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Ubisoft DRM Problems Remain Unsolved

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the think-of-is-as-encouraging-you-to-find-a-new-hobby dept.

PC Games (Games) 430

ocean_soul writes "More than three weeks after the release of The Settlers 7, with the controversial 'always on-line' DRM, a lot of people still can't connect to Ubisoft's DRM servers. The forum threads where people can post if they are unable to connect keep growing daily. One reason for the lack of fixes or responses from support seems to be that the people responsible were on vacation during the Easter holiday, despite the promise of 24/7 monitoring of the servers. The moral of this story seems to be that it is a bad idea to buy a game just before a major holiday." Or perhaps that it's wise to avoid games with such DRM altogether. So far, Ubisoft hasn't shown any sign that they're reconsidering the requirement of a constant connection. They've recently said it's "vital" to the success of their games and promised that their DRM would "evolve and improve" over time.

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430 comments

They don't care about the problems today. (5, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | about 4 years ago | (#31887662)

It's clear they don't really care about addressing the problems people are having today. They have already accepted that there will be issues, and they just plan to react and evolve the DRM, but to never remove it. They're in it for the long haul, and if a few eggs get smashed along the way, they're quite fine with that.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887726)

This is because idiots keep buying them. People need to stop buying their PC games, and if they REALLY want to send a message, put their piracy statistics through the roof. Download the game 4 or 5 times. If Ubisoft ever removes the DRM from the game, then show them it's appreciated by buying a copy, and putting a nice spike in their sales graph. All the people at the top ever see are graphs and fancy numbers. Show them it doesn't work through those.

This is what happened with Spore, and EA has since realised that they can't treat customers that way anymore. They are now removing DRM from their games shortly after launch.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | about 4 years ago | (#31887880)

put their piracy statistics through the roof

Clearly the game was a runaway success, but the DRM was just not strong enough.

Assassins' Creed 2 would be success at any rate (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 4 years ago | (#31888074)

its like the 'legolas' of pc games. it caters to a huge gamer demographic ranging from 12 years old to 30 years old. with the hype and cult around the first game, ac 2 was bound to be a success REGARDLESS of what happened.

maybe thats why they chose to debut their shitty drm with ac2 instead of any other game.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (3, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 4 years ago | (#31887930)

It won't happen. Any marketing exec can tell you that if a product isn't selling, just keep throwing money towards advertising. Cool factor and peer pressure ("Dude, you don't have Game 3: The Game? What the fuck man, that game rocks!") will keep sales at more-than-acceptable levels.

It's just like Brave New World. So long as the entertainment is good enough, people will remain placated and apathetic.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 4 years ago | (#31888038)

If you REALLY want to send them a message don't buy it and don't pirate it either.

Pirating the game tells them that you would have bought it had their DRM been foolproof.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888070)

Pirating the game tells them that you would have bought it had their DRM been foolproof.

It doesn't tell them that, though moronic media and game execs tend to imply it because they don't know any better.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

SpeZek (970136) | about 4 years ago | (#31888126)

If people stop buying their PC games en masse, they'll simply stop porting them.

We're fucked either way.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 4 years ago | (#31888252)

Let them stop porting the games.

There would be then more coverage of free and indie games. And that's good.

I can't help but think that consumerism took over the gaming and majority of people presume that only large corporations are capable of making interesting games. Sooner the myth gets busted, better.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888312)

You have a funny definition of "fucked". I'd PREFER that they stop releasing their garbage on PC. It would clear the way for good games from good developers that tend to get buried by all the money and hype that these huge corporations throw around.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#31888218)

No, its because there is a culture of piracy surrounding PC gaming. I remember back when I was in college, all my classmates were shocked that I paid for my video games.

I dont judge the people who pirate games, I dont pirate software because I find it to be "unsafe computing" ; its like sticking your cock in a streethooker and saying "OMG how did I get the Herp?" Im just saying that the culture of piracy is what is behind companies like Ubi installing DRM systems.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#31887796)

and if a few eggs get smashed along the way, they're quite fine with that.

Will their shareholders feel the same way when Ubisoft titles have the reputation of being flaky, hard to play, and prone to technical malfunction?

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 4 years ago | (#31887846)

and if a few eggs get smashed along the way, they're quite fine with that.

Will their shareholders feel the same way when Ubisoft titles have the reputation of being flaky, hard to play, and prone to technical malfunction?

That depends on the bottom line ...

