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Ubisoft Ditches Always-Online DRM Requirement From PC Games

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the they-can-be-taught dept.

DRM 218

RogueyWon writes "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use always-online DRM for its PC games. The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market." The full interview has a number of interesting statements. Ubisoft representatives said the decision was made in June of last year. This was right around the time the internet was in an uproar over the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which Ubisoft quickly scaled back. Ubisoft stopped short of telling RPS they regretted the always-online DRM, or that it only bothers legitimate customers. (However, in a different interview at Gamasutra, Ubisoft's Chris Early said, "The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.") They maintain that piracy is a financial problem, and acknowledged that the lack of evidence from them and other publishers has only hurt their argument.

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About damn time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237611)

'nuff said.

Re:About damn time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238105)

'nuff said.

No, not quite. Now that they are ending their oppressive DRM, I will end my purchasing boycott.

Re:About damn time (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238181)

With what are they replacing it?

rootkit?

Yeah Right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237615)

I'll believe it when I see it, not when they say it.

Re:Yeah Right (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238571)

Considering how consumer unfriendly this company has been I don't blame you friend. And is this gonna apply to new titles only, or are they stripping it from previous games? Because there were several Ubisoft titles on Steam I would have bought if it weren't for the always on DRM. If they are gonna strip it from everything great, all for it, if not it'll be a royal PITA still to buy any of their titles because you'll have to search the fine print to see if its pre, during, or post douchebaggery.

Financial issues? (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237625)

Hmm, maybe that doesn't stem from piracy so much as the constant firehose of low-quality games from Ubisoft?

You can fool people for a while, but eventually they're going to notice you're charging $50 for what other companies would release as a $10 DLC.

Re:Financial issues? (5, Interesting)

Psyko (69453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237755)

Agreed. Last title I picked up from them I think I paid like $50 for it, messed around with it for like a week. Then removed it and their stupid drm launcher/rootkit.

Publishers can quote piracy all they want but I think crap content is a bigger detriment to their financial base and word about that gets around just as quick as draconian drm.

Honestly, if there was a mechanism in place to get a refund on some of the garbage software I've bought over the years I think there's only a hand full of stuff I would actually keep.

Re:Financial issues? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238127)

I'd say word of a terrible game gets around faster than crap DRM limitations. Most game buyers will probably not run into DRM problems. Almost all of them will run into the limitations of the gameplay, storyline, etc...

Re:Financial issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238211)

low-quality games with tons of drm.

They'll never sell me another game, regardless of quality or drm now. How does that factor in to their financial issues?

Re:Financial issues? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238299)

Seems like most companies that should be in theory creating content, they put far more effort into squeezing every last dime they can from what they've already created than they do actually creating. To the point of being counterproductive.

Movies, it's not just DRM. Making a good movie comes second if that to marketing the movie.

I'd guess, having never worked in such an industry, that the suits making these decisions are more likely to listen to other suits pushing DRM or marketing than they are to listen to their own creative types.

Re:Financial issues? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238419)

Ironically, piracy could have hurt them. Someone pirates a copy, finds out it's crap, and deletes it, when he may have gone out and bought a copy if it was any good. This is what many so-called pirates do; it isn't about being cheap, it's about not wanting to be ripped off by crap. The first time you get ripped off by a shitty $50 game you wouldn't have paid ten for, you're going to want to test drive the next one before buying.

You would think these people would learn from history, the same thing happened to game companies back in the late '80s when they were so sure that copying floppies was hurting their business. It did, because they started putting DRM on them and people howled, complained, and stopped buying.

Apogee sold 35,000 copies of the original Duke Nukem by giving it away free, and even more when the sequel was in stores. DN2 woudn't have been in stores had they not given away DN1 and become known.

Re:Financial issues? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238435)

As opposed to the tsunami of endless low-quality indie games being published?

Finally... (5, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237627)

they're more inconvenient to our paying customers

Finally somebody starts to get it. When you make it more convenient to pirate the game than to pay for it there's something badly wrong.

Re:Finally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237685)

I doubt they "get it". It's probably they crunched the numbers and it's costing them more than they are willing to pay.

Re:Finally... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237857)

That is getting it.

