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Watch Dogs Released, DRM Troubles

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the barking-up-the-wrong-tree dept.

PC Games (Games) 123

Today marked the launch of Watch Dogs, a highly-anticipated action-adventure game from Ubisoft. Early reviews for the game are fairly good, but not without complaints. Eurogamer said, 'Combat encounters also draw inspiration from existing games, with slightly stiff but workable sneaking and cover mechanics and decent if unremarkable gunplay. ... There's a sense of sterility beneath the surface, though. As dazzling as the game can look, this Chicago feels like a place you travel through rather than a world you inhabit. Pedestrians gasp and gawp at car crashes, but exhibit no real life.' Polygon's review complimented the bits of structure within the open-world game: "More than any stealth game I can think of, Watch Dogs does a remarkable job in allowing for proper preparation. It creates a universal environment of constant puzzle solving, which sits cozily next to all the action on display." Rock, Paper, Shotgun added, "It feels churlish to complain about something which is only magical 90% of the time, but in some things, ten percent can seep out and render the rest infuriating and useless." It's worth noting that some users are running into problems even playing game, thanks to authentication issues with Ubisoft's UPlay digital distribution service.

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Entire Article... (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 3 months ago | (#47103319)

...the entire article about "authentication issues" is a guy who failed to install UPlay correctly, and a link to "uplay down" on Twitter.

Super, super informative.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103385)

Agreed, that article was awful. No one should be taking advise on PC games from a guy who had trouble finding out how to buy a PC game, let alone installing it.

Re:Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103477)

Yeah well, you gotta admit, it's pretty stupid to buy a game, or anything else that requires online authentication or activation. Don't provide a market for bad behavior, and the rest of you should always find ways of circumventing this kind of crap.

Re: Entire Article... (4, Insightful)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 3 months ago | (#47103479)

Buying the game was super easy as those servers were all up and working. The game auth servers were not though, so once it was downloaded, it could not be activated to be played "offline". So Ubisoft has no problems taking your money, just with letting you use your purchase. Then on the other side, those who pirate it get to play immediately without all of these problems, but apparently some releases include a bitcoin miner. In thinking about it, amazed that game developers wouldn't incorporate that model into games themselves where "download for free, and we lower the quality of your experience by siphoning of compute cycles to earn us money, or pay to download and not have your computer mine for bitcoin while trying to enjoy our title!"

Re: Entire Article... (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47103587)

Actually, I am amazed that nobody had that idea yet. Install a (free) game and install a, say, bitcoin miner (or whatever you can use to make money using computer cycles) as well, which runs whenever the game doesn't use 100% of the computing speed (which is most of the time, actually).

Wanna bet that 90% of gamers don't even notice that their computer is calculating for someone else, another 9% don't care as long as the game is free and the rest at best bitches about it (while still playing the game)?

Re: Entire Article... (4, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47104069)

They have [zdnet.com] , were caught, and sued for doing it. I'm sure that other companies thought of doing it, but realize that it's not in their best interests. Unless of course they wanted to go out of business.

I'm pretty sure another company did the same thing a few months back with a "free" download version. It was done with disclosure, so did not result in a lawsuit. I can't find that article however.

Re: Entire Article... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47105489)

Well, of course if you don't tell your users that you're going to install some kind of malware on their machines, it's of course opening you to a lawsuit.

Maybe they should simply tell them next time. Nobody reads the EULAs anyway. :)

Re: Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106229)

"Nobody reads the EULAs anyway."

I do, I don't want my mouth sewn to another users butthole.

Re: Entire Article... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47106271)

For every person that reads it, ten others are already wondering what's that funny taste in their mouth.

Re: Entire Article... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#47105213)

Actually, I am amazed that nobody had that idea yet. Install a (free) game and install a, say, bitcoin miner (or whatever you can use to make money using computer cycles) as well, which runs whenever the game doesn't use 100% of the computing speed (which is most of the time, actually).

Wanna bet that 90% of gamers don't even notice that their computer is calculating for someone else, another 9% don't care as long as the game is free and the rest at best bitches about it (while still playing the game)?

Actually, there is a Bitcoin miner for Unity mobile games [macrumors.com] . Yes, mobile games. As in the ones you play on your smartphone and tablet.

It's $80. Right now it's on iOS, and presumably coming soon to Android, if it's not already there.

I suppose the only real benefit is it will try to keep you in the game - if you run of zonks 2 minutes in (a common ploy in most freemium games to get you to ante up), it doesn't serve their interests if you just quit the app and run something else,

Re: Entire Article... (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 3 months ago | (#47106893)

I feel like that would explain the Arma3 FPS lag issues.

Re: Entire Article... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47106963)

Nah, that can sufficiently be explained by a lack of programming quality.

