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Ubisoft's Draconian DRM Patched?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the improved-to-terrible dept.

Piracy 233

An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Ubisoft's controversial DRM scheme launched last year that required players to have a permanent connection to the Internet has been patched to no longer stop the game when connectivity drops, though an Internet connection is still required when starting the game."

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Ubisofts DRM (2)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730560)

While I previously had a fast constant internet connection, this year I moved to Asia and got to see how bad the internet connection can be at times.

Requiring an internet connection to start the game isn't really a problem, there aren't really that many situations where I would even want to be without one, but if the connection drops or becomes really slow at times it creates problems.

While I don't know how long this has been in effect, I haven't had any problems with my copies of Settlers 7, Assassins Creed 2 and Splinter Cell. Now I'm also more happy to buy HAWX 2, which I've been thinking of doing for a while.

That being said, I can predict this story will once again have just comments dissing DRM in general. Personally, I just want to enjoy the games and I'm getting too old to just rant about it while I can have actual fun too. As long as the DRM works, there is no problem for me. Combine this with the easiness of Steam and I'm more than happy to buy games.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730612)

DRM shouldn't get in the way of enjoying the game for legal owners. I hated companies that made my old 1541 disk drive hammer itself into oblivion with their crap copy protection. I'd end up finding a cracked copy that would load in 15 seconds instead of 4 and a half minutes. I don't mind paying for something useful but I hate buying crippled shit. I really don't play games anymore but if I did I wouldn't want anything that forced me to put up with a bunch on needless BS.

That's what bad with DRM (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730658)

Crackers get the better stuff while legal users getting banned.

DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730852)

I don't buy DRM shit anymore. Over Christmas I've spent $25 on 2x Humblebundle (one for me, and one as a gift). And I tell you, games like Aquaria and World of Goo are nice and refreshing. Hell, I wouldn't pay $5 for some DRM riddled shit like Assassin's Creed 2. With Aquaria, I will be able to enjoy them 50 years from now when I'm old and senile :) :) :)

On similar note, a friend very much enjoyed Assassin's Creed, but she noticed that the game "lagged". After disconnecting Internet connection, the game played perfectly smoothly. It turns out that their DRM causes delays in player input. After that experience, she never got Assassin's Creed 2 *because* of DRM. She said she would have spent $60 for that game, but since they added even more draconian DRM than the first (in 1st, it caused lag), it was a no-go. And yes, this is a true story.

So yes, I play games like EVE Online, World of Tanks, Quake Live and now I discovered great Humblebundle games like Aquaria, World of Goo and the rest of the pack :) I'm very pleased with Humblebundle and looking forward to next one!

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731012)

This is a bunch of horseshit. AC1 didn't use the "always connected" DRM scheme and the DRM has no effect whatsoever on player input. I disagree with this style of DRM completely, but this kind of FUD is not the answer.

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731120)

AC, please read the post before replying. They said that the AC1 lagged due to it's DRM, not because it ways 'aways on'. And its not uncommon of DRM causing lag (the DRM does use up some resources to run on top of the game), in fact the game Elder Scrolls 3 Morrowind had many sources [tweaktown.com] (including at least one magazine) suggesting to use a no-cd crack to speed it up (gave you on average 5fps). Their friend was concerned that AC2 would have even more DRM (the internet connection plus other possible DRM) which could slow down their computer even more and thats why they didn't buy it.

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731234)

They said that the AC1 lagged due to it's DRM, not because it ways 'aways on'.

Then how is disconnecting the Internet proof of DRM causing a slow down? If it isn't always on (and AC1 wasn't) then the internet status wouldn't make a difference. It is more likely that there was some other background task going on. Maybe even some virus.

I can't say for sure that Ubisoft's DRM doesn't cause slowdowns in AC2 because while I played #1 I avoid #2 for this reason.

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731400)

I don't own a game that I DON'T use a no-CD crack on. Who wants to cart around a spindle of CDs just in case? (I do all my gaming on a laptop wherever I happen to be, YMMV, of course)

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731034)

I stopped buying games when they started adding this DRM crap. Steam was the last straw for me. In the last few weeks, I've bought a load of stuff from gog.com. I've spent more on games from there over the past month than I did in total in the previous 5 years. They're DRM free, easy to install, and I can redownload them if I want. Best of all, most of them run happily in WINE / DOSBox / ScummVM.