The fact that it took testing to prove what should have been expected is the sad part.

Re:Finally... (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238413)

The fact that it took testing to prove what should have been expected is the sad part.

That my friend, is the scientific process. Can't fault them for that. As much as I agree that this is too little too late I don't think if I was some mid-senior level employee at a multinational multimillion dollar business that I would make a decision on this scale without a focus group to blame it on. That's a problem with business in general and not just Ubisoft.

Though they still suck it, and how, I'll reserve my excitment until I see a little more headway in the right direction from them in the form of good games and _no_ DRM, because that's what I want.

Re:Finally... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237707)

Yeah. Now they can hurry up and patch it out of Settlers 7 so I can buy it!

Re:Finally... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237769)

Haven't the "pirates'[sic] already done that? I'm sure you could find DRM-free versions of their game on torrent sites by now.

Re:Finally... (4, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238203)

It's the principle of the matter and it follows logically from the following axioms:
1. I will not purchase DRM'd content from Ubisoft because I refuse to support Ubisoft's DRM scheme.
2. I will not pirate games because studios see it as cause for ever more restrictive DRM.

Therefore I cannot, in good conscience, purchase or pirate Ubisoft games.

Though I agree that there may be a few games I'll buy if this actually happens.

suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237771)

I never thought I'd see the day... I was expecting Ubisoft to crash and burn first.

Re:Finally... (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238145)

Sure, they "get it" all right. People roll over for software activation now because companies like Ubisoft have won a place for it by threatening something worse and then relenting. The damage is done though - the sea change in DRM came with activation, that's when you gave up ownership of your media, quibbles over when and how often you need to activate are a straw man that they've thrown out in the (successful) hope that people will parrot crap like, "Well, I only need to activate once. That's nothing, look at what Ubisoft used to do."

Re:Finally... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238565)

Games have been doing activation for decades. How old is Diablo II now?

Re:Finally... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238257)

Finally somebody starts to get it. When you make it more convenient to pirate the game than to pay for it there's something badly wrong.

On top of that, DRM eats away at their revenue for each year that they support their customers. For example, if I install Spore right now, EA has to have some server somewhere grant me access to it. They pay people to code that service, maintain the servers, and man the phones for the cases that go wrong or if I go through too many activations.

I really don't understand why they think this is a viable alternative especially when they cannot actually point to an empty bank vault where a bunch of money is missing.

Re:Finally... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238609)

You are wrong. EA only has to keep the servers running for Spore for as long as they like, which is likely to be as long as it's making them money. They have no requirement to keep the servers going indefinitely.

Witness MS's PlayForSure.

WoW. (1)

JoosepN (1847126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237629)

Just wow.

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237631)

Did enough people say f u ubisoft or is there another reason?

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238017)

Obvious corporations don't care to listen us.
They only listen to the sound of money poring in their accounts.
So vote with wallets!

Re:heh (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238557)

sometimes they won't even listen to to that. For example NcSoft with the MMORPG City of Heroes.

Inconvenient for paying customers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237655)

The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.

No shit. I haven't bought a game with always online-DRM and I never will.

Will they patch existing games? (5, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237659)

If they patch existing games to not use this as well, I may consider purchasing one (Heroes 6). I've held off on this purchase specifically because of this.

Re:Will they patch existing games? (1)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238077)

Not mentioned anywhere that I could find. Though it was asked in one of the comments on RPS. If Ubisoft DOES patch their older properties, then myself (like others, possibly) will be willing to look at some of their older games. I'd certainly be interested in trying out Settlers, as Civilization V was an effing bad joke.

Re:Will they patch existing games? (1)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238123)

I made the mistake, not only of buy Civ V, but playing it again recently.
I had to get out my GoG version of CTP2 to get the bad taste out of my mind.
I haven't played Settlers since it was by BlueByte

Re:Will they patch existing games? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238379)

DRM was only part of the reason I didn't buy heroes 6. The other reason is that heroes 5 sucked. Heroes 3 & 4 were the best in the series, though 4 was very buggy at launch.

Re:Will they patch existing games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238521)

heroes vi doesn't have always-on drm. you can play in offline mode which works just fine.