Re: Entire Article... (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#47103879)

So now we'll know who to blame when they implement this.....

Seriously, I'm surprised this isn't already in practice!

Re: Entire Article... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 months ago | (#47104099)

Dumbest idea ever. Bitcoin miner needs online connectivity. Essentially every decent cracker team will tell you "block game in your firewall" right under the "copy crack files to game directory" in the .nfo.

Sounds like another one of those "omg, your get viruses from torrents" FUD bullshit. If you have common sense and download from large torrents posted by people recognised in that community, chances of getting something nasty are far lower than from having a browser open a page you haven't been to before.

That said, this game is known to have utterly terrible performance in relation to graphics quality. Totalbiscuit couldn't get it to run at 60fps at 1080p on a dual SLI titan rig with a high end i7, a boatload of RAM and SSDs on maximum details, while laptops with high end mobile cards had to run game on medium and low to be playable. So I can see how someone would think "hey, this game doesn't look all that good and performs terribly compared to graphics quality, maybe it has one of those bitcoin miners I heard about on the internetz sucking cycles out of my GPU".

Unless, of course, Ubisoft included a bitcoin miner in the game themselves which is why performance is that bad. Which is something I wouldn't believe - for all the daft anti-consumer decisions they ever made, that would have been an order of magnitude worse.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47103569)

The game installed fine. He should have used a crack to get rid of the shortcomings...

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47103443)

Yeah...I was going to say Uplay is down? Really? How odd that I'm logged in at the moment, I was earlier, and I was during peak last night when the game went live. Damn I must not have really been playing anno 2070 or watch dogs today, it was all a glorious figment of my imagination.

Re:Entire Article... (2)

JImbob0i0 (1202835) | about 3 months ago | (#47107347)

It genuinely was down at one point yesterday (around 7pm BST onwards... not sure when it was usable again).

I couldn't even log into the uplay website much less authenticate my game. Interestingly it was partially working as it would try to authenticate and then the uplay application would crash - I assume with some sort of null pointer error ... although I didn't bother to debug it.

Since I had already started it once earlier in the day though before uplay services took a nose dive disabling my network interface allowed me to start uplay in offline mode (I could then re-enable the interface after choosing offline) and play the game fine - just without the multiplayer features.

Ya kinda news to me (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 3 months ago | (#47103455)

I don't have Watch Dogs but I was playing Far Cry 3, which uses it, and it seemed to work fine.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 3 months ago | (#47103509)

Yeah, this part is pretty ridiculous:

The problems started as soon as I made that decision. First I had to figure out how to buy Watch Dogs digitally for PC. That took more than simple Googling, surprisingly. I had to go to the official Ubisoft site originally, and figure out that Uplay is in fact Ubisoft’s digital storefront, and then there still wasn’t any clear indicator it would be digital delivery, except for the fact that they didn’t ask for a shipping address.

[emphasis mine]

He didn't think to try Steam? Or Origin? Or Amazon.com? Or, heck, picking up a DVD from GameStop or Best Buy? This is a big release. It's not exactly hard to find.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47103519)

Or Greenmangaming, or G2A, or CDkeys? The guy isn't exactly the smartest tool in the shed.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47103605)

I think part of the review was of the UBIsoft online store and how easy (or hard) it would be to the average gamer to buy a game directly without a middle man.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#47103779)

He didn't think to try Steam? Or Origin? Or Amazon.com? Or, heck, picking up a DVD from GameStop or Best Buy? This is a big release. It's not exactly hard to find.

Isn't that kinda the problem? He's trying to by an ubisoft game through ubisoft's digital distribution method, and it's (apparently) not exactly user friendly.

And maybe the guy is just an idiot, which is certainly plausible. But think about all the sales Ubi is missing out on by excluding idiots from their storefront.

Re:Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103997)

But excluding those idiots makes the online experience better. It's quite the conundrum.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47104929)

Isn't that kinda the problem? He's trying to by an ubisoft game through ubisoft's digital distribution method, and it's (apparently) not exactly user friendly.

Why would you want to? That's the great thing about PC gaming, you're not limited to buying at *their* store, you can buy your keys from a dozen plus competitors and find the best deal for you. So you're also not locked into the same price everywhere. The new wolfenstin has been out what? A week, and you can get a game key for $21 on G2A. It's still $59 on steam, origin, etc.

Re:Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106053)

I bought watch dogs on steam, I didn't know the game was from ubisoft and I also thought I was protected from a third party drm from steam.

But once I bought it through steam I had to create an account at uplay. That service was basically down for hours. it took me 3 hours to register at uplay. then about half an hour to register the game. During the registration of the game uplay would crash often because it could contact the servers.