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887888)

Strange. Their stock actually seems to be climbing.

http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=UBI.PA

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (2, Informative)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#31888162)

The shareholders dont give a shit... the shareholders are all rich 65 year olds hanging out on yachts and drinking Perrier. All they care about is that UbiSoft keeps paying daddy.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (2, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#31888188)

The American way of doing business is slash-n-burn anything and everything. Why sell one kidney when you can sell two for twice the price? You'll be rich before you die! Air and water? If I make it unbreathable and undrinkable, I could sell it filtered at a 100x markup! Anything to prop up that quarterly report, cinch the bonus, and skip town. No one gives a shit about long term.

Shareholders will see the quarterly report (Looks great on paper!) and spend their imaginary money.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

discord5 (798235) | about 4 years ago | (#31888268)

and if a few eggs get smashed along the way, they're quite fine with that.

Will their shareholders feel the same way when Ubisoft titles have the reputation of being flaky, hard to play, and prone to technical malfunction?

That'll depend on how many suckers keep buying the games.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887816)

Their DRM is an evolutionary dead-end, in my opinion. It's extinction will be a definite improvement.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#31887828)

> They're in it for the long haul, and if a few eggs get smashed along the
> way, they're quite fine with that.

Unless they are the eggs...

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887844)

Though I think to put it in the simplest terms from the minds of Ubi that it all ends up to one universal idea "Buy a console"

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#31887852)

"You get what you pay for", or, "A fool and his money are soon parted"?

I think it's more the story of the fool and his money. Don't buy DRM, people! DRM is a promise that you'll be screwed, later if not sooner. Think hard, then name a half dozen DRM schemes that have lasted for years, and STILL WORK. I'll bet you can't do it. No one supports much of anything after just a couple years. Windows XP was probably the longest lasting support story, and that was what? 7 years?

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (4, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 4 years ago | (#31888308)

Think hard, then name a half dozen DRM schemes that have lasted for years, and STILL WORK. I'll bet you can't do it.

I'm *NO* fan of DRM, but I accept your challenge...

-CSS on DVD's has been cracked and anyone who knows to look for any number of apps employing DeCSS can bypass it, but it's enough that commercial apps like Roxio and Nero won't do it, and a search for copying DVDs will yield 1,001 apps that either don't live up to their promises or install malware, so while it's possible, I'll give it half-credit because Joe Sixpack will have to do a decent amount of research to figure out how to do it properly.

-The DRM on WMA has held up pretty well; it had been cracked in the past, but AFAIK the latest incarnations of it are still largely intact. Whether that's a "they did it well" or "no one cares" issue, I can't tell, but the bottom line is that I'm unaware of an app that will unlock a song rented from Napster To Go if I download one today.

-While I've seen rips of iTunes videos leaked on a few torrent trackers, by and large I haven't seen a widely distributed app that will crack the DRM on the videos from iTunes.

-While not technically 'years', the comments on slashdot articles about the PS3 lead me to believe that games for that system are extremely-challenging-at-best to pirate. Is that true?

-iLok seems to be holding up pretty well; a few apps have been cracked, but it's no an app-by-app basis instead of a system-wide crack.

-Torq and Serato both have proprietary hardware that's used to enable all the features of the applications, and I haven't seen cracks for either that enable them to use generic ASIO sound cards.

-This one is pure speculation, but I'm sure that there are extremely high-cost, industry specific applications that are DRM'd and haven't been cracked. I'm sure Boeing doesn't use AutoCAD to design airplanes. I'm sure ConEdison doesn't use off-the-shelf software to regulate electricity output across Manhattan.

A bunch of half-examples? yes. Do they half-work? I'd say so.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887924)

Even when the DRM is not a problem (games on consoles like ps3), the sales will drop due to bad publicity. Example, Assassins Creed 2 on ps3. I saw the price of this drop to $30 (half off) at more than 1 store within the first month.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 years ago | (#31887936)

Pirates share precisely the same attitude. So what?

I don't hear a lot of sympathy in your post for Ubisoft either. Why should they care what you want if you don't care what they want?

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 4 years ago | (#31887986)

Why should anyone have sympathy for any company? Trolling shill much? Ubisoft should care what their customers want. It's how they sell stuff. Duh.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 years ago | (#31888078)

Why should anyone have sympathy for any company?

Sympathize or don't. When you don't, don't expect any sympathy in return. Expect decisions like the ones Ubisoft has made.

Ubisoft should care what their customers want. It's how they sell stuff.

