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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the there's-a-lesson-here-that-nobody-will-learn dept.

Networking 279

Joe Helfrich writes "Ubisoft's Settlers 7 servers have been causing problems for over a week for users worldwide, and Australian gamers are hardly able to connect at all. 'The problem reportedly strikes after the game has already confirmed an active Internet connection, and prevents the user from playing even the single-player campaign, returning the error "server not available." But they are available, because other people are logged into them and merrily playing away.' Wonder how they're going to describe this one as an attack."

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Settlers 7 (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717090)

I won't be buying Settlers 7 before they remove this DRM. Settlers is one of my favorite series and Settlers 2 probably my favorite game of all time, and what I've read about Settlers 7, it again has more emphasis on economy and all the other aspects that used to make Settlers series great before they changed the game play too much. Settlers 7 would had been a nice strategy game fix right now, but I can surely wait for the upcoming Civilization V too.

That being said, while it's an intrusive and assholish DRM, every game that uses it's remain uncracked (before you post links to torrent searches, everyone of those are badly cracked or only contain a tutorial and not rest of the levels and so on). Silent Hunter after 1.5 months, Assassins Creed after a month and now Settlers 7 too. It will most likely make Ubisoft want to use it even more and more, and it most likely does lead to more sales from the pirates front as they can't play the game otherwise. I also suspect it leads to fewer sales from those who always buy games (from me and probably rest of the slashdot crowd), but most of the people aren't as technically savvy as we are. Too bad you can't really compare how a game would sell without any DRM or with a draconian DRM like this one.

But in the case it gets cracked, I won't be even pirating it - I give my time and money to the companies that do it correctly. Pirating it isn't a good answer either because you're still getting your gaming fix from that company and most likely ignoring other companies games that don't have such DRM in place. The only way to get a change is to ignore companies that use draconian DRM and support those who don't.

Re:Settlers 7 (4, Interesting)

IceDiver (321368) | about 4 years ago | (#31717224)

It might lead to more sales, but not from me.

I won't buy them, and I won't try to download any of these games, even if they ARE successfully cracked. Besides being illegal, it would just give UbiS*** ammo for their claims that they are losing sales to pirates.

Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message.

Re:Settlers 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717396)

No, actually it's sending a message to Ubisoft that their DRM works. We want to send the message that they are losing sales BECAUSE of DRM. It certainly worked for Spore.

Re:Settlers 7 (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717472)

No, actually it's sending a message to Ubisoft that their DRM works. We want to send the message that they are losing sales BECAUSE of DRM. It certainly worked for Spore.

No. Pirating the game will just tell Ubisoft that you like their game but they need to make their DRM stronger so they get you to buy a game you like. At the same time you're also getting your gaming fix from the game you pirated and won't be alternatively buying games from developers and publishers that dont include such DRM. Not only are you showing to the bad companies that they need to strenghter their DRM, you're advancing their business by them keeping you from spending money on their competitors.

The only good answer is not to buy and not pirate it altogether, but ignore the whole game.

Re:Settlers 7 (5, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 4 years ago | (#31717502)

"Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message."

I'm afraid your wrong.

They will simply decide that your lack of a purchase is proof of your piracy.

People aren't buying their games? It must be piracy!

Re:Settlers 7 (3, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | about 4 years ago | (#31717636)

Assassin's Creed 2 still hasn't been cracked successfully, and doesn't seem to sell particularly well. At least not enough to indicate that every pirated game is a lost sale.

Re:Settlers 7 (1, Troll)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31717992)

"Assassin's Creed 2 still hasn't been cracked successfully,"

Nonsense. Quit using torrents and worm your way into the real release scene. I beat ACII before it was even released. That DRM has been cracked.

Re:Settlers 7 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31718034)

No, you're a wannabe who doesn't know shit. Your very comment tells it.

Re:Settlers 7 (4, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#31717568)

The message is already out there: the World of Warcraft client doesn't contain anything that would resemble DRM, copy protection, registration, whatever. You just copy it over from your friend, and run it. Changing from the retail server to a private one is accomplished by changing one line in a plain text file with Notepad.

Here's the trick: the game you pay for is better than the one you get for free. The maintainers of the private servers simply cannot keep up with Blizzard's development speed. They're not threatening Blizzard's profit, they're basically marketing for them.

Let me say it again, in case someone from Ubisoft reads this. The WoW you pay for is better than the one you get for free.

