Anno 2070 drops graphics card counting DRM

January 23, 2012 // 3:39 p.m.

Tags: #anno-2070 #bluebyte #drm #guru3d #ubisoft

Ubisoft has agreed to slacken the somewhat draconian digital rights management (DRM) system it is using for strategy title Anno 2070, following complaints from a reviewer that it made analysing the game near-impossible.

The latest in a reasonably long line of complaints regarding Ubisoft's DRM implementation came from tech enthusiast site Guru3D, which was attempting to run an in-depth graphics performance analysis on the title using a selection of graphics cards.

We say 'attempting,' and with good reason: the DRM system built in to the game would only allow two graphics card swaps before declaring the test rig to be a 'new PC,' for which a whole new licence key would need to be purchased and installed.

With a stack of cards ready to test, Guru3D's reviewers complained to Ubisoft, only to be met with a stony silence and a refusal to grant any more keys for testing. Finally, the decision to refuse to review any future Ubisoft titles was taken; a move which finally got a response from the company.

According to an update posted late last week, Guru3D has decided to continue to review Ubisoft titles simply to keep people informed of DRM restrictions such as the one preventing the original performance analysis, while Anno 2070's producer BlueByte has agreed to exclude graphics cards from the DRM system detection technology.

'Just wanted to let you know, that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC,' a BlueByte spokesperson told Guru3D following the initial contretemps. 'That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants.'

While the news is to be welcomed, it's far from a reversal of Ubisoft's stance on DRM: it's clear from the fact that the message came from BlueByte, rather than Ubisoft, that the restriction on graphics card swaps is only removed from Anno 2070; future Ubisoft titles, on the other hand, are more than likely to retain the restriction in the name of preventing piracy.

Has BlueByte's response put your mind at ease, or will it take an undertaking by Ubisoft not to use such restrictive DRM on all its future titles before you jump for joy? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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