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Ubisoft's DRM Cracked — For Real This Time

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the see-you-next-scheme dept.

DRM 443

therufus writes "A few days after the release of Assassin's Creed 2, naughty piracy sites were announcing they had cracked Ubisoft's Online Services Platform. Turns out, that wasn't entirely true. While it was possible to load into the game, players were unable to advance past a certain memory block. But now, it seems Ubisoft will need to draft a new response. A new crack has begun circulating that removes the DRM entirely."

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443 comments

Let The Excuses Begin (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974684)

I'm not a fan of 'Piracy' at all, but Ubisoft DRM tactics are draconian, ridiculous, and are just begging for the attention of those who break DRM for fun or profit.

Ubisoft has brought this upon themselves and now they'll use the fact that their "unbreakable" DRM has been broken to justify their further efforts. Asshats!

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974726)

Ubisoft has brought this upon themselves and now they'll use the fact that their "unbreakable" DRM has been broken to justify their further efforts. Asshats!

The reasonable approach would be "Unbreakable? Yeah we've heard THAT before, no thanks, let's not waste money bothering with this. Lets use the programmers who would be designing complex DRM systems and have them join the team that's actually creating the game." Unfortunately I think that what you said will come to pass. They won't recognize that "try harder" is not the correct way to deal with a failed idea.

There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974788)

Here is how unbreakable DRM will eventually work:
When internet connections are high enough bandwidths and low enough latencies, you will only have video transferred to you, all game assets will be entirely stored and run on their hardware, never will anything be stored on YOUR end that you will can manipulate.

That is, you will play "unbreakable" games remotely.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (3, Interesting)

f4k3r (642406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974828)

you might want to google for "OnLive"

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (5, Informative)

asCii88 (1017788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974946)

You might want to post the link [onlive.com]

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975282)

Because it's not appropriate to post links to pump and dump scams on Slashdot?

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (3, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974830)

When internet connections are high enough bandwidths and low enough latencies, you will only have video transferred to you, all game assets will be entirely stored and run on their hardware, never will anything be stored on YOUR end that you will can manipulate.

At which point prices will have to drop significantly because you're no longer selling a game; you're selling a subscription to a game.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974976)

At which point prices will have to drop significantly because you're no longer selling a game; you're selling a subscription to a game.

Hahahahahahahahahaha

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (4, Insightful)

sowth (748135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975020)

You think they will drop their prices? Obviously, you don't know anything about the greed of the media companies.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975150)

He doesn’t have to. He only has to know something about basic physics of a market.
No price drop -> no buy -> bankrupt
price drop -> buy -> PROFIT

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (0, Troll)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975302)

problem is: this is not like a luxury good that people will just stop buying. plenty of people are addicted to gaming, and many others simply don't care enough about the crap ubisoft's pulling to stop buying.

games are more akin to food or drinks (can't stop buying, because you can't do without) than tv sets or cars (demand will drop completely if bad stuff happens)

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975234)

And this is why we need mandatory economics education for every student.

Price is not based on "greed", price is based on supply and demand. Companies charge what you are willing to pay, which is influenced by the quality of the product and the price of the alternatives.

That's why electronic books are not significantly cheaper than paper books. The price of the paper and distribution is only a baseline lowest cost, it has nothing to do with what someone is willing to pay.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975310)

and this is why a high school level economics education is not sufficient to properly understand market forces.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (0, Offtopic)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975452)

and this is why a high school level economics education is not sufficient to properly understand market forces.

I wish I had mod points. I was thinking the exact same thing.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975520)

You think they will drop their prices? Obviously, you don't know anything about the greed of the media companies.

And why do you think that media companies will always be in control?

Sooner or later, someone will come up with a viable economic model that isn't based on scarcity; knowledge, information and data is inherently both copyable and modifiable, and any scarcity is artificially imposed.
The traditional model fails because it relies on the price of copying being higher than the price of buying.
The ad model fails because it relies on the data not being modifiable.

Games, books, or anything else that is basically data, need a different economic model altogether. One where you can copy and play as much as you like, and where a successful originator can't rest on his laurels, but will be forced to continue to create to get income rolling in.
Perhaps an art tax, where each tax payer gets to tell who gets his art tax at the end of the year. Or perhaps something else. One thing is certain: The current system is broken, because it bases itself on limiting the supply.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (5, Insightful)

TavisJohn (961472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975040)

And that sort of "Streaming" of a game will totally eliminate the re-playability of the game.