Re:Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103613)

Uhh, Ubisoft is notorious for employing heavy-handed, draconian DRM. I've been boycotting them for years now and I suggest anyone who is opposed to invasion of privacy and the trend towards game rentals rather than ownership.

Re:Entire Article... (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#47103697)

To be fair, UPlay is a right pain in the ass, even when it works properly. Even worse, it's automatically baked into every Ubi product these days, even games purchased on Steam or as a physical box require a network connection, creating an account (which requires registering an email), downloading and installing the UPlay java apple, etc. That's right Steam users: Dual DRM.

I could maybe get behind UPlay as a digital distribution method that also acts as a DRM for products purchased through its own channels. But trying to force its way in as nothing but DRM on the physical box/disk I went and purchased at the store. Fuck right off.

Re:Entire Article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104375)

I learned my lesson the hard way with one game from Ubisoft I bought on Steam. It installed once, then from there on out, stated my activation count was over the threshold, so was unusable after that. I didn't even bother looking for a crack because the game had little replayability. Yes, a Steam game, where there is already working DRM that goes a lot further to stem piracy than almost anything out there other than WoW's Warden.

Hell, I find more enjoyment from the old Command & Conquer games made back over a decade ago that I have ever found with anything from Ubisoft, ever.

At least it makes it easy. See the stylized spiral logo, and I equate it with Mr. Yuk... with a similar message applying.

Re:Entire Article... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106139)

You don't need any java apple [sic] with Uplay. The client is in fact one of the least intrusive/bloated ones.

I hate it because I hate all DRM, but let's not pretend that Steam is any better. Steam was just early to the game and now people take it for granted.

Re:Entire Article... (2)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 3 months ago | (#47107333)

I hate it because I hate all DRM, but let's not pretend that Steam is any better. Steam was just early to the game and now people take it for granted.

I'm one of those people who have had a Steam account for pretty much the entire time you could (9 years according to my Steam profile), and I have never had a "Steam DRM" issue. Some games I have had problems playing because the game had bugs, or my video card drivers needed updating, but not once have I failed to be able to play the game because a Steam server wasn't available, or it believed that I wasn't authorized. I have games I have purchased on Steam, physical purchases that I could also unlock on Steam, and purchases through third parties like Humble Bundle that unlock on Steam. All work fine, every time.

Although Steam has had its issues, none of them compare to the constant complaints about every other DRM system, both on disk (like SecureROM) or Internet activated (like Uplay). Since Steam has now added a "buy once, play on any supported platform" rule, I absolutely can't think of any "fair use" that Steam DRM doesn't let me do.

Ubisoft and PCs... (4, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | about 3 months ago | (#47103327)

Those 'in the know' generally don't buy Ubisoft games for the PC anymore - even though they have been trying to turn over a new leaf in terms of how they view PC gamers. Many at Ubisoft apparently still see PC gamers as pirates - even those who pay for products. Not the way to garner new customers.

Sadly, these days - the only way to buy new release Ubisoft products (if you want to at all, that is) is to buy the console versions of the products.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 3 months ago | (#47103377)

Pirating also works nicely I hear. None of that DRM rubbish. :)

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103419)

Pirates got a hold of Watch Dogs several days ago (i want to say the 23rd, i got most of the way thrugh act 1 before i went back to playing factorio)

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47104645)

Pirating also works nicely I hear.

Then Ubisoft has you covered. I recently bought Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag at a deep discount and it's a terrific game. Really fun, deep story, beautiful to look at. Varied gameplay and the kind of game that keeps you playing until the end.

I'll end up putting in over 100 hours in that game. I really got my money's worth.

We've come to expect (and accept) so many problems with a game on release day, that it's never worth buying a game right away any more. By Christmas, the graphics drivers will be right, there will have been multiple (and significant) patches for Watch_Dogs, and it'll probably be $29, instead of $59.

I can wait. I'm too old to have to run and buy something because it's all over the media and kids are lining up for it. I'm at the age where I can do things on my schedule, not the schedule of some game company.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 3 months ago | (#47105131)

Sadly, those initial month of sales are the most important. Wait a few months and it's about the same as not even buying it -- Disappears into the statistical background noise of all the other back-catalog titles.

Unfortunately everything in gamedev is designed to squeeze the most effort out of the least advantaged: From chips to memory to humans. The publisher makes nothing, they add no real value to the product. The work to make the product is done, so they leverage artificial scarcity to recoup their losses -- Killing studios if they overestimated ROI. Quality isn't their concert, and won't be until players don't rush to buy shit, and the artists / devs / testers are treated well.

