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Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the next-time-gadget-next-time dept.

Encryption 678

Colonel Korn writes "Ubisoft's recent announcement that upcoming games would require a constant internet connection in order to play has been discussed at length on Slashdot ('The Awful Anti-Pirate System That Will Probably Work'). Many were of the opinion that this new, more demanding DRM would have effectiveness to match its inconvenience, at least financially justifying its use. Others assumed that it would be immediately cracked, as is usually the case, leaving the inconvenience for paying customers and resulting in a superior product for pirates. As usual, the latter group was right. Though Ubisoft won't yet admit it, Skid-Row managed to crack the new DRM less than a day after it was first released."

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frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366462)

frist psot

Surprise! (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366472)

Or maybe not...

Re:Surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366878)

All I have to say to Unisoft is...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! :D

My laugh would be longer but lameness filter says "Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING". Why yes Mr filter, I am. I am yelling Fuck You to Ubisoft in a jolly way! ;)

Glad to know... (5, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366478)

that Skid Row has done something since "Youth Gone Wild."

Priceless (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366482)

Engineering hours building unbreakable DRM: $1.6M
Marketing devoted to managing customer hostility to new DRM: $800K
Lost sales due to customers boycotting your product: $2M
Having some wiseass kid from Sweden break your DRM on the first day: Priceless

Re:Priceless (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366690)

Funny? Try Insightful.

Oh, and:

Discovering you just spent a ton of money to make the pirated version more attractive: Doubly Priceless.

Re:Priceless (1, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366726)

While I find this story hilarious (if true), according to the article, the actual DRM scheme of requiring constant internet connection has not been cracked. What happened is that Ubisoft chickened out and didn't implement the scheme fully - it included a feature (to be enabled by a patch if necessary) that allowed games to be played without internet connection after all, and this is what has been hacked. My prediction: future games released without the said feature and the gamers screwed even more.

Re:Priceless (5, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366896)

While I find this story hilarious (if true), according to the article, the actual DRM scheme of requiring constant internet connection has not been cracked. What happened is that Ubisoft chickened out and didn't implement the scheme fully - it included a feature (to be enabled by a patch if necessary) that allowed games to be played without internet connection after all, and this is what has been hacked.

I didn't see that anywhere in TFA. The only place that mentions that is a single, anonymously left comment. Not exactly the most credible source.

Re:Priceless (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367064)

The only place that mentions that is a single, anonymously left comment. Not exactly the most credible source.

You insensitive clod!

Re:Priceless (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366962)

I didn't get that from the article at all. What the article said is that Ubisoft said, "In the event that all servers are turned off we could patch the game to not require a server connection." That's a long way from "Ubisoft included a feature that allowed games to be played without an internet connection."

Or to use a car analogy, it's like saying that Honda includes a feature that allows their cars to be easily stolen and that by hotwiring a car, the thieves are just enabling that feature.

Re:Priceless (4, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367038)

Actually, Hondas can't be simply hotwired, they have a chip in the key that... oh... um... carry on

Re:Priceless (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366974)

The thing is, "requiring a constant internet connection" isn't something that you can just tack on in an unhackable way.

You can use the various DRMed binary obfuscation tricks to slow them down; but the hackers will eventually manage to neuter the internet checking stuff, producing a tame version that always returns what the program wants to hear, or a version of the program that doesn't even care.

The only way to really force the issue is to actually move large chunks of vital game code to the server, and only provide the output of that code to the client. For instance, they could hypothetically ship the game with absolutely no AI code, and have every NPC in the game controlled by AI code on their server, just as if it were a multiplayer game. The trouble with doing that sort of thing is twofold: One is latency. There are only certain parts of a game's code that can reasonably be moved 100+milliseconds away from the user. AI would be doable, if suboptimal, because of our experience with providing adequate multiplayer FPS results. It'd be worse than doing it locally; but DRM shows a willingness to hurt paying customers, so so what? Second is cost: the more code you move to your server, the more computational capacity you need to maintain for the supported lifespan of the game. The more data you need to transfer back and forth, the higher your bandwidth bills, and the more customers with marginal connections you lose out on.

The problem is, if the internet presence check is purely artificial, hackers will strip it out, just as they stripped out CD presence checks and offline serial key verification checks. If the internet component is vital, the hackers won't be able to simply strip the checks; because they'll be left missing whatever pieces are server side; but you run into new issues. If the vital component is static(certain textures or models or something aren't shipped; but are downloaded when needed) it'll be extracted and posted on bittorrent inside a week. If the vital component is dynamic(as in the AI example, where the client sends player location data and gets back a series of movement commands for NPCs) it cannot be usefully extracted; but you will take on substantial server load over the lifetime of the game, and whatever that dynamic component is will suffer from latency.