Re:Settlers 7 (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717608)

You cant really compare an MMO and a single-player game. Most of World of Warcraft work is done on server-side, including quests, NPC's, interacting with other players, trading.. etc almost everything. Private servers cant keep up with Blizzard because so much is kept on server side. In fact, this is something that Ubisoft would take as a pro thing for their DRM - start keeping even more on server-side and it will never be breakable. The unavailability of cracked versions of the games having this DRM already shows this very same thing.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | about 4 years ago | (#31717700)

Worse, you can compare. Maybe in the future, instead of downloading a game, you will only download the image, and send you keystrokes to a server. I'm sure I saw this idea somewhere. It means you will be able to play better games on worse computer, true, but I'd rather play on my computer with no need for net.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717794)

I'm sure I saw this idea somewhere. It means you will be able to play better games on worse computer, true, but I'd rather play on my computer with no need for net.

OnLive [onlive.com]. They even do explicit distribution contracts with developers so that their games are only playable via their streaming platform, like you describe.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

SScorpio (595836) | about 4 years ago | (#31717878)

You probably saw the this from OnLive who is supposedly launching this summer though there is at least on competing service as well. The main issue with them is that it looks like you pay a monthly fee to access the service, and then you still need to purchase the individual games that are then linked to your account. Their reported ability to pause a game a anytime and then resume it minutes, hours, weeks later on a different computer located across the country is pretty neat though. As well as the fact that since they are steaming video, they added the ability to save clips after they occurred, so if you have one of those cool moments in a game you could save a clip and post it to youtube to show off to your friends.

http://www.onlive.com/ [onlive.com]

Re:Settlers 7 (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#31717702)

In fact, this is something that Ubisoft would take as a pro thing for their DRM - start keeping even more on server-side and it will never be breakable.

See, that's the difference. Blizzard stays ahead of the private servers by making a superior product. Ubisoft thinks they can require an internet connection for a single-player game.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717858)

You ignored most of my points. WoW is only a superior product because by design their game is closed. It doesn't need DRM on executables or game data as nobody has a direct access to their server-side assets. In a way this is exactly what Ubisoft is doing - are you saying that their DRM laden product is superior one?

Re:Settlers 7 (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#31718142)

Nonsense. WoW doesn't include DRM, because the whole MMO model is DRM.

The problem with Ubisoft games is that it's supposed to be a single-player game, yet it requires a constant internet connection to play them. That's not a problem with WoW because MMO are supposed to require an internet connection.

Re:Settlers 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31718338)

Besides being illegal, it would just give UbiS*** ammo for their claims that they are losing sales to pirates.

I think you are under the misconception that they would only make that claim if they knew people were pirating it.

Fact is, companies expect X sales from their game. If they don't get (X * 1.5) sales, they WILL make the claim that copyright infringement is the cause. It doesn't matter if it's the greatest hit ever released or the shittiest game ever conceived. If they don't blame the "pirates" (Even if there are none) then the only ones left to take the blame for poor sales are THEMSELVES.

And that means shareholders select a new million dollar CEO at the next corporate meeting.

Re:Settlers 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717232)

Of all three games, Assassin's Creed II is the only one of note in that it actually has a decent following, but also has a console version. If Ubisoft does this with their Tom Clancy line of games, it won't take long before enough pirates are motivated to really break the game's DRM in half.

While highly publicized, all three games are still protected through relative obscurity. A similar DRM wouldn't last too long if it were implemented on the next Modern Warfare.

Re:Settlers 7 (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#31717300)

it most likely does lead to more sales from the pirates front as they can't play the game otherwise.

I seriously doubt this. Pirates are after free stuff. Even ye olde sea pirates were after free stuff. It's not like they'd say "Yarr, we haven't found a spice merchant ship to raid in over a month, lets go legally buy some spices at port and sell them at another port." No, they'd just go raid a small village somewhere.

This type of DRM will cause nothing but loss for Ubisoft. They spent money to make it (or license it), pirates will move elsewhere, and people that would have bought it will be reduced in number because they hear from their friends "It never lets me play!", assuming they didn't hear from their techy friends that "It won't let you play some day".

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717364)

While definitely not all of the pirates will buy it, it would be foolish to think some of them aren't just trying to get the game for free, like these comments show [nfohump.com]. It would probably have been more true in the 90's, but piracy is widespread now and many people use it just to get something for free. If they can't get something they really want, they will then buy it.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 4 years ago | (#31718364)

If they can't get something they "really" want, they will redirect their digital lust to a different product.

I'm not picking on you personally, but please, everyone, stop making these unfounded generalizations about piracy. This isn't Digg, goddamnit! We're supposed to be educated.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

centuren (106470) | about 4 years ago | (#31717478)

Of course, software pirates aren't actually the pirates of yore. I agree, though, they are generally after free stuff. I know there's at least a small percentage who download a cracked game in the absence of a good demo, and have bought the game trying it out. For the most part, however, I think game pirates are like music pirates: the vast, vast majority of what they download can not be considered lost sales. It's not being downloaded as a substitute for buying the game/cd, it's being downloaded because it's there, it's free, and the pirate has at least passing interest. "Content Piracy" means there's no need to weight cost against value, so I think most pirates with a big hard drive and fast connection download for the sake of accumulating the content. If one has a terabyte+ of games, music, and movies, ever-growing in size, then consuming that content doesn't really seem like it's at the heart of that endeavor.

