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Ubisoft's Constant Net Connection DRM Confirmed

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the enjoy-getting-flamed-by-the-entire-internet dept.

Games 631

A few weeks ago we discussed news of Ubisoft's DRM plans for future games, which reportedly went so far as to require a constant net connection, terminating your game if you get disconnected for any reason. Well, it's here; upon playing review copies of the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers VII, PCGamer found the DRM just as annoying as you might expect. Quoting: "If you get disconnected while playing, you're booted out of the game. All your progress since the last checkpoint or savegame is lost, and your only options are to quit to Windows or wait until you're reconnected. The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you're not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft's 'Master servers.' The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen — all my progress since it last autosaved was lost."

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631 comments

Let'see.. (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181110)

Well the article is good enough to tell us which games to avoid due to horrible DRM. Maybe they're making some kind of 'level of DRM annoyingness' versus 'copies purchased' graph.

Re:Let'see.. (5, Insightful)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181250)

No, the Ubisoft execs will make a 'Level of DRM annoyingness' vs 'Number of copies pirated' graph. They will see that less people bought it and more people pirated it, and they will come to the conclusion that the games need even more DRM to stop people from pirating it. The next generation of games will such have more DRM, and the cycle will repeat.

BRING IT ON !! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181318)

Bring it on ourselves !! We pirate games because it's easy. If your customers somehow took 85% of your revenue, you'd do something - anything - to stop the hemorage. From another vantage, your boss deducted 85% from your pay, and "not because he needed but because he could - he would not have hired you if he couldn't". Sound faimilar? You'd be screaming bloody murder, hypocrits !! If you don't want the game, or you don't want the job, go elsewhere.

Re:BRING IT ON !! (0, Flamebait)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181352)

If you really feel that way why not have the courage of your convictions and POST UNDER YOUR REAL NAME.
or maybe Coward is your real name.

Re:BRING IT ON !! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181404)

so what changes if that 85% didn't pirate? oh right, nothing. the profit doesn't change because that same 15% still bought the game. more draconian drm just pisses off the legitimate buyers who have to put up with it, the pirates strip it away. publishers are killing their golden geese because they're immature childish control freaks.

Re:BRING IT ON !! (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181434)

No, the parent is correct. Sure, not all of the 85% will buy the game, but I'm pretty sure there are many of them who just pirate it because they can. It's not like everyone who pirates doesn't have any money at all.

I mean, people spend $100 a night at a bar constantly, for a few hours of fun. But then they don't buy games because they know they can get it for free too. It just means they have to prioritize what they spend their money on better.

Re:BRING IT ON !! (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181546)

Except there are plenty of people who don't go to bars precisely because it is too expensive, a lot of these people drink at private parties (where you bring your own beer or the host provides beverages), how many of these people do you honestly think would start spending $100 per night in bars if "home use" of alcoholic beverages was made illegal?

/Mikael

Re:BRING IT ON !! (5, Insightful)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181446)

The problem is, DRM seems to more often inconvenience the people who DO buy the game rather than those that pirate it. Pirates crack the game so it doesn't need the CD, doesn't need an online connection, etc. Sure, DRM might be difficult for most pirates to overcome, but it only takes one pirate to crack it, and then the rest have access through torrents. Then the only people inconvenienced by DRM are the legitimate purchasers, who can't play when their internet goes down or when Ubisoft's DRM server is down. Also, if someone wants to replay a game 10 years from now, will Ubisoft still be running the server?

Re:BRING IT ON !! (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181474)

Also, if someone wants to replay a game 10 years from now, will Ubisoft still be running the server?

The Ubisoft execs who ordered up the draconian DRM will be retired in 10 year's and wouldn't care at all about people trying to play a 10 year old game. Besides, the day that they make DRM that takes 10 years to crack is the day I completely stop playing games.

Re:BRING IT ON !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181560)

Seriously, fuck you.

Re:Let'see.. (4, Insightful)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181400)

"Please pirate our game! Please please please! We promise to make our DRM so annoying you're sure to have lots and lots of grateful people loving your clearly superior version!"

Re:Let'see.. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181282)

Maybe they're making some kind of 'level of DRM annoyingness' versus 'copies purchased' graph.

Wish there was, but the only thing you'd measure was whether the game itself was a hit or a flop.