I have games that are 5, 10, 15, 20+ years old that I STILL go back and play. Some of the companies that made the games I have do not even exist anymore! No game company is going to pay to keep servers running so customers can continue to play the game that long after it was released.

I will NEVER EVER buy a game that is not totally contained on the media I am purchasing. I like to go back and re-play games for DECADES to come.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Interesting)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975230)

Nothing stops them from resurrecting old titles as a "Vintage Special" and offering you the privilege of playing them for a fee.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975048)

At which point prices will have to drop significantly because you're no longer selling a game; you're selling a subscription to a game.

Why the hell is this modded "insightful"? It's either "troll" or at best "funny".

They'll just sell a lifetime* subscription for the regular price.

* Really just as long as we feel like running the servers. No longer than the date of the release of the successor or 2 years from release.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (4, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974856)

It's already in the works at On Live [onlive.com] . IMHO I think the latency related to gaming in this fashion will ruin it for everyone (unless you're playing board games or the like).

Lag/latency is bad for games And yet-- (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975252)

Dragons Lair was VERY successful- and it had a wee amount of delays..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Lair [wikipedia.org]

The game's enormous contrast with other arcade games of the time created a sensation when it appeared, and was played so heavily that many machines often broke due to the strain of overuse. It was also arguably the most successful game on this medium and is aggressively sought after by collectors.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974900)

Then the crack will consist of downloading a permanent copy of the game assets and making the client download them locally from a running server, fooling the game to think it is downloading it from the remote servers.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

asCii88 (1017788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974984)

Then the crack will consist of downloading a permanent copy of the game assets and making the client download them locally from a running server, fooling the game to think it is downloading it from the remote servers.

You mean cracking the servers and getting the game from them, and also the server platform, and then setting up a server, and then cracking the client so that it connects to the unofficial server.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (3, Interesting)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974998)

You mean like people already do with World of Warcraft pirate servers?

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975054)

That's not really a crack, though. It's comparable to writing your own clone of a game (half of it, at least), which requires several orders of magnitude more work.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Interesting)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975268)

Most MMO private servers simply involve official server software leaking by an employee.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (3, Informative)

redcaboodle (622288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975068)

WoW has the assets stored on the client side. The server just controls the mobs and manages the communication between clients.

For a free WoW server they mostly had to work out the protocols No hacking or cracking of servers was involved.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975276)

And yet, they are still taken down using the DMCA....

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975118)

Writing a server emulator is vastly different from re-implementing an entire game including its assets. A server is actually something OSS/hobbyist teams are good at. A full game? Nope, sorry, hasn't been done (Nexuiz is nothing like modern games; and even it was based on the pre-existing and freely-available Quake engine).

Is there any example at all of someone successfully hacking into and stealing an (respectable) MMO server and its contents?

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

anarchyboy (720565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975254)

A version of the Legend of Mir server was leaked/stolen. It was the complete server program (I'm not sure if the source code was stolen too) and that allowed completely private servers to work with the existing client. These servers could then change the stats on items, change what mobs spawned where and create new mobs. I'm not sure how difficult it would have been or if it was possible to create new maps and graphics etc without other tools.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974966)

Breaking the "DRM" in that case would actually be theft of service.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975056)

The name you're looking for is Software as a Service.

Bandwidth is one issue but the main concern is latency or "lag". In the case of games even a tiny bit of latency can cause it to be unplayable. Once you get round trip time for your commands to be sent and the video returned, you've got a lot of unhappy customers and the expense of feeding all that high resolution video.

It doesn't have to be so extreme though. You can always implement pieces of the game not related to rendering on the server. Which is essentially why Ubisoft has done here.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975412)

It doesn't have to be so extreme though. You can always implement pieces of the game not related to rendering on the server. Which is essentially why Ubisoft has done here.
The question then becomes how difficult is it to reimplement those parts...