Customers are people who pay. And if they don't pay enough to cover the cost of the trouble they cause, then they're not worthwhile, are they?

Customers who bought the games for consoles don't seem to be having any problems.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 4 years ago | (#31888168)

Sympathize or don't. When you don't, don't expect any sympathy in return. Expect decisions like the ones Ubisoft has made.

Your entire position is ridiculous. The consumer shouldn't need to sympathize with a company. It's not a person. It's a thing. Companies exist to provide services. If their services aren't pleasing their existing customers, then they are doing something wrong. What other people do to them doesn't matter in a sympathy context. Even when people do sympathize with things, like faceless companies, they still fuck their customers in the ass. So again I ask why any person should sympathize with a thing.

Customers are people who pay.

Yes, and?

And if they don't pay enough to cover the cost of the trouble they cause, then they're not worthwhile, are they?

How are their customers causing trouble in this scenario? Is it due to their complaints about a broken product that hasn't been fixed after 3 weeks? Is that, "causing trouble"? Should they just shut up and silently take it like good little consumers?

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888302)

Sympathize or don't. When you don't, don't expect any sympathy in return. Expect decisions like the ones Ubisoft has made.

Wow, seriously? Lets try a little role playing. You can be Joe Average, I'll be Bank of America.

"I just lost billions of dollars in bad business deals! Sympathize with me by writing to your local politicians saying you support a government bailout of my company! Oh and accept a tax increase as a result. You don't sympathize with me? Well tough luck loser, I'm getting that bailout anyway and you're getting a tax increase regardless."

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (2, Interesting)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | about 4 years ago | (#31888306)

Customers who bought the games for consoles don't seem to be having any problems.

Well that's just lovely then.

I don't play console games, I can't stand the controllers.

But please quit the bullshit that my PC needs to have an active internet connection to run a fucking game! Part of why I even BUY games that are even worth playing as single player is because my network connection is often for crap (no matter what Verizon's CEO wants to tell you) even though I live in a city, and if I want to play a single player game chances are its because my network is flaky or that I'm somewhere without net access.

If they want to demand network access DRM, then THEY can pay for the connection required.

If their product doesn't work due to their retarded DRM scheme it should be legally returnable, and that's what people should be doing. Send the crap back. Demand you money back. If you don't get it, go to your state's attorney general.

and i hate playing online games (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about 4 years ago | (#31887962)

and so they take the attitude im not worthy of a sale
oh well
take care game industry ill go play older games that dont have stupid as a business model

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 4 years ago | (#31888170)

This is typical of short-term thinking on the side of management. Here they are thinking really, really short-term. The people that complain already purchased their copy of whatever game they were selling. There is no benefit in providing them with any more service as they won't pay to cover the costs of it, the profit has been made, the game has been sold in most places you can't return digital media once you opened the shrink wrap without a court order practically.

Re:They don't care about the problems today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888196)

Boycote comes to my mind. Let's spread the word...

$60 per month (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#31887688)

They've recently said it's "vital" to the success of their games and promised that their DRM would "evolve and improve" over time.

Improving the DRM won't improve the game itself. A game would have to be pretty damn good to make me pay AT&T $60 per month for the ability to play it on a laptop. I've bought exactly one game published by Ubisoft (Lumines for PSP, a franchise that Ubi has since lost to Disney), and if anyone working at Ubi is reading, I'm not buying any more until your company starts considering laptops without mobile broadband.

Re:$60 per month (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887766)

Wow, before this I didn't realize that the people who repeat ad nauseum "That phone doesn't cost X dollars, you have to count the cost of the contract!" are on the more reasonable end of a whole spectrum of subscription-related pedantic douchebaggery. Thanks.

Re:$60 per month (0, Redundant)

Jurily (900488) | about 4 years ago | (#31888004)

and if anyone working at Ubi is reading, I'm not buying any more until your company starts considering laptops without mobile broadband.

I, for one, am not buying any game where the pirated version is better.

In other news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887690)

Humans still poop. Oceans still consist of mostly water. The earth still spins.

Customers? What customers? (1)

bmo (77928) | about 4 years ago | (#31887704)

Antagonize your own customers at your own risk.

This is a "bet the company" move, and I'm betting this leads to Chapter 7.

--
BMO

Re:Customers? What customers? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#31888148)

exaggerate much? The worst thing that can happen to Ubi is that they stop using the DRM and go back to being pirated.

IANAL, but... (4, Interesting)

ticklejw (453382) | about 4 years ago | (#31887724)

...where are all the class-action lawsuits? Here's a place where people should be suing the hell out of a company. Why isn't this happening?