Re:Let'see.. (0)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181286)

I know we debate this ad nauseum, but I'm not sure that particular graph would show anything. So few people care about DRM that it probably cancels out with the extra sales they'll get from the 10 people who decided not to pirate because of the DRM. I personally game from a desktop that's always connected to the internet, and I'm not willing to forsake a game I'm interested in for the potentially 1-2 hours a month that my internet connection might be malfunctioning. I don't like this concept, but I'm not willing to change my behavior for somebody else's crusade...

Re:Let'see.. (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181328)

I know we debate this ad nauseum, but I'm not sure that particular graph would show anything. So few people care about DRM that it probably cancels out with the extra sales they'll get from the 10 people who decided not to pirate because of the DRM. I personally game from a desktop that's always connected to the internet, and I'm not willing to forsake a game I'm interested in for the potentially 1-2 hours a month that my internet connection might be malfunctioning. I don't like this concept, but I'm not willing to change my behavior for somebody else's crusade...

Why would you not just wait a short amount of time for the DRM to be cracked? Nobody 'decides not to pirate' because of DRM. Excessive DRM actually causes piracy because pirated copies will be cracked to bypass the DRM.

Re:Let'see.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181442)

pirated and cracked or purchased and cracked for convenience? in the latter, ubisoft still have your money.

Re:Let'see.. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181334)

I agree. If they put out a great title I really want to get, I will just buy it. My internet isn't really even that unstable - I'm running ssh sessions for days, even months without disconnections. I don't even remember when I've last time had an actual internet downtime, previous disconnection was because electricity went off for 1-2 seconds. Good luck trying to play your game with that "disconnection" too.

As long as the system works good, then sure, fine. I don't like it, but I can't really care that much either.

Re:Let'see.. (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181336)

I don't like this concept, but I'm not willing to change my behavior for somebody else's crusade...

You mean that you don't value your rights as a consumer or care about what you purchase being usable in a few years. That's the real problem with any DRM that has activation limits / requires online activation - at any time they can turn off that activation server and the software / media you bought is useless. You being dumb enough to buy it is exactly why they put this crap in - because they know that you'll buy it no matter what. You're like the dumb girl who keeps going back to her abusive girlfriend. YOU are the cause of the problem.

Re:Let'see.. (0, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181410)

It will most likely be 10+ years. Most of the 10 year old games, never less the 15+ year old games even work on today's OS. Does that mean that when I bought the games I didn't value my rights as a consumer, because they don't work now?

It's a central activation server for all their games. I think there would be quite nice uproar if all of their games stopped working suddenly.

Nevertheless, if someone still plays them in 10-20 years, I'm sure they can buy a really cheap, current-OS-capable version from the likes of Steam for like $1, probably with improved graphics too. The classic games I play now are either fixed versions from Steam or GOG. Sure you pay that one dollar again, but who cares when they fix it for the new operating systems and hardware too.

Re:Let'see.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181470)

Well then you're just an idiot. Enjoy your kool-aid.

Re:Let'see.. (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181298)

and we're sure it's not an April Fools joke released early, right? Or something from The Onion?

Re:Let'see.. (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181398)

In other news...
"Thousands Of People Avoiding Or Pirating Ubisoft Games Confirmed"

Re:Let'see.. (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181520)

I'm certainly not going to miss these two games when there are plenty of better games anyway (and I still don't have enough time to play them all)

Re:Let'see.. (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181562)

No they'll just decide people don't buy games for their computer anymore and stick to consoles.

Well, THAT'S certainly one way (1)

Dorsai65 (804760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181126)

to step on the ol' weenie with track shoes...

[Carnac] "What is 'people staying away in droves?' [/Carnac]

Let your opinion be know. (5, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181128)

Don't buy the game, and send them letter to let them know why you're not buying the game.

Re:Let your opinion be know. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181238)

But it's Settlers VII :(

Re:Let your opinion be know. (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181240)

A letter like that would not make it past the mail room interns. Consumers will just do what they are told. As they always have. I have abandoned all hope of society in general ever standing up to this type of thing.

Re:Let your opinion be know. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181278)

I have abandoned all hope of society in general ever standing up to this type of thing.

It's just that not everyone have the time, interest or knowledge to fight it everything. Of course we here on slashdot care about it, but as long as it works good enough generally, it doesn't matter to most people.