And the answer so far seems to be harder than cracking traditional drm but within the pirates capabilities to do eventually.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975232)

I had the same idea as OnLive a couple of years ago. My theory was based on the (reverse) evaluation of game code and how most games resided in small execution loops during gameplay. The biggest barrier to implementing my idea at the time was bandwidth and upgrade costs. The monthly subscription cost would have been too prohibitive and bandwidth requirements were unreasonable. I have no idea how these OnLive guys are going to handle frequent hardware updates since high-end games continue to push hardware. Maybe they are using NVidia's new server platform?

Also, I wouldn't call this an unbreakable DRM -- it's the same as renting a game. Issues with DRM come into play when you own the game, especially as it pertains to multiple machines.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975298)

That may take a while, at least for reaction-heavy games.

Ignoring latencies in active repeaters (routers, switches...) just the speed of light in fiber has a measurable roundtrip (about 12ms from Stockholm to Paris). Then add audio-video-encoding, which realistically needs to buffer at least a few frames to get decent compression (x264 for live-broadcast is usually varying from 500-1000ms), so that adds another 20-30ms. Then you'd either need strong FEC, or very fast re-transmission to not occasionally suffer heavy distortions in the picture (oops, there was a grenade), which either adds extra bandwidth and a little extra delay, or more delay with less bandwidth (could possibly be migigated with a failure-resilient wavelet codec). In the end, somewhere around 50ms latency is probably unavoidable, at which point all reaction-heavy games is a nono for many gamers. (Equal to ~20FPS)

To compete with graphical quality of a local game, you'd either need closer 100mbit/user to get even decent reaction-times using current and coming codecs, or a lot more for great reaction-times. That would of course be feasible for smaller edge-segments of the network, such as perhaps a gaming-server in the basement of every apartment-building, but that quickly becomes a logistics and service-nightmare.

Other than that, reaction-sensitive games will probably have to wait for quantum-entanglement to become mainstream.

On non-reaction-critical games however, this will probably happen a lot sooner, one might argue that it has already with Facebook-games and such. I expect HTML5 canvas will do wonders for that market.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975338)

What would stop people from accessing the games from within or without and then sharing it with the world? Hackers could break in and disgruntled employees could leak games. So much for your "unbreakable" idea...

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975540)

ISP bandwidth caps and the lack of network neutrality will prevent that from being successful.

Re:There WILL be unbreakable DRM, heres how: (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975550)

The problem is that this will make gaming much more expensive. We're looking at a low-latency (10 ms or below), high-bandwidth (20 MB/s guaranteed minimum) line per user in order to be able to play fast-paced games like FPSes at 1080p. Given how things are today that would mean an SLA with your ISP. The ISPs aren't going to just bump the speed of their entire network because the content industry says so.

Of course we could also see people playing at lower resolutions and/or the death of the FPS genre. Both are unlikely.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974758)

Sales up = yay our DRM works!
Sales down = our DRM is clearly not strong enough!

Sadly.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975000)

Correction:

Sales up = yay our DRM works!
Sales down = Damn pirates! There oughta be a law!

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974826)

*sigh* I hope Ubisoft have learnt a lesson from all of this, but sadly it seems like they are intent on alienating their customers. I'd love to see this draconian DRM actually lowering sales for their new releases. DRM like this only hurts legitimate customers, and the "pirates" end up with a better game. It's happened before with games like GTA IV where the securom DRM actually lowered the performance of the game, and sadly it will happen again.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974948)

In that respect, DRM is like a witch trial directed at legitimate paying customers. If the DRM stays intact, the witch sinks and dies, and the DRM perpetuates its own myth by "proving" its own success. If the DRM is cracked, the witch floats and lives only to be burned at the stake, and the DRM perpetuates its own myth by "proving" the need for harsher measures.

Either way, the DRM isn't really doing anything but killing witches - I mean, eliminating paying customers.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975266)

Which is why you should always be a pirate and use the third option: your very own ship to sail away with the booty!

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975086)

Brought what upon themselves? The so-called scene groups always try to crack any copy protection, and so far they've always succeeded in the end.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975148)

Stop being such a shill and materialistic bitch, get over it and move on that you didn't get to play the game. Acting like god damn children who didn't get their candy; wahhh wahhhh wahhhh.

I see all the screaming about how DRM doesn't work, boy have you guys got your heads up your asses on this one. All I gotta say is Itunes and all its DRM works perfectly fine with its millions of users, if DRM is so terrible to the product than why do Ipods and the music store continue to flourish?