Re:Settlers 7 (3, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 4 years ago | (#31717712)

Except Piracy is stealing fucking ships on the open seas.

And downloading and cracking software is .... downloading and cracking software.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 years ago | (#31717302)

It might lead to more short term sales. People have lots of path commitment. If you were anticipating playing a certain up coming title when it became available you will like do whatever you have to do to get there even if that means paying for when your original plan was pirate it.

If people have a bad experience because of the DRM they won't start anticipating the next round of titles in the first place, and that will translate to lost sales.

Re:Settlers 7 (2, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | about 4 years ago | (#31717470)

I agree. The solution to the DRM problem lies with the consumer. If the consumer refuses to buy games that include DRM, companies that use it will need to make the change due to "market forces" in action.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

Rallion (711805) | about 4 years ago | (#31718030)

If customers just stop buying their games, the determination will not be that they need to stop implementing harsh DRM. It will be that there are not enough people willing to buy PC games legitimately. Their sales were too low before because of the pirates, and now they're too low because those pirates won't pay for the games even if they make them uncrackable. If sales are even lower than they were before, it's because the PC market is shrinking.

They will decide to switch to an all-console strategy, while legions of PC gamers just want them to publish something they can play without jumping through hoops.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

JackDW (904211) | about 4 years ago | (#31717518)

Same - although in my case, the game I won't be buying (or pirating) is R.U.S.E.

If we reward Ubisoft's DRM with money, then it won't be long before every publisher adopts this DRM strategy. Goodbye, Steam offline mode, we hardly knew ye.

By steadfastly refusing to reward the publishers, we at least create the possibility that DRM will be cut back to a bare minimum in order to increase sales. "Amazon MP3 for Games": that is the goal. It's not life or death, but it's important enough to change my behaviour.

Re:Settlers 7 (2, Informative)

Rallion (711805) | about 4 years ago | (#31717946)

I plan to find a way to get in contact with Ubisoft and tell them WHY I'm not buying RUSE. I played the beta a bit, and I really like it, and I can honestly say that the DRM will cost them my money. But not buying it isn't actually helpful, because they will twist any sales numbers or piracy estimates to mean whatever they want. We've reached a point where the only way that we can actually communicate with the publishers is to actually directly spell out our feelings to them in verbal or written form.

If they misinterpret a letter that says "I would have purchased this game if it didn't have this awful DRM, instead I will give my disposable income to your competitors," we really know that it's a lost cause.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

jargon82 (996613) | about 4 years ago | (#31718214)

I tried REALLY hard to find a good way to contact ubi about silent hunter. I LOVE the silent hunter series, and I was ready and willing to buy it, but not with this DRM. I have every previous version of the game, all paid for. Silent Hunter 3 is the best, a brilliant, fun game that I've probably put several hundred hours into (a lot for me).

Anyway, I failed. The support email I found for them bounces. The people on the phone don't care. They are lost at sea.
My last attempt was emailing jaime.cottini@ubisoft.com, apparently someone who does PR. I figure this is a PR issue, or would be, if they cared what we thought. The full message follows. It was sent on March 23rd, 2010, and as yet I've received no response.


Hello Jaime, I hope this finds you well,
Yes, this is misdirected, although I'd paint it as a "public relations" issue. The further I go here, the more I come to the conclusion that ubisoft is terribly out of touch with their long standing customers and will only become more so with this path. I've been trying to get this message through... a message from someone who sees a good enjoyable game that is being stuck behind a wall, for over a month now. I've emailed (and had the mail rejected, from addresses I found on ubi's various sites) repeatedly. This morning, I tried again, with the same results. So I'm appealing to you, as one of the only addresses I can find and hoping this one doesn't bounce, to read this, and see what I have to say.

If you scroll down, you can see the initial email and my initial thoughts, as of this morning. This isn't terribly different from the message I've been trying to send for the last month (or more). But in trying to do so, I've come across what I see as a deeper issue... a complete lack of attention to what the paying customer actually wants.

No customer wants to require an internet connection to play a game. No customer wants to spend many hours trying to figure out how to relay their desires. It seems clear to me that ubi has lost sight of the customer, and no longer really cares about what they want. There are not many publishers left who I can feel comfortable buying from with DRM restrictions and attitudes like this. Maybe ubi can turn around, and maybe ubi can even turn the tide and set an example, to their own benefit , of what is possible.

I will wait and see. While I do not expect a response, I nevertheless would appreciate one.