Just like we probably aren't interested if the latest barbie doll came with no gloves, but the previous ones did. Would you write an angry letter about it to Barbie Corporation even if you just don't really care?

Re:Let your opinion be know. (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181388)

This is different. It is approaching the point at which the average person might actually start caring. We may not be there quite yet, but when we get there, it should be pretty obvious. This about the history of DRM systems. Macrovision? Most people didn't need to copy tapes. DVD encryption? That's what DVD players are for. Requiring game CDs to be present? Most people don't care about the extra 30 seconds it takes to find and insert a CD.

I expect that in a year or two, DRM systems will be so draconian that a large portion of people will actually not be able to play the game. What I would expect to happen is that a DRM that checks for suspicious system devices gets false positives off certain devices because the devs were too lazy to test on a variety of hardware. Suddenly, everyone with a certain type of motherboard/graphics card/CD drive etc is unable to play.

Another possibly scenario is that games start requiring hardware DRM, but that would not be present on older systems, so anybody with an old system would not be able to play.

Re:Let your opinion be know. (1)

lorg (578246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181422)

From what I recall some of them already check for things like hardware changes and if you have certain software packages installed or running such as various disassemblers and virual cd/dvd programs. So perhaps this was just the next logical step.

Hardware DRM? Helllo DONGLE! Welcome back ... not that it ever really went away.

Re:Let your opinion be know. (2, Interesting)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181406)

Very true. Case in point: CoD: Modern Warfare 2. PC gamers were up in arms about lack of dedicated server support, console port, etc. Talks of boycotts over missing features and the price ($60 v/s $50). What happened when the game was released? Biggest video game debut ever? PC gamers who signed boycotts and joined Steam boycott groups were seen playing the game.

Normally I try not to hack my games, but... (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181134)

This goes a long way toward making sure I will. I can understand some level of online authentication, but this is absurd. Then again, what am I think, I won't even buy these games. Not worth the hassle.

Re:Normally I try not to hack my games, but... (1)

KamuZ (127113) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181544)

I agree.
I am used to authenticate it online (Windows, Games, some Software). Registering online to get content (and they keep track of you), seems OK for me too.
Even Steam with the off-line mode seems reasonable.

But this is just over the top, I will not buy it because of this and write an e-mail. Maybe like with Spore, they will think about it and fix it, then I will get it.

The only way to vote against this is with your wallet.

Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scribes (5, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181136)

In ten to twenty years, when we're playing these games on emulators and reminiscing about the good old days, when these activation servers are dead and gone, we will be thankful that someone took the time to remove these checks from our games so that we could play them in the future.
And I wonder, in this never ending holy war against pirates, what they think that Pyrrhic victory after Pyrrhic victory will earn them? Countless fortunes? Unending wealth? Do they think that making your game difficult to play will somehow make it sell billions of copies?

Re:Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scrib (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181266)

These really aren't Pyrrhic victories; they're just victories. The ill effects of these terrible decisions don't come around until the executives have long since cashed in their stock options and retired to wine and wealth. I think of these more along the lines of 'mortgaging the future of the industry in general'. But who cares? The gaming community will just bend over and take as they always have done. Remember the outcry against Spore with its oppressive DRM? That was about as organized and vocal as the gaming community have ever gotten, and Spore is still selling and still has brutal DRM.

Re:Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scrib (3, Insightful)

ghmh (73679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181374)

But I for one (and I'm sure there are many others), still haven't bought it for that very fact.

Re:Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scrib (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181452)

Again, spore can still sell for one reason: the DRM doesn't affect the average person. IIRC, Spore had, among other things, a limit on the number of installations. Most people don't own multiple computers, so that doesn't affect them. One particular example of DRM that pissed me off was Mass Effect's Securom not letting me play it in VMware. This brings me to my next point: if someone actually cares, they'll likely just go find a crack and then forget all about it. Would you rather be sending angry letters to some CEO who won't read them anyway, or would you rather just download a crack and get on with playing your game?

Re:Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scrib (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181274)

In ten to twenty years, when we're playing these games on emulators and reminiscing about the good old days, when these activation servers are dead and gone, we will be thankful that someone took the time to remove these checks from our games so that we could play them in the future.

Hehe, that's funny. I have another vision. No one will play these games now, or in the future.