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (0)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731192)

After the amateur-hour crap that gog pulled a couple months back by taking their site offline with no explanation, I'll stick to steam and it's minimal drm. It's a personal choice to live with it, but I find their implementation acceptable; publishers that add extra drm on top of steam don't get my dollars though.

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731638)

Likewise, Steam is fine. Steam plus any additional DRM will never get a penny from me (since the Bioshock fiasco).

Re:DRM?- I just play non-DRM games :P (0)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731196)

I agree that it can be a pain, but whatever they have to do to keep people from stealing.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

SirClicksalot (962033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731252)

I don't mind paying for something useful but I hate buying crippled shit. I really don't play games anymore but if I did I wouldn't want anything that forced me to put up with a bunch on needless BS.

Same here. I hate paying for crippled products. I still play games, but specifically avoided buying the latest Ubisoft games: Anno 1404 with TAGES drm, Settlers 7 and Assassins Creed with this always online stuff. I own most other games in these respective series, but preferred not playing these to throwing money at their drm garbage. I don't think this new patch will change my mind. It is too little, too late. I guess Ubisoft can be happy - I don't pirate their games. I stopped playing them altogether. Problem is that I was a legitimate customer that never pirated their games before. I doubt the pirates had these problems.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730620)

...I haven't had any problems with my copies of Settlers 7, Assassins Creed 2 and Splinter Cell. Now I'm also more happy to buy HAWX 2, which I've been thinking of doing for a while....

You need to get yer self a girlfriend.

--Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730654)

or at the very least, better taste in games.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730682)

Settlers is one of the greatest game series of all time, mind you. The hours I spent with Settlers 2...

Re:Ubisofts DRM (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730932)

...are the same hours I spent banging your girlfriend.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730966)

At that time, she would had been 8 years old. You like that?

Re:Ubisofts DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731020)

I loved it. They're nice and tight at that age. :)

Re:Ubisofts DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731270)

Also, your mom watched.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (5, Informative)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730634)

"When it works" isn't what bothers me. What bothers me is this disclaimer at the bottom of the steam page:

> A PERMANENT HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION AND CREATION OF A UBISOFT ACCOUNT ARE REQUIRED TO PLAY THIS VIDEO GAME AT ALL TIMES AND TO UNLOCK EXCLUSIVE CONTENT. SUCH CONTENT MAY ONLY BE UNLOCKED ONE SINGLE TIME WITH A UNIQUE KEY. YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 13 TO CREATE A UBISOFT ACCOUNT WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT. UBISOFT MAY CANCEL ACCESS TO ONLINE FEATURES UPON A 30-DAY PRIOR NOTICE PUBLISHED AT http://assassinscreed.com/ [assassinscreed.com] ... which to me says, "we can nuke your access to the game at any point in time, provided we give you 30 days notice on a website you're never going to check."

I own AC1, but I don't own AC2 or HAWX 2 for this very reason.

DRM is likely here to stay, at least to some degree, but this frightens the ever living crap out of me. Why would I throw money at a game where they can cut off access to it at any point in time for ALL of their customers, just because they don't want to pay the bill on those servers anymore?

Re:Ubisofts DRM (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730684)

Why would I throw money at a game where they can cut off access to it at any point in time for ALL of their customers, just because they don't want to pay the bill on those servers anymore?

So don't. The more of us who refuse to buy games which allow them to cut off users at any time, the less games will be released with such draconian DRM.

Personally I now only buy games that are DRM-free, or games which only use Steam for DRM as it can be run in offline mode.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730740)

Personally, I only make an exception for steam when it's a ridiculous price, or I'm only interested in the data files. Steam was the easiest way to get the data files for pretty much the whole iD back catalog for use with 3rd party engines that have sprung up over the years.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730856)

Personally, I only make an exception for steam when it's a ridiculous price, or I'm only interested in the data files.