Re:Settlers 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717588)

As usual, sopssa just posts useless drivel without any rational thought your useful point. Anyway, the Settlers 7 problem is isolated to just a few users who don't understand how their own computers work. The game runs just fine for me, no problems. Maybe if they'd stop using cracked versions, they wouldn't have issues with the DRM.

Re:Settlers 7 (3, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 years ago | (#31717812)

It's also led to one of the worst backlashes ever. I mean, half of the PCGamer review of AC2 was about the DRM scheme and how it sucked. This thing is so intrusive and aggressive that people WILL notice it, even the less tech savvy. Further, those same non-geeks won't get what's going on (people who do understand what's happening might just wait, knowing there isn't much else to do), will angrily flood Ubisoft's tech support asking for answers and thus maybe one day Ubisoft will understand that it may not be the best way to go.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

JWW (79176) | about 4 years ago | (#31718022)

The next step is for those less tech savvy folks to begin flooding their Attorney General's offices with phone calls.

If a company requires internet service to run the game and a customer has the legally purchased game and internet service, but can't play the game, the company is being fraudulent in their marketing and sales for the game.

There should be an expectation (which has been true since the beginning of gaming) that if a single player sits down with a game and has an adequate system to play it that they should be able to PLAY THE GAME. The requirement that the game company have enough servers working and available to authenticate all possible customers querying the DRM servers, is IMHO absolute. Otherwise the company is selling fradulent software.

As to the companies being victims of DOS attacks, too bad. The customer has an expectation of the product working as advertised. If the customers can't use the product as designed to play the game they were sold, I think they have a right to sue over their grievances.

It amazes me how fast we've gone from "the customer is always correct" to "f the customer". If I were an Ubisoft customer and could not play this game due to their incompetence, I'd enact a lifetime ban on me buying their products.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

makomk (752139) | about 4 years ago | (#31717854)

Supposedly, the Silent Hunter crack does actually work, it's just that many people are incapable of actually reading the instructions that tell you how to use it.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 4 years ago | (#31718270)

Um, surely if a crack is so complicated most people who try to use it fail then the DRM can be considered a "success"?

It's unfortunate that UbiSoft apparently can't keep their servers online. I have no doubt at all that some pissed-off crackers are venting their frustration through DoS attacks, but UbiSoft should have been able to anticipate that and build out enough capacity and expertise to handle very large attacks.

That said, it doesn't surprise me that this sort of DRM is hard to crack. I don't know how they implemented it, but I already predicted that net-based DRM can be significantly stronger than disk based [slashdot.org]. There's just a whole lot more potential for forcing adversaries into white-box reversing which can be a lot harder than simply building a better drive emulator.

I don't think this sort of DRM is going away if there are really no cracks out yet. I doubt the DRM in UbiSofts games is as strong as theoretically possible but it's apparently strong enough. Building DoS-proof, high uptime sites is definitely possible, look at Google or Microsoft for examples of this. So I fully expect other companies to follow their lead. Don't like it? Get a console ....

Re:Settlers 7 (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | about 4 years ago | (#31717882)

This isn't going to lead to a sales boost. When I was 14 and a pirate I pirated because I was poor. Every game I didn't or couldn't pirates wasn't a game I bought. It was just a game I didn't own.

Well, now I am twenty something and out of college with an engineering degree. I am single, make a tidy pile of money, and have pretty much no expenses beyond student loans. I buy every single video game that catches my fancy without thinking twice. I never pirate because I don't need to. I just pass on DRM titles. There are more than enough without DRM that it isn't a hard decision.

Ubi has lost money from me. I would have bought Assassins Creed 2 and Settlers 7. Hell, I was even eying Silent Hunter 5 a little. Instead though? I just went out and got Bioshock 2, both Empire and Napolian Total War, the new STALKER, the new Dragons Age, and Mass Effect 2, on top of a couple of small indie games. Metro 2037 and MW2 are in my list of games to buy as soon as I catch up on the pile I have already bought.

I really doubt Ubi has "forced' pirates to buy any games. They might not be playing any Ubi games, but what good does that do if they don't buy the game either? For people like me though, I have not and will not buy any Ubi games. Keep a pirate from playing and you gain nothing. Make me and people like me not want to play, and you lose a few hundred bucks.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 4 years ago | (#31717904)

Silent Hunter after 1.5 months

Actually, SKIDROW's Silent Hunter V crack was out within 24 hours of the game's release and it works just fine. Of course, I wouldn't know this from personal experience.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

Smauler (915644) | about 4 years ago | (#31717960)

I'm with you. Football Manager 2009 had nasty DRM, the first game I purchased which really pissed me off with it, and I vowed then and there I wouldn't ever purchase another single player PC game that required an internet connection. Hell, I didn't even have an internet connection here until a few months ago. Anyway, football manager 2010 came out, with no really nasty DRM, and I bought it, and posted a reply to my scathing forum post about 2009, saying I had bought 2010 purely because of the lack of DRM. Dragon Age : Origins was going to have heavy DRM right up until a couple of weeks prior to launch, and I was hugely pissed at that - however, they dropped the DRM and I bought it.