This is where another problem comes in. Since your servers cost money, you want to make the server-side dynamic component as computationally cheap as possible. The simpler it is, though, the easier it will be for hackers to simply write an equivalent version of whatever it is, and make that version, running locally, available in their cracked copies. Unless you can find something that is, simultaneously, computationally cheap to run, very hard to rewrite, and fairly insensitive to latency, you are screwed.

There may, in fact, at least for some games, be an aspect of the game that fulfills these criteria. In that case, anybody who wants to crack the game will, indeed, have to spend weeks or months doing real software engineering to re-implement whatever it was that you left off the disk and on your server(assuming a copy of that doesn't leak on day two, which would be embarassing) in addition to doing the basic cracking work required to defeat the artificial checks and any SSL style verification of the server the game binary is talking to.

Re:Priceless (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367008)

The thing is, they already spent a ton of money developing the DRM. They're still going to use the whole "activation server" bit, which as I understand it is currently in use. It would be hard to imagine that there aren't people still working on this even though a portion of the DRM for the game has been cracked.

Re:Priceless (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366924)

Some things money can't but, for everything else there's some random guy on the Internets Mastecard.

On the bright side... (5, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366484)

Ubisoft can always blame "those damn pirates" and claim the DRM development as a failed project tax write off.

And the pirates can still play the game for free with no issues.

And paying customers still get to take it in the ass, now AND when Ubisoft decides to can the online service.

Win, Win, Weeeeee

Insolvent Company (5, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366628)

Exactly, what *when* they go out of business? Because on the scale of what gets done when a company is bankrupt customers are dead last. There are no more customers: the company is gone. What matters at that point is creditors and the more your owed the higher you are on the list. If there is no non-restricted version held in escrow with a lawyer who has explicit instructions to release when the company goes insolvent then FACT: Your purchase is gone.

Re:Insolvent Company (2, Interesting)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366664)

I read a FAQ about this DRM scheme on Ubisoft's website. They said they would release a patch if they ever shut down the game servers that lets you play offline.

Not that I believe it, of course. Just sayin'.

Re:Insolvent Company (2, Informative)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366678)

If they are still in business. If they go out of business its a whole different ballgame. Customers no longer exist to be pleased then.

Re:Insolvent Company (5, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366778)

Its not really about when they go out of business; just look at companies today. NOBODY keeps game servers up for the entire lifetime of fans using the product. Hell, they just canned ALL xbox online functionality, and I was reading about all kinds of other games shutting down their servers, as soon as nobody's buying it anymore, its not profitable, so they shut it down and move on. If you ask em now, sure, they're gonna make it look like they'll be up for the life of the company, but thats completely unrealistic.

I wish all developers would realize that in the real world you market at your CUSTOMERS. A business is concerned with profits, not vigilantism. If a game is playable single player, it should never lose the ability to be played on the proper hardware, even a hundred years later. Requiring a connection to a business owned server is ludicrous.

Re:Insolvent Company (2, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366818)

Seems to me like the correct solution (from their perspective) ought to be to release a game with tons of DRM, sell it for awhile, then disable the DRM once it's no longer profitable. This is, of course, if they intend to stay in business and wish to avoid alienating customers from future purchases.

Re:Insolvent Company (5, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366706)

No they did not. They said such a patch could be made. It does not currently exists and the question they don't answer is. If Ubisoft lose all their money, and go bankrupt, who is going to pay the developer for making the code to remove the drm.

Re:Insolvent Company (5, Funny)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366860)

It does exist. It was just released by skid-row.

Re:Insolvent Company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366788)

They could always just post a link to Skid-Row's crack on their web site. Wouldn't been the first time I've seen a company officially recommend cracks to their own broken DRM.

Re:Insolvent Company (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366970)

I read a FAQ about this DRM scheme on Ubisoft's website. They said they would release a patch if they ever shut down the game servers that lets you play offline.

This is also in consideration that they legally can do something like that. Ubisoft is both a developer and a publisher. Any game they develop can have the DRM like that removed (games like Assassin's Creed 2 and Silent Hunter 5) but games they were just the publisher and they don't own the actual game is another story, I'm pretty sure they'd need the makers permission to do that (games like Settlers 7 (made by Blue Byte), Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (made by Techland) and R.U.S.E. Art of Deception (made by Eugen Systems).

