A lot of people were annoyed when publisher Ubisoft announced that it planned to introduce a new anti-piracy scheme based around an online authentication every time the game is fired up and also on players being connected to the Internet and to the official servers for every second of every minute of playtime.
The scheme is now tested in the Settlers VII beta and has not been confirmed as being implemented in the new Splinter Cell title, which was previously thought to contain simple disk checks.
Talking to PC Gamer, a representative from Ubisoft confirmed that Splinter Cell: Conviction, Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic, Assassin's Creed 2 for the PC, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and the all new Ghost Recon title would have the same Internet always on-based Digital Rights Management scheme. He stated that “It's hard for us to say, yes, from now until the day that we all die all of our games are going to include this but most will.”
Ubisoft is clearly saying that without tough measures, piracy will actually destroy PC gaming, making it unattractive from a business point of view to create or port titles on the platform. The representative added that “It's a huge problem - you know it, I know it, other people know it. It really is a very important issue that all serious companies need to address.”
The company is also confirming that if the connection to the Internet goes down, the effect depends on the title the player is engaged in. Those who have checkpoint-based save systems will lose the progress they made since the last one, while other games, like Settlers VII, will allow the player to continue exactly from the moment when loss of the Internet connection forced the game to shut down. It also acknowledges that the new DRM scheme will at one point be cracked, but it hopes that until then, players will go for the genuine product.