Re:Pirates will be remembered as archivists, scrib (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181332)

What is ironic is that some games on the Apple // only exist in the cracked form today.

Right now, the economy is crap. So, bean counters at the game companies [1] have an assumption that a pirated copy is a lost sale. So they push for more intrusive DRM. More intrusive DRM just means that the pirates crack it (either by patching the executable, or running a process that emulates the heartbeat connection from the activation server so the game is never tampered with.) Legit players are the ones being screwed over, as usual. So, sales of the games will be down, the bean counters will blame it on piracy, and try to foist more Draconian DRM systems, perhaps online connections, activation, and a Warden-like program that would ban that serial number and that PC.

[1]: Same bean counters who view the console ecosystem as Utopia for software companies because of the locked down system and the ability to bleed players dry. Same bean counters who always whine about piracy to Congress in hopes of getting ACTA passed, and threaten to leave the PC platform... but never do because they know the second they leave, indies would move in en masse.

Well done Ubisoft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181142)

I was going to buy this, but they can shove that rubbish fair up their arse.

Another fine case of screw the people who actually paid for it and the pirates don't have to put up with any of it.

Well done UbiSoft, you are a complete bunch of arsehats.

Re:Well done Ubisoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181296)

Yes. I put up with a lot of crap from games. Some I never got to play because of conflicting DRM versions and I just couldn't be bothered reinstalling the "right" version just to play.

This is most definately the last straw though. My internet drops out enough during Star Trek Online, no way I am going to have it be a problem for "purchased" games.

Maybe the idea is to finally kill PC gaming?

Steven.

Re:Well done Ubisoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181494)

quit being a pussy.. just type ASS..

Re:Well done Ubisoft (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181510)

Besides, there are other games out there worth playing. I seriously doubt this will be a big loss for gamers. Just let it wither on the vine.

Someday, Windows will be like that (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181144)

If this becomes acceptable, someday Windows PCs will require a network connection to operate at all.

With each new release, Microsoft Windows becomes more dependent on servers in Redmond. Someday they'll have an outage and the whole world will stop.

Re:Someday, Windows will be like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181168)

Gmail is already like that and few really care.

Re:Someday, Windows will be like that (2, Informative)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181202)

Mail servers are all like that.

Re:Someday, Windows will be like that (4, Insightful)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181208)

Your comparison is completely inappropriate.

1) I can perfectly use IMAP or POP to download my Gmail emails and read them offline.

2) For all kind of web-based communications such as emails, HTTP or SSH I do expect to need a network connection. It does not need to be Gmail, but my personal email system is exactly the same. What you say is equivalent to: "I need a phone connection to be able to phone? What a scandal!" This is not the case for a game though, wghich I expect to work on a plane, a train or on a remote holiday location with no internet access.

Re:Someday, Windows will be like that (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181472)

Man, if when you go to remote holiday locations you need to play computer games, you should pick better destinations. :)

But I completely agree with you about the rest. Games should not need a net connection under any circumstances, unless playing online.

And... (1)

Dartz-IRL (1640117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181146)

And the subsequent increase in piracy of this game will be blamed on DRM that wasn't draconian enough.

Finally (5, Interesting)

TACD (514008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181150)

At last, they've made DRM so obnoxious, intrusive and butt-fuckingly annoying that even the average Joe will become enraged at the audacity of the thing. Hope Ubisoft has a team of people standing by ready to explain to people with shaky wireless routers or traffic-shaping ISPs why their game keeps booting them out.

I'm calling it - less than three months after release before they patch this out due to overwhelmingly bad press. Christ Ubisoft, who do you think you are?

Re:Finally (5, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181174)

My thoughts exactly. Briefly dropping Internet connection is not at all uncommon - quite often you don't even notice it because you're just staring at a web page at the moment, or maybe the page doesn't load, and you shrug and move on. But with this kind of thing, every disconnect will have a very visible, pronounced, and highly annoying effect.

I wonder if Ubisoft could actually be sued over this. Oh, sure, they'll slap "Internet connectivity required" on the box - but it could be argued that a reasonable person's understanding of "Internet connectivity" is the one that isn't five-nines, and if the game can't really handle a typical real-world connection properly - because of deliberate regression - then it's a clear case of malicious false advertising.