Personally I don't remember the last time I paid more than $9.99 for any game, be it from Steam, Gog or retail. The market is so competitive these days there's really no need to pay more than that.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730998)

Yes, once you rid yourself of the "gotta have the latest games" mindset you can have a LOT more games for the money you spend. I rarely play games within the first year of their release...they are still "new" to me :)

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731420)

I paid $20 today for Divinity II. That's the most I've paid for a PC game since Ultima IX.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730752)

or games which only use Steam for DRM

Steam cultist remind me of Apple fanboys. "Oh but it's Steam, it's GOOD DRM!" Hilarious! It's still DRM that can disable your games at any time of their chosing.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730816)

Steam cultist remind me of Apple fanboys. "Oh but it's Steam, it's GOOD DRM!" Hilarious! It's still DRM that can disable your games at any time of their chosing.

a) Steam is likely to be around for a long time and has a strong incentive not to cut off old games since it's a distribution system as well as a publisher. If they cut off old games for publisher X, then people are going to stop buying all their other games too.
b) I've read that Steam has already been cracked, so if it does shut down I'm sure there'll be a 'permanent offline mode' hack within days.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (4, Insightful)

skam240 (789197) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731678)

Whether Steam is or can be cracked is irrelevant, Steam is helping to push us farther and farther down the path of us "leasing" our games instead of buying them. As it stands now, when I "buy" a Steam game I really have no idea whether I'll be able to play the game five years from now or even a month from now when the game makes its mandatory check in with their servers. All I have to go on is the good will of some faceless corporate entity and the assurances of Steam fans that this could never happen or that there will be some wonderful work around that will be less convenient than just being able to install my game and play like I should be able to.

The worst part is, it's as easy pirating a game today as it was 10 years ago when all that was on games was Safedisc. Really brings home how ridiculous all of these inconvenient measures are, right?

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731244)

or games which only use Steam for DRM

Steam cultist remind me of Apple fanboys. "Oh but it's Steam, it's GOOD DRM!" Hilarious! It's still DRM that can disable your games at any time of their chosing.

Or it can disable your games just because your connection isn't working. After I paid off my last credit card, I thought, okay, that was a stupid thing to agree to, so why would I ever agree to it again? And, so far, I haven't gotten another one.

I'm not so worried about DRM for games because, really, I don't need to play them and on the occasions where I can't it always forces me to do something more productive with my time. But, I definitely do find that it pushes me away from buying a game at all. It's just a lousy deal.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731288)

I boycotted Steam for a very long time until I got drunk late one night and bid on the Orange Box on eBay. It sat around for many months until I finally got an ADSL line at home to use it. Since then I have purchased quite a few things from the service, but since I don't ever really own the titles, I only pay 2nd hand game prices for anything. Nothing over $5. My average price is $3.74 right now. This includes buying multi-game packs cheap and dividing the purchase price between each game.

If Steam has something cheaper than gog.com then I still buy it at gog.

Where Steam has proven to be a problem was when I was without Internet access for about a month while I changed my line and got a new provider. While you can still play games offline, I couldn't set it to be offline by default. I took about 4 minutes to timeout looking for the server. Unfortunately it was flagged to download an update of the Steam client (which it couldn't do) so I think that was what caused the problem.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731406)

Now sit back and add up the total price you paid for all the stuff on Steam at present. That's the value you'll be losing if Steam ever does go under.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730988)

Agreed...this is why I didn't buy Settlers 7, even though it looked like the type of game I like to play.

I wish these companies would spend as much time figuring out how many customers they lose due to DRM as they do making up BS piracy numbers

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731324)

Problem is that they will think that that lost sale was due to pirates so they will try an even more intrusive DRM to remedy it.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731696)

Eh, DRM will always be here, but the good news is so will the pirates and crackers. So you can enjoy the games, and not give the producers a single red cent.

Re:Ubisofts DRM (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731564)

Even if I were too old to rant about it, there's still some practical steps I can take. Between work and school, there's no way I can spend that much time on games, so I choose the ones I actually play carefully.

Put it this way: Why would you play a bad game when you can play a good one? There are so many games to choose from, it's actually getting reasonable to boycott DRM altogether. It's even getting reasonable to only play games which run natively on Linux.

I'm more than happy to buy games. What I'm not happy to do is have certain DRM on my system (actually as harmful as any malware), or vote with my dollars that shit like this is OK.

Non-Ubisoft games are easier to play (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730672)

So I recommend those annoyed by this game to play those instead.

Morons (4, Insightful)

potat0man (724766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730676)

The guy who thought this up is a dope.

"Hey, let's make our product shittier and harder to use, I bet that will make us some money!"