Anyway, I was going to buy Settlers 7, but like you, am definitely not until it gets fixed.

Re:Settlers 7 (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31717978)

"That being said, while it's an intrusive and assholish DRM, every game that uses it's remain uncracked"

I'm not going to post links to torrents but I know for a fact it has been reliably cracked. I was playing ACII before it ever hit the shelves and beat it before release.

Re:Settlers 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717982)

Actually it is cracked, kinda.


Re:Settlers 7 (5, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | about 4 years ago | (#31718230)

I don't really think it leads to more sales. Let's suppose I'm a pirate (*ahem*). If I can't play Settlers 7, or Assassin's Creed 2, or whatever hot-game-of-the-minute, I will find something else to occupy my weekend. I'm not going to feel the overwhelming urge to go "haha, ok Ubisoft you win this time" and give them $70, when there are hundreds of other recent titles available right on the first page of my torrent site. In fact, if something is known to be "uncrackable" a pirate is more likely to NOT want to buy it, for fear that it will rootkit their PC, mess with Daemon Tools, or phone home with a list of all the other ill-gotten software they have.

Now I'm going to take a rather offensive stance: I, as an occasional producer of (low budget) software, pirate my own stuff. By that, I mean I routinely package the product that I myself created, throw in a valid unlock code, and seed it on torrent trackers, push it through Usenet, stick it on Rapidshare. Why in the fuck would I do that ? Because pirates make up the oldest and largest social network of all time. I shit you not, I have been making more money and more repeat sales. The reasoning ? There are several types of pirates, I lump them into four main categories:

    1. Hardcore pirates who won't pay for software, ever
    2. Casual/bored pirates who will download whatever's new and try it out
    3. Average Joe who shares stuff with a few friends and relatives, might do group buys
    4. Try-before-you-buy types (yes they do exist)

#1 is most likely 12 years old and/or living in the 3rd world, might as well forget about them there is no hope for this category

#3 is small peas, blue-collar cheap-ass. Even legit businesses don't spend much on marketing to these types

#2 and #4 are GOLDEN. The try-before-they-buy types often become life-long supporters. These are the guys who will chat you up in the forums and spread your gospel to coworkers and acquaintances. The casual pirates are similar, but they won't buy your product: their friends will. The casual pirate will blog about your app or mention it on IRC/Facebook, proportionate to your app's quality and apparent ease-of-use.

I know these observations don't directly scale to these big-name game houses. Obviously there is a greater benefit to indie guys like myself, but on some level, people will always buy a certain portion of their software... for some it's 100%, for others it's zero, and I don't think DRM has much influence on that.

Piracy is a constant. You can't kill it, no matter how clever you get, it's still just a software or hardware lock, and both can be broken by someone with a bit of smarts, time and motivation. DRM is nothing but a series of small pyrrhic victories and each incremental tightening of "security" leads to an equal or greater increment in the cracker's knowledge and skill. The only ones who truly profit from DRM are the people selling DRM.

The pirated version has none of these problems (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717158)

I hear the pirated version of settlers 7 has none of these problems. Best of all: I hear you can get this "pirate" version for free!

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717250)

Actually, you have to play the "pirate" version with the sound mixer on your computer set to 0 for the game because it won't stop yelling "aarrgh!" and "now ye be givin' me yer wallet matey!" (not unlike the DRM version).

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31717280)

Why is this flamebait? It's entirely relevant to the story and makes a valid point. DRM doesn't affect pirates, it just degrades the product for the legitimate customers and makes the pirated version more attractive in comparison. It's much easier to persuade a legitimate customer to switch to the pirated version than it is to do the reverse, and DRM schemes like this have exactly that effect. Any company that spends money driving its customers away is badly in need of new management.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717412)

It's so because there are no working cracks for Settlers 7, and the anonymous coward is just shouting out the usual piracy shit that add nothing to the conversation. It's not a valid point until the pirates can actually pirate it, and it's been 1.5 months with Assassins Creed 2 now that uses the same system.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 years ago | (#31717620)

It's so because there are no working cracks for Settlers 7

It's no different for paying customers either, evidently: the DRM version doesn't work, so whether you pirate the game or buy it properly, in the end you still have a non-working program.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#31717726)

It's so because there are no working cracks for Settlers 7, and the anonymous coward is just shouting out the usual piracy shit that add nothing to the conversation. It's not a valid point until the pirates can actually pirate it, and it's been 1.5 months with Assassins Creed 2 now that uses the same system.