Re:Finally (2, Funny)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181498)

I can just see the following happening:

Player: I'm almost there... I've been playing Assassin Creed 2 for almost 12 hours non-stop and am just about finished... the end is in...
Game: We have lost connection with the Ubiborg mothership. I'm sorry to say that since you have not saved the game, we have no choice but to start you back at the beginning.
Player: AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!

Even if it is just 1-2 hours playing (e.g. finally making it past a difficult section of the game after many tries), this is still going to burn players.

Next time, the players who have a negative experience of this will not spend their money on Ubisoft games next time.

Also, what about areas that have a crap broadband - or god forbid dial-up - connection. Broadband quality and adoption varies from country to country, and is worse in less populated or remote/isolated areas.

Re:Finally (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181190)

OH man these are the worst support calls. Yeah Ubisoft painted a big sign that says "kick me" on their customer support team's asses with this snafu. Luckily for them, they're at least 6 deep in a phone system of hell and evil. Anyone else feel like they're playing an adventure game and trying to get the right dialog option? At le

Re:Finally (2, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181262)

My guess is they figure the chance they can get away with this is worth more than the profits they'll lose during those first few months. Chances are not a lot of people who protest initially will hold out after they relax the DRM, so those lost profits won't be too big.

Also, I bet they can get away with more if they start with horrible DRM, then lighten up a little, as opposed to starting with typical draconian DRM.

Re:Finally (1)

lorg (578246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181304)

Not to be an arse but I think you give Average Joe to much credit. I think they won't even call support. I think they are just going to shake (make a few rude gestures and say a few choice words) and wonder why their *cool_new_game_tm* ain't working, then tell all their friends about it and eventually thru the six-degrees-of-software-piracy (probably way to many degrees) find a friend that will give them a "working" version.

If this actually works like networking connecting dropping for a single second == you get booted this really can't stand, after all that happens all the time, we just don't notice really. They are more or less requiring a constant stream of data to the server just to check that you are still online? Sounds very iffy and stupid to say the least, hell even streaming music and movies cache a bit of data ahead of time so you won't notice when it happens (most of the time). I don't think my ISP (or any) promises 100% uptime on their connections.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181384)

Christ Ubisoft, who do you think you are?

You answered your own question.

so obnoxious ... butt-fuckingly annoying ... even the average Joe will become enraged at the audacity

They're French.

Yeah, fuck that. (4, Insightful)

Leptok (1096623) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181184)

I know that's a vulgar comment, but that is vulgar DRM.

Re:Yeah, fuck that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181284)

It's all right, it's the internet. You can say fuck.

Re:Yeah, fuck that. (1)

duane534 (1431259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181326)

Won't anybody think of the fucking children?

Re:Yeah, fuck that. (1)

Caustic Soda (1286402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181380)

Children fucking? Where? Must be because of all the fucking they see on TV and Games. Ban all interactive entertainment, as well as real-life fucking! Solves two things at once...no fucking for children to learn from, and no future generations of children to worry about!

Re:Yeah, fuck that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181504)

Won't anybody think of the fucking children?

For once that phrase actually makes sense...

Lately I've been paying (1)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181192)

I actually pay for my games but I refuse to pay for such draconian DRM. If you have machine limit activations or need constant internet access I'll just get your game via more customer friendly means.

Hmmm, well let me see how I feel about this (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181194)

Ah I think I have it: Fuck Ubisoft.

I was likely going to get Assassin's Creed 2. AC1 was pretty damn fun. I didn't get it when it came out because didn't seem like my kind of game, but I got it on sale and man, I liked it. So AC2 was on the list of potentials for me.

Not any more. I will absolutely NOT put up with DRM like this. I have a fairly stable net connection but still, I don't care. This is way too invasive.

I mean I'll meet companies half way. I'm ok with Steam, I can also deal disc based ones that don't cause a problem. However in either case I have to have a way to play if the net goes down. I am not ok with protections that limit the number of times you can reinstall a game (like SecuROM) or ones that need you to be online all the time. Goes double since I know what kinds of server problems companies can have, having played MMOs and such. If my MMO of the day is down, I'm going to be REAL mad if I can't play a single player game.

