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Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the this-will-go-over-well dept.

PC Games (Games) 497

Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."

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But why? (5, Insightful)

avm (660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915412)

How can this even remotely be considered a good idea? I do understand the burning desire for customer dependency, demographic information and all that, but seriously...I'd be very irritated if I were in a tricky spot, my network dropped briefly, and the game responded in such a fashion. Probably irritated enough to return it, if I hadn't been aware of the issue beforehand.

Re:But why? (5, Insightful)

c-reus (852386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915454)

I guess someone thought it would be an effective way to prevent piracy

Re:But why? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915542)

And then someone cracks and patches this in three... two... one... and yet again the legitimate customers are the ones who get screwed.

Re:But why? (2, Interesting)

xeoron (639412) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915726)

The only good idea about a central saved game info would be if they had plans for the concept "buy once and play almost anywhere" type of game setup.

Re:But why? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915458)

Ho ho ho! "Return"? Silly consumer, "returns" are for "products" that you "buy" not "content" that you "licence" subject to onerous terms of use.

Re:But why? (5, Interesting)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915492)

I'm not a much of a gamer myself but it is ridiculous. Surely in offline mode they could cache authentication details a week at least. Anyway I guess everyone will realise eventually and just stop purchasing the crippled software, or just get a cracked version they can play offline and not bother purchasing a legal copy in the future.

Ridiculous (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915418)

I'm sure there are lots of people who don't have reasonably priced internet access all the time. For example, people who travel on business. It's a while since I did that, but I wouldn't fancy paying ten bucks a night extra just so I can play my games.

Re:Ridiculous (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915586)

i doubt this new system will work for me. i do have 24/7 internet access, but my high-speed line is always saturated downloading pirated game from pirate bay. no way are any ubisoft.com bound packets going to get through

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915802)

I, for one, welcome our new bottom-dwelling Ubilords.

Blame piracy (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915420)

I think the rampant PC game piracy (almost 80-90%) can be blamed for this somewhat. The best battle against piracy is to make the game use online features as much as possible. It will require complete rewrite of the back-end systems or the game code to get those features in pirated version and that is a huge amount of work. Just look at how succesful MMO's and online multiplayer games are with this. This is just taking it to next level and protecting the single player games too.

While this will be little pain in the ass for some customers too, something definitely needs to be done for PC piracy. The profit margins could be really improved if it was impossible to pirate games, resulting in better and more games. There would be more indie games released too, because publishers would be able to take more risks. Otherwise the publishers will just forget about PC gaming and make games for consoles. MW2 was already a little bit in to that direction.

At least they're stated this (which can be considered legally binding)

What if Ubisoft decides not run these online services in the future? Will my game stop working?
Ubisoft is committed to being a forerunner in providing new exciting online service. If any service is stopped, we will create a patch for the game so that the core game play will not be affected.

Re:Blame piracy (2, Insightful)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915452)

And who is "legally bound" to patch the games if Ubisoft ceased to exist?

Re:Blame piracy (2, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915644)

And who is "legally bound" to patch the games if Ubisoft ceased to exist?

The ex-directors of the company can still be sued.

Re:Blame piracy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915462)

But this won't stop piracy since only legit customers are going to be subject to this shafting.

I for one would prefer to wait for the cracked version to be made available over P2P. I have never pirated any game before, but if they do this I certainly won't be buying their locked-down version.

This isn't really about piracy though, it is about ownership - you don't own their game, you only rent it and they can kick you off whenerver they want and make you play the newer more expensive game... Well screw them!

Re:Blame piracy (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915498)

Actually, since the save games are stored remotely, it's going to require way more elaborate hacks to get these running offline. I have full confidence that it will be done, but at the very least, it's going to give games a launch window that is free of piracy.

On the other hand, this pretty much guarantees that I'll never buy another Ubisoft PC game again. While I am usually hooked to the net, it's kind of flakey at times and I hate the idea of not being able to back up my save games or play on my laptop, which usually isn't connected to the net to save battery power.

Congratulations, Ubi... You've lost yet another customer.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915574)

QFT

Re:Blame piracy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915510)

Like I noted, this system has some parts of the code (savegames, possible game objects, etc) and requires ubisoft account login to play. It will require complete rewrite of those missing parts into the game and creating local equivalents to them. And no, you don't get to use c++ for this; you do it in assembly. That is a lot harder than merely removing protection. It will either take months to code those parts or it wont happen at all. Even if there becomes some version available many months later on some of the biggest titles, most sales will happen on the first months from release.