People will just find some other justification... (4, Insightful)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237671)

...to pirate. This will make no difference in the piracy rate, but it's nice for their user base.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (5, Insightful)

Spuffin (466692) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237773)

I think that's entirely the point. DRM or no DRM does not affect the piracy rate but it DOES impact the end-user. If the end-user's experience is affected by something that does not affect the illegitimate users then they need to re-evaluate their goals. There are extra costs in development and overhead with the implementation of DRM which must be factored into the ROI. It appears they are coming to the realization that their implementation negatively affects the end-user experience, impression of their brand, and does not provide any additional sales (which is the whole point, really) so they're on the wrong end of that ROI.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (3)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238087)

I may be unique, but I am single (wait, this is /., so not so unique) with disposable income and now I'll be more inclined to buy. This may affect piracy rates, but to decrease them... :)

Re:People will just find some other justification. (2)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237863)

Indeed, yet legitimate users will now have a better product.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237873)

True pirates don't pirate because of cost, they don't pirate because of DRM, they don't pirate for any other reason than the thrill provided from doing something that the original creator never intended. You will never, ever manage to get a true hardcore pirate to buy your game short of completely open sourcing it and providing all the toolkits necessary to make it still fun to hack with.

Everyone else is just a poseur.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237987)

True pirates

"No True Pirate..."

Re:People will just find some other justification. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238293)

You realize that requires the argument be made that none of XYZ do ABC, which is then followed by "But this one XYZ does ABC", and then following that up with "No *true* XYZ does ABC".

The argument presented is simply that people who are claiming to be pirates (or are called pirates) that simply pirate to not pay for something rather than for the enjoyment of it aren't really doing it to be a pirate. They're doing it to be cheap bastards.

I wouldn't claim that there all no pirate would pirate to save money, but I WOULD claim that if the only reason you're pirating is the be cheap you're not really a pirate--you're a cheap bastard who pirates.

In other words, a cheap bastard would buy your game at the right price. And if that's what you want, you should call your campaign a "get cheap bastards to pay" campaign. If you want a pirate to buy the game (or, really, legitimately use it), you'd do better going after the angle of open sourcing it.

1 pirated copy != 1 lost sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237897)

On the contrary, there will be more satisfied paying customers. Piracy rates may even go up, but their customer base will increase, which in the long run is the more pertinent of the two figures as far as Ubisoft should be concerned. More customers means were money. Saying that it'll make no difference to the actual piracy rate is ridiculous and irrelevant.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (4, Insightful)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237919)

The people who are pirating will probably keep pirating, but it's not because of some other justification. It's because the vast majority of them are in a country or culture where it's the norm.

To countries like Armenia [tumblr.com] , they don't even consider that there is DRM in a game at retail because they usually are acquiring it via bootleg salesmen or pirated downloads. It's as if the DRMed game never existed.

And that's why the one, two, and sometimes three or more layers of DRM doesn't do anything but hurt the customers in the culture where paying is the social norm.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237955)

"I want it for free."/"I can't pay for it."/"It isn't sold in my country."

There. Those are motivations, but justifications aren't necessary. Any 'pirates' who claim otherwise are imbeciles.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237977)

Eh.... I wouldn't be so quick to say. Especially if one is to believe that piracy is around 93%+ like they (?) claimed the other week. I mean, sure, the lion's share will still pirate. However, if even 5% of people are pirating because got sick of having to deal with the DRM and/or crack it anyways, that would represent a relatively significant sales boost. Not to mention it may cut down on perceived piracy because less buyers would be downloading cracked versions (though this depends on how they are measuring it, of course). And it might even bring back people who just swore them off altogether. So overall, I think there's a lot of positive potential.

However, dollars to donuts, this just means they'll be using some nasty root-kit or something instead. They probably figured it'd be more effective than the online DRM and this is just PR spin.

Re:People will just find some other justification. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238189)

I am a pirate. I frequently pirate games because I want to play a game for free and I don't feel like spending $60 on it. I'm not poor or in another country, although I don't think I could reasonably afford to spend hundreds of dollars a year on games either.