I hope Ubisoft fires the moron who first pitched this idea to them over a year ago. I haven't purchased an Ubisoft game since they announced this last February.

Re:Morons (0)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730792)

I haven't purchased an Ubisoft game since they announced this last February.

Me neither. But then again I don't play or buy games.

Re:Morons (2)

potat0man (724766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730850)

Between games and hardware I spend over $100/month on gaming, of which Ubisoft has seen $0 this year. Here's the current value of my steam account: $1,927.88 [steamcalculator.com] .

Re:Morons (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730964)

Between games and hardware I spend over $100/month on gaming, of which Ubisoft has seen $0 this year.

Amazing, that's how much I've spent this year on electricity, Internet service, groceries, and rent!

Re:Morons (1)

potat0man (724766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730992)

New Years Jokes. Blah.

Re:Morons (3, Funny)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731038)

See, I just assumed he meant his parents' basement.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731046)

Careful, all it takes is for the VAC process to suspect that some file on your machine is a "hacking tool", and that $1927.88 will be worth zippo when one gets banned completely from Valve's servers with no recourse whatsoever.

Hasn't happened to me yet, but one reason I am leery of Steam is that some automated bot can throw a switch and permanently block access to any of my purchases just because it didn't like some file on the system.

Re:Morons (2, Informative)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731226)

Except for the fact that a VAC ban only prevents you from playing on VAC-enabled servers in Valve games.

Re:Morons (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730868)

And yet you not only read but post in an article about games?

Re:Morons (0)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730978)

And yet you not only read but post in an article about games?

I'm sorry I missed the commandment that decrees that you can only read and comment on articles in which you have a first person experience. At this point I should also add a "whoosh" as well.

Re:Morons (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730796)

Isn't likely to happen. Most likely that moron is the CEO.

Personally, I won't be buying until they back off quite a bit more. I personally don't think that a failure to have internet access is a valid reason to keep me from playing a game I've paid for. Well, unless it's an online only game, like a game which has no single player game play.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730798)

Yea, and NOW you will buy their games again... right?

Re:Morons (1)

potat0man (724766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730818)

Not if I have to be online to boot the game up. Which isn't the case with all of their titles.

Re:Morons (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730804)

No, they should fire the management involved in that decision.

Re:Morons (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730846)

As someone who works at Ubisoft, I can guarantee you that this practice will NOT stop. The CEO pretty much said so ... often.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731128)

will you please take a shit in his car?

Re:Morons (3, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730996)

If the increase in sales to people who would have pirated the game is greater than the number of people who give up because it's too hard to use then they will indeed make them some money. Given the 90%+ piracy rates these sorts of games see, they'd need to lose a hell of a lot of users to bad DRM if it's actually effective at stopping piracy. That said, last I saw this DRM was already broken by somebody building a server emulator. It seems there wasn't any kind of crypto on the challenge/response protocol, which is a rather bizarre mistake to make.

Re:Morons (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731412)

Given the 90%+ piracy rates these sorts of games see, they'd need to lose a hell of a lot of users to bad DRM if it's actually effective at stopping piracy.

It is possible to be 100% effective at stopping piracy and still not improve their bottom line one iota - if all the former pirates just decide to focus their attention elsewhere. That would probably be a net loss since a 90% drop in userbase would probably translate into a major loss in word-of-mouth promotion too.

Re:Morons (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731748)

All* DRM schemes are cracked shortly after they are released. Some of them are cracked even before they are released. That happens because, despite your sugestion, it is impossible to have a proper cypto system doing it. It is impossible to create a challenge/response that pirates can't beat in a blink.

And that leads to my second point. Almost nobody will stop pirating your software because of DRM, but some people may stop buying (and pirate, or just go without) because of it. You have a situation where you want X*90% > Y*10%, but X is known to be very small. So, you can only hope Y is small too, because if it is even slightly big, you'll lose money.

* All the ones implemented on software. The ones implemented on hardware may be as expensive to beat that the pirates will only try after the product becomes sucessful. Of course, up to now, that possibility is just academical.

Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731140)

If PC gaming is declining, it's because it's getting more difficult to play the games you payed for. It's what keeps me from playing on PC, not to mention that I won't be guaranteed to be able to play the game in the future if they stop supporting the game and server support is therefore discontinued. Steam is ok but it doesn't cover everything, and that's part of the problem. Different games require effort in different areas in order to get the game to run, and it's too much trouble in general so I stay off the platform completely.