Re:Insolvent Company (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366936)

All it would take is one employee (who takes pride in his/her work) to release the "patch" itself, or the information required to do so.

Assuming Skid Row didn't do just that the hard way :)

Re:On the bright side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366934)

You guys are assuming that because a crack was made available in less than 24hrs that this somehow means that Ubisoft isn't going to make much money on the game. I'm sure the devs expected it to be cracked, maybe even quickly - but they'll still make good money from these games. Users are lazy ... many aren't willing to troll warez sites to find the crack ... many don't even know how .... sure, they'll lose money from people who crack the game instead of buying it, but they'll still make a lot more from those that dont know how, or don't bother.

Re:On the bright side... (2, Interesting)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367042)

But in that case they didn't need such massive DRM. They could have made a regular CD check or whatever. It would still be cracked in a day and it would still require pirates to download the crack, so the lazy (as you said) users would still have to buy the game.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367052)

You guys are assuming that because a crack was made available in less than 24hrs that this somehow means that Ubisoft isn't going to make much money on the game.

No, I think we just hope they get buried for their crummy DRM. They'll probably make a heap of cash, anyway.

I'm sure the devs expected it to be cracked, maybe even quickly - but they'll still make good money from these games. Users are lazy ... many aren't willing to troll warez sites to find the crack

That argument works both ways; with really intrusive DRM systems, it's often easier to use a pirated version.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366986)

Ubisoft can always blame "those damn pirates" and claim the DRM development as a failed project tax write off.

Failed or not, business costs are pretty much always tax free - you only pay tax on profits.

Re:On the bright side... (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367010)

Ubisoft can always blame "those damn pirates" and claim the DRM development as a failed project tax write off.

Not only that, but also so their shareholders don't sue them for failing due diligence. I suspect that's the real reason for all the failed DRM systems.

Well, what a surprise (1)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366490)

$10 says UbiSoft doesn't learn from this. Again.

At least I can use this in combination with a legitimate copy, to get the best of both worlds.

Re:Well, what a surprise (5, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366564)

I'm a big fan of Silent Hunter. But I won't buy or play the new one until they release it sans DRM. It's really funny; watching the videos from Subsim, you constantly see messages about "no internet" and then, a few seconds later, "internet reconnected". That sure helps you to remain immersed in a faithful WW2 sub sim. After all, Adolph would have won if not for his shitty broadband connection.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Subsim [youtube.com]

Re:Well, what a surprise (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366582)

I'm a fan of Silent Hunter as well. And I work for Ubisoft, so I can get it for really cheap from the company store. However, they would have to pay ME to play that shit. As a result, I'll be downloading it via bittorrent, just like the rest of you. Kudos to the clever hacker.

Re:Well, what a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366702)

Epic win!

Re:Well, what a surprise (1)

ekhben (628371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366588)

That's the worst of both worlds.

If you pirate it, you are open for prosecution. It doesn't matter if you also have a licensed copy, you still committed copyright violation. If you're OK with that risk, and the BSA don't seem too trigger happy against consumers right now, then go ahead and pirate it, but be aware that risk always exists.

If you buy it, you are supporting UbiSoft. You are supporting their game development team, which may be good, but also the boneheads who selected this DRM technology. They will only be reporting on sales to their managers, and if they can spin a story that their decisions, including the DRM, resulted in higher sales, they'll get a pat on the back and a "jolly good, carry on." If you want to do all of that, go ahead and buy it, but be aware that you can't support just the game devs and not the boneheads.

Re:Well, what a surprise (1)

True Vox (841523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366744)

Why would the BSA ever be trigger happy against consumers? Isn't their name an acronym for Business Software Alliance? Consumers aren't businesses, by definition (or am I missing something?) Beyond that, you're right, right down the line.

Re:Well, what a surprise (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366888)

You are missing something.

See: RIAA

Re:Well, what a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366940)

No, you're still missing something. The BSA does not represent game publishers, they represent publishers of, get ready for it, BUSINESS SOFTWARE.

Re:Well, what a surprise (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367072)

The BSA also doesn't really care about home users that much. They prefer to go after offices. Faceless corporations against another faceless corporation doesn't get you nearly as much bad press as suing grandma.

Re:Well, what a surprise (4, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366754)

If you buy it, you are supporting UbiSoft. You are supporting their game development team, which may be good, but also the boneheads who selected this DRM technology. They will only be reporting on sales to their managers, and if they can spin a story that their decisions, including the DRM, resulted in higher sales, they'll get a pat on the back and a "jolly good, carry on."

So if they release a game with nasty DRM and sales tank, they blame the sales on "piracy" and justify that as an excuse to toughen up the DRM.