Of course, I have bought games before, and I will in the future. High quality games that get good reviews from friends, or games that are sequels or expansions to great games I have pirated will get my money.

Still, 9/10 games I have pirated and I imagine that will continue to be the ratio.

The fact is, if I couldn't pirate, I just wouldn't play those games. I won't spend 60 dollar, or 5 dollars even, on something that I don't know if it will waste my time. There are some things I can't avoid that with: food and girlfriends are two such, but games are not.

I'm not going to pretend I pirate just to find the right games to buy, but I can tell you that some games I pirate will result in sales, and only because I liked other games I played for free from the publisher. I could have lived my life without playing Fallout 3 or Mass Effect 2 or Portal, but once I actually got a look at them and got attached to the storylines or game play, I definitely wanted to support those. Mostly.

I don't really feel all that bad about pirating a game that broke all sorts of sales records. For the most part, I consider the entire business model of computer games to be based on people who have too much disposable income. They will support the games so I can be entertained. They will deal with the DRM and I will shrug and play the pirated game. If sometimes the game doesn't work perfectly, or crashes shit, that's my price I pay.

I am a pirate. I am not your customer. I don't care if you live or die. But you might, if you're clever and good at what you do, make a buck off me. Maybe.

Yeah, but buying it will have less cons (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238195)

People will pirate every game, that's for sure. But in the end of the day, what matters is how many will find some justification to buy it. And being less of an ass to your clients will make it easier for them to justify giving you money.

Hope it's not too late (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237677)

In general Ubisoft has some pretty good games, the DRM always bothered me & I hate origin. At the same time there is no denying that this is a step in the right direction. Perhaps Ubisoft, perhaps I will once again be a customer of yours.

Re:Hope it's not too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237935)

What is so bad about Origin? Its a system pig like Steam and has fewer features than Steam due to it being alot newer but it seems most of the hate it gets is "I hate EA, so I hate Origin!" I've used it for BF3 since launch and during that time its improved a fair amount.

Re:Hope it's not too late (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238097)

My problem with Origin is that EA wants to use it as their exclusive distribution platform and avoiding it isn't necessarily possible.

For example, I picked up Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 on sale on Steam. If I want to play Mass Effect 3 (and have a carryover playthrough), I must now get the Origin regardless if I go through a digital distribution or buy the game from the store.

Re:Hope it's not too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238551)

Valve and countless other companies require users to do this with their newer games via Steam also, yet that doesn't seem to be an issue for most Steam users. I purchased Deus Ex HR at retail and low and behold, had to activate it on Steam. Its not just EA doing it and Valve started the trend in 2004, everyone else is catching up to them.

Took them long enough. (5, Insightful)

heypete (60671) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237693)

DRM serves to inconvenience legitimate users and does little to stop pirates: all it takes is one smart cow [wikipedia.org] to open the gate and all the other cows can follow.

Steam seems to provide a good service to game sellers and players: reasonable DRM to reduce casual piracy while not being hideously obnoxious (you only need to be online once to activate the game, after that you can play offline), fast downloads, decent anti-cheating protection for multiplayer games, frequent sales, millions of regular viewers (so promotions are more effective), automatic updates, very simple click-to-buy procedure without any hassle, etc. Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237747)

I'd agree with this, i only buy games off steam because it eases the inconvenience of reinstalling games between formatting and keeps track of all the older games i play less frequently.

Re:Took them long enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237875)

Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

I can't speak for why developers wouldn't sell them on Steam, but as a consumer I don't purchase them on Steam (or even if they require activation via Steam) because of the first sale doctrine. I can't have 2 games on one account, and sell one of them to somebody else without transferring ownership of the account, including the other game.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237999)

I can't have 2 games on one account, and sell one of them to somebody else without transferring ownership of the account, including the other game.

Actually, I don't think you're correct on this one. I can't remember exactly how it occured, I think through the orange box, but I had bought HL2 and ended up with another copy of it through a bundle purchase. Lo and behold, I have it listed in my giftable copies. Therefore, duplicate copies of games can be gifted to other accounts.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238019)

bahh, ignore me, I misunderstood your post. Correct, you can't gift a single copy of a game to someone else, which I agree, blows.

