Always-on DRM or always-online DRM is a form of digital rights management (DRM) that requires a consumer to remain connected to a server, especially through an internet connection, to use a particular product. The practice is also referred to as persistent online authentication. The technique is meant to prevent copyright infringement of software. Like other DRM methods, always-on DRM has proven controversial.
Popular video games such as Diablo III and Starcraft 2 employ always-on DRM by requiring players to connect to the internet to play, even in single-player mode. Reviews of Diablo III criticized its use of always-on DRM. As with Diablo III, SimCity experienced bugs at its launch due to always-on DRM. Its use in SimCity was defended by Maxis, the game's developer, as necessary due to the level of computing involved in the game. Tim Willits at id Software has also defended the use of always-on DRM, arguing that it would make updates easier.
Reviewers have expressed issues such as early review experiences with products that have always-on requirement is in no way representative of the final product, since reviewers did not play under the same circumstances as normal consumers.
Ubisoft's first title requiring an always-on connection was Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic, which had reportedly been cracked as of the first day of the game's release. Ubisoft also used always-on DRM in Driver: San Francisco. However, the company announced in September 2012 that it would not employ always-on DRM in its future games.
- Kain, Erik (17 May 2012). "'Diablo III' Fans Should Stay Angry About Always-Online DRM". Forbes. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Jary, Simon (16 May 2012). "Diablo III players angry as Hell at launch chaos". PC Advisor. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Usher, William (5 March 2013). "SimCity Now Available; Always-On DRM Causes Major Launch Day Issues". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Makuch, Eddie (21 December 2012). "Maxis: SimCity's always-on DRM for gamers' benefit". Gamespot. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (10 August 2011). "Id Software on always-on internet debate". Eurogamer. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Geek.com. Ubisoft’s always-connected games DRM already cracked. Accessed 2013-03-12.
- Karmali, Luke (5 September 2012). "Ubisoft Officially Ditches Always-On PC DRM". IGN. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
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