB game would take around 2 weeks. And let's be honest, 5GB is a conservative estimate for the size of a modern game. By which stage, all my friends would have cleared the game, and moved onto the next one, rendering it pointless.

I bought Assassins Creed 2, on 360, before this mess was announced. And now I regret it, having supported a company that does this.