Re:Took them long enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238463)

Maybe I don't understand your wording, but you can gift a game to another Steam user. You check the "It's a gift" option when you purchase the title and it sends the other person the good news and adds it to their library.

You cannot "give" someone a game you purchased for yourself at some point in the past.

Re:Took them long enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238095)

You can only gift extra copies. You can't gift your single copy of the game to a friend, which is the major shortcoming of Steam vs retail games on disc.

Re:Took them long enough. (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238023)

reasonable DRM to reduce casual piracy

How casual? If they seriously cannot apply a crack, I highly doubt they can figure out how to use Steam.

But I don't believe "reasonable DRM" exists, anyway. Steam itself would be okay if you could optionally detach the games from it so that you could run them without it, but not being able to do so is what makes it DRM.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238595)

Civ V is the only Steam game I have that I play in 'single player' mode. I was curious about if I would be able to play the game without having an internet connection because the game launches through Steam.

I d/c'd my internet connection one day before booting up the computer. Then I tried to load Civ V. It sat there for about 2 minutes (normally just a few seconds) before finally giving me a dialog box along the lines of "internet detection could not be found. Would you like to play in off-line mode?" Then I got a warning saying my saved games might not be available. After that I was able to play the game as normal.

Not completely disconnected but I was happy there was a measure in place that would let me play sans internet connection.

Re:Took them long enough. (2)

robmv (855035) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238029)

Steam is the less evil of the game stores DRM. I know that something like digital goods resale will need legislation because it will not fix by itself (I want transfers because I always gave my old games to younger family member), but the worst thing that bothers me is not allowing than others family play my games installed using my account, on my machine, using their own Steam users, at least give us subaccounts or something like that. The console ecosystems (at least the PS3) allow other people to play games downloaded by another account active on the device without they having access to my account, with the exception of those hideous online passes that should work the same way but not, they are tied to one account to play online

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238267)

Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

Some of them don't care for the model. Some of them don't want to incur the extra costs of Steam. Some of them have contractual obligations. But primarily, companies don't want to lose control of their distribution method.

It's like asking why companies don't want to put their app on the Android Market/Google Play, and why other marketplaces exist. Putting all their eggs in one basket is risky.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238307)

Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

Greed.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238341)

Why wouldn't game developers sell games on Steam rather than creating their own obnoxious systems?

There are some rare cases when they have no choice but to do so.

For instance, Mac game publishers are oftentimes entirely separate companies that license the rights to create a Mac port of a game from the original Windows publisher. Since Steam does not have any way to meaningfully distinguish between Mac and Windows gamers at the time of purchase, they only allow a single company to receive payment for each purchase made...including on SteamPlay titles that include both Mac and Windows versions of the game. The result is that the Mac publisher would have no way to get paid if they were to post the Mac version to Steam.

Because of that, a number of AAA titles from the last few years that have been ported to Mac (e.g. Bioshock 1 and 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Batman: Arkham Asylum) are not available on Steam, forcing the Mac publishers to look towards alternative stores. That said, most of the publishers, at least in the scenario I've described, have turned to the Mac App Store, Direct2Drive (now bought out by GameFly), or other such entities. A few sell the games themselves, but I'm not aware of any of them making an obnoxious system to do so.

Are you listening Blizzard? (3, Insightful)

ckblackm (1137057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237713)

If we could only get Blizzard to do away with the requirement for Diablo III.

Re:Are you listening Blizzard? (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237797)

I have $60 ready and willing for the moment they let me play the game on the airplane, quite possibly the only time I have to throw hours at it.

Re:Are you listening Blizzard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237801)

If we could only get Blizzard to do away with the requirement for Diablo III.

The way I understand it, D3 is deliberately set up like a MMO and not like a single player game. Much of the processing of actions in the game is done server-side which is why it is possible to "lag" even when playing single player. So, I highly doubt you will get your wish. Now, is it shoddy coding designed to make the most of a craptacular Real Money Trading system? Yes, but that is a comment for a different article!

Re:Are you listening Blizzard? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238199)

Good luck with that one. Diablo III is a cash cow for Blizzard. There's no reason they should remove this requirement.