  I am waiting for some scapegoat answer as usual around here why Apple's decisions are so terrible and DRM will be the end of their business .... oh wait their business is flourishing with the DRM and some of the most locked down system of any PC's.

Another thing funny about this whole DRM with Ubisoft was how people were proclaiming that the pirates got to play it before regular users, how does it feel to lie to yourselves around here while patting eachother on the back about myths.
*NEWSFLASH* retards.... Pirates have been the one suffering with bad cracks and not even being able to play the game, the funny thing is on a lot of pirate forums they have all but given up trying to crack it and at the end of the day they all say "this is more trouble trying to crack it than buying the it"

On the Ubisoft forums all you have is people coming in from Slashdot and trolling around whining about the DRM even though they didn't buy the game.
Just a bunch of trolls going around being bitter about the DRM.

I personally cannot wait till Apple takes over the market, open source crowd will shit their pants and realize how easy they had it with MS. How far do you have to have your head up your ass to realize that people will choose a free download and not some horse shit reason because of ethics and how they hate DRM.
NO... people are lazy and when that avenue of pirating material goes away these people are not going to die because of starvation, they will move on with their lives. But not the people at Slashdot, they will continue to troll away at the DRM cause and other hopeless causes like the 'Year of the Linux'.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975238)

I swear this has to be said every week because some people just can't read:

iTunes has no music DRM since forever ago . Therefore your entire rant is just pointless.

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975262)

Um...what? iTunes doesn't DRM its music files anymore.

Nor has any scientific evidence ever been provided that piracy negatively affects sales. Maybe you're the one who should stop complaining?

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975490)

past expirience, ac. i don't know how thís drm will turn out because i haven't bought assassin's creed 2 on the pc (and drm on the ps3 isn't all that bad), but i've had a couple of windows installations come to a crashing halt, needing to be reinstalled, after a run-in with various drm schemes. don't even bother trying to bring up linux or macs: since when has drm ever allowed games to be played on those?

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975326)

My LEGIT copy still doesnt run on my Mac. No response from there tech support.
Now the DRM is cracked? it just keeps getting better. Why bother paying for software that doesnt work right out of the box, and isnt being supported by the vendor?

Re:Let The Excuses Begin (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975404)

Ubisoft has brought this upon themselves

Brought what upon themselves?

Are you trying to say games with more permissive DRM have NOT been cracked? Or that games without DRM haven't been stolen?

Cracked by Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974700)

WTF? This is old news. It was cracked by NinnleCrack, running under Ninnle Linux, some time ago.

Ubisoft's new DRM announced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974728)

Now whenever you buy a copy of one of their games, you will have to schedule a time for an Ubisoft employee to come over and unlock your copy. The employee will stand guard as you play, and as soon as your scheduled time is done, the employee will lock the copy again and leave. If you wish to play at an unscheduled time, that is unfortunate. Also, copies will only include one hour of prepaid Ubisoft employee time. Anything beyond that will cost you $100/hr, including transportation time and costs.

Successful DRM (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974744)

Considering no DRM system will withstand tampering forever, and it's ultimately about delaying the inevitable crack, I guess Ubisoft was successful.

Except they have alienated legitimate customers along with the pirates, well, nevermind...

depends on the meaning of "for real" (5, Informative)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974748)

Skidrow put their own copy protection on the crack because they simply placed the values from the emulator into a dll. It's nice and convenient to have a dll return the values instead of a server however if they had actually cracked then they would have also cracked the other games for which the emulator doesn't currently exist.

So yes, Assassin's Creed 2 is playable but their copy protection is only broken in the sense that AC2 designers decided to make the server-client for this game return static responses that can be collected and eventually make the game playable for pirates.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1)

Jer (18391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974866)

So yes, Assassin's Creed 2 is playable but their copy protection is only broken in the sense that AC2 designers decided to make the server-client for this game return static responses that can be collected and eventually make the game playable for pirates.

Wait - what? The server returns the same responses for everyone? This was their "unbreakable" DRM? Was it at least encrypted or something?

