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Many of Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft’s online services will be offline starting Feb. 7 as it moves its servers from a third-party data center to a new facility. During this time, Ubisoft says the online features of some of its games will be affected by the transition, while some of its games will be completely unplayable, including a number of single-player games that use the publisher’s unpopular “always-on” digital rights management system (DRM).
Digital Rights Management is a controversial technology used by many publishers to combat piracy and copyright infringement. When Ubisoft launched its Online Services platform in 2010, it implemented a DRM scheme that required customers to authenticate their purchases online the first time they were launched. It also required a persistent online connection while playing, even for titles with no multiplayer component. Losing network connection forced the game to pause, making it impossible to play offline.
Those affected by the upcoming transition include Assassin’s Creed for Mac; Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 for PC; Might & Magic : Heroes VI for PC; Splinter Cell Conviction for Mac; Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom for PC; and The Settlers for Mac. The latest entry in the Assassin’s Creed series, Revelations, will not be affected, along with Driver: San Francisco, Anno 2070, Just Dance 3, and The Settlers Online.
Ubisoft’s Uplay service, however, will not be available during the server move. PC games will remain available for all players who have already connected to the Internet at least once.
And for those who bought a Uplay product but won’t have used it online before the server switch? We asked Ubisoft what would happen in that situation — if the consumer would just lose the purchase completely — but the company rep wouldn’t address that directly.
Ubisoft says the move will ultimately improve the maintenance of its infrastructure and will deliver better uptime and greatly improved services for its customers. There is no word on how long the servers will be offline.