Just when you thought Ubisoft couldn't possibly take any more heat from players angry about its DRM policies, Ubisoft Reflections founder Martin Edmonson opens up a new can of worms for the company to deal with. Speaking to Eurogamer, the head of the studio responsible for Driver: San Francisco says that his parent company has "every right" to use DRM to protect the PC games it publishes from "utterly unbelievable" levels of piracy.
"You have to do something," Edmonson said. "It's just, simply, PC piracy is at the most incredible rates. This game cost a huge amount of money to develop, and it has to be, quite rightly – quite morally correctly – protected. If there was very little trouble with piracy then we wouldn't need it."
The DRM in Driver: San Francisco came under fire for requiring consumers to be online while playing it . Ubisoft later tweaked the DRM so that users only had to sign in once at game launch and then could be played offline.
The PC version of Driver: San Francisco is developed by Ubisoft Reflections. While Edmonson told Eurogamer that he had no say whether DRM was used, he still thinks it's a good idea.
"The publisher has every right to protect their investment," he said. "DRM is not a decision taken by us as a developer at all," he explained. "It's a purely a publisher decision. The publisher has every right to protect their investment. It's difficult to get away from the fact that as a developer, as somebody who puts their blood, sweat and tears into this thing… And from the publisher's point of view, which invests tens and tens and tens of millions into a product – by the time you've got marketing, a hundred million – that piracy on the PC is utterly unbelievable."
Edmonson also told Eurogamer that the decision to use Uplay Passport for the game was also out of his hands. The Uplay Passport is a free code that comes in the retail game allowing users to access the 11 multiplayer modes and a Film Director mode. Anyone that buys the game used will have to pay an extra fee for access to those features.
"If people don't buy the game when it first comes out and wait and pay for rental or for second-hand usage, then the publisher sees absolutely nothing of that," Edmonson said. "I see how much work, effort, money and risk goes into the creation of these games. I think it's entirely right that everybody who's involved – the people who take the risk – should have a reasonable chance at a financial recouping from that."