If they release a game with nasty DRM and sales soar, or even remain steadyish, they assume that the DRM magically converted pirated copies into actual sales, and toughen up the DRM in the hopes that this trend continues.

In other words, we're boned either way.

Re:Well, what a surprise (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366894)

How the hell can you "pirate" something you are licensed to use? This is why it is a bone-head move to use the term piracy when you obviously mean unlicensed distribution.

Re:Well, what a surprise (2, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366832)

While you have a point, consider that if you pay for it you make them think their DRM is acceptable. As a compromise, I suggest buying it, pirating it, and writing an angry letter explaining the situation. It'll be ignored of course, but it would make me feel better.

Re:Well, what a surprise (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366948)

You might be surprised. You may actually get a human to respond.

Download it just to piss off Ubi. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366494)

I'm going to download all the cracked Ubi games just to be a dick. I'm not even going to play them. I'll just seed the cracked ones. Fuck Ubi. Software Nazi's.

The sad thing (4, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366496)

The really sad thing about this DRM being cracked is as much a win to the consumer as to the pirate. The pirate gets a game that functions under more circumstances than the consumer, which I imagine will lead to more consumers being pissed off at Ubisoft and resulting to pirate a game they've already paid for just so they can fucking play it without having a connection to the internet 24/7.

Good job Ubisoft, alienating customers will surely lower piracy rates and raise your stock prices.

Re:The sad thing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366648)

Actually no, because *I* will no longer buy Assassin's Creed 2 and people I know will not buy it either because of the DRM. I do not wish to dick around with cracking tools just so I can play a game.

But I'm certain Ubisoft would say they didn't want my money in the first place :)

And yes, the first game (Assassin's Creed 1) was good but was very laggy every time Ubisoft's servers crapped out. The solution was to unplug the ethernet cable to get a game you paid for playable!! So, no Ubisoft crap for me anymore.

And once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366498)

the legitimate customers lose! Ubisoft's encouragement of piracy has reached new heights with this move.

Is DRM socially irresponsible? (4, Insightful)

mrbene (1380531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366554)

Given that:
  • No DRM is perfect, and is therefore guaranteed to be cracked.
  • Hosting cracks is semi-legal at best.
  • Semi-legal sites tend to be supported by crappy advertising (at best) or malware installation (at worst)

I propose that, by shipping games with DRM, software vendors are promoting the dissemination of malware. This means that DRM is a direct contributor to spam, botnets, and all the other nasties that infest our Internet.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (5, Interesting)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366602)

Speaking of "socially irresponsible," DRM doesn't expire with a copyright, meaning that once a protected work falls into the public domain, people won't be able to use the work according to their rights under copyright law. Unless someone can point me to a clause in the DMCA that allows the circumvention of public domain works, that is. But people shouldn't have to crack public domain works to exercise their rights, whether it's legal to do so or not. (Plus, with anti-circumvention tools blanket-banned by the DMCA... well, I guess it doesn't matter whether it's legal, does it?)

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366704)

Doesn't matter really. Nothing released today is ever going to enter public domain (or, in any case, during any of our lifetimes). Copyright laws are almost getting worse than DRM... almost...

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (5, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366712)

What is this public domain you speak of?

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366732)

But people shouldn't have to crack public domain works to exercise their rights

Having the right to do something is not the same as having the right to be able to do it. I have the right to pilot a flying Tyrannosaurus while wearing a cowboy hat in my backyard, but that doesn't mean that manufacturers of such dinosaur [1] have to provide me with one.

[1] Please tell me they exist

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1)

daniel.b.douglas (1654503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366808)

Do you have a pilot's license, an exotic animal permit, and the right to use the airspace above your lawn for recreational pruposes?

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (5, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366798)

Unless someone can point me to a clause in the DMCA that allows the circumvention of public domain works, that is.

The DMCA would only apply to access control mechanisms that protect an underlying copyrighted work. There is case law on this; simply cracking an access control mechanism is not enough to run afoul of the DMCA, there has to be something copyrighted that is being protected by it (e.g. not just a short number for example). (However, cracking and access control mechanism to a copyrighted work without infringing the work will run afoul of the DMCA, so the law is still idiotic).

In this case if the work's copyright had expired, there would be no valid copyright in question, so the DMCA would not apply. But your point about the ban on distribution of tools in interesting... since in this hypothetical situation, a circumvention tool would probably contain material that could crack access controls on both copyrighted and copyright-expired works.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366848)

It's ok since copyright in America (and most countries due to treaties) is perpetual.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366618)

No, the problem is people that give them money because they just can't resist shiny.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366636)

And I propose that by limiting access to your router you are promoting the downloading of wifi crackers, and therefore are also contributing to spam, botnets, etc.