Assassins Creed 2's DRM was cracked in one day, it was even on Slashdot.
http://slashdot.org/story/10/03/05/027258/Ubisofts-New-DRM-Cracked-In-One-Day [slashdot.org]

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717750)

> it was even on Slashdot.
Then it must be true.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717932)

It's false news. The crack doesn't actually work - just read this forum thread [nfohump.com]. You get all kinds of weird problems like cannot accept quests, cannot advance in the game, cant use items and so on... Or this: http://filenetworks.blogspot.com/2010/04/ipaki-group-aftermath.html [blogspot.com]

As you can see, new Tweets are glorifying UBISoft DRM which has so far been successful against PC game pirates. But is it the best future protection? We don’t think so. “It withstood all the efforts to get cracked.” All? Not all. Several folks in a well known Russian underground community (CS.RIN.RU) are working on a server emulation patch – and they’ve been partially successful so far and have apparently got the game to work until sequence 5. Their method involves playing a legit copy of the game, logging all responses that come from UBISoft servers and building a complete server emulator. However to make the emulator complete, they will have to explore the game 100% which is a time consuming process. Be that as it may, this clearly shows that UBI’s DRM is not as invincible as it is claimed to be.

It has taken them over a month now. And all that is needed from Ubisoft part is to make their games more open sandbox like with even more server-side stuff and you cannot ever get a complete working version.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31718046)

Being able to run the game, and being able to play the game are two very different things. AI that just stands around and does nothing does not a fun game make.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31718014)

'It's so because there are no working cracks for Settlers 7'
It's the same DRM as ACII and Silent Hunter, both of which were cracked WITH EASE.

I beat ACII before it ever hit store shelves.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#31717642)

DRM doesn't affect pirates

Everyone repeat this until it sinks in. It only takes one DRM-free copy from some ubercracker.

Gamers are junkies (1)

doesnothingwell (945891) | about 4 years ago | (#31717936)

I would say only 10% of all gamers are of the slashdot variety, most are not. Quit calling out to gamers to show solidarity and discipline, monkeys would be easier to train. As a group they cannot think much past their next fix and the game companies know this. Most of the gamers I know are lucky if they graduated high school and can walk upright without scraping their knuckles.

Re:The pirated version has none of these problems (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717624)

As far as I know, it hasn't been cracked yet. Neither has Assassin's Creed 2, at least not satisfactorily. The only problem Ubisoft now have is that people aren't buying their games because of the bad publicity around the DRM- Assassin's Creed 2 is down to £15.98 already on Amazon UK, a sure sign that it's not selling very well.

Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717188)

Funny how Australia is the hardest hit... What does Australia have that most of the world [except China] not have???

Re:Australia (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31717312)

Funny how Australia is the hardest hit... What does Australia have that most of the world [except China] not have???

A really remote location? Both US and EU have hundreds of data-centers, millions people and several countries, so they ought to have a good connectivity. Australia on the other hand is away from many other countries and is surrounded only by China, other Asian countries and New Zealand.

Re:Australia (0)

bmo (77928) | about 4 years ago | (#31717678)


Bodybuilders that become governors of Cal-e-forn-ee-yah.

Chancellors name Schickelgruber.


Re:Australia (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | about 4 years ago | (#31717798)

I find it a bit disturbing that you are ranking Schwarzenegger among the likes of Hitler and Fritzl.

Maybe they should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717210)

get more than 7 servers.

Well, I sure am glad (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#31717234)

that pirates are, as usual, getting a superior product [slashdot.org]. Remind me, why am I supposed to pay for the legit version again?

Re:Well, I sure am glad (1)

declain (1338567) | about 4 years ago | (#31717476)

Actually, Ubisoft's DRM is still not cracked.

Re:Well, I sure am glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717666)

Actually, Ubisoft's DRM is still not cracked.

So why don't you just pirate it, grandpa? You can get a torrent atSIGSEGV REDO FROM START
?ASSERT FAIL: assert(pirate_everything)

TrollBotOS v2010 bootup, please wait...

that pirates are, as usual, getting a superior product. Remind me, why am I supposed to pay for the legit version again?

Re:Well, I sure am glad (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#31718026)

"Actually, Ubisoft's DRM is still not cracked."

Actually, you're wrong. It was cracked. ACII and Silent Hunter V are both out there and working, and they use the same DRM as Settlers 7.

Man can make it, man can and will break it. It's that simple.

Re:Well, I sure am glad (3, Insightful)

Korbeau (913903) | about 4 years ago | (#31717736)

As far as I can tell, the article you are pointing to refers to Silent Hunter 5, and both Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers 7 remain uncracked.