So, no more Ubisoft games for me unless they change this, because it is retarded. The really funny thing is, of course, it won't hurt the pirates at all. Those versions will have it patched out so they'll have a good game experience. All it will do is drive legit customers away. This is a bigger problem than they might think just due to the sheer number of games these days. Currently, my problem is not finding games to play, it is finding time to play games. I have games I still haven't got around to yet because there's only so much time I can spend goofing off in a day.

So if a given games maker starts being stupid, well I'll just stop buying their shit. Plenty of others to play.

Speaking of which, I think I'll go play Mass Effect 2, which just has a simple disc check. It does like to talk to EA for content updates and such, but as I found out a couple days ago, doesn't mind at all if their servers are down and it can't connect. Game runs with no problems. That, I can live with.

Re:Hmmm, well let me see how I feel about this (4, Informative)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181338)

Mod Parent Up.

As a South African with a very limited and unstable connection, games using this draconian system will prove (almost) impossible to play.
Not to mention the fact it will eat my limited cap.

I call for a boycott of Ubisoft until they remove this ridiculous system.

Even worse ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181204)

What is even worse is that you won't be able to play to the game that you paid for when Ubisoft decides to not maintain anymore the server needed to play ...

Record sales (1)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181206)

Oh man, they are going to sell so many copies... of this DRM technology to other companies.

I mean, no one will want the games anymore, but if they market this DRM to delusional companies disproportionately outraged over piracy, they could make a fortune.

DDOS (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181212)

so, if someon DDOS their servers, all people on the world will be kicked out and lose their progress ?
hmm . . . what a great idea.

Not a pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181214)

A month ago I bought my first online game - Battlefield 2142. What a disapointment 3 years after release there's no game server anymore. My lesson is learned. I will not buy another "online" game. Also considder how bad some internet connections are (like in Africa). Ubisoft will loose a lot of customers (at least I for one will not go for this approach anytime soon).

Re:Not a pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181324)

you played a 3 year old multiplayer game and were disapointed that nobody plays it anymore? (thats what must mean with game servers - bf2142 didn't have any activation servers)

too bad...

Re:Not a pirate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181440)

Sorry, but I suspect you are doing something wrong, as there are still plenty of servers up for 2142, I still play it reguarly

Re:Not a pirate (1)

Ascagnel (826800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181476)

Poor example. BF2142 wasn't a very good game (its a glorified mod of BF2) to start with, and the community largely abandoned it and either went to CoD4 (came out a few months later) or back to BF2.

Cloud gaming? (4, Interesting)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181218)

I'm assuming Ubisoft, EA and the like are starting to dream about gaming on the cloud- complete control over access to the content, mandatory constant internet connection to the servers, and no pirateable game files being distributed to consumers. In addition, it will become much easier to cite server costs as a reason to shut down a game after a few years.

Re:Cloud gaming? (2, Interesting)

starblazer (49187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181360)

starting to? They have been since WoW became so popular. Why do you think starting with BF2 it became required to "login"... with 2142 you had to purchase the game to login.

My recomendation (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181224)

Don't buy those products.

Once again, the bittorent copy... (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181226)

...is the superior one. If you care about quality, choose your favourite release group!

The customer is never right. (1)

insanecarbonbasedlif (623558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181228)

As a matter of fact, the customer is probably a rotten thief. Ubisoft is just treating us all like the criminals we probably are!

Won't do shit. (4, Insightful)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181252)

This will just annoy the people who did buy the game. The real issue is that most users aren't technical and will just buy it, put up with the shit and accept that's the state of affairs. One day somebody will offer them a crack and suddenly they'll realise the shafting they got.

What's worse is that I predict that there will be an enormous amount of cracks and hacks for this game. It'll be so bad that all software companies will use it as an example of why we need even more and better DRM and how evil consumers really are.

Re:Won't do shit. (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181358)

This will just annoy the people who did buy the game.

I pirated Prince of Persia a few months ago. It was great. So I bought it in Christmas to support the creators (as I always do with software I like or use) and it came protected with Tages. I deleted the original and backed up the pirated version instead. I am not sure if the pirated copy was cracked; I think Ubisoft added the Tages layer for the downloadable version only.

My point is that I don't care how draconian their copy protection is, as long as it can be cracked. If it can't, Ubisoft will lose me as a customer.

So, yes, you are right, at least in my case.