I demand you be imprisoned at once.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366746)

And I propose that by limiting access to your router you are promoting the downloading of wifi crackers, and therefore are also contributing to spam, botnets, etc.

No, that would only be true if he run a telecom that sold access to WiFi buy then was randomly changing the WEP password. Nice try though.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1)

darkmalice (1746974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366680)

I agree wholeheartedly with that first dot point. the developers/companies forget that the DRM code/algo what have you was created by humans and as with anything human-designed it isn't invulnerable, different thought patterns and ways of thinking will always find a way around something.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366786)

No, that's just dumb.

  • You pay taxes.
  • Taxes fund war.
  • Innocent civilians are killed in war.

Therefore, you are a direct contributor to murder? Give me a break. You don't kill civilians anymore than Ubisoft distributes malware (their own DRM notwithstanding). We can shut down Ubisoft when you start serving your life sentence.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366854)

I'd happily allow him to serve a life sentence if it would stop DRM. Modern day salvation anyone? :P

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366864)

This means that DRM is a direct contributor to spam, botnets, and all the other nasties that infest our Internet.

Evil begets evil.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366922)

I propose that, by shipping games with DRM, software vendors are promoting the dissemination of malware.

So the pirates who supply cracks containing malware, or on sites that have malware, are not the ones to blame? I propose that, you are an idiot.

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367002)

I propose that, by shipping games with DRM, software vendors are promoting the dissemination of malware. This means that DRM is a direct contributor to spam, botnets, and all the other nasties that infest our Internet.

Except that legit sceners release source code and instructions, not just binaries. At least the ones worth their salt do. Kiddies and crooks are the ones that wrap it up in malware.

snake oil salesmen rake in the cash again (2, Interesting)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367006)

While you said

guaranteed to be cracked

in jest (that humor itself is priceless), I certainly could not agree more. The reality of DRM is that the whole concept is flawed, by the logic alone. In that you have to give the user everything they need to run the app, or listen/watch to the media, so what is there to prevent someone skilled with IDA Pro from making it work for their own purposes after the DRM manages to sufficiently piss them off? So, you there you sit, you have the key, you have the data/code/bitstream, and you have the algorithm. Nothing prevents you from hacking apart the code and putting those three pieces back together in a different way other than what was intended, except for a few badly written laws like the DMCA. That's not a prevention, it's just a social mechanism that just serves to make the hackers self-righteous in their own mind, and therefore even 'more likely' to feel justified in 'getting back' at 'the bad-guys' (not my frame of mind, but its out there).

The sad thing is that with the use of DRM everyone looses, EXCEPT for the one peddling DRM as the 'answer to everything'. It's not. Reality could not be further from the truth. Yet these modern-day snake oil salesmen always manage to walk off with millions of dollars in their pockets while everyone else, including the owner of the copyrighted media being 'protected', get the shaft. It only hurts the owners bottom line, stiffs the purchaser who can't use the product, and the snake oil salesman lives in a big mansion somewhere on a hill. What is wrong with this picture? What we need is a new set of laws to protect us from snake oil salesmen, in that if you promise your product is going to do XYZ then you should not be legally shielded by some EULA when you promise something that is known by real experts to not be true. Selling a 'solution' under false pretences is the way I see it. If you sell snake oil you should pay the price.

btw - If you honestly believe that DRM can actually work, then Have I got a bridge for you!!...

Re:Is DRM socially irresponsible? (1, Interesting)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367060)

That argument is completely absurd (which makes me wonder the hell modded you +5 insightful!?). Just because you don't like DRM doesn't mean you can use broken logic to argue against it. You cannot blame DRM creators for malware because it doesn't make sense. It would be like blaming and then sentencing the woman for being raped (as she was wearing an attractive outfit). The fuckwits who try and fail to download cracks (and instead end up downloading malware) are entirely responsible for having an infected machine.

Ubisoft hates Troops (4, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366560)

And others with limited connectivity. I hope this DRM fails and fails hard, if only to scare other publishers away from something that is truly anti-customer (not consumer).

Re:Ubisoft hates Troops (0, Flamebait)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366730)

troops don't need to play ubisoft games, they have the real thing

Re:Ubisoft hates Troops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367020)

Many are fairly young and grew up with video games, and except for a few hot spots, most of the deployed military has a pretty dull day. They play video games all the damn time.