System like this actually has quite good changes in stopping piracy, unlike the previous ones.

Re:Blame piracy (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915750)

Like I noted, this system has some parts of the code (savegames, possible game objects, etc) and requires ubisoft account login to play. It will require complete rewrite of those missing parts into the game and creating local equivalents to them. And no, you don't get to use c++ for this; you do it in assembly.

At first glance that is totally the wrong way to go. Rather than writing new routines for the games in assembly, you write an emulator for evilbigbrother.ubisoft.com in a modern interpreted language and add a line to your hosts file to point to 127.0.0.1. A modern interpreted language is way faster to develop for, and if it runs slow, who cares you've got 100s of ms of "internet" latency to work around. I imagine there'll be a CPAN perl module for this within perhaps a week of the release.

They could try to crypto sign the traffic between evilbigbrother.ubisoft.com and the game. Now, the crypto auth part of the game executable is where you go back to the old skool tradition of binary patching machine language branches into jumps and nops.

Bonus is you can use the evilbigbrother.ubisoft.com emulator for presumably all their games not just one, plus you can trivially integrate in a nice savegame editor, savegame backup system, etc.

This all seems terribly obvious to me, ergo I must be caffeine deficient at this early hour. All I'm really seeing is UBI wasting a lot of money to lose sales without affecting piracy? And they're creating yet another "big content" ecosystem where yet again, the "pirated" product actually provides a better end user experience than the "pay" product, aside from economic costs? Since this will tank UBI, I'm not predicting other marketing conglomerates copying UBIs idea, other than the usual tongue in cheek "I strongly encourage my competitors to also shoot themselves in their feet".

Re:Blame piracy (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915768)

Ah ninja'd with a much superior sibling post.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915754)

Its actually not as hard as you might think.

The easiest way to do this is to write an app that intercepts connections to the server and just responds to them the same as the server does. I expect they will be using encryption and things(but the encryption can be figured out through disassembly) but it's certainly not as hard as finding unused areas of the PE and compiling in these features directly into the executable.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915480)

It's impossible to stop piracy. Why are you still trying? Do you think the third world will pay double, triple or quadruple to play WoW or anything? If it's not fair, then people will find a way to make it fair like it or not.

Re:Blame piracy (3, Interesting)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915496)

Or, if 80-90% of your potential customers are willing to expend the effort of piracy rather than purchase your product, perhaps your product is overpriced. You may not feel it is. You may feel entitled to greater pay for your work. The market cares not.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915550)

If these pirating customers can be converted into paying customers, it's possible the price goes down for everyone.

The market doesn't need to care. But then they shouldn't pirate it either. That's not an answer to an overpriced product, the answer is to play some other game or use some other product.

Re:Blame piracy (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915808)

Or, if 80-90% of your potential customers are willing to expend the effort of piracy rather than purchase your product

Because the pirated version is BETTER because it doesn't have all the copy protection in the way of the game experience. Gaming is getting pretty weird psychologically, one minute you're having a blast playing something scientifically designed to be fun because you paid money and the game designers love you, next minute you're suffering through copy protection because the game designers hate the folks whom pay them money. Makes you wonder about the average non-pirate gamers sex life (if any)

perhaps your product is overpriced. You may not feel it is. You may feel entitled to greater pay for your work. The market cares not.

The stereotypical $1000 video card gamer doesn't care about the game price. Looking at the economics of it, I don't think price is why pirates pirate. Now cellphone gamers, they have a reasonable economic reason to pirate because cell phones are cheap. I've never pirated a game that doesn't have copy protection / CD checks / printed manual questions / etc.

Re:Blame piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915506)

I don't buy it. Seriously I wont buy it.
Not just the fact that it removes you from ownership.
Will these games be available indefinitely?

No, thanks. I'll blame stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915508)

Fighting an option by making it better is simply stupid.

I'll just stop buying Ubisoft games unless they release a Steam version with the possibility of offline playing.

They want the advantages of a MMO? Then make a fucking MMO. (Which I wouldn't play, but that's besides the point).

Re:Blame piracy (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915512)

Screw that. I'm not buying any game that requires a connection for single player.

But, of course, if enough people think like me, and sales go down, that'll be blamed on "piracy" as well.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915564)

I honestly don't think that too many users will care. We here on slashdot obviously do, but we're minority.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

Shillo (64681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915534)

What if Ubisoft decides not run these online services in the future? Will my game stop working?
Ubisoft is committed to being a forerunner in providing new exciting online service. If any service is stopped, we will create a patch for the game so that the core game play will not be affected.