Re:Exactly (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731362)

I don't have any stats in front of me, but I think that PC gaming might be increasing because it is getting easier to get titles due to services like Steam. We might hate the DRM, but the store is great and very convenient. However, you are right that stupid moves by the likes of Ubisoft do make things harder.

The big problem is that this will eventually extend to gaming consoles. Already we see the other bane of PC gaming being copied by consoles - that of buggy initial releases requiring large patches. I can see larger titles eventually coming from the various virtual marketplaces. Ultimately, I predict future consoles will be released without any optical drive. Always on Internet connection requirements won't be too far behind that.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731542)

I did the same, except I have bought some of their older games on Steam that doesn't have that DRM.

Re:Morons (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731568)

The guy who thought this up is a dope.
  "Hey, let's make our product shittier and harder to use, I bet that will make us some money!"

Perhaps it has.

Ubisoft is looking much stronger financially and PC game and digital sales (DLC, PSN and XBLA) have been a part of that. Ubisoft® reports first-half 2010-11 results [ubisoftgroup.com] [Nov 15]

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731604)

I hope Ubisoft fires the moron who first pitched this idea to them over a year ago. I haven't purchased an Ubisoft game since they announced this last February.

"Sales are one down. You're fired!"

What about the copyright infringers? (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730694)

As we all know, DRM puts a stop to copyright infringement. If they make it less effective (you have to try to piss off your customers as much as possible when developing a DRM scheme), then they'll surely crack it (completely unheard of)! This was just a bad decision all around. What they need to do is have it so all of their customers must beg for access to the game before they are allowed to play it.

Re:What about the copyright infringers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730826)

What they need to do is have it so all of their customers must beg for access to the game before they are allowed to play it.

Also, require an hourly DRM fee. Those activation servers have to be paid after all!

Just buy a console already (-1, Troll)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730716)

Given how badly the pc version of Black Ops was pirated I don't see much of a future for pc games with single player campaigns.

http://warfaceaps.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/call-of-duty-black-ops-breaks-even-the-illegal-download-record/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Just buy a console already (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730842)

Given how badly the pc version of Black Ops was pirated I don't see much of a future for pc games with single player campaigns

You missed the 'from big publishers who just regurgitate last years game with slightly better graphics' part. If the big publishers abandon the PC for consoles and leave it to the indie developers, I'd be quite happy... I've bought more indie games than big name games in the current Steam sale because so few of the big name games had any appeal.

Of course that will suck for ATI and Nvidia if no-one has a need for the most expensive 3D graphics cards. But there doesn't seem to be much use for them now when most games are designed for consoles with antique GPUs and ported over to the PC.

Re:Just buy a console already (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730982)

The only reason "no one has a need" for these things is that the engines utilizing said gpu features require such expensive liscenses no indie dev can afford them, not because they wouldn't utilize it if they could. (Some of these engines + dev kits come with DRM of their own notorious for wreaking havoc on dev machines).

Re:Just buy a console already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731096)

I'm all for it. If the big names move to consoles, so much the better. They won't be missed in the PC arena. In the console arena, they can put out a new Madden each year, and people will buy it in droves, just because it has higher detail on some wide-receiver's pants.

It is laughable. The big names in the game business whine all the time about "piracy" while they put out such buggy crap that they have to find an excuse why gamers just don't bother, while the true success stories (Blizzard, ZeniMax subsidiaries like Bethesda) just do the job and do it right. If all the other big names vanished from the PC gaming sector, I'd miss Neverwinter Nights and AD&D games, but other than that, there wouldn't be any tears shed.

I'd love some indie firm that is able to get a license from Hasbro for the AD&D IP, and do another Baldur's Gate-like game with a good amount of hours of gameplay. Hell, put out a Neverwinter Nights 1 with updated graphics, sound, tiles, and ability to have zone servers for persistent worlds, and watch the game sell for years at a steady pace, rolling in the bucks for a long time. NWN1 made a hit because the CD-ROM DRM got patched out, and the only "DRM" was a CD key permitting access to multiplayer facilities, which makes sense.

Re:Just buy a console already (5, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730922)

That's funny, they conclude with

"Well as a publisher I’d have to ask myself why bother releasing a game for the PC at all? Why don’t I just give it away for free?"