Re:Ubisoft hates Troops (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31367026)

Hey, after a hard day of trying not to die for real, being able to respawn might actually be pretty relaxing....

Normally vs. Now (5, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366592)

Normally I actually pay for my games. In most cases, I do it the old school way - I buy physical discs from physical stores. Lately though, companies like Ubisoft seem like they're treating me like a criminal for giving them my money. At this point, they're really making it more convenient for me to prove them right.

Re:Normally vs. Now (1)

DarkkOne (741046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366714)

If you pirate the game you say "I wanted to play this game badly enough to track down a pirated copy." I guarantee there's someone out there who sees that and says "so if we just made the DRM better, they'd be FORCED to play us." The only way to win is to just skip the game, and give your money to the devs who don't put DRM on their games in the first place. Pirating games, for ideological reasons as much as for financial ones, just reinforces the horrible cycle. There's no game out there so good that you can't just skip it. The sad thing is, though, that some developers have noted that releasing a game DRM free doesn't really decrease the rate of piracy. Plenty of people who are stealing the game are doing it because that's what they do, rather than for ideological reasons. The idea is often to prevent casual sharing, such as one person burning copies of the disk for his friends, and almost any DRM does that. Heck, even DVD CSS pretty much does that. Most nontechnical people can't copy DVDs but still use them, and that's "good enough." I know you guys all think it's some big ideological thing to hate DRM, but there's two bad guys in this war. Hate both of them. You can't seriously expect companies to regularly say "hey, steal our work all you want." They're going to put in any protective measures they can come up with that they think will help their profit margin, and as long as it's profitable to do so (as long as piracy is so rampant) they're going to keep doing it no matter how long you shout "it's hurting your customers" at them - if it were really, really hurting their customers as much as you try to make it sound, it would also be hurting their bottom line enough for them to see the point.

Re:Normally vs. Now (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366840)

the effort required to "track down" a copy is far far less then the effort to earn the money to buy the game, so there will always be people who will go for the torrented copy no matter what.

business also can't ever be expected to make games so cheap they can compete with free.

i don't however think DRM that phones home constantly and causes problems with your PC even after playing should be an acceptable answer. I think the answer lies not in DRM, but in content being provided post sale which can only be accessed with a key system. you can make key systems as good as uncrackable because the server reponse stays with the publisher. it releases the gamer from retarded restrictions like perminately on DRM and provides enough incentive for people to buy the game.

sure people will probably pirate the base game, but they will loose out in the long run not getting extended content. just look at how successful WoW is.

Re:Normally vs. Now (1)

DarkkOne (741046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366968)

Honestly, I've long felt Episodic content was almost a better answer. Give me a $10 game that's 1/6 the content of a normal game. Give it the ability to download the next 'episode' as I go and I can pay $10 for each new sixth of the game I want to play. If I don't enjoy a game enough to beat it, I can only pay the $30 for the half of it I played. I'd probably spend more on games if I knew I was mostly going to only be playing for the bits I used, since I'd be more willing to take gambles.

Re:Normally vs. Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367058)

I think the answer lies not in DRM, but in content being provided post sale which can only be accessed with a key system. you can make key systems as good as uncrackable because the server reponse stays with the publisher. it releases the gamer from retarded restrictions like perminately on DRM and provides enough incentive for people to buy the game.

sure people will probably pirate the base game, but they will loose out in the long run not getting extended content. just look at how successful WoW is.

Key systems aren't as good as uncrackable. Look at the DLC for Rock Band. You can mod an xbox and be able to use all the downloadable content.

Further, it has the same problems as this DRM scheme, in that, if the company goes out of business, you no longer have the ability to play the content that you rightfully purchased. Maybe it works fine on the original PC you downloaded it to, but when you upgrade, what if you can't download it again? What if you can't copy it over?

So many publishers that were "too big to fail" in the '80s and '90s are gone now. You think I'm going to be able to validate my copy of "Diablo 3" in 10 years, even if Blizzard is still around? It's not even released yet, and I find that unlikely.

And I'll ignore the misuse of 'loose' instead of 'lose'... or maybe I won't.

Is Skid-Row still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366594)

I owe to them, from the 1990s, a couple of Amiga pir.. er.. evaluation version games.