So will RELOADED.

Re:Blame piracy (5, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915558)

As a long term PC gamer and both purchaser and pirater of said games, I have to say that Steam has pretty much single-handedly ended the pirate side of my gaming experience. While I will still occasionally give in and download pirated copies of games where they're available in advance of the official release, I still end up buying them (and usually pre-ordering them).

Over christmas, during Steam's insanely cheap sale, I must have spent close to £100 on all kind of games that I probably would never have played otherwise - frankly, for £3 or £4 even if you only play the game once you haven't really lost anything. I know Steam has its issues (Most notably the first sale ones), but I also think it's the way forward for games distribution in that it's very relaxed about how, when and where you play your games. I can install Steam anywhere at any time, download any of my games and play them without worrying about having discs or activiation limits (with the exception of a few retarded publishers who still insist on SecuRom or Games For Windows Live on their Steam distributed games) and if you plan ahead, you don't need an internet connection either.

I know others will inevitably try and emulate Steam, but if they do it in stupidly restrictive ways, like Ubi appear to be doing, they're only going to succeed in failing and they'll have nobody to blame but themselves (although they'll obviously try and place all the blame on the pirates).

Re:Blame piracy (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915600)

I think this can be blamed for the rampant PC game piracy (almost 80-90%) somewhat.

FTFY

Re:Blame piracy (2, Interesting)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915622)

profit margins could be improved if only 2/3 of the game budget wasn't blown on marketing.

i am all for the big players moving to the consoles if the pc market is too hard for them. By their attempts to gain total control they will destroy all benefits of pc gaming - mods, user created content, ease of multiplaying on lan, dedicated servers and what not.

music industry behemots had to admit that unrestricted product sells better, it's time for the game industry to do the same. I see paying for digital stuff as an absolutely voluntary act of rewarding creators' efforts in case their product is excellent. Paying in advance is asking to be scammed with the worthless piece of shit. No amount of drm would force me to pay if i didn't like what i saw.
Blizzard was an exception in my case, i bought almost every game up to 1st WoW. I knew they attract players with the quality alone because their copy protection was trivial to circumvent and yet millions were willing to pay - unfortunately they chose the same path of tightening the grip in case of upcoming Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, removing offline lan, requiring internet during install even when there is no multiplayer available without their servers (single player will be hacked in 1 day either way).

Re:Blame piracy (4, Interesting)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915624)

1) The figure of 80-90% piracy is generated by the industry, and since it is largely unmeasurable it is an estimate (i.e. made up) I suspect no-one has any real idea how much is pirated

2) This is yet another layer of security, that the pirates will get round, and make easy for any one who wants to to get round

3) The only people this will annoy is the legitimate paying customers..... however many are left

This and similar anti-piracy schemes are why I stopped buying games (and playing them), it took too much effort to get the game working so I gave up, many people gave up and got the pirated version with all this stuff stripped out which meant that it "just worked" ....

Re:Blame piracy (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915700)

1) The figure of 80-90% piracy is generated by the industry, and since it is largely unmeasurable it is an estimate (i.e. made up) I suspect no-one has any real idea how much is pirated

World of Goo piracy rate near 90 percent [arstechnica.com] . And it's an indie game, which makes it even more sad.

It's very depressing to hear this, considering that World of Goo is an independent production; this is the kind of story that makes big-name publishers believe even more strongly in DRM.

The company went out of its way to remove all DRM from the title, labeling the move an "experiment."

Re:Blame piracy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915818)

Linking to an article that that quotes the same made up number without any backing doesn't add anything except more FUD.

Re:Blame piracy (4, Funny)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915638)

I think the rampant PC game piracy (almost 80-90%) can be blamed for this somewhat.

Source? The recently released Call of Duty MW2 sold 15 million units [telegraph.co.uk] . If that figure represents only 10% of the copies in existence, with the other 90% being pirated and not counted as sales, that means there are 150 million people playing the game. I'm convinced that the video game market is expanding, and will have increased social acceptance in the future, but I'm finding 150 million people a bit hard to believe. Furthermore, the same has sold more copies than it's predecessor, which only sold approx 14 million copies. More people are buying games.