Also note that the solidity of DRM techniques like these depend at how much time the developers spend to "secure" their product. My guess is that for Silent Hunter 5, a very niche product, they only did the minimum. But for their big titles they probably have hordes of programmers messing the game pretty much beyond recognition without the connection to the server. Oh, that never makes it impossible to crack, but it's no longer a simple matter of by-passing some CD key checks by inserting NOPs, you really have to build a set of tools around a particular title and it can take weeks to do so ...

And that's really their goal. Most of the sales of a game are done during the first few days / weeks. If it takes a month to crack the damn thing, they have reached their goal.

If they sell 10'000 more titles because frustrated kids can't find their free crack and must beg their parents to go to the store, they have reached their goal. I'm eager to see their financial numbers about this - I'm still skeptical it will change anything, but we'll see.

Now to answer your question: you are supposed to pay because 1) it is illegal to do otherwise 2) you support the developers of the games you love.

Wiseass like you wonder why all PC games are crap and developers focus on console gaming since the Internet got popularized ...

(PS: that is not to say I'm all for these draconian DRM practices. I don't really care about the "always connected" feature as long as the requirements are clearly visible when you buy the game, but I don't like the fact that it prevents resale).

Re:Well, I sure am glad (1)

Joe Helfrich (837865) | about 4 years ago | (#31718200)

The trick is, you can't judge the success of this strategy on the sales of Settlers 7. Sure, there might be an uptick in sales for this game, because they can't pirate it, but what happens when users frustrated by this don't buy Settlers 8? Will people blame that on DRM?

Re:Well, I sure am glad (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 years ago | (#31717804)

To support the programmers, artists, etc. for creating a game you enjoy playing perhaps? Or do you think these people, who are unlikely to even be the ones to decide to use DRM, don't deserve any compensation for the entertainment they give you?

Re:Well, I sure am glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717908)

Yea right. We are supposed to support the poor artist and programmer. But it's ok for the big publisher to screw us over at every turn.

Re:Well, I sure am glad (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 years ago | (#31718096)

Then you should neither buy nor play the game. That was my point. Does the publisher's decision to use DRM give you the right to play a game you did not pay for? Ethically you do not.

Re:Well, I sure am glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31718232)

The DRM they include on it makes it worth 0$ in my eyes, though Silent Hunter and Settlers never really appealed to me, and AC2 I play quite happily on my PS3 where I can play it whenever I like.

I won't ever buy a single player game requiring online access at all times. I can understand requiring it for online multiplayer (not for LAN), but for Singleplayer? Never.

There's Got To Be A Happy Medium (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31717266)

I am not a gamer simply because I stare at a computer screen 12 - 16 hours a day and can't see getting my entertainment from a computer or console. But ...

I am numbed by the lengths that these game developers go to try to stop piracy. I completely understand the need to protect their investment and product, but not at the expense of their paying customers. This seems like a ridiculous tale of a snake eating itself and smugly stating "see, I told you so" as it takes its last bite.

There has got to be a happy medium between this draconian DRM and unprotected products.

Sun rises & sets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717294)

...and the sun rises another day...

DRM is inherently flawed anyway, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717298)

I wonder if one could stub the RPC functions of the Ubisoft servers, use a virtualisation layer to isolate it (on its own OS) and use suspend/resume functionality to "save" the game. Perhaps it could then be distributed as a disk image and configuration file.

Just my €0,02.

Want them to change? (4, Interesting)

Dracil (732975) | about 4 years ago | (#31717322)

Don't just vote with your wallet. Show them you did.

Mail them the receipt of the next game you buy telling them why the receipt does not have their game on it.

Re:Want them to change? (0, Redundant)

ciroknight (601098) | about 4 years ago | (#31717546)

Voting with your wallet doesn't work anymore anyways, not sense companies learned that they can blame some phantom nemesis on the reason they can't make sales and get 'bailed out'.

Re:Want them to change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717752)

So... voting with your wallet doesn't work because you get outvoted by people who don't care?

That's why democracy's a failure, people don't agree with YOU!

Re:Want them to change? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#31717996)

That's not what he said, in fact I see no way to interpret it as such.

You can type but you can't read, I take it?

Lost Sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717352)

I spotted a copy of Settlers 7 in my local Gamestop the other day. Came really close to purchasing it until I saw the little red sticker on the front, proclaiming that it "requires a constant Internet connection to play."
It could be the best Settlers game to date, and I'm sure it will satisfy my craving for a strategy game, but I will never purchase it (nor pirate it - you're still affirming the developer has made a quality product by incrementing the download counter on torrent sites), and will surely tell all of my friends (who love Settlers) to simply avoid it. So, not only have you lost a sale, you've also lost half a dozen customers.
One of the first laws of the business world is that it's always more valuable to retain a customer instead of seeking new ones - Ubisoft, your DRM does not lend itself to either. It may make your products more profitable initially (debatable, considering their system was circumvented in 24 hours for Assassin's Creed 2), but if ever given a choice between an Ubisoft game or a game from another publisher in the future, I know which publisher I will not be supporting.