The silly thing is: The game developers could just work directly for the players. They could say: Hey, we want to make this game, it'll cost $PRICE. They can negotiate payment up front, do the work, get paid, and then "give the game away" to the players (since the work has already been paid for) just like they do working under a publisher. No need for DRM because you have an unlimited monopoly over your work before you do it. Can't pirate what's not created, so don't create what's not paid for. This has the interesting advantage that you actually waste less time making shit that no one will pay for. It's the same money as working under a publisher, just without the publisher driving up the cost. Games are cheaper to buy for the consumers, and so you can charge a bit more for the development to meet in the middle. Alleviate some crunch.

The only problem is: Kickstarter. This idea is fucked. Instead of asking for the full amount up front that you actually need, you ask the public to pay for a small portion of the funds, and then waste a chunk of the money on giving them "perks". Does your mechanic throw in perks for working on your car? Why the fuck should the over-extended underfunded game devs who are crunching like mad for you have to throw in perks for working on games? Also, design is a process, so being locked into following Kickstarter promises would limit the feasibility of completing a game. Doom would have had remained single player with character select screen, and RPG elements instead of fast paced frenetic deathmatches. Quake would have been an overly ambitious MMO that fell short of budget and died. Halo would have remained a Real Time Strategy game instead of becoming the Killer App for a console. Portal2 wouldn't have had GLaDOS, Chell or portal guns, and would have had to be canceled since F-Stop and movable terrain didn't work as a sequel. Tetris wouldn't have even ever been a game: It would have been an AI sim for packing shipping crates.

Clearly, markets are changing. There needs to be some form of middle ground. You don't want DRM? Fund the damn development. Don't want to take that big of a risk in case the game fails? Do it in installments, and have devs show progress. Allow features to get cut and re-designed, because that's how games are made: None spring fully formed from the design documents, those just provide a hopeful direction to proceed in, but there's no telling where you end up, especially if the requirement is to be "entertaining".

The publishers are spending several times more on Advertising than game development! That $60 game? You could pay $30 directly to devs for it to be made, and they'd STILL have MORE budget than what the DRM happy Publishers are paying out for the game to actually be made.

Any economist not hanging their head in shame at the current state of the information industries is a fool, and the players buying $60 games with DRM on them instead of having free copies of every game ever made for everyone by simply having the community fund the gamedev are just as ridiculous. Can't really blame the latter though, gamedevs still choose to work for Publishers and all-or-nothing "Crowdfunding" shite like Kickstarter is only partial funding with a bunch of additional constraints and burdens -- thus when the games are made, they devs have to try to leverage artificial scarcity, DRM, etc. to monetize the work since they're only able to ask for part of the funds.

You don't like DRM? IT'S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT IT EXISTS. Sorry, it is. We have the technology to obliterate need for such artificial scarcity. We can get paid to do work once, like every other labor market. Folks like me want to end piracy by applying the FLOSS model to Gamedev, but we're ahead of our time, so we can't quit our day-jobs, yet. Someday it'll happen though. Market forces tend towards efficiency.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106407)

The only problem is: Kickstarter. This idea is fucked. Instead of asking for the full amount up front that you actually need, you ask the public to pay for a small portion of the funds, and then waste a chunk of the money on giving them "perks".

Who says you can't limit rewards to making the real thing? eg, being emailed when the soft is done or getting into betatest.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about 3 months ago | (#47105137)

Odd anecdote (a partial reply to you and someone else way up above):

These days I tend not to buy games when they are first released unless I think I'm really going to enjoy it (enough so that I'm willing to risk getting bit, usually reserved for certain developers and franchises). Ubisoft is not on that list, and Watch_Dogs is a new property so neither of those circumstances apply, it just seemed like something I'd dig.

I pre-ordered via Steam, preloaded prior to release and was playing within an hour of it being unlocked last night. Some notes: According to NVIDIA, my GPU (650M) is below the minimum required specs (GTX460), yet the game was playable at medium settings (didn't check actual FPS, but when I say playable I mean frame rate was fluid and nothing seemed missing graphics wise). I didn't even bother checking for driver updates (of which there was one) until after I got done playing (knowing my luck, it will now enforce that minimum spec and be unplayable).

Only played through the first hour or so of the game, some of the dialogue seemed a bit wonky, but the gameplay was fun, "hacking" traffic lights and in the middle of a car chase is a fun take on this style of game, though I could see novelty wearing off after awhile, as it's a rather simple system (hacking multiple traffic lights in a planned route would have been cooler). Initial impression is good, but I know it's possible to go downhill from there (I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed).

