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Nicholas Lovell provides financial advice to computer and video games companies. If you've heard of gaming app Gameshadow, Nicholas Lovell is the Chief Exec. He's provided advice and services to companies such as Eidos and Codemasters and was the lead equity research analyst for Deutsche Bank in Europe. In short, when it comes to finances and computer gaming, this guy knows his stuff.

This week he turned his attention on Ubisoft's plans for protecting Ghost Recon Future Soldier from pirates, OSP DRM, or "always connected" game protection. What he says will probably sound very familiar..

There is no doubt in my mind that pirates now have a better experience than legitimate consumers.

It seems crazy to me that Ubisoft didn’t emulate Steam, which by some estimates has more than half the market, and instead went for their own draconian system.

Read the full article here

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Nice find Rocky. A good read and very good points. I like this one:

Always-on DRM is not wrong per se. It’s just a huge mistake to charge gamers a huge premium for their content and to limit their ability to play it in a way that pirates are not limited.
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I think he would agree with you - you can see in the second part of the statement he is against always-on DRM.

Perhaps what Mr. Lovell should have just plainly stated is that "Always-on DRM is a huge mistake"

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While industry Pundits and the Press are criticizing and even laughing at Ubisoft's preposterous 'DRM Strategy' -- my experience working at big media company and exposure to the PR department has left me wondering at something that hasn't been discussed here, or elsewhere regarding Ubisoft's statements.

Considering the ridiculous remarks by Max Béland and others at Uibsoft claming that always-on DRM is "vital" to their business and continuing their investment in the PC platform (after it had been hacked/cracked) -- one has to wonder if either these executives are completely out of touch with facts and reality, or, if this is all part of creating a plausible exit strategy for developing for PC and deniable accountability for failure...

Considering the increasingly arcade/fantasy nature of the Clancy 'franchise', the 'crappy port' quality of the PC SKUs, failure to make money where others succeed, the Ghost Recon 2 example, and Ubisoft's guarded disdain for the U.S. Military -- ditching development for PC certainly seems a plausible possibility...


Edited by 101459
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[...] if this is all part of creating a plausible exit strategy for developing for PC [...]

You are right on the money, IMHO. Moving from a DRM-free release of (the mediocre at best) Prince of Persia to always-online DRM for their current top titles paints the picture of a PC market exit strategy quite clearly. As e.g. Ars Technica among others quite correctly prophesied when PoP was reased, Ubisoft used the game's lack of commercial success to justify implementing their POS... errr... OSP as being "vital" to their PC business. It doesn't require clairvoyance to foresee that the whole OSP fiasko may just as easily be used as the scapegoat which ultimately "necessitates" shutting down Ubisoft's PC games. They've created the "perfect" excuse for leaving the PC behind: Their PC business model does not work without DRM - as seen with PoP - and it does not work with DRM either - as demonstrated by the complete and utter failure of OSP.

Many have called for a boycott of Ubisoft's OSP-befallen PC games to show contempt for this ridiculous DRM, but the more effective route would probably be to boycott their console titles - or better - to boycott Ubisoft altogether until they come to their senses. Because, while some might consider today's OSP as a minor nuisance that PC gamers will simply have to live with one way or another - either "legally", by obediently following the always-connected rule (which will sooner or later leave them with a non-playable game), or "illegally", by torrenting pirated versions or installing DRM cracks - they fail to see the inherent (and maybe imminent) danger that this charade might just be the prelude to the final act of a greater drama.

I, for one, wouldn't be the least bit surprised when the final curtain falls and we are left without future PC releases from Ubisoft. Every recent interview with any Ubisoft spokesperson has contained at least a hint of disdain for the PC market and a joyful nod towards consoles, e.g. Ubisoft community managers admitting on rather PC-centric web sites to not even owning gaming PCs anymore. And judging from Ubisoft's recent overall philosophy they certainly aim to cater to a younger, more casual clientele than hardcore PC gamers, which brings them the added benefit to easily reach and entice their key audience with a quick million-dollar live-action promo movie much more effectively than through unique gameplay features which would require lengthy serious work by a talented development team.

But when the dust settles PC gaming will still be at the bleeding edge of technology - with or without Ubisoft. The entire trillion-dollar computer industry feeds on PC gaming, one reason being that office applications alone hardly necessitate the ongoing performance increase of CPUs, video cards, harddisks etc. The console market may be the easier sale at first glance, but I highly doubt that Intel, Nvidia, AMD, ATi, and all the PC manufacturers will just stick their heads in the sand and give up on their most important customer. After all, it is usually the PC gamer who buys their latest and greatest products, often as soon as they become available and at a premium that nicely adds to net profit margins, a balance sheet item closely watched by analysts and investors.

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I, for one, believe that you guys are giving Ubisoft way too much credit -in that this is all part of some master plan to whittle down on some PC overhead- when top down corporate incompetence will do.

Plain and simple.

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One thing I noticed, ever since Always-on DRM-Games has been released, I've been more able to save money....and purchase games without Always-on DRM even earlier....

I used to have to wait till games without Always-on DRM hit the clearance bin...now I can buy them at almost full price.

Thanks Ubisoft :thumbsup:

...end of sarcasm :rocky:

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