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (3, Interesting)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974958)

Even unencrypted it took weeks to emulate/"crack" the protection. So this was rather successful by the standards of DRM. They can step up this kind of protection in future titles. Allegedly the new Settlers game uses a variant of the same DRM which has a more complex integration with the server. Either way, the legit customer is stuck with a game that will only run when the server is up and reachable. If you see anybody playing AC2 on a plane or even on a train, they're almost certainly playing a pirated version, because legit customers simply can't run the game.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975164)

Your definitions of “legit” and “pirate” are way off.
This has nothing to do with either legitimacy or pirates.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975196)

not necessarily so, they could have bought the original game and used the crack to play it offline ( i think), and that doesn't sound to me like 'pirated version'.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975300)

According to Ubisoft's replies on their official forums whenever something like this was suggested, this is a breach of their EULA.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1)

Kamots (321174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975458)

Doesn't matter if it's a breach of the EULA, as if you're in the US it's illegal under the DMCA.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (2, Informative)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975288)

I really would only call this a success in name. No way to pirate the game should mean they would have a tenfold increase in sales, but they didn't see this. Sales were rather normal for a game of this magnitude, I wonder if this means people who pirate games are unlikely to buy your game anyway.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975340)

Even unencrypted it took weeks to emulate/"crack" the protection. So this was rather successful by the standards of DRM.

I have to kind of grudgingly agree with you there.
Look at the latest version of BD+ - used for the first time on the Avatar BLU-RAY.
Avatar was released on Thursday it was cracked by the end of Friday by at least two different groups (Slysoft and Fengtao aka DVDFab).
So, by that measure, Ubisoft's DRM was a massive success.
Meanwhile, Fox just blew another $100K+ for a day's worth of copy prevention.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (5, Informative)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974982)

The protection for AC2 is tacked on. Settlers 7 received somewhat better protection and there is no working server emulator for it yet. In the future it will be more dynamic and most likely include server side game logic. The significance of it not being truly cracked even with a basic protection as in AC2 is this: every time Ubisoft releases a new game then the pirates must play through the entire game collecting the values which can take a few weeks to get 100% unless the process can somehow be automated. This is over and above any changes to the protocol used to communicate between the client and server between games which the cracker must code for to capture those values.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975182)

No one at Ubisoft ever claimed it was unbreakable, AFAIK. It's only through repeated posts like yours that this became common perception. No doubt it was "just another title" using "just another slightly varied DRM approach" for the AC2 programmers.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975144)

The SIKDROW crack works for parts of the game that the server emulator still lacks. So...no.

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (1)

illaqueate (416118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975206)

The values from Skidrow are already dumped and it's proven they used the data from that forum

Re:depends on the meaning of "for real" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975264)

Source?

I wish people would act more ethically (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974768)

The only ethical response to ubisoft is not to buy their product, not to use their product, not to infringe upon their product and then tell them you are doing it and tell your friends.

I'm irritated at the pro-piracy attitude, it hurts open source as well. Without respect for at least copyright-driven IP you can't have real opensource that allows the creator to specify how it is propagated (GPL). All you would have would be the BSD, and we saw what Apple did with that eh?

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (5, Insightful)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974806)

Except Ubisoft doesn't know whether you illegally download their game or not, so pirating it and not playing it at all have the same effect, that is: Ubisoft will assume piracy.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (2, Insightful)

sowth (748135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974974)

So, why the fuck would you want to play their games if they are total assholes? It is not as if they are the only people who have ever made any games.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (2, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975004)

However, they are the only people who have ever made Assassin's Creed 2.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975508)

So... what, this boils down to "I really really want this and I want it NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW so I'm justified in doing whatever I want to get it"? Like a little spoiled brat, all grown up?

I really don't think you're winning many people over to your side, you know.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (2, Insightful)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975010)

The answer is obvious: if you want to play Assassin's Creed 2, playing Borderlands (or any other game) won't help any, because it's not Assassin's Creed 2.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975018)

This is exactly the point. Do not feed them, you teach them nothing if you still buy their product. Refuse to buy their product, tell them why and tell everyone else.

Proprietary software is not necessarily immoral or unethical, but treating your own customers like common criminals is arguably unethical (this goes for Apple too).

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (3, Insightful)

krelian (525362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975024)

That is why the parent was talking about ethics. Unfortunately, these days for most people protesting is fine as long as you don't have to actually sacrifice anything.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975296)

Except Busybox doesn't know whether you incorporate their code or not, so violating the GPL and not violating the GPL have the same effect

I realize this comes across as trolling. I tried substituting words to understand what you were trying to convey, and I failed completely. Am I dense, or is there really no difference between GPL violations and piracy?

