Since the inception of PC gaming publishers have been trying to find effective ways to balance protection against theft and unobtrusive gameplay experiences. How many people remember the funny picture wheel with older Lucas Arts games, or the frequently used “what’s the 4th word on the 9th line of page 36 of the manual” chestnut? The unfortunate trend, however, has been to use authentication servers that require the user to have an internet connection and the publisher to maintain dedicated hardware.
In March of this year Ubisoft had a problem with their DRM system which also requires a connection to an authentication server to play. The alarming question that has been looming over all of pc gaming since (and really since the advent of Steam in 2005) is what rights are paying customers granted? What happens when the servers go down for good? Will we lose access to our games? Is this practice really preventing piracy (which is a serious problem) and generating more revenue for publishers? Has (or will) DRM influenced your decision to purchase a game or for what platform to purchase a game?