Re:IANAL, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887742)

The only people who bought these titles are retards. On a good day they can tie their shoes and that's about it.
They'll continue to get fucked up the ass like your mother and love every minute of it as long as they can sometimes play Asstwat Creed 9000.

Re:IANAL, but... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#31887808)

It takes more than three weeks to organize such things. It also takes more than three weeks of difficulty getting your game to work to justify them. Are people who can't get connected being refused refunds?

Re:IANAL, but... (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 4 years ago | (#31887956)

Don't file a class action, take them to small claims court. If they can't be bothered to show up, they can just accept the default judgment for the plaintiff. If they do show up, it'll cost them much more than the proper refund would.

All you'll get for a class action is a rich lawyer and a coupon for a glorious $5 off of another non-working game. If a class action suit does get going, opt out and go to small claims anyway.

Re:IANAL, but... (4, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#31888216)

How come so few US people even seem to consider the small claims route? Is it really awkward in the US or something?

Re:IANAL, but... (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#31888316)

Class action = no time spent, a little money
Small claims = lots of time spent, possibly a full refund. Maybe.

Given the crazy lives people lead, I'm not surprised so many choose the 'no time spent' route.

It wasn't a problem for me.... (1)

blankoboy (719577) | about 4 years ago | (#31887734)

I didn't give them any money. They can take their DRM and go circle the drain....bye guys.

eff them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887746)

I bought silent hunter 5. After not allowing to let me play my own game because of a problem with a driver and windows 7 operative system, I've decided never again to purchase an ubisoft game. torrent powered pirated games, here I come!

Vote with your wallet people.

Eff them and good riddance.

Re:eff them (1)

linzeal (197905) | about 4 years ago | (#31887872)

From the first CD Rom game that would not allow me to play without the CD in the drive I have been a game pirate. I remember listening to my mid 1990's grunge bands like Nirvana while playing games and all of the sudden some game I forget which told me I could not do that. So I took it back to the store and never looked back.

Yep Yep, and for me it was the same thing with online advertising. One day online there was a flashing annoying popup ad and I got pissed off, so from that day onward I have run Squid with an ad blocking blacklist as my proxy server and all of computers save my android devices have ad blocking software on them as well.

Funny thing is, I don't mind Steam's DRM because over a period of 4 years I have not been able to play a total of 1 day. Google Text Ads are fine too but what has happened is that even small picture ads piss me off now and the slightest inconvenience in playing a game I bought will make me instantly crack it.

Re:eff them (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887966)

The game was just refusing to run when you listen to that "music". Anyone and anything with sense would do the same thing.

Re:eff them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888046)

The game was just refusing to run when you listen to that "music". Anyone and anything with sense would do the same thing.

I love quotes like this, because someone, somewhere, has said something very similar about every single genre of music ever. All of them were wrong.

Re:eff them (5, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 years ago | (#31888064)

Steam actually adds value (download to any PC anywhere, never need a CD, etc) in compensation for the loss of certain freedoms associated with their DRM system (no resale, etc.)

Nobody elses DRM is adding value.

An example of the value its given me: I purchased Left 4 Dead from Walmart a year or so ago I guess, but when I opened the product, the CD was broken. "Aww crap!" .. This stuff happens.. but wait.. its a steam game! No need to go back to the store! Launch steam, enter the product key, latest version downloads with all patches applied, and off I went killing zombies....

Re:eff them (1)

RJHelms (1554807) | about 4 years ago | (#31888282)

I'm amazed you were actually able to return a game to a store for that reason.

'Round these parts (Central Ontario) most stores only accept returns on software because of defective media, and usually even then all they're willing do is exchange it for another copy. It's been that way for about 15 years, to my recollection.

Re:eff them (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 4 years ago | (#31888136)

Don't pirate it.

That means the game could be remembered for any positive aspects.

No, the bastards don't deserve for their software to make it into our culture. Buy someone ELSE'S game.

How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (5, Interesting)

Spatial (1235392) | about 4 years ago | (#31887748)

If piracy is as widespread as they say, and if pirated copies really detract so heavily from sales, then the sales of this game should be abnormally large. Are they?

I realise that's hard/impossible to measure, but it warrants some discussion.