Seriously (1)

blackholepcs (773728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366614)

Did no one see this coming? Every time one of these customer-raping companies says they have achieved new levels of DRM-Uncrackableness, they are proven wrong within 24 hours. How stupid are these people to continue to waste millions of dollars trying to secure their software from being pirated, only to have their efforts shown for naught within a day, three days at the most? And how do they not fucking understand that all they are truly doing is pissing off customers and running their company name into the ground? Every time I hear about a company pulling this crap I get more disgusted with software companies. Oh, I know they have a right to protect their properties and profits and all that jazz. But, damnit, consumers have a right to expect a certain level of quality and usability WITHOUT draconian restrictions and double talk and non-ownership-of-a-product-you-paid-to-own type bullshit. This is EXACTLY the reason I choose to pirate a large amount of the games I play. I paid for Mass Effect because of the outstanding (to me) gameplay and story/graphics. Same goes for Dragon Age : Origins, The Witcher, Boderlands, and Divinity II : Ego Draconis. Yes, there is a bit of DRM to those games, but it isn't anywere near as retarded, insulting, lame, fucked up, and basically fucking illegal (or at least it SHOULD be illegal) as forcing me to be connected to the internet to play a god damned single player game that, other than the fucking DRM, has abso-fucking-lutley no reason to connect to the internet. Fuck Ubi and I hope with all seriuosness that Assassin's Creed 2 gets cracked and becomes the most pirated game in history while simultaneously becoming the biggest financial failure in the history of video games. Maybe then these companies will stop with the DRM and find a mutally agreeable way to protect their work without screwing over their customers.

fail (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366642)

from a typical business mind set i can totally see why software houses do DRM. the problem is that the supply and demand models that our businesses run on don't actually apply all that well to digital media. there is an infinate supply, and demand can change in a single day, based on a one news article.

instead of focusing on selling goods, they should suck it up and realise they are selling a service and model themselfs around the hospitality industry where customer satisfaction is king.

nfo file (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366652)

I noticed the quoted nfo file on TFA's page. It made me wonder how many people out there only ever see nfo files as random bizarre characters with no alignment, rather than the relatively aesthetically pleasing monospace-font designed pages that they really are. Case in point, compare the quoted block in the article with this. [nfohump.com]

Of course pirates always get a superior product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366710)

They didn't have to pay for it, duh. How could businesses possibly match that and make money?

This stupid meme really needs to stop. It's getting old.

to all people who claim there's no perfect DRM (0, Redundant)

soge13 (1760068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366764)

PS3's DRM has not been successfully cracked. There were some reports recently, but you still cannot buy a PS3 and run pirated games on it. It will only get worse for future devices.

Thanks a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366774)

Great! Now the next attempt at DRM will be even worse. Every concession they try to make to honest consumers is another loophole for pirates to exploit.

Hey, pirates: could you guys stop thinking of yourselves for five minutes and stop contributing to this childish arms race? If you don't approve of the DRM (or the gameplay, or the story, or...) then DO NOT PLAY THE GAME. By pirating it, you're convincing them that you would be a potential customer if they could only force you hard enough. By NOT PLAYING, you actually tell them that this is unacceptable. All you're doing is screwing over the people who actually want to support the game developers.

It's just a game, christ; find something else to do.

Re:Thanks a lot (1)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366866)

All you're doing is screwing over the people who actually want to support the game developers.

The DRM developers are doing that a lot more effectively than the DRM crackers are.

Re:Thanks a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367070)

That's funny. Let's see who we can blame for this mess.

1. Ubisoft. Well, duh, they put the DRM in.
2. Paying customers who are willingly supporting the DRM.
3. Pirates who crack the DRM.

Have we forgotten anyone?

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366794)

Just because a really good player can beat Ubisoft's DRM Game in one day doesn't mean it isn't a fun game. I'm sure us "normal" geeks can get countless days of entertainment out of trying to break this DRM ourselves.

People are always in denial (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366820)

Imagine a person, in a casino, sitting at a slot machine. They're pumping coin into it and steadi;y losing everything. They know that they should walk away, but they can't. Walking away means admitting to themself and others that they lost. And so they keeping telling themself that if they keep playing long enough, they will win back enough to at least break even.

The same is true of Ubisoft, Microsoft and all the other companies who keep pumping money into the DRM slot machine. Year after year they keep coming up with new DRM schemes to replace all the previous ones that have failed (ie, all of them). They can't stop. To stop would be an admisison of failure. An admission that even if they created uncrackable DRM, the extra sales revenue wouldn't even come close to covering the cost of creating and maintainging new DRM schemes.

It would be funny, it it wasn't so stupid.

Re:People are always in denial (5, Funny)

TBedsaul (95979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366976)

It would be funny, it it wasn't so stupid.

It's still pretty funny...

won't crak all the drms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366824)

http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/21961.cfm

And what is there plan for people who don't have g (1, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366846)

And what is there plan for people who don't have good internet / have high pings? stand by and let buy the game and just download a hacked exe?