DRMlicious (3, Interesting)

Archaemic (1546639) | about 4 years ago | (#31717366)

Can we all laugh in Ubisoft's face yet? Too soon? Too late?

Companies put all this time and money into DRM. Have they yet shown that the money they spend outweighs the money they lose from piracy? It seems like this DRM scheme is particularly bad as it actually INCREASES the piracy and DECREASES the legitimate customers--the exact opposite of the intent. Sure, if there's no DRM, it might have even worse actual sales, but then again, it might not. Even if it does have worse sales...are they losing more money than they would have spent on the DRM? It's hard to say, or even to do a study on this.

I commend StarDock for their anti-DRM attitude and manifesto, although I have seen their stuff on pirate sites. I have a friend who pirated an indie game a few weeks back, and I really hate that more than pirating a game by a large company (say, EA or Ubisoft). His reasoning was "I'll play it once for not very much time. It's not worth that money." I've seen other arguments, "Well I wouldn't buy it anyway, so they're not losing money." Is this really the selfish culture we've become? If it costs money and you're not going to pay for it, you shouldn't get to use it. That's kind of the way capitalism works. It's not about your impact on their sales, it's about exchange of goods. I'm not 100% pure, myself, having a fair amount of pirated music, and some pirated video games (all of which are pretty old and no longer published at this point), but at least I don't regard the idea of piracy as justifiable a lot of the time...

I find the way Steam handles DRM the least draconic of any DRM and am actually fairly okay with it. You can buy it and link it up to Steam. Steam needs to be online, sure, although there is an offline mode. I'm fairly certain that Valve has stated that if they were to bring Steam offline forever, they would provide a way of unlocking the games, and I don't really doubt this. This is a sane way to provide DRM, so long as you follow through with your promise.

Re:DRMlicious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717482)

Stardock is only "anti-DRM" because it gets their crapware headlines on gaming sites. They blame pirates as fast as they can. I mean look at their last title, they blamed *pirates* for the game's horrible Impulse multiplayer not working at all. At least other companies like EA and Activision (shudder) make sure their games work and blame pirates for *poor sales* and not for the fact that they're incompetent (unlike Stardock's worthless ass).

In fact, it looks like Ubisoft has a very similar technology strategy as Stardock: when their technology doesn't work blame the badmen/pirates (oh noes). But at least Ubisoft's games are fun when they work, unlike Stardock's pathetic games.

Re:DRMlicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31717868)

Oh right mod me troll instead of refuting the truthful facts I posted... because you can't.

Google "demigod pirates" for fucks sake!

Re:DRMlicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31718118)

They probably modded you a troll because you claimed that Stardock does not make good products, when most people agree that Sins of a Solar Empire and the Galactic Civilizations series are both excellent.

iTunes (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 4 years ago | (#31717494)

Funny how Ubisoft went in the exact opposite direction as the online music industry. Both iTunes and Amazon removed DRM from their music as a result of consumer outcry. Should be very easy to do with Ubisoft.

Re:iTunes (1)

brit74 (831798) | about 4 years ago | (#31717874)

To be fair, music was impossible to secure with DRM because of the analog hole. Plus, there's the fact that CDs are DRM-free. Once either of those are exploited, then copies are available on the internet. DRM on software is more secure. I'm not saying it is secure, just that it's harder to crack and it isn't always cracked (e.g. Assassin's Creed 2 is still not cracked, Settlers 7 is still not cracked, it took 3 years for someone to crack the PS3, etc). I'm not so sure that iTunes removed DRM because of consumer outcry so much as the fact that music companies realized that their product was fundamentally impossible to secure under any circumstances.

My Internet connection was down for 5 hours... (3, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | about 4 years ago | (#31717582)

...on Thursday, and boy was I glad I wasn't trying to play an Ubisoft game while I waited for it come back...

Settlers 7? (2, Funny)

Oidhche (1244906) | about 4 years ago | (#31717614)

I thought the series ended with Settlers 2.

Re:Settlers 7? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 4 years ago | (#31718000)

I thought the series ended with Settlers 2.

I did too, but I got really interested on Settlers 7 after reading the reviews and seeing some gameplay videos. It seems they have went more for the economy and all of those aspects that made Settlers 2 great.

Ubisoft should rest easy. They wont get sued. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#31717756)

For im sure that Razor1911, or Reloaded are fixing their problems for them, eliminating their chance of getting hammered by a class action lawsuit that would put them out of business.

I *WAS* about to buy (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 4 years ago | (#31718002)

Then i saw "this game need an active internet communication to be played". I avoided it like plague. I see that I was correct in my choice.
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