Infinity Ward certainly doesn't seem to be suffering from rampant piracy. Perhaps people aren't buying Ubisoft's games not so they can pirate them, but because their products suck and treat customers like slaves.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915716)

The game sold 15 millions units overall, not just on PC. It probably sold more on 360+PS3 than on PC. And with MW2 the multiplayer aspect is a big part, which requires pirates to buy it too to play online.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915772)

That figure ($15M) is for all the versions of MW2. The PC version only accounts for a very small portion of that. The Xbox version sold 9 million units, the PS3 version 6 million and the rest is the PC version...

Re:Blame piracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915642)

I'm sure they'll whip out quick patches, just like they have promised to fix bugs in current games but never do (ex: Far Cry 2)

Re:Blame piracy (5, Insightful)

Vitani (1219376) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915674)

"If any service is stopped, we will create a patch for the game so that the core game play will not be affected."

If Ubisoft can create an "offline" patch, then so can crackers, and I'll bet they do a better job of it too.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915710)

Remember when Amiga died in large part due to piracy, and all the gaming moved to PC?

Do you believe consoles won't become the next piracy wars platform once PC is out of the equation?

Re:Blame piracy (3, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915844)

Remember when Amiga died in large part due to piracy, and all the gaming moved to PC?

Um, no, I don't. I remember when the Amiga died in large part due to mismanagement by Commodore. Did it die more than once? 'Cause I totally missed the piracy death.

Remember when the Apple ][ died in large part due to piracy? No? There was at least as much game piracy on that platform. Maybe piracy isn't a big contributing factor.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

fabioalcor (1663783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915760)

The profit margins could be really improved if it was impossible to pirate games, resulting in better and more games.

There's virtually no piracy in the PS3 platform. Do we really have better and more games for PS3? There's more indie games for PS3? I don't think so...
And what about price? In my country, PS3 games are almost 2x more expensive than Wii or PC games.
I think the logic here must be the inverse. Make more, better and cheaper games, and piracy will be weakened.

No no no (2, Insightful)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915814)

Blame *greed*.

Re:Blame piracy (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915820)

I think the rampant PC game piracy (almost 80-90%) can be blamed for this somewhat.

No, the idea that piracy matters is to blame for this. Caring about piracy is bad business. Two things matter when designing a good business plan:

  • People who will buy your product.
  • People who might buy your product.

The entire purpose of your sales and marketing strategy is to move people from the second category into the first. Some pirates are in a third category: people who definitely won't buy your product. Any money spent on this market segment is wasted. If they won't buy your product whatever you do, then it doesn't matter if they pirate it or just go without. It's frustrating, but that's an emotional issue and basing corporate decisions on emotions is rarely a good idea.

Some of the pirates are in the category of people who might buy your product. How do you turn them into people who will buy your product? There are several ways, but making your product worse, and making it comparatively worse than the pirated version, are not on the list. And yet, for some reason, they are the two strategies that most people involved in The War on Piracy seem to be choosing. Oddly enough, they are having about as much success as their counterparts in the wars on terror and drugs.

Re:Blame piracy (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915828)

Blame piracy? I blame greed. Piracy is being used as an EXCUSE for what will certainly be a massive data mining effort which Ubisoft will sell either themselves or to third parties.

The only people punished by draconian schemes like this are legitimate customers. The game will be cracked and the "feature" bypassed probably before it reaches retail, so the argument that this and other DRM schemes will stop piracy is moot.

Definitely won't be buying Ubisoft in the future.

Re:Blame piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915840)

Actually you can blame piracy in the case of most ubisoft games.

Pirates try their games. Find out ''HOLY CRAP THIS IS TOTAL GARBAGE'' Delete the game. And tell 20-30 people how bad it was.

This cost ubisoft lots and lots of money. Since nearly all of their games are overhyped total garbage games and they rely on early sales before people find out it's crap to make any money.

They didnt earn the name ubishit for nothing...

Backward step? (3, Insightful)

Jojoba86 (1496883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915428)

Geez, I thought Steam had shown the way and we'd got over this idea of needing a permenant internet connection for single player games. Obviously not then...

As I said in the last thread. (5, Insightful)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915436)

Pirated games are simply superior.

Pirated games treat me like admin of my own computer.

Legitimate game do not.

I really do not need any other reason to refuse to use anything but pirated games.

It is MY hardware, not ubisoft / Ea / etc

Re:As I said in the last thread. (2, Insightful)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915482)

While i in no away agree to Ubi's view... It is your hardware, but not your software. If everone plays only pirated games, there will be no more games to pirate. Did that occur to you? There are numerous situations where DRM restricts legitimate users (well, all cases where DRM applies, really) but pirating is not the answer.