Average? (4, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | about 4 years ago | (#31887786)

If any of their games were selling particularly well I'm sure they'd be shouting from the rooftops: "See it works!" But they're not so I imagine its for the par at least. What will be really interesting is the five year outlook, I've already decided to do my part to kill Ubisoft: I will never buy another one of their games, theres always something else to choose.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (2, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 years ago | (#31887906)

The question seems to deliberately misunderstand the situation.

They are willing to accept lower sales of the game and offer a less desirable product because they consider it preferable to having their games pirated. I'm not sure why you'd think that decision would lead to lots of extra sales of the game. Even a small boost in sales makes this a worthwhile effort for them.

They also don't want pirated PC copies of their game competing against their console sales. Consoles are where the money is, largely because of piracy on the PC.

Maintaining this DRM seems like a good choice if it accomplishes those goals.

Keeping people on internet forums from whining about things is futile. Why even try?

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 4 years ago | (#31888050)

They are willing to accept lower sales of the game and offer a less desirable product because they consider it preferable to having their games pirated.

Erm... why?

I mean, if they're driven by money, that seems like about the stupidest thing they could do. Yes, let's make the PC version both less enjoyable and less profitable!

They also don't want pirated PC copies of their game competing against their console sales.

Wouldn't that also be something they could measure? Compare sales of the console version of this game with other games that didn't have that DRM?

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 4 years ago | (#31888156)

If they sell even a few more copies (you know, like I said in my post) it would be more profitable.

Wouldn't that also be something they could measure? Compare sales of the console version of this game with other games that didn't have that DRM?

Sales of Assassin's Creed 2 were a lot higher than the original in the first week. It's selling pretty well.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 4 years ago | (#31888226)

And what do you mean by a few? Few is a small number. They would need to sell enough copies to offset the cost of implementing the DRM solution and any licensing fees associated with it, and then some. If they've sold only just a "few" copies more than what they normally would have sold, it was a less profitable venture in that regard. Unfortunately I doubt they could accurately predict these numbers. They can create a lot of smoke and mirrors to say, "See, see, if worked!", but they'd be bold faced liars.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (2, Interesting)

moonbender (547943) | about 4 years ago | (#31887960)

Well, FWIW, the system has worked in so far as there is no scene release of AC2 yet. Didn't see that coming; I figured that whatever Ubisoft would do, it'd be trivially cracked in a few days at most. Nope.

From my limited understanding, the DRM really uses challenge/response data that is necessary for playing the game, ie. actual game content in a very abstract form. So simply bypassing the server check or trivially emulating it isn't enough, the game requires the data from Ubisoft to be playable. Consequently, there is a community project (for lack of a better word) where legit copies of the game are used to find the right responses and associate them with the requests the game sends. Allegedly (I haven't tried) the database is now -- weeks after the game's release -- big enough to complete the game, though I guess it might still hang in a few places.

So, hats off to Ubisoft. Of course, whether or not this whole BS will result in more copies of the game sold is an entirely and unrelated question. I'd assume that any additional copies sold due to the DRM are more than offset by the horrible PR the DRM caused. AC2 is probably a pretty good game, but whenever the game is mentioned all people talk about is the DRM. (Penny-Arcade on Splinter Cell: "And, since only the 360 version is available, we can talk about the actual game as opposed to the copy protection.")

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 years ago | (#31888096)

It's cracked, there's full client side server emulation available for it.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (1)

moonbender (547943) | about 4 years ago | (#31888260)

Like I said, there apparently is a fairly complete "values.db" available now, after a couple of weeks. There is no scene release.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888102)

what are you talking about ? tpb has the scene release of ac2. 100% full.

Re:How is Assassin's Creed 2 selling? (1)

moonbender (547943) | about 4 years ago | (#31888320)

Listen, if you think that something is a scene release by virtue of being on TPB, it's unlikely that you'll understand what I'm saying. But about half of my post was about the non-scene releases that do mostly work -- I'll go on a limb here and guess that the problems that pirates have with incomplete server data are less than the problems legit customers still seem to have. Heh -- I don't even play games anymore, but it's fun to stand at the sidelines and watch.

The Moral of the story is... (5, Insightful)

deadmongrel (621467) | about 4 years ago | (#31887804)

DRM only punishes people who actually pay money to buy.

Re:The Moral of the story is... (3, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | about 4 years ago | (#31887890)

Yep but the problem lies exactly with these people who keep buying the games with this kind of DRM protection. If people stop buying they're practically forced to stop using this kind of protection.
But we all know this is never going to happen and people will keep buying their products.