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (1, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975400)

Do you really think that they don't take a peek at how well seeded the torrents of their games are? They have a pretty good idea when a game is being pirated and when it just sucks. The pro-piracy attitude is nothing more than being too cheap to buy the game and not having any respect for the developers. If you like the game, then you associate some value to it and you should buy it. Otherwise, don't play it.

Re:I wish people would act more ethically (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975542)

You make the incorrect assumption that torrents are the only form of distribution of "warez". All they can tell from looking at torrent statistics is "yes, some people are downloading our game illegally", which is pretty obvious to begin with, it's a popular game we're talking about. There will be a lot of downloads, even if the crack isn't fully functional, even if it's functional but too complicated; people will download then delete it without playing it.

The point is: if you really want to play that game without paying for it and you really want it to remain secret, there are plenty of ways to obtain it anonymously, and your actions won't be sending Ubisoft any messages, they will just make their own conclusions.

Not so fast (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974782)

All Skidrow did was re-package the existing community-developed workaround. [cs.rin.ru]

The community created a values.db which contains the name/value pairs to defeat Ubi's server checks, and a server emulator, Skidrow's DLL embeds this file and replaces the server-checking with a local access.

Skidrow then takes full credit for the work (in a total douche move) and they also packed their DLL so no-one would detect their deception.

Re:Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975244)

from a .nfo

          Assassins Creed 2 ... The truth about the lame scene group Skidrow
                                                      and a message to the scene

          Protection: Ubi DRM
          Date of Release: 25.04.2010
          Type: Read NFO

    First of all we would like to thank all people out there that helped us
    beating ubisofts DRM for Assassins Creed 2.

    Now to the points of Skidrow which someone pasted us after the scene
    nuked their theft of our work.

    1. You are true about how the orbit works BUT you did not even log a
          single value yourself. This is easy proofable to all people that
          would like to take the time and start logging from the very
          beginning. Alot of values, which you recieve while logging we merged
          in our database together into 1 or 2 lines Like 5 values 1 line but
          if you log them yourself, they will never look like the given ones
          from our value.db. Also there are some values which do not exist
          in your released version of AC2. They are russian only!

    2. Of course we are not stupid and tagged our value.db. There are
          several values inside that you can never log because they simple do
          not exist. They are fake and used to tag our work from stealing.
          I will not mention which one but as a hint it will be transformed
          a greeting to ru forums as thanks for all our supporters there
          logging values.

    3. The way you transformed the orbit is not good. If you want to play
          any orbit game like Silent Hunter 5 or Settlers 7 or SPlinter Cell
          you can not play them anymore even though you bought them. The
          Skidrow crack fuxks up all originals you want to play. How stupid
          is this "leading force"

    4. Just for your info: Settlers 7 will be also tagged with values that
          you can never recieve from the orbit. You might understand how the
          orbit works but you will never understand how cracking works because
          you steal almost everything. Let me proof this:

          - securom cracks: These "cracks" you supplied had never ever
                                                      the securom VM applied. They even still
                                                      include the debug codes from the times before
                                                      mastering

          - starforce cracks: Your cracks are lame. They are made of russian
                                                      cracks and often wrong rebuilt cause russian
                                                      code is different to european code or you
                                                      simple have access to another unproteced exe
                                                      that was never protected by starforce.

          - solidshield cracks: Your unprotected exes are super great

    5. Steam cracks: Your steam cracks are done exactly the way of
                                                      our russian RE forum. Its ok as its a tutorial
                                                      but if there is something new your fix arrives
                                                      directly after our forum serves the fix.
                                                      Guess the rest.

    6. next Ubisoft game: Oh yeah. Silent Hunter 5 without even testing!
                                                      wow. Settlers 7 with incomplete values or will
                                                      you wait till ours are complete?

    So at final conclusion to the fuckers of Skidrow:

    - Stop fucking around the real crackers if you are not able todo the
        job yourself. Once the greatest cracking group on Amiga and now the
        stupiest group on PC that steals whatever they can catch.