Just don't play their games *at all* if you wish to make a statement. Now, you only give them ammunition to justify plans like this.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (5, Insightful)

BeardsmoreA (951706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915530)

It. Is. My. Software. Once. It. Is. On. My. Computer.
If you do not want it to become my software, do not sell it to me. You may maintain copyrights over it, but the bits are mine. Let me use them.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (5, Insightful)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915608)

_____EXACTLY_____

Praise the spaghetti monster that someone actually gets it.

I have purchased the odd game, ***AFTER*** a good crack game out for it, that allowed me to install it and play it and still be admin of my own computersputnik.

There are no games out there for an "admin" of my mind set to buy, there is only stuff that I cannot differentiate from malware / trojan infested crap.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (2, Insightful)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915548)

I think what he's saying is that this is the wrong direction for companies to be going. Ubisoft will have to release something pretty fucking amazing before I'd be willing to drop some money into it. Especially now that they have this system in place.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915588)

Just don't play their games *at all* if you wish to make a statement.

Why would "not playing their games at all" be a more effective statement than pirating their games?

Re:As I said in the last thread. (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915616)

Because then you go and buy some other game, increasing business for their competitors who are doing it correctly.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (2, Insightful)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915618)

If you want to make a statement play pirated games and make an anonymous donation to the company that created it with a note explaining your position.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915636)

Pirated games are simply superior.

The last pirated games I looked at had all the DRM still. Examples of this were when x3: reunion and x3: terran conflict came out, until the day Egosoft removed DRM on them, the pirate versions had the exact same DRM and were more likely to have problems due to the DRM driver software being updated by other newer games with the same DRM system being installed and thus the whole 'cd emulation' software workaround wouldn't help.

So, I have no idea where you get this whole 'superior' idea from.

Pirated games treat me like admin of my own computer.

Yeah, I'm not big on administrating a single player game. I just want to install and go, fortunately, my legitimate purchases [steamcommunity.com] have all been like that.

It is MY hardware, not ubisoft / Ea / etc

Not your software however, software is licensed.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915770)

Pirated games treat me like admin of my own computer.

Unfortunately, pirate games also often have accompanying software which allows other people to be even more of an admin of your computer.

Re:As I said in the last thread. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915788)

Pirated games are simply superior.

Pirated games treat me like admin of my own computer.

Legitimate game do not.

I really do not need any other reason to refuse to use anything but pirated games.

It is MY hardware, not ubisoft / Ea / etc

i'd pay real money for a pirated version of a game with features like that.
i also got a few games i bought but never finished to install or never got to run. the pirated versions worked every time.

Wow... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915448)

It's as though somebody managed to take everything that sucks about cloud computing and combine it with everything that sucks about local client computing.

All of the high system requirements and per-machine installation(and probably a dozen background processes and some kernel-mode driver that breaks your DVD drive) of a local application, combined with all the vendor lock-in, violation of First Sale, and high connectivity requirements and costs of a cloud app. Good work, guys.

I suggest a slogan. "Ubisoft: We make single-player games that require more internet access than Gmail, for fuck's sake."

Not going to happen (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915450)

This is either stupidity or an intentionally over the top "announcement" designed to soften people up so that when they release the actual platform people are relieved that it only phones home every hour instead of continuously.

Very few people are going to accept requiring 24/7 connectivity to play their games; given the number of times a day that I lose connection to Steam for a couple of minutes for whatever reason, if it had a system like this I'd never be able to play any of my games without interruption. And God help you if you're playing a multiplayer game and you lose connection to Ubisoft but not to the server you're playing on; forget blaming lag, you can just blame the fact that your game was paused for 30 seconds while it re-established a connection to Ubi.

Oh and we're sorry we deleted all your save games, but these things happen and the agreement you signed means we don't have any responsibility to protect your data while it's sitting on our servers. Again, Steam has it right here with their cloud settings, you *sync* the information with the local machine, you don't store it all remotely.

This is why people crack games they own (5, Insightful)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915466)

I'm not the first to say this, and I certainly won't be the last, but this sort of copy protection nonsense is just another reason I'll be cracking games that I've paid for. Services constantly running on your computer are not acceptable. Punishing people who give you money because not everyone who plays your game gives you money is not acceptable. It's not as though there will ever be a magical, uncrackable copy protection system. Furthermore, this will push some people who would have actually bought the game to download a pirated version instead.