Re:The Moral of the story is... (0)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 4 years ago | (#31888066)

I still think that the fundamental problem lies in the fact that piracy occurs in the first place. Seriously, if the game has value to you, buy it. If it doesn't, don't play it.

Re:The Moral of the story is... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888202)

And the problem with the traffic fatality situation is that people get into car accidents, and the problem with heart disease is that hearts are not indestructible. True, but not helpful in terms of finding a solution.

Re:The Moral of the story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888238)

Why should we do that? I'll vote with my wallet, but I'll also test the goods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_in_a_poke

Re:The Moral of the story is... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887958)

In fairness, it did take a few weeks for a good crack to come out, and I think there are still a few rough edges. The good news is most of that time seems to have been spent creating cracking tools, so the Settlers crack is coming along quite a bit faster.

Of course, maintaining this DRM *after* a 100% working crack is released would be astoundingly, pointlessly stupid. So I'm sure they'll do that.

Re:The Moral of the story is... (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 4 years ago | (#31888052)

Well, if it's as successful as this approach by Ubisoft at preventing the game from being cracked, then it also punishes the would-be pirates. DRM on games actually can be used to only prevent pirating while not disrupting the game-play of legitimate buyers. It hasn't been pulled off yet...but it could happen. Of course, the always on-line approach is guaranteed to punish the legitimate buyers.

Music and video DRM, on the other hand, is just pointless. If a human can buy it and listen to/watch it, then a human can buy it and have a recording device listen to/watch it.

Defective by Design (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888106)

What's broken with the tagging here on Slashdot that this article is not tagged defectivebydesign [defectivebydesign.org] ?

No more dealing with Ubisoft for me (5, Interesting)

times05 (1683662) | about 4 years ago | (#31887830)

I just had a great experience with Ubisoft DRM a few weeks ago. I decided to replay Farcry 2, which I really didn't play that much when I bought it a year or so ago. I'm military, I move a lot, can't find the stupid booklet with CD key, so being a legitimate customer who BOUGHT the damned game I go on their site and ask for help. Game apparently needs a CD key that activates itself online and requires registration and account creation (which I did create, and logged in with that account...). Their reply summed up is "Send us 5$ + S&H and we'll send you a new CD key. Check/cash/money order will do". My reply was taking 5 minutes to find a 24k cracked .exe file that allowed me to skip through all their BS. That was the last game I buy from Ubisoft. This new DRM scheme is even worse. For me for example, I deploy, I don't have internet everywhere. Which means I can't play an uncracked version of Settlers 7. I've never even played Settlers, I don't know what it is, nor will I ever get exposed to it because I know of their retarded DRM schemes. I imagine that this will turn away a lot of other paying customers from Ubisoft franchises. PS: Farcry 2 sucks, no wonder I played it for an hour when I bought it a year ago.

I've heard that before (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 4 years ago | (#31887834)

They've recently said it's "vital" to the success of their games and promised that their DRM would "evolve and improve" over time.

Microsoft said the same thing when they started product activation. Although, in fairness to Microsoft, their DRM works better than this disaster.

The new Splinter Cell Conviction (1)

garlicbready (846542) | about 4 years ago | (#31887838)

The funny thing is, when the new Splinter Cell Conviction comes out over here in the UK
I was going to actually buy the PC version
but after reading the above and this http://www.joystiq.com/2010/04/16/splinter-cell-dev-defends-ubisofts-always-on-drm/ [joystiq.com]
I'm actually really tempted to pirate the thing
(or perhaps get an xbox given that Sony's screwed me over with the whole otheros thing)

Re:The new Splinter Cell Conviction (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 years ago | (#31887886)

Why pirate it? Is your sense of entitlement so great that you couldn't simply go without a game that goes against your principles?

People need to stop considering piracy as a viable alternative, and start considering other products instead. Making a stand without making a sacrifice isn't going to prove the thing you want it to.

The moral of this story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887854)

"The moral of this story seems to be that it is a bad idea to buy a game just before a major holiday."

The moral should be to boycott any company who imposes such strict DRM into their products.

Re:The moral of this story. (1)

Metasquares (555685) | about 4 years ago | (#31888158)

Yeah, the moral isn't that it's a bad idea to buy a game before a holiday, but that it's a bad idea to buy a game with DRM.

Pushing the Limits (1)

headkase (533448) | about 4 years ago | (#31887858)

Notice that somewhere along the way with PC purchases that generally you lost your ability to resell your purchase? Just another casualty in the piracy wars. At least I can go into EB Games and buy used Xbox 360 titles, PC titles nope and the PC title section seems to be getting smaller and smaller...

