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Ubisoft introduces new anti-piracy PC tools

Company to use alternative to controversial Starforce DRM

Ubisoft is to start using a new system of authentication for its PC titles - a move which it hopes will cut piracy and prove more popular than the controversial StarForce digital rights management application previously implemented.

Using the new authentication measures, users will be required to connect to a Ubi.com account before each play session.

While this means an internet connection is always required, the upshot of the system, according to Ubisoft, is that games can be run without a disc in the drive for authentication and can be installed on an unlimited number of computers while save files are stored remotely on Ubisoft servers, allowing access to them from any machine.

"If you own a hundred PCs, you can install your games on a hundred PCs," Brent Wilkinson, Ubisoft director of customer service and production planning told GameSpy.

He added that the company expected most people to be "fine" with the system's need to be online in order to play games. "Most people are always connected to an internet connection," he said.

Last year, Ubisoft filed a lawsuit against a company hired to produce discs for the PC version of Assassin's Creed, claiming a leak of the code led to 700,000 illegitimate downloads and millions of pounds in lost revenue.

PC piracy is cannibalising the PC market, Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater has claimed previously, citing it as Ubisoft's reason for releasing the PC version of Tom Clancy's EndWar after console versions.

"At the moment, if you release the PC version, essentially what you're doing is letting people have a free version that they rip off instead of a purchased version. Piracy's basically killing PC," he said.

"You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalises the others, because people just steal that version."

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Kath Brice