Re:And what is there plan for people who don't hav (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366958)

Well, you can always just walk away and not play. It's not like you don't have any choice in the matter.

You're all dicks (1, Insightful)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366874)

Developers: Lets not put DRM in our software so that everyone can play the game without problems!

Management: I don't know about this...

Pirates: Awesome! We can steal the game and play it for free with no problems!

Customers... Oh, too bad there are no customers because everyone stole the game.

Management: Developers, I'm sorry, but our last game didn't make any ROI so you're all fired.

Developers: We should have used DRM...

I love how everyone bashes DRM without thinking of the consequences of not using any. Pirating is far too widespread. For every person who pirates a game, less games are made for the PC for this very reason. Pirates blame the developers for using DRM, the quality of the game is reduced for actual customers, yet the pirates are the one to blame.

Stop trying to spin the argument, pirates. You're the very reason that this shit happens.

Re:You're all dicks (4, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366946)

I love how everyone bashes DRM without thinking of the consequences of not using any. Pirating is far too widespread. For every person who pirates a game, less games are made for the PC for this very reason. Pirates blame the developers for using DRM, the quality of the game is reduced for actual customers, yet the pirates are the one to blame. Stop trying to spin the argument, pirates. You're the very reason that this shit happens.

I'm feeding the troll, but... prove that a downloaded copy is a lost sale and I'll concede your point.

(you might also consider the hypothesis that DRM exists not to stop piracy, which it doesn't, but to lock customers to specific devices and/or to get them to re-buy the same content over and over, which it does.)

Re:You're all dicks (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366994)

The issue is that DRM really doesn't help all that much to stop piracy. In order to be effective, the DRM has to work against EVERY SINGLE PERSON. As soon as one person cracks it, they throw up the torrent of the DRM-free version and that's where all the casual pirates get it from. No expertise is needed on the general pirate parts, just one hacker.

With the game Spore, it was very obvious that the DRM had been cracked - the game was one of the most pirated ever, but it was also highly profitable. The only thing was the paying users had to deal with a crappy DRM system, while the pirates didn't. People still bought the game though despite getting a worse version AND having to pay for it. Just think how many people would pay if it were an equal version!

Re:You're all dicks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367018)

Uh ..... No.

See, you may have had a point, except that Stardock proved that you're line of thought is wrong. They released Galactic Civilizations 2 without any DRM. It was a success for them, with many buying it simply because it had no DRM and they wanted to support the company.

DRM is shit and will always be shit. Piracy should be viewed as a cost of doing business, not as an excuse to wage war against the people you're trying to sell to.

Re:No you're a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31367034)

And now we have it your way:

Management: Developers we're using DRM this time, period.

Developers: OK, we think we have an unbeatable system.

Customers: Lame.

Pirates: We cracked it.

Management: That unbeatable system was beaten and now the game is being pirated. Unfortunately we wasted untold billions paying you to develop that system and now that it's been broken and we're losing trillions in sales you're all fired.

go fuck yourself troll.

Yeah no surprise (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366906)

This is not the first internet based anti-piracy tool circumvented. There have been plenty in the past.

Human deterrent (4, Interesting)

redkazuo (977330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366916)

How about this DRM:

1. Ubisoft creates a reasonably simple (read cheap) traditional DRM;
2. Ubisoft promises to donate five thousand dollars to cancer research for each day the game goes without being cracked, for a year.

I think they'd have better chances that way. Don't you?

Re:Human deterrent (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366964)

you haven't played online games much have you. a lot of the people on there are childish dicks.

any games shipping sans drm these days? (3, Interesting)

thenextstevejobs (1586847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31366928)

you'd think some companies might enjoy the sort of publicity and awareness they'd get out of having a lot of people use their software... and without fear on top of it!

fuck you Ubisoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31366938)

I was excited about Assassin's Creed 2 until information about its DRM showed up. Steam describes it as: "Ubisoft requires a permanent Internet connection to play this video game at all times."

Fuck that shit. I haven't pirated a game in over three years (since I got out of college and have money to spend) and have purchased several of Ubusoft's games over the years: Assassin's Creed 1, Beyond Good and Evil, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Far Cry 2 (I don't care what anyone says -- this one kicked ass), and a couple of the Splinter Cells. I'm sympathetic to the desire to limit software piracy -- software development isn't cheap and games can be risky -- but here is one almost guaranteed sale that you've fucked up, Ubusoft. I'd still like to play the game, but I definitely can't, in good conscience, allow my money to make this sort of shit look successful.

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