One issue I have with it is that it seems like every guard you run into on a mission so far is literally a "bad guy". These are guys working security for a major corp, and it feels like everyone of them have something negative in their profiles (child pornographer, drug addict, arsonist). Granted, I've only done one combat oriented mission so far, so maybe it's unique to that mission. I'm not sure how many people would agree with me, but I think seeing profiles like "Father of two", "Soup Kitchen Volunteer", "College Dropout" would give at least some players pause in how they would handle the situation. Overt combat or stealth? Do I really want to kill a retired kindergarten teacher? Then again, given another recent discussion here on /., I'm probably just weird.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47103491)

Sadly, these days - the only way to buy new release Ubisoft products (if you want to at all, that is) is to buy the console versions of the products.

Sound genius! Then you can turn around and spend extra money for PS+/Live so you can do things like multiplayer, watching netflix, while getting hammed with ad laden crap.

Netflix to drop Xbox LIVE Gold requirement (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47103977)

Netflix never required PlayStation Plus and, as of next month, will no longer require Xbox LIVE Gold. And multiplayer? In my experience, console games from a major publisher are more likely to support two gamepads than PC games from a major publisher are.

Re:Netflix to drop Xbox LIVE Gold requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47105795)

Netflix doesn't require PS+ but Sony force you to log into PSN before you can access Netflix from the PS3/4. This never used to be the case, but Sony made Netflix to do this. When the PSN is down, you cannot use Netflix on a Sony console. There is absolutely zero need for this limitation.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47103637)

I'm amazed that they don't notice that the only ones they really hit with it are those gamers that ARE actually paying to play. Everyone who gets it from some illegal source never has to worry about DRM issues. Because that same DRM has been stripped out of it.

I decided I will not buy any UBIsoft products until they reverse that policy and move away from it again, back to some saner way of protecting their assets. This is actually pretty sad, considering that some of the best game franchises belong to them, but well, I can live without their games. If they can live without my money, I guess we're both fine.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (2)

JustNiz (692889) | about 3 months ago | (#47104127)

>> I decided I will not buy any UBIsoft products until they reverse that policy and move away from it again, back to some saner way of protecting their assets.

I'm totally with you on that one, having made the same decision myself a while back.

Unfortunately UBIsoft mangement have apparently got exactly the same retarded mindset as the managment of a software company that I used to work for until recently. They are all used-car salesmen that clearly haven't the first clue about the technology behind their products or what their own customers are really thinking.
They are also never going to acknowledge that they themselves might have ever possibly make any bad decisions, so there wont ever be any real change in direction from the fucked up road they are already on, even if that road makes them go bust through lack of sales.

Even if that happened they would still just reach for anything/everything else possible to blame (such as the unsupported claims of death of gaming on the PC as a platform) rather than ever accepting it was anything they themselves did, such as repeatedly runining their own products with layers of draconian fucked-up DRM.

So in short, don't hold your breath.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47105559)

The main problem here is that they're artificially lowering the value of their product compared to their competition. Yes, lowering. I know that "consultants" and other panhandlers from DRM companies claim that only with DRM you can actually retain value in your product (really, they do. The logic is that something that can be multiplied at will is worthless, and DRM keeps people from doing that), but actually, you lower the value of your product with DRM.

Since it is a non-corporal product, the usual risk management system to determine value does not apply because we neither need to consider recreating the product (recreating it is trivial and possible near free of charge to the original creator), nor do we have to take into account the value for a competitor (because he could not use it due to copyright issues). What's left is the value it has to the customer. And the value to the customer depends to no small amount on the convenience to use it.

And convenience to use it is the big advantage legal software has over illegal copies. Or rather, it could have that advantage.

Let's face it, what is the reason for Steam's success? That you can buy stuff online? Nah. You could do that with Amazon. That it's available instantly? Nah, you get the same when you go and buy it from the local store. What makes it successful is the convenience of doing it. Buying it and installing it is easy to do and very, very convenient. Not only that but your software is available at a mouseclick, too. No need to find some DVDs, just click on "install" and wait a bit. It's installed and it "just works". And that's what people go for. They are willing to pay for stuff that "just works". That's what makes Steam a success. It certainly is not the price (seriously, compare Steam to Amazon or other online stores and Steam rarely wins, usually you can get anything you can get on Steam cheaper somewhere. But rarely this convenient).

An illegal copy isn't that convenient. You have to find it, download it, tinker with the crack (which may actually be a problem for less tech-savvy people), hope that it works (and that the crackers managed to get rid of all pitfalls)... and all that has to be repeated every time there is some patch, some bugfix, some alteration to the game. Which is, btw, another thing that "just works" with tools like Steam.

DRM can now take away the most important advantage a legit copy of game has over an illegal copy: Its convenience. Its "just works" character. As this example shows, bad DRM can actually even invert this relationship between legit and illegal copies: The illegal copy works while the legit one causes its user trouble.