Jolly good show! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915472)

That'll keep those damn crackers away from your profit margins!

I sometimes wonder if the major publishers Technical Advisor for content protection is actually just a guy with a speaking ET toy.

"Phoooone hoooooome."

Cloud computing (1)

paragon1 (1395635) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915488)

I blame this ridiculous "Cloud computing" craze. If it worked poorly in the 60s, why in the hell would we want to go back to it? The move towards thick clients is the only reason all the security breaches and viruses haven't been as bad as they could have. Storing all your eggs in one basket is just a stupid, stupid idea given the current situation of the world today.

Oh, and no more Ubisoft games for me. I don't support stupid ideas.

Future Ubisoft Games (4, Informative)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915504)

To Not Appear In My Home. :(

Good luck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915522)

And rest in peace, Ubisoft.

Put them out of business (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915526)

Seriously, take a stand. If it works for them then all other publishers will do the same. Stop buying their games _now_.

*clap* *clap* Bravo *clap* (1)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915536)

Now you will have even more people pirating your games because they will be bothered by your antipiracy measures, even though they bought titles legally.
Just like everyone who buys legal dvd needs to watch fbi warning, despite the fact he didn't do anything bad. That's ingenious.

dongle? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915538)

Why don't they just use the old "dongle" approach?

If part of the game is inside a usb-stick, with some added cryptography to spice it up a little, it can be just as safe.

Re:dongle? (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915628)

Then it's defeated by a dongle emulator, just like this will be defeated by either rigging all the phone home calls to return true or even by running a local server that achieves the same result.

Re:dongle? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915706)

By cryptography, i meant a challenge-response system... like when the dongle poses a challenge, and the game software must return the right response... last i checked, that is not easily defeated.

Of course the dongle should contain some kind of cpu, but that should be no problem.

Re:dongle? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915748)

There are some problems with this:

It can be cracked. You can make a program that makes the pc think there's a dongle in the usb socket. Obviously the more complex the dongle system the harder this is to achieve but just because it's a physical object doesn't make it 100% crack-proof.

You'd have to buy a physical product again which defeats the object of digital distribution. Maybe give 48hrs dongle-free play time to give time for the dongle to arrive by post?

Personally I'd pay more for a game that just installs and works. The pirates have them, why can't I, if I've paid for it? Because then it would be easier to pirate? Well, it's not like it's hard to find pirated versions of the games which have DRM...

Re:dongle? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915822)

You can make a program that makes the pc think there's a dongle in the usb socket.

That's not so easy with a challenge-response system. Cracking can be made practically impossible by using tricks that banks have been using for years now. For example, immersing the hardware inside the dongle into resin, then wrapping its power-supply leads (a very thin pair of wires) into the resin, and letting it dry. The moment somebody will try to open it up to read its memory, the wire will break and memory will be erased.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915544)

I'll just play fun indie games instead.

Steam: Ex Deux (1)

Zelucifer (740431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915546)

It seems to me, that some big shot looked at Steam's success story, decided "hey, we can cut out the middle man (Steam), place even more draconian restrictions on gameplay and make more money!" without considering any of the real issues involved.

requirement (1)

tancque (925227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915560)

I hope they will put this requirement clearly on the boxes of any DVD/CD media, so I can avoid them.

Yes, I'm one of those people who still prefer to buy games as dvd/cd, mainly because I want to avoid giving out credit card/PayPal information, when I do not have to.

Re:requirement (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915686)

It'll be easy. Just don't buy anything with "Ubisoft" on the box and the problem goes away (hopefully, along with the company).

Re:requirement (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915712)


I hope they will put this requirement clearly on the boxes of any DVD/CD media, so I can avoid them.

If it says Ubisoft anywhere on the box, don't buy it. Simple.

I play games primarily... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915568)

...when my connection is down.
When I have the net, I usually surf the net. My connection isn't very good. I get outages once-twice a week. This is when I launch a game. I have the content offline, and I don't need the connection to enjoy it.

I'm not concerned with Ubisoft's move. I'll just make sure never to buy their originals. I'm pretty sure the cracks will remove the necessity for network connection. OTOH, I will keep purchasing games that don't require network connection to run.

Which is better, cracked or bought? (4, Insightful)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915570)

Let's see...

Legally bought: can only play it at home or wherever I manage to find a free and reliable internet connection that does not suck (which is a minority of them)
Cracked: can play it at home, in the backseat of a car, on the bus, on the train, on the plane, in the park, at the airport, ANYWHERE.