    - Stop destroying a name you can not serve proper with your work

    - Stop releasing when you can not crack yourself

    - Stop talking about other groups work when you dont even understand
        it.
        * Reloaded dll's are simple rebuilt functions
        * Razor & Reloaded Securom cracks are not emu for the protection
        to be continued for all that the Skidrow fuckers do not understand.

    - Start thinking before typing bullshit in your nfos.

    Greetings: - Trivium
                          - ru forums for the help of logging ubisofts DRM values
                          - woodman.com
                          - Scene groups doing the work themself (if they exist)

Re:Not so fast (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975500)

this is a fake, dormine never wrote that

Hypocrisy at it's best ... (3, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974862)

Attached to the "readme" file that comes with the hacked content (which can be found here), Skid Row alerted other hackers that the group's methods were safeguarded against reverse-engineering in order to fend off competing hacking groups and Ubisoft itself.

Let me see if I got it ... you are against the draconian practices of ubisoft ... so you crack the game and ... protect the source of your crack?

I guess how you differentiate between hackers and crackers, this guys are nothing but thieves.

And, before anyone replies saying that this is to protect the patch against ubisoft ... ubisoft created the DRM, they don't need to take a look at the crack's code.

Re:Hypocrisy at it's best ... (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974894)

It would be hypocrisy if the guys were releasing the game out of principle, to fight what they think is an unacceptable violation of your rights as customers, and... But no. They will crack and distribute any game they find worth their time, draconian DRM or not. Most pirates don't do it out of principle, piracy is mostly about convenience.

Re:Hypocrisy at it's best ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974986)

And, before anyone replies saying that this is to protect the patch against ubisoft ... ubisoft created the DRM, they don't need to take a look at the crack's code.

No, it's to protect against other release groups so they can be first to crack the next Ubi game/s...

Re:Hypocrisy at it's best ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975132)

You maen Ubistupid? they won't bother with looking, they'll just sue them and hope the MAFIAA will give them lawyers.

Not hypocrites, liars (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975488)

I read that info file yesterday when I saw this story on another site. I thought the same thing, that it was pretty hypocritical of them. However, now I know better. The only reason they hid the crack is because they didn't want anyone to know that all they did was repackage the crack that has been going around for awhile now. http://cs.rin.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=56074&start=45 [cs.rin.ru]

Certainly, they made some improvement (no longer need to run a server or mess with hosts file) but they want people to think they did it all by themselves, rather than cooperatively with the crack community.

Skidrow didn't do the hard work (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974886)

For the record:

The actual hard work was done by a community of people who bought the game. They ran a proxy that logged all the "values" sent from the Ubisoft servers to the game. Each time the game progresses to another mission (or similar), it requires a different set of "values" to determine what game data to load (or a very similar method). The people who logged these values then submitted them to a community database, which collected them and sorted out any fake ones uploaded by Ubisoft employees or griefers.

This community also made a server emulator, which served the "values" to the game upon request. The server emulator, written in python, was a pretty simple HTTP server; the game connected to it by editing the system's "hosts" file and hardcoding DNS responses for ".ubisoft.com" to localhost (where the server emulator runs).

Thus, the game is only crackable once enough people have bought the game and logged all possible values for all possible missions states. It's not a total loss for Ubisoft in a sense -- it prevents "Pre" releases, wherein a release group distributes the game before the actual release date. It also ensures that a certain number of people must buy the game and contribute "values" to the community database; all in all this ends up lengthening the time from game release to full-working pirate release.

SkidRow's new crack is simply an IPC (inter-process communication) method of delivering the "values" to the game, bypassing the network connection to the game. Therefore SkidRow's version doesn't use a server emulator running on localhost, but rather patches the executables of the game and has the "values" hardcoded into the cracked DLLs.

The real issue here is that SkidRow took the "values" database from the community who initially logged them, and pretty much claimed it as their own work. The original cracking community inserted some fake "values" as trackers in order to determine when anyone stole their work and released it.

Re:Skidrow didn't do the hard work (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975208)

griefers

It always surprises me, how game industry people don’t seem to know the word “troll” at all.
They are trolls. And this is the normal word to use for them.
Or I will start referring to trolls as sourpussies just to confuse you! ^^

Re:Skidrow didn't do the hard work (5, Interesting)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975468)

The real issue here is that SkidRow took the "values" database from the community who initially logged them, and pretty much claimed it as their own work. The original cracking community inserted some fake "values" as trackers in order to determine when anyone stole their work and released it.