Palm Flower Crystal (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237821)

You will still need a palm flower crystal of the appropriate color however. Oh dear, please report to a sleepshop.

Good (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237827)

Good. Let me know when it's patched out of Anno 2070 & I'll buy it on Steam.

Allegedly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237845)

They haven't actually ditched anything. They've merely claimed that they are going to. This claim is backed up by absolutely nothing.

Re:Allegedly (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238059)

Ubisoft also has other DRM systems. I bought a game off of Steam once from them. The game had three activations even on top of Steam's reasonable DRM.

I upgraded my vid card. There went activation #2.
My onboard USB controller died, so rebuilt my desktop. There went activation #3.

I could see about a crack, but why bother.

Ubisoft got my money for a product once. Unless something changes drastically, that mistake won't be repeated.

People who bought it cracked it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237849)

I'm sure that the amount of people who bought it was larger than the amount of unique connections to their servers, that must've been a hint. People who legally paid for these games have found it more convenient to apply a crack themselves.

Shocker (2)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237851)

I love when companies try to force new ideas that are obviously flawed, based solely on some projections and high ups getting creamy over their great idea to end piracy. Instead of getting anything out of this DRM strategy, they just look like dicks.

Pirates Aren't Customers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41237881)

When companies start realizing that they're not losing money to pirates because pirates aren't customer (or even potential customers) they can focus on things their real customers are interested in.

Re:Pirates Aren't Customers (4)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238235)

Please mod parent up insightful. Far too many companies believe the fallacy Pirate Copy = Lost Sale.

Installation times! (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237887)

I bought Assassin's Creed 2 on sale a while back, even downloaded it a few weeks ago, but only recently tried to play it.

Holy crap, did it take forever. First it had to install roughly twenty million different runtimes and libraries. Then it had to install some "UPlay" bullshit. Then that had to update itself, despite having been just installed. Then it had to "update" the game, something I would have thought Steam would do automatically (I'd bet money that someone at Ubisoft had to actually force Steam to not update it, rather than it being some failing on Steam's side).

After waiting about twenty minutes for this all to go on, I gave up. Cancelled it out, started a different game ("Stacking") and was in-game within a minute.

Yeah, them getting rid of their pointless DRM is good even if all it changes is how long it takes to start playing.

Now if only EA would actually learn to let their customers access the DLC they paid for without going through more hoops than the average basketball...

Re:Installation times! (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238051)

You bought their game on Steam and it still installed UPlay?

Re:Installation times! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238385)

Yup.

That's not the only game to try something like that. Battlefield 2 tried to install Gamespy Comrade, but I found you can cancel out of the installation, but it will continue on. It still tries to install it every time, but I can just deny the UAC prompt for the installer and be on my way.

Ok... (2)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237939)

How long will it last this time?

They've scaled it back in the past and it just comes back in another game. In six months or a year, if they've kept that crap out of their games, maybe I'll consider giving them money again. Maybe.

May be too late (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237967)

I've trained myself to just ignore games with Ubisoft on the label.

Too Late (3, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237975)

Due to their past transgressions, I will still never buy an Ubisoft game. I'm sure they will consider my lack of purchasing as piracy instead of voting with my wallet, but I don't care. Companies need to learn that years of treating your paying customers with contempt will take a LONG time for people to get over, even when the company finally starts to do the right thing.

Re:Too Late (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238487)

It's never too late for me... I swore I'd never buy an Ubisoft game while the DRM was so obnoxious so I didn't. And unlike others, I didn't pirate. I just didn't play their games. Now that they've focused more on the paying customer experience (and my personal inability to insure I had internet access at all times) I can again look at their library of games.

I mean it's not like they killed people or something. It's a business decision.

Games (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41237983)

Produce a game I want to play, and make it a program that I don't cringe as I try to install it.

It's not hard. Hundreds of them are on my PC at the moment. I don't think there's a single Ubisoft one among them (except some really old games before they started bundling pure shit along with their shitty games and trying to sell it for full price).

The DRM doesn't stop the pirates.
The DRM does stop me.

If it's taken you this long to listen, believe and understand what people have been saying to you for YEARS, I see no reason to reward your years of ignorance now.