Re:Pushing the Limits (4, Interesting)

Nf1nk (443791) | about 4 years ago | (#31888110)

Now more and more x360 games are coming with one time only codes that you need to unlock a significant portion of the game. Forza 3, for example, had a bonus track area and a ton of bonus cars. mass effect 2 had a very effective character locked out by default but was unlocked with a one use code. I would expect that in the near future this trend will accelerate.

Game Copy World (2, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | about 4 years ago | (#31887898)

I use Game Copy World [gamecopyworld.com] , esp on old DRM that requires the CD/DVD to be in the drive all the time. There is simply no reason why we should be tolerating DRM on any media, it would be like requiring a Captain Crunch decoder ring to read a book.

Requirements (1)

Metabolife (961249) | about 4 years ago | (#31887912)

When your DRM requires you to have a working internet connection for no other reason than the DRM, you're doing something wrong. It's supposed to be seamless and unobtrusive, using channels already in use by the game. Soon enough the system requirements will be elevated just to accommodate the DRM. Oh yeah.. that's why safedisk exists.

Show them it was a bad move (1)

Seto89 (986727) | about 4 years ago | (#31887940)

It's time to let them know how bad of a move it was. Don't buy their games (even though no full cracks exist) - buy direct competition, scan the receipt and send it to them, explaining that this money was originally intended to go for their product.

I'm a long time Splinter Cell fan. I own all four PC versions and was looking forward to play Conviction. Criticism about making the genre more action packed aside - I was still looking forward to the game. Now I'm not going to buy it, because such DRM is just ridiculous. I'm going to buy Alpha Protocol and send Ubisoft my receipt.

No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31887950)

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I've been playing Assassins creed 2 for a while now and haven't experienced any problems. Of course, I downloaded the game and use the server emulator to get around the DRM...

"evolve and improve"? (1)

syrinx (106469) | about 4 years ago | (#31887976)

Ubisoft DRM becomes self-aware. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

DRM fights back.

Its a lovely ship, I hope you go down with it. (0, Redundant)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 4 years ago | (#31888000)

Well boys... Its a lovely ship, I hope you go down with it.

-Mel Brooks (Spaceballs)

Sympathy (1)

CSFFlame (761318) | about 4 years ago | (#31888028)

I sympathize for the people who bought this without knowing about the DRM, and hope they hold it against Ubisoft only and not PC Games in general. I have no sympathy for the people who knew about it and bought it anyway.

Back in the day.... (2, Insightful)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | about 4 years ago | (#31888060)

Remember Doom? How about Quake, Quake 2, and Unreal Tournament? If you've been playing computer-based FPS games for over a decade like I have, you KNOW these games. Why? Is it because they were so freaking wonderful that EVERYONE had to play them? No.... In my mind the popularity of these games was rooted in the fact that they were (for their time) kick-ass games, but primarily their popularity lie in the fact that you could install them on as many computers as you'd like. With one legit (or otherwise) copy you could start up a LAN party and frag the night away. Then long after the Dew and pizza was gone, you'd swear on your Redeemer that next time you'd kick the crap out of that 12 year old (who incidentally LIVES on UT) who gleefully pwn'd you for the majority of the night. But how? You didn't have a high-speed internet connection with which to dl the game, and despite his age, the pre-pubescent pwn-pro has nuts enough to tell you to "buy your own damn copy!" You already KNOW that you like the game, and your thirst for vengence is just enough to get you to cough up $29.99.

The above mentioned process made millions of game sales possible. Not DRM, not other anti-piracy policy or provision, just the ability to entertain 10 plus nerds on a single copy. Despite whatever other goals game developers may have, selling copies is the ultimate goal. That being said, things like DRM, and excessive prices (which would be much less without having to pay DRM developers) dissuade gamers like me. Oh well as long as nubes are dumb enough to buy games they have to pay for monthly, or have the digital equivalent of the great wall of China protecting against their copying their games, game makers will keep on plodding along.

-Oz

Just use the "fake" server.. it's more reliable (5, Interesting)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | about 4 years ago | (#31888080)

Predictably, if you bought the game you might be better off with this torrent:

1 - Unrar offline server folder on desktop;
2 - Edit your "hosts" file in "C:windowssystem32driversetc" by opening it with notepad and adding the folowing lines, then save:

127.0.0.1 static3.cdn.ubi.com
127.0.0.1 ubisoft-orbit.s3.amazonaws.com
127.0.0.1 onlineconfigservice.ubi.com
127.0.0.1 orbitservice.ubi.com
127.0.0.1 ubisoft-orbit-savegames.s3.amazonaws.com

3 - Then run "ipconfig /flushdns"

4 - Finally, run server.exe and start your game.