And the best part is that the cracked version is free! Why waste money on an inferior product, then?
The only downside is that the cracked version is only released about a week after the official version.

Re:Which is better, cracked or bought? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915664)

The only downside is that the cracked version is only released about a week after the official version.

Not if you live in Europe.

Movie studios finally are starting to get it with global releases. But games, TV series, they are late here. Season 2 of Heroes is airing right here now for example.

Talk about shooting yourself in the leg (1)

dushkin (965522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915584)

What if I want to play on a laptop on the go? What if my internet connection is down? What if I don't have/want an internet connection?

So they're doing this because of pirated games. Right... You know, they're just legitimizing cracking their own games. Unless the actual game is HOSTED on their servers, just using the net to substitute the countless "CD protection" methods is pretty damn lame.

Another thing, just while I'm at it. I think a better option than locking people down using a multitude of creative methods - make them want to pay for stuff. MMOGs have accomplished that. I spent at least 15-25 USD a month for the last 2-3 years on those.

Ubisoft, wtf?

Savegames in the cloud? (2, Interesting)

the_g_cat (821331) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915598)

I think the article missed one of the possible sources of annoyance, in that the games will not only need an active connection to the interwebs on your side, but also a listening Ubisoft server on the other side. What happens if Ubisoft's servers don't run, or happen to "not find" a savegame, or it gets corrupted or anything? Can we then blame Ubisoft and demand reparation? This strikes as such a bad idea on so many levels that it's hard to believe any company would go down that path. So, no more Ubisoft games for me, I suppose. (Oh, wait, the last PC game I bought must be at least 5 years old, and I much prefer playing table-top games (you know, the ones with social gaming built-in right from the start? ;-) ), or console stuff if it "has" to be electronic, so I guess I shouldn't feel concerned too much :-) )

Re:Savegames in the cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915720)

This strikes as such a bad idea on so many levels that it's hard to believe any company would go down that path.

Well it *is* a French company.

Just sayin'...

Command & Conquer (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915650)

Did everyone forget that EA's already doing this in a couple months with Command & Conquer 4? Citation on Wikipedia: "In addition, Command & Conquer 4 will require the player to be online at all times regardless of whether the player is playing single-player campaigns or skirmishes or online play"

Cloud Gaming? (5, Insightful)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915654)

A while ago I decided that I'll switch to PC only gaming.
This was for one reason: I will always be able to play the games I own.

Consoles break, hardware can become irreplaceable, chips can burn out, backup batteries die, ROMs have questionable copyright.
But PC's will be forever.
I can even play some older games on QEMU right now. In 50 years I will be able to play today's games on an emulated system with an emulated GPU & CPU.

Many (if not most) of today's games have the multi-player component as a critical part of game-play. Playing them on a non-networked computer would be virtually pointless. The benefit of this setup is that I could go to an internet cafe, a friends house or work and start up a game, while being in exactly the same place in the game as at home. But haven't some games had that ability for many years?

Either way, without stand-alone gameplay - I'm not interested. I want to make sure that someday (in the far future) I will be able to play the games I play today with my great-grand-kids, instead of receiving a message like "Sorry, Can't connect to server", "ipv9 not supported", or "Gameplay not available, server offline since 2011".

Bullshit and Ubisoft now belong together. (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915680)

This is *exactly* the line of bullshit that made me buy a console. There is simply less of it there for now: compare GTA IV on PC and Xbox 360. PC is just a stupid situation. So, already bonehead decisions by stupid out-of-touch executives have already stopped me from purchasing PC games. Please don't extend that to the consoles because then I'd have to stop purchasing games altogether. Notice I said purchasing, I'm sure there will be versions available that aren't stupid. Way to go Ubisoft: you just connected yourself with "bullshit" in *my* mind, so *my* money is forever out of your grasp until you become less stupid.

Looking for a photo. (1)

Gaian-Orlanthii (1032980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915684)

My dartboard/shuriken target needs a new hate-face. Does anyone have a decent photo of Ubisoft's current CEO? Preferably smiling slimily but grinning inanely will also do. Must be headshot sized.