That's about the WORST you can do to your IP. Because that kills the most important (and some would say only) advantage a legal copy has over an illegal one.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 3 months ago | (#47106163)

I bought Rocksmith without proper research. The Uplay crap sort of works, but my word is it annoying. And they make you use their "special cable" (glorified USB sound card with a 1/4" jack for a guitar, and a non standard connector). So basically I now have two shitty antipiracy measures to contend with. The game itself isn't too bad, but if you don't have some experience, it might push you into some bad habits.

I am not buying another ubisoft game. Ever.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47106265)

I was actually looking into Rocksmith, was about to buy it when I noticed it's from UBIsoft.

Too bad. Really looked like an interesting thing, especially since I can't push myself to practice playing the guitar and was hoping it would make me, but ... ohwell, at some point in time someone will come up with an open source version. I can wait.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 3 months ago | (#47106343)

Take a look at GuitarBots (guitarbots.com). They seem to have no label deals though so the selection of music might not be so good..

That is the big issue with this sort of thing. If you want to play music made in the last 100 years or so, the guys need a deal with the labels which is probably stupidly expensive.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47106961)

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

And, bluntly, 99% of the music that is part of the music industry ain't worth being heard, let alone played.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 3 months ago | (#47105797)

I'm about to buy a graphics card. Watch Dogs comes free with it. What are my options?

1 - Ask somebody else to open the box and throw the game away before I see/touch it.
2 - Save that innocent person's soul and do the throwing away myself, even at the risk of physically touching the Ubisoft game at some point (a tear in the hazmat suit) and suffering a painful mind-death.

I'm not a bad person, but fear is pushing me towards the first option.

I don't think I'll be strong enough.

I'm sorry.

God have mercy on our souls.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

khchung (462899) | about 3 months ago | (#47106547)

Sadly, these days - the only way to buy new release Ubisoft products (if you want to at all, that is) is to buy the console versions of the products.

But I just learned the hard way that, even the console version of games from Ubisoft will endlessly bug you for your UPlay account when you start the game. Every. Single. Time.

Child of Light is a great game, but getting a prompt for me to setup a UPlay account every time I play is ensuring that I won't buy another Ubisoft game for a LONG LONG time.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 3 months ago | (#47106913)

I don't mind paying rental prices, I just 'bought' Far Cry 3 for only GBP3 ($5.04) at that price I can put up with the game not lasting forever. (GBP16.25 on steam!!)

Same attitude with steam - steam is odd because the prices on Amazon for the DVD version are typically much much cheaper - there are many excellent PC games selling for a fiver - games that have been thoroughly patched and often have the DLCs thrown in too.

I couldn't but help notice that I had a momentary uplay connection error last night, now I know why.

Re:Ubisoft and PCs... (0)

twocows (1216842) | about 3 months ago | (#47107149)

Well, I am a pirate. And I bought the game, and even all the DLC shit for it: roughly about a $95 purchase after tax. So they're not far off. I just generally use piracy as a means of figuring out which games are or are not worth my money. But with Watch_Dogs, I'd been following it since it was revealed and I've been planning to buy it since about as long.

Also Uplay used to be buggy, but I haven't had any problems with it lately, and I do like their "micro-DLC" system as someone I know called it. You do stuff in the games (mostly just play them to completion, though there are usually one or two challenges you need to complete) and you can unlock stuff. Usually nothing major, I think AC2 had a wallpaper, some costumes, and an interesting DLC mission (that was probably the best reward I've seen from it), Watch_Dogs has an avatar, I think a wallpaper, and some unlockable items/a vehicle. I think Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon had a skin for your profile and some music, but I don't remember. It's a neat system that rewards you for actually playing your games more than just having achievements (which also exist), and I like it enough that I buy Uplay-native games on the Uplay platform instead of Steam because I like to support it and Ubisoft/Uplay haven't sufficiently pissed me off to avoid them.

There was some weirdness with my payment (their system double-charges you before revoking the second charge for whatever reason), but the guy on the phone was friendly enough (hour and a half queue though).

Oh, this is news? (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#47103331)

What AAA game release HASN'T started out in the shitter in recent years?

It would be news if it went smoothly..... ;p

Re:Oh, this is news? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 months ago | (#47104117)

Of the recent ones, Tropico 5 comes to mind.

Re:Oh, this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47107533)

Tropico isnt a AAA game title, still a good game

Don't understand the hype (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103335)

Looks like just another boilerplate third person action game to me.

Am I missing something?

Re:Don't understand the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103383)

Looks like just another boilerplate third person action game to me.

Am I missing something?

You don't understand the hype? A large company with deep pockets has a marketing department. Mystery of "where did hype come from?" solved!