New round of pirates incoming (5, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181260)

Some people don't pirate because they haven't been bothered enough by DRM to seek out DRM-free copies.

Ubisoft is creating a new round of pirates from formerly legitimate customers.

Jumping to conclusions... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181290)

Yes, this is mind blisteringly annoying, however who's to say it isn't intentionally that way just for review copies? It's not unusual for companies to keep a much tighter rein on pre-release items than they do the actual release. Like Xbox review games that only play on the special reviewer version of Xbox Live, for instance.

Re:Jumping to conclusions... (5, Informative)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181378)

Because um.. well lets see.. From the Fine Article:

We've just received Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers VII for review, and verified with Ubisoft that the DRM is the same as the boxed product.

But i guess actually reading anything is beyond expectation for an AC.

Secondly, from Ubisoft's own FAQ [ubi.com] .

Is there an "off-line" option? No. The added services to the game (unlimited installs, online storage of saved games and the fact that you don’t need the game disc to play) require you to have an online connection while playing the game.

Re:Jumping to conclusions... (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181566)

The added services to the game (unlimited installs

      Wow, they make it sound like they're doing me a FAVOR by allowing me to install the game more than once. Screw the right of first sale, they're going to be charging you per install in a few years.

The great battle of wit (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181300)

Lack of wit, that is.

In the right corner we have Ubisoft, with their incredibly stupid idea that deserves nothing less than a Dilbert strip to glorify it permanently.

And in the left corner we have a large herd of sheep called game customers, who in recent trend have even been defending DRM schemes or believe it to be some type of chocolate bar.

Will Ubisoft succeed in shoving this latest endeavour with enough lube or will the bleating consumer do a back kick? Stay tuned as we find out just how high of a cliff a company can jump off safely.

who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181308)

ubiwho?

Only a matter of time. (4, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181320)

This - or something this annoying - has been coming down the line for years now. It was only a matter of time.

I can see the day where a game is going to come out and basically not sell - except for the number of copies required to crack the game.

In other words, the question's been less and less ambiguous as to whether DRM actually hurts sales and drives people to piracy. It's been obvious to *me*, but I could see how a reasonable person might think otherwise.

We might be at the point where a reasonable person can no longer lay the blame anywhere but at the feet of outrageous DRM.

On a sidenote - in 25 years when we want to play Bioshock again and relive the experience, what will most people think of the pirates? I'd imagine that we'll come to think of them as archivists putting themselves at risk but allowing us to enjoy a classic game.

Super Mario Bros came out in 1986, almost 25 years ago. Imagine if Nintendo required an always-on direct modem connection to Nintendo of America to play - and they shut off the modems 15 years ago. What would we think of the "dirty rotten pirates" who got a ROM dump and hex-edited out the watchdog code? It's not far-fetched to say that they'd come off like Robin Hood...

Don't pirate Ubisoft games (3, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181348)

Piracy will help archive the games, ultimately rewarding Ubisoft for their contribution to culture.

The best thing to do is to NOT pirate the games. Obviously, don't buy them, either. But, also, don't review them. Mention them in the same hushed tones that ET for the Atari 2600 is mentioned with.

So many flaws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181366)

Just pool together enough money to have a decent botnet run a DDoS on their auth-servers for a couple months.... That'll create a shitstorm worth watching.

Unless they've invented completely new technology this will of course be bypassed by the pirate-scene or the cheat-scene (or both) hopefully rather quick and the only ones that are affected are consumers with a phone.

New Business Opportunities? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181370)

What they are doing is like telling the customers WE DON'T TRUST YOU and that ain't the way to run a business.

Granted, most of the game players are kids, so basically they are bullying kids with all those dreaded DRM thingies.

There lies a silver lining though --- game players are there, throngs of them.

If they don't play this game, they will play another.

Business opportunities opening up whenever there is some screw-ups and this one ought to be big enough for others to invest in an all-open online gaming platform, no DRM, nothing.

Just log on and play.

Re:New Business Opportunities? (3, Interesting)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181516)

What they are doing is like telling the customers WE DON'T TRUST YOU and that ain't the way to run a business.

Actually I feel it sends a much stronger message than that: I interpret this as telling me, "If you give us your business, we will punish you." Well, I can think of better companies to do business with: Ironclad, 2D Boy, GOG.com, Stardock ...