African market?? (2, Insightful)

ultral0rd (1595449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915722)

Ubisoft can kiss any ideas about tapping into the african market goodbye.. South Africa, which has one of the more "advanced" telecommunication networks in Africa has less than 10% of its population on Internet, and most of those are dial-ups. The rest of Africa is so far in the dark that the countries finally embracing the world of Internet are bypassing fixed lines and going straight for cellphones.. I can hardly see them jumping on this idea soon.. Long story short : Permanent internet requirement == no 3rd World users

Ubisoft? Pfft (3, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915724)

So Ubisoft is going mandate ridiculous DRM measures. Ubisoft. This is the company/publisher who, as far as I can tell, has barely produced one game that didn't suck in a long time. And that's just because compared to Assassin's Creed 1, it'd be hard for 2 not to look good. Yeah. So long Ubisoft, I can't say it was fun.

Maybe this is a good thing, though. Someone like Blizzard doing this would have people grumbling and moaning and everyone would still put up with it because they need their WoW or Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2 or whatever. If someone like Ubisoft does it, and it's just one more reason for people not to buy their crap, and they go under, maybe it will make other companies think twice before trying similar stupidity. Maybe.

Re:Ubisoft? Pfft (0)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915742)

Err... why refer to WoW? Without internet access WoW is kind of a mute point ;)

Re:Ubisoft? Pfft (2)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915786)

Moot m8. Moot.

Way to go! (2, Insightful)

Holammer (1217422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915728)

Great to see that Ubisoft continues the time honoured tradition of screwing over the actual customers. Who ever thought they could make a system even more obnoxious than the code wheel? I'm not going to ask for permission to play my games so blow it out your posterior Ubisoft.

Most people don't care (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915736)

Yes, internet connections sometimes go down. Yes, some people have gaming laptops.

Ubisoft know this. They know a portion of their player base doesn't have always on internet. They have market research people who determine how much this is going to cost them. They already know and have decided the benefits are greater than the cost.

No more Ubisoft games for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30915740)

And don't forget, when they decide not to support said game any more, you won't be able to play it any more either.

REVIEWERS, please take a stand (3, Interesting)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915744)

Game review websites and magazines ought to unite on this issue and give games failing scores if they do not allow for offline play when in self-contained single player mode.

Nice way to lose customers (1)

El Nigromante (1059332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915774)

I own at least 1 game from Ubisoft: Chessmaster X. And it came with the annoying "feature" of having to insert the game CD each time you wanted to play (online or offline). In addition to this, it had the typical activation code (to play on-line).

They realized this measure was stupid because they launched (months after) a patch which disabled this protecction measure.

May be it is reasonable to require any sort of on-line checking, when you are trying to play on-line (e.g. CS or Quake-like shooter game). But it's absurd if the game may be intended to play off-line (imagine you just want to analyze a chess game).

Anyway. People would avoid all the cumbersome cracks (and associated viruses and trojans), if they had the chance to get their games (or software) for a reasonable price. More in the case of games, where a great part of user base is made of young people with a reduced budget.

Most current intellectual property "defenders" start from a false premise: people would buy your product if they could not get it for free. In that case, it is obvious that people would consume less products (and therefore authors would get less money either way).

What most current intellectual property "defenders" are trying to do, is making of the "intellectual property rights" a business on itself, and trying to milk the inviting Internet "cow".

Innocent Bystanders (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915780)

Yet another example of a company attempting to make life difficult for pirates but managing only to annoy and inconvenience legitimate users. People who actually buy the game are going to be faced with restrictions that will, at some point, hinder their ability to use the copy of the game they legally bought while pirates will find a way to crack the system in less than a week and will then be able to use their ill-gotten goods the way they want.

I understand major media companies consider piracy to be a major problem. I understand we're not likely to ever change that opinion. But. It would be nice if they got everything in perspective and realized that they should not hinder legitimate customers in their war against pirates. All that will do is either drive those legitimate customers away or, worse, turn them in to pirates.

Looking at Ubisoft on Wikipedia... (5, Informative)

Exitar (809068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915794)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubisoft#Controversies [wikipedia.org]

- use of the StarForce copy protection
- ceased to provide his games to a magazine that had negative reviews of their games
- admit to release low quality games that need additional promotion to be sold

bad idea (1)

rico13 (1717948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915804)

im not going to buy a game if i need to connected to the net an absolute rubbish idea, unless im playing multiplayer of course :)

SecuROM (3, Insightful)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30915836)

They're the ones using it.
They did create some very good games, but I'm not buying anything with SecuROM in it, no matter how good the game. Now they want to add 'needs permanent net access'? If I wasn't already blocking them on my shopping list, I'd be doing it now...l

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