After stating a minute earlier that the PC version made nine and a half million euros in sales. Given it's on an xbox already, the art and level design is all done, etc, etc. Yes why not not take 9 million euros that's on the table, that'd be rational.

Re:Just buy a console already (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731018)

It's really just a symptom of an industry that's rife with corruption and incompetence. The only reason why they're getting anything out of DRM at all is that they were able to buy enough legislators to get the DMCA passed. The DMCA includes weak protections for consumers where they exist at all.

Beyond that I'm not sure how to interpret the success of Indie developers that release sans DRM or GOG.

Re:Just buy a console already (0)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731218)

PC users do have a much higher rate of theft than console users; there tends to be more dishonesty there. So I can understand the concern.

Re:Just buy a console already (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731370)

PC users do have a much higher rate of theft than console users; there tends to be more dishonesty there. So I can understand the concern.

Wait - do you mean that having a PC increases your chance of being burgled, or that people at a higher burglary-risk are also more likely to own a PC?

Re:Just buy a console already (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731676)

No, he's saying that if you own a PC then you're more likely to go around burgling other people.

I could rule the world. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731662)

Given it's on an xbox already, the art and level design is all done, etc, etc. Yes why not not take 9 million euros that's on the table, that'd be rational.

I'd like to have a dollar from every gamer geek who has complained about a console port to the PC.

most likely... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730720)

They patched this probably more to reduce server load than to field customer complaints. Stupid idea in the first place, of course.

how many people... (1)

wan9xu (1829310) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730726)

...actually buy a game and run a cracked version just to get around the DRM? i confess to be one of them. not ashamed to be one.

Re:how many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34730948)

Yep, i wont buy a game until there is a crack available for it.

Don't give Ubisoft your money. (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731078)

That's fine and good, but you really shouldn't be rewarding draconian companies like Ubisoft with your money. Either abstain or find a rationalization for your piracy. My favorite is, "if they're going to treat me like a criminal then I'll act like one."

Re:how many people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731122)

How many people actually didn't buy the game and cracked it just to 'stick it to the man' in the first place?

I think that people would think twice about 'stealing' stuff from a small indie-game developer, as opposed to a company which treats its clients like crap.

Re:how many people... (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731510)

I used to be one as well - after being burned enough times I never bought a game without first getting a working cracked version. Then that became too much of a hassle. Fortunately about the same time as publishers started switching to DRM there has also been a rise in good games being sold without DRM or copy protection (high profile examples: Good Old Games [gog.com] , World of Goo [2dboy.com] , the Humble Bundles [humblebundle.com] and the Indie Bundles [theindiebundle.com] ). Now I don't even consider buying a game unless I can use it on my own terms.

I would be. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731612)

It may not be as bad as pirating, but what you're doing is sending them a strong financial message: "It's ok to do this shit! I don't mind! I'll give you exactly as much money as I did before, I'll just be slightly more annoyed!"

If a game has enough DRM that I'd have to crack it just to play the way I want, or to protect my system, I'm not going to buy or play that game. I'll buy a different one with either no DRM, or DRM I can live with.

Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic (4, Interesting)

Killer Eye (3711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730824)

Reminds me of a UserFriendly.org comic from a few years ago...went something like this:

"Someone is force-feeding you 5 bricks while kneeing you in the crotch. Suddenly, they decide to feed you only FOUR bricks. Do you THANK them?!?"

Re:Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic (4, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730866)

I was thinking more along the lines of 'well mister, I ain't going to rape your butt no more, but you sure have a purty mouth'...

Re:Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731472)

Haha, rape jokes are hilarious! over 9000 internets for you!

Re:Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731478)

"Someone is force-feeding you 5 bricks while kneeing you in the crotch. Suddenly, they decide to feed you only FOUR bricks. Do you THANK them?!?"

If I didn't have a choice in getting fed bricks and kneed in the crotch, then yes. If, on the other hand I paid for the crotch-kneeing in the knowledge that I'd have to put up with the bricks, then no.

Seriously, though, if you buy a game knowing about the stupid DRM measures then I have no sympathy; if the measures weren't made clear before purchase or were foisted upon you after purchase then you have grounds to demand a refund.