Re:Don't understand the hype (2)

r1348 (2567295) | about 3 months ago | (#47103387)

No, it's basically GTA5 with less crazy shit and more techno-babble.

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47104151)

At this point, how can a new release not be compared to some other game? If it's a first person shooter people will always compare it to UT, Quake, Doom, or Wolfenstein. If it's got cars it's like GTA or Twisted Metal, if it's a MMO it's like DAOC or World of Warcraft, RPG it's like Final Fantasy or D&D, etc...

Reading the story line, it sounds more like DeusEx than GTA to me. That said, the story line is different than DeusEx and has some environment components not available in DeusEx. I have not played it, but I don't buy in to TFA's claim that it's all stolen game play. If portions play like GTA, how many different camera angles can a game have, and how many different controller configurations can a developer use? I'm pretty sure we have seen them all at this point.

In fairness, I doubt I'll play the game but my kid may and then I'll let you know. Until then, it sounds interesting in story.

Re:Don't understand the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104643)

If it's a first person shooter people will always compare it to UT, Quake, Doom, or Wolfenstein.

I'd like to see the titles that are favorably compared to these. There have been none. Not even the shitfest that was ROTT '13.

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 months ago | (#47103393)

You're missing out on the deep, highly insightful story; it's a story about the evolution and raging wars between various kinds of super-intelligent devices that use lies and deception to make lesser, but more agile two-legged creatures do their bidding all the while letting those creatures think they're the ones in charge.

Re:Don't understand the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103649)

Are you talking about Republicans?

Re:Don't understand the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104211)

To be fair, the Democrats are doing a pretty good job at that too. The Low Information Voters that tend to go Republican are just more obvious and ripe for criticism, but neither party is particularly useful presently. (both parties tend to only get stuff done that is supported by wealthy benefactors, plus one or two huge negative things and a couple tiny positive things - beyond some important and hotly debated issues like reproductive rights, there is very little difference in ultimate policies)

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 3 months ago | (#47103845)

various kinds of super-intelligent devices that use lies and deception to make lesser, but more agile two-legged creatures do their bidding all the while letting those creatures think they're the ones in charge.

You're talking about my wife, aren't you?

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47103407)

the something you're missing is that this is the first third person adventure game (not an action game) designed for both next-gen consoles.* Assassin's creed IV was ported to next gen, but designed for prior gen. Thus it takes advantage of the added processing power not just for pretty scenery but to make a more complex, more interactive game. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not one of those completionistas who has to wander the whole world doing every side mission. I play for the main story. Considering all the reviews say that the main story is awesome but the external Chicago world can be a little dry, I think I'm in for a treat.

*Infamous second son was designed only for PS4, so xbone players have been out in the cold)

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 3 months ago | (#47103841)

next-gen consoles.*

I think you're asterisk should have been

*for various definitions of "next-gen." Seriously, these things push a worse resolution than my phone.

What resolution? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47103995)

Seriously, these things push a worse resolution than my phone.

Is that true only of output resolution or also of texture resolution and shader complexity? And how many people are going to buy a MOGA clip-on gamepad to control a game on a phone?

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 3 months ago | (#47105079)

Which phone do you have? My Xperia Z1 does the same 1080p that the PS4 puts out for the games I play ...

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

marsu_k (701360) | about 3 months ago | (#47107043)

Apparently the game runs at 900p on PS4 (and 720P on Xbone). I can't say I really can tell the resolution difference from 1080p at least while playing, but graphically (especially facial animations) Infamous is much more pleasing.

Re:Don't understand the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103873)

this is the first third person adventure game (not an action game) designed for both next-gen consoles
all the reviews say that the main story is awesome
I think I'm in for a treat

Is that what your handler put into your manuscript? Do you shower after an evening of PR?

Re:Don't understand the hype (1)

marsu_k (701360) | about 3 months ago | (#47105767)

Yeah, about that... first of all, it is also available on 360/PS3. And after a few hours of gameplay, looks much worse than Infamous.

Re: Don't understand the hype (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#47103515)

The main character has a smartphone which can do more than Angry Birds.

Hack it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103441)

People really shouldn't buy Ubisoft titles.

Re:Hack it. (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47103487)

I wonder why AAA games are designed primarily for consoles? can you think of any reasons why a AAA studio would not want to invest in the PC market? I'm stumped.

Re:Hack it. (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47103493)

responding to self, I would not be surprised if future AAA titles were only released to PC through OnLive style services. this approach cuts out all the pirates.

Re:Hack it. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 months ago | (#47104147)

You seem to think piracy is a major hurdle to PC games. Most people in the industry nowadays strongly disagree. By far the biggest problem is massive influx of games on the platform in last couple of years, meaning competition to be discovered by gamers is absolutely fierce. Steam's "new releases" page usually cycles through about ten games every work day.