Too late for me (4, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238005)

When I haven't been treated like a potential thief by Ubi, I've been treated as a second-class customer. I don't care what they're publishing now, they haven't deserved my patronage for a long time.

And no, I haven't pirated any of their titles either. I prefer to undermine my arguments in an ethical manner.

Re:Too late for me (2)

debrain (29228) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238585)

I prefer to undermine [reference.com] my arguments in an ethical manner.

That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Eh big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238047)

Ubisoft still makes shit games so what does it matter if it has online DRM or not? I still wont buy their games because they kind of well, suck. They are like a poor mans version of EA where all they do is shit out the same old games, whore out DLC and occasionally make a unique game that still sucks.

If ubisoft didnt have assasins creed brain dead zealots buying it like crazy at every release then they wouldnt even be in business. AC is essentially just call of duty for them where they dont make anything good or that sells but they thrive on constantly re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-releasing the exact same game every year to millions of mindless drones that praise it for being the same old shit.

How ubisoft has managed to last this long is a mystery to me.

Annoying use of "Content" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238081)

The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content.

I am tired of hearing the marketing term "content" everywhere. It's, "a single-player game," or "single-player mode."

And don't even get me started on consumer replacing person.

Re:Annoying use of "Content" (2)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238503)

Because Diablo III has no real single player mode. The Diable III version of single player mode is you all alone in an MMO. You can hate their design, but it's not DRM.

I already ditched it. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238109)

There are several cracks and patches online that ditch it for you.

Is it true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238183)

If it's true, I'll start buying ubisoft games once again!

How is this different? (3, Insightful)

daemonhunter (968210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238185)

Can someone explain to me (because I don't own any Ubisoft PC games) how this is different than being forced to log into Battle.net even if I only want to play Diablo 3 single player?

If it's not any different, why is Ubisoft on the receiving end of such unbridled nerd rage, but not Blizzard?

Re:How is this different? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238449)

If it's not any different, why is Ubisoft on the receiving end of such unbridled nerd rage, but not Blizzard?

You rarely, as the kids today say, "log on" to this newfangled "the Internet" very often, do you?

Re:How is this different? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238495)

Can someone explain to me (because I don't own any Ubisoft PC games) how this is different than being forced to log into Battle.net even if I only want to play Diablo 3 single player?

Because "this" is a story about how Ubisoft have ditched the requirement. When Blizzard do the same, Slashdot will no doubt run a similar story about them and we can all have a good dig at them, too.

That's a start. (3, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238201)

Continue in this vein and I might eventually buy a game.

Keep in mind... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238251)

For those of you who are hardcore against DRM, the are ONLY removing the always-online DRM.
They still plan on using a DRM scheme, it's just you only have to verify it once.

Too little, too late. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238401)

Lowering the strength of their ridiculous DRM a full year after they made the decision, all the while accusing the vast majority of PC gamers (aka their customers) of being malicious criminals. Good show, really :P

Rainbow Six was one of my most favourite series but I'll never buy another one again so long as Ubisoft's name is on it.

Summary of most comments so far... (1, Funny)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#41238491)

Hey, Ubisoft...

FUCK. YOU.

Market speak (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41238563)

The entire article is marketing, pure and simple. Someone at Ubisoft realized that the current opinion of the company was below their projections, so they come out with an interview telling people everything they want to hear. Notice the dodges on the first question in the article regarding the 90-95% piracy versus their own declaration that their DRM was working. Basically two comments in direct opposition to each other.

They don't say they made a mistake, just an 'unfortunate comment'. Some very valid questions result in 'no comment'. It's ridiculous that they think an interview like this would smooth over their reputation, or that backing away from their draconian DRM practices would somehow result in people trusting the company again.

This company and more specifically, their CEO, recently said that many customers (90-95% of people who play their games) are PIRATES. Plain and simple. You now know what they think of you. Are you going to give them your hard-earned money? I'm certainly not. A company with that sort of opinion about their customers should be out of business faster than gnats fuck.

But the sad part of all this is: this will work. People will forget all about the always-on DRM, the Starforce intrusions, the various overblown piracy comments and STILL give this company their money. It makes no sense to me.

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