I can understand people mocking Ubi for adopting such a customer-unfriendly policy but - to use the customary car analogy - bitching that your Kia can't do 200mph just makes me think you're a tool for buying it in the first place.

Re:Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731680)

Well, I *might* as misdirection as I plot their painful demise once I get free. Just sayin'.

Internet connection shouldn't be required (0)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730892)

When my ISP went out for a day and a half, I wanted to play some games to pass the time, but the games that appealed to my state of mind were all on steam-- and thus useless to me. (Yes, I'm the anti-social type--I prefer single player scenarios).

Re:Internet connection shouldn't be required (2)

Agret (752467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731124)

Then start Steam, it'll detect there is no internet connection available and ask to start in offline mode. Since you only prefer singleplayer games you should be able to run them no problem, if Steam says the game is unavailable leave the Steam window open and go into Steam\SteamApps\Common, look for your game folder and run the exe directly - it should work fine :)

Re:Internet connection shouldn't be required (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731310)

Hmm...

unplugs ethernet cable, disables 802.11

Didn't quite work out that way. Got a "Steam needs to be online to update" message. Perhaps the Mac client differs substantially from the Windows version.

Re:Internet connection shouldn't be required (1)

risinganger (586395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731460)

No, that to me indicates you should launch Steam every so often to ensure it is up-to-date. I'm on a mac too but I get the same options as Agret did. It observed I had no network connection and asked if I wanted to start in offline mode.

Re:Internet connection shouldn't be required (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731566)

Ah, there it goes.

Note to self: Play more games, more often.

Re:Internet connection shouldn't be required (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731498)

Didn't quite work out that way. Got a "Steam needs to be online to update" message. Perhaps the Mac client differs substantially from the Windows version.

Odd, because my Windows laptop plays steam games just fine in single player mode while offline. Infact, the majority of the time it's offline.

Need to be online to start in offline mode... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731618)

Mine can only be put in offline mode when I am online. If I am offline, it says to start in offline mode, but then it won't, and says it needs to be online.

If I remember to turn it to offline mode before I go offline, it works fine, and I can stay in offline mode for the month I am at work, and play just fine (on my offshift hours of course). If I forget that before I leave home, I am screwed for the month.

Makes a difference (1)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730938)

I didn't realize how crappy my connection was until I started playing WOW...before with Steam only needing occasional access I didn't notice.

I switched providers once I realized how bad my connection was. I just don't think it is a smart thing to do to require constant connectivity...unless most other people have much better connection experiences than I have had. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

defeats its purpose (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34730956)

Ok, without a required connection during the game, it will be quite easy to crack this scheme: simply make a copy of the machine state just after starting the game. (For most people, this will be not so simple, but crackers can easily do this).

Re:defeats its purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34731054)

because the constant connection didn't get cracked?

Re:defeats its purpose (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731138)

Like people hadn't already cracked the game before this patch...

DRMs always get cracked in the end. I'm pretty sure the only reason they're put into the game is to ensure that its not cracked in the first 'month' or so when the majority of the sales happen.

as long as people still buy the games (3, Insightful)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731056)

As long as the people still buy the games from Ubisoft, they will not drop any DRM. My guess is that it was calculated (i.e. x% are pirats, y% are pissed, z% will still buy) and it makes more profit with the DRM then without. A lot of people just don't care until the servers are stopped or changed for a new game. In that case it will be just a press release "We are very very sorry but we have to terminate the activation service. Look at the EULA it's perfectly legal and you can do shit about it. So please just forgot this game and buy our new games now with more DRM because the pirates are forcing us to protect our IP.".

Re:as long as people still buy the games (1)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731626)

They do this at the close of Steam's Christmas series of sales. I'm guessing AC2 and C&C didn't get the wonderful reception they were expecting. Of course, now it's too late to fix what they've blundered.

Steam has one more day, it could be another everything-previously-is-on-sale-again type thing for Ubisoft to pray they can make up some money...

Re:as long as people still buy the games (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34731666)

That's why I borrowed my sister's copy of AC2, and I'll borrow Brotherhood. That's one nice thing about console gaming- still easy to just borrow a game from someone else. They haven't started any limiting actions like tying a disc serial number to a console serial number on their servers. Geez, maybe I should just hush up. :-\ My PC gaming these days is older stuff I missed on Steam and GOG.

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