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Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora Has Online DRM Even On Console

A redditor who received their PS5 copy of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora before launch has claimed the game will not work without an online connection.

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As VGC reports, redditor Interesting-Squash81 took to the game’s subreddit to share the unfortunate news. Their copy of Ubisoft’s open-world Avatar shooter arrived early, so naturally, they were eager to play it. But when they booted the game up, it just hung on the title screen.

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Interesting-Squash81 tried a few different tricks, including changing the PlayStation 5's internal clock (similar to what Mortal Kombat 1 players did to avoid buying skins) and launching in offline mode, but nothing seemed to change. The game just wouldn’t play, presumably because it needs to pass an online check—aka DRM. Other commenters also said their copies of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora were not playable.

It’s unclear whether this online check is tied to a day-one patch or verification of the appropriate release time—Frontiers of Pandora doesn’t have an early access period in the same way a Call of Duty game might—but either way, folks will need an internet connection to get the game going. This is specified by a line on the box that reads, “Internet required to install the game.”

Though it’s not unheard of, it is strange for physical games to require an internet connection in order to play. DRM is typically meant to combat piracy, with the license of the thing you’re buying being tied to the platform you bought it on to verify ownership. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora isn’t the first game to require an internet connection, but it does make you wonder what the nature of media ownership looks like in this day and age. What’s more, it risks excluding players who aren’t able to get reliable internet access for whatever reason.

Telling a standalone story in a never-before-seen part of Pandora within director James Cameron’s larger Avatar universe, Frontiers of Pandora sees you play as a Na’vi to preserve the world from the humans who threaten it. The game drops on December 7 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. Sorry last-gen owners, this one requires the power of next-gen.

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