One group of pirates being ripped off by another group of pirates is not an issue, it's funny.

Almost 2 months (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974906)

In 2001, a developer at Insomniac wrote an article [gamasutra.com] about how they went about protecting their new Spyro game. It also took two months to be cracked. But as he says in the article, the goal was not to be unbreakable, but to delay the hackers -- 50 percent of the total sales occurred in the first 2 months.

Effectively, Ubisoft has already won.

Re:Almost 2 months (1)

olehenning (1090423) | more than 4 years ago | (#31974992)

I see your point, but Ubisoft will have to stick with this longer if they want to win. For Assassin's Creed 2, this was probably a loss, as the draconian DRM gave them a ton of bad press. In the long run though, people will most likely get used to the crap they have to eat and buy the games anyway.

Re:Almost 2 months (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975158)

That's exactly the point: to get people used to it. It's no coincidence that they tried this on a sequel of a successful title, that people would want to play regardless of the hassle. After more companies start adopting it and ignoring the complaints, people will just get used.

They might want to implement it more effectively though.

Re:Almost 2 months (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975250)

But as he says in the article, the goal was not to be unbreakable, but to delay the hackers -- 50 percent of the total sales occurred in the first 2 months.

There's an unstated, totally unproven assumption that pirates are impatient and will buy the game if it isn't cracked soon. There's been a lot of handwaving about this from people trying to justify DRM, but they're all assuming a link for which they have no evidence.

My theory, equally unsupported by real data, is that the vast majority of pirates are cheap bastards who aren't going to buy a game for $50-60, period. They'll wait, they'll play the game a little later.

Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31974960)

Sadly, the only games I play are distributed on the Steam platform which reasonably protects the game... and still lets me play the games I own when I'm off-line.

Re:Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975278)

Hey if you don't mind losing games you paid for at any time, go for it. Let's all rely on the word of some company that what you buy today will be playable tomorrow.

The DRM system that will probably work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975116)

By Jeff Vogel [slashdot.org]

"Much virtual ink has been spilled over Ubisoft's new, harsh DRM system for Assassin's Creed 2. You must have a constant internet connection, and, if your connection breaks, the game exits. While this has angered many (and justifiably so), most writers on the topic have made an error. They think that this system, like all DRM systems in the past, will be easily broken. This article explains why, as dreadful as the system is, it does have a chance of holding hackers off long enough for the game to make its money. As such, it is, if nothing else, a fascinating experiment. From the article, "Assassin's Creed 2 is different in a key way. Remember, all of its code for saving and loading games (a significant feature, I'm sure you would agree) is tied into logging into a distant server and sending data back and forth. This vital and complex bit of code has been written from the ground up to require having the saved games live on a machine far away, with said machine being programmed to accept, save, and return the game data. This is a far more difficult problem for a hacker to circumvent.""

Apparently not.

Question and Problem (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975212)

If Ubisoft applies a similar but tweaked version of this DRM to another game, will it take hacker groups like Skid Row the same amount of time to develop a crack? If so, then Ubisoft will be quite happy to continue releasing games that sell for several weeks before their DRM is cracked.

On the other hand if this means Skid Row can now apply the same technique to all of Ubisoft's games, then the company has just wasted a lot of money and frustrated many of their customers all for the sake of one game.

Best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31975236)

Many of us are using a crack to allow us to play the game when and where we want, but that doesn't mean that we have downloaded a pirated version of the game. The crack works with legitimate purchases, so if you see someone on a train playing the game, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are using a pirated version of the game. It just means they have downloaded a patch from a 3rd party which increases the usability of the program I already paid for.

When will they ever learn... (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975344)

Put the game mechanics on the server and leave the rendering and sound on the client - there's your perfect "DRM".

get a clue (1)

Norfair (845108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31975368)

Note to Ubisoft and other big game producers: keep treating your customers like potential criminals and they will continue to live up to your expectations. Maybe at some point you will realise that we would have gladly handed over cash for a quality product, but by that time our opinion of you will be so low that even if you all managed to somehow band together and release the best game since X-Com (subjective) we wouldn't even notice. Seriously, these game producers need to get a clue and see where their efforts in DRM have got them so far.
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