(Enter an id and password (what you wanted). Do not register)
Keep the same ID and password for next time, in order to resume play where you left off.

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5496065/Assassin_s_Creed_2_Crack_(Final_and_complete) [thepiratebay.org]

Re:Just use the "fake" server.. it's more reliable (5, Insightful)

teh31337one (1590023) | about 4 years ago | (#31888240)

Once again, the pirates get the better game, while people who pay for the game have to put up with the DRM. Bravo Ubisoft, bravo.

Message to the Pirates (4, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | about 4 years ago | (#31888112)

Hello Pirates, or shall I say AHOY!

I am not against piracy, I think it's a terrific method to get free shit. However for this situation, using the "Im going to Pirate this game to stop teh 3\/i! DRMers" is an counter-productive move.

If you pirate these games simply 'on principle' software companies will adjust themselves with stronger DRM.

For these games, the publishers are willing to give up a certain portion of their profits in order to change the culture of PC gaming towards the standardization of using Draconian DRM Systems (DDRMS) in their games. Their goal is to make it 'normal' for players to buy games w/ DDRMS.

The most effective methods of fighting this DDRMS from least to highest are:

6. DDoS the DRM servers (I do not condone this action because it is illegal)
5. Do not buy the game
4. Do not buy the game and evangelize to friends and gamers why THEY should not buy the game
3. Buy a non-DRM game
2. Download an Open Source video game
1. Donate to an Open Source video game.

The most effective methods of HELPING this DDRMS from least to highest are:
4. buy the game
3. buy the game and tell your friends how awesome the game is
2. pirate the game
1. Donate money to UbiSoft to help they promote the DDRMS (I expect that other companies are quietly backing UbiSoft here)

Re:Message to the Pirates (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#31888296)

How are Ubisoft (and the wider games industry) supposed to tell the difference between options 1-5 on your "effective" list and pirating?

I think players who are not prepared to buy the game should write directly to the CEO of Ubisoft explaining that they're not buying the game, explaining why.

It could work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888124)

I do not plan on buying any DRM related content. It seems wrong to place any requirement on the user unless it is required for the game (i.e. constant internet connection would be ok if it was an MMO). But the games with single player, and or LAN multiplayer should not require this, or any other type of DRM. I also dislike games that use the Microsoft LIVE interface.

I see the value of games in terms of their multiplayer capabilities (so no multiplier would make a game useless). So when I am playing on the internet, it would be fine for me if the game validated itself every 500ms or so, if i am playing LAN then it shouldnt check... and lastly start putting co-op in to every FPS you lazy n00bs

The Main Problem (3, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 4 years ago | (#31888228)

Here's the thing. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the most prolific pirates are also the most voracious consumers, purchasing far more material than the average, casual gamer. These companies don't seem to understand that piracy does not correlate to a loss of sales. If anything, as a recent Arstechnica article mentioned, it may *increase* sales as people are able to legitimately sample the product and decide to buy either the current or future releases.

The real problem is that the executives and CEOs of these companies are performing their duties on behalf of the shareholders. The shareholders see people using their company's product for free, and like greedy little children who want to have their cake and eat it too, equate every torrent download with a lost sale. Even if it's not a true correlation, they can't stand the idea of someone using their stuff without adding to their pockets. If the shareholders don't recognize the value that targeted piracy, or even *demos* as the recent article about Crytek demonstrated, can have for a company, then nothing is going to improve, and the CEOs will keep shooting themselves in their foot trying to "stop piracy", all the while punishing their customers in the process.

What we need are more studies conducted by independent third parties to assess the true affects of piracy on sales. And I don't just mean a straight-up numbers analysis. I'm talking about determining the sociological implications of piracy, and its effects on buyers' habits over the long-term. Once these studies are performed we need to educate people about the *actual* conclusions, not some made-up garbage by the RIAA or other entrenched schemers.

Why do people put up with this rubbish? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31888258)

Seriously why do people put up with this treatment by game developers? Its not like a cracked version wont be comming out within days if not hours of the games release. This just seems like a very good reason to say "Fxck you, i'll take the free version thanks". If I like a game, I buy it. I refuse to be bullied into it by a bunch of money orientated tools.

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