What is Uplay? Can I play Ubisoft games without it?

Heroes of Might and Magic VI seems to have installed a program called “Uplay”, which it uses to launch (in addition to Steam, mind!)

What exactly is Uplay supposed to be? I notice that when I stop playing, it captchalogs the highlights of my past session (achievements earned, etc.) – which is kinda cool, but also kinda creepy and big-brotherish. Given that I value my privacy, is there anyway to play Uplay games without using Uplay?

Is this just Ubisoft’s infamous “always-on” DRM?

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Uplay is Ubisoft’s (very lightweight) social network service for Ubisoft games. At the moment, it only tracks achievements and offers special unlocks & rewards for certain games. This is the closest I could find to a FAQ for the service. If a game uses Uplay, it is often built into the game, so there is no separating the two. However, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

As for DRM, that is usually a separate module in the game itself. As I recall, several titles have had the always-on DRM patched out after a few months. As for the data collection, the little bit you are talking about is less than a drop in the bucket compared to what some other personal computer games will send off to the developers.

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