Incidentally, this DRM has pushed Rock, Paper, Shotgun [rockpapershotgun.com] to boycott all coverage of any aspect of the game henceforth, other than DRM.

Incredible. In-cred-i-ble. It’s like someone taking away your food mid-meal because your napkin’s fallen on the floor. It makes us want to pull an expression we’re not physically capable of, like this. It’s also worth noting this is a day on which EA have turned off multiplayer servers for games that are only a year old – so it’s hard to have faith that Ubi’s activation servers will be around for many years hence.

If you're getting journalists that pissed off, you know you're really doing a good job, right?

I don't see anything wrong with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181454)

Well, where are the dissenting opinions.

Let's say you really like the game. Then you would obviously want more money going to the game developers. Thus, you would be willing to put up with DRM, knowing that it's helping the developers. I don't see it as, "OMG They don't trust me!", I see it as, "hey, they spent so much money making the game, they need to protect their profits, and that's understandable. The experience is mostly the same for me, anyways."

Speaking honestly. Of the last.... 10 games I've bought -- I would have bought exactly ZERO of them, if I could have played them pirated. I'm not a fan of Ubisoft, but if I were, I would not buy the game if I could get a pirated version for free. After all, how much is my $40 going to mean to a big company? Doesn't matter a bit. But at the same time, I support DRM completely -- I know that pirating is not really looked upon as a criminal activity, morally speaking, and because of this, I understand the need for companies to have DRM. It's like Ubisoft is saying, "Look, the whole problem with pirating software is that people don't take it too seriously. That's why DRM is needed, and it's no big deal. We just need to make it hard for the hackers. Don't get offended, you'd do the same thing."

Oh no! (1)

Therilith (1306561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181458)

If only there was some way to obtain these games without the DRM...

Typical move from power-hungry management (0)

gozu (541069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181462)

The people responsible for this thrive on bossing other people around and generally imposing their will and being in control of their environment. Sometimes, they go overboard and do something crazy like this.

I surmise this came all the way from the top, from someone who makes a meaningful percentage on game sales and whose greed and need for control are excessive.

Simple Answer (1)

XAD1975 (1628499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181466)

Do not buy any more Ubi Soft games. When they'll feel their loss of sales, they MAY be thinking again about it.

Re:Simple Answer (1)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181524)

That's the conclusion we'd like them to draw. Sadly I expect it's more likely their conclusion would be along the lines of "The PC is no longer a profitable platform."

Return (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31181502)

I pre-ordered this game. the DRM is annoying but just buy the game and download the pirated copy, that way you pay for the game. but you can use the copy that actually works.

You kiddin, right? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181530)

With the online DRM which will boot you out every single time you have a dropped line, no one, not even those with pirated copies, will be spared.

"adds ubisoft to personal blacklist" (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181514)

Its nasty stuff like this that makes me not want to buy their games anymore.

The EA DRM as applied to Red Alert 3 is acceptable as I only need to connect to the internet once to authenticate the game AND I can un-authenticate that copy anytime to install on another PC or reinstall Windows or etc. (the DRM system in question uses hardware activation to lock the game to your PC)

This kind of DRM that requires a permanent internet connection just to play the single player is NOT something I will accept and I would hope enough people say "NO" to ubisoft to make them rethink the decision and move to a more acceptable form of DRM (be it CD/DVD checks, hardware-linked activation or whatever else)

DRM fights used game sales, not piracy. (5, Insightful)

evilsofa (947078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181548)

DRM has nothing whatsoever to do with fighting piracy. All those billions and trillions of dollars that pirates don't spend on games never existed, and spending money to chase money that never existed is, besides being insanely stupid, never profitable. Money spent on used games does exist and there is a lot of it; Gamestop alone had 8 billion dollars in revenue in 2009, and the game industry wants that money. If the game industry as a whole spends a few hundred million dollars to prevent tens of billions of dollars of used game sales, that is profitable and not stupid.

Seriously? (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181554)

Did they really fucking do that?

Seriously? 

Lost sale - (1)

eeCyaJ (881578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31181558)

After reading this, Ubisoft has lost my sale; I was intending to buy the Super-Duper Deluxe version of Assassin's Creed II had they released it for the PC. 'Internet required' should only be for MMOs and not games which I intend to play in the quiet of my basement... er... seaside lair.
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