If anything, ending up on top of piratebay's "most downloaded game torrents" is great for sales as people will actually find and buy your game. Tropico 5 is already off the front page for example.

Re:Hack it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104291)

I seriously doubt it. Connection issues alone would limit the number of potential buyers, unless there is a very good reason (like with MMOs) to require remote resources. Now people would probably still go for it if it had no console version and was part of a popular series (Diablo III did most stuff server side, right?), but many "serious" gamers will have some console to play the title on. So while the company would probably still get their money, it would make the PC version largely a wash if it was that inferior and limited. I won't willingly buy the temporary ability to play a game when it's available in a more permanent form. Though the average person probably doesn't have the mentality of someone who buys games with the intention of keeping them; and I still play physical copies from old systems sometimes, unless the system is well emulated on portable devices. (i.e. I'll still play Dreamcast, Saturn, or PS2, but I'd always go for an emulated version of older games just to avoid having to replace cartridge and console batteries, and the tiny amount of physical damage that might be caused by use)

I just don't see people falling for full price "gaming as a service" if it's available in a form that you can actually "own." (people would definitely go for it if the price was lower, considering the number of people who buy games and trade them in at a huge loss, but studios aren't going to want to make their OnLive version half the price)

Re:Hack it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103831)

Are you aware of Watch Dogs' story? But to answer your question: Yes, I can think of a lot of reasons why game studios (AAA? Are you trying to imply something?) might not want to release for PC. I can also think of at least as many reasons why they would want to release for PC. If they don't want the PC market, someone else will. You might think that harsh DRM is beneficial, even necessary, for Ubisoft to profit from their games. That doesn't change the fact that people shouldn't buy Ubisoft titles. What makes sense for Ubisoft does not make sense for gamers. DRM is a hindrance to gaming. It makes the product worse. Ubisoft has a track record of DRM-from-hell. Gamers should not encourage it. The only language capable of expressing that in a way which is understood by the studios is to withhold the money.

Dull (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47103585)

The game is dull. Ok, the hacking mechanics is not bad, but that's about it. As far as sandbox games in the same league go it's a step backwards even. The realism can't compete with Saints Row, and it sure as hell doesn't come even close to what GTA V delivered.

It just isn't a next-gen game, period. I understand how hard it is making a good game, hence how rarely it happens, but the whole experience of it feels like it could've come out a couple of years ago, and then maybe it'd be just right, yet another another 5 out of 10 title.

Re:Dull (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104323)

The game is dull. Ok, the hacking mechanics is not bad, but that's about it. As far as sandbox games in the same league go it's a step backwards even. The realism can't compete with Saints Row, and it sure as hell doesn't come even close to what GTA V delivered.

It just isn't a next-gen game, period. I understand how hard it is making a good game, hence how rarely it happens, but the whole experience of it feels like it could've come out a couple of years ago, and then maybe it'd be just right, yet another another 5 out of 10 title.

I thought there was something off about this game. A bit on the dull side for sure. I had WAY more fun in Scarface and Saints Row series. Will not even mention GTA. Hacking mechanics is interesting and fun. Cover system works as well mostly. Driving is reasonably easy on PC. Game is stable feels polished and tested if you use cracked no Uplay version. Cops can be tricky to evade sometimes until you figure out how to use subway and hacking properly. Game was obviously made for consoles so that kinda takes away like always. Plot is cliche and characters are excessively so. Dynamic crime system is way off. I see high status NPCs trying to rob people all the time. Those damn coke fiends? NPCs do not reflect their age and their accounts do not reflect their status or salaries. NPC issue could be easily fixed of course.

This is mostly mediocre game though it has some fun ideas. Dry, sometimes dull and as mentioned sterile game.

uncanny valley (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 3 months ago | (#47103753)

>> This Chicago feels like a place you travel through rather than a world you inhabit. Pedestrians gasp and gawp at car crashes, but exhibit no real life.'

>> "It feels churlish to complain about something which is only magical 90% of the time,

This sounds very much like they've hit the Uncanny Valley problem.

Re:uncanny valley (1)

nomel (244635) | about 3 months ago | (#47103935)

I never thought of the "Uncanny Valley" like this before. I was going to respond saying it might be the less technical not understanding the difficulties of implementing realism, resulting in a mindset of "but it can't do this!" rather than "look what this can do!"...but that's basically the Uncanny Valley problem in this context, the expectation of realism increases as you approach realistic.

Re:uncanny valley (1)

nomel (244635) | about 3 months ago | (#47103975)

Blowin my mind here. I wonder if this Uncanny Valley problems manifests itself in our society as a whole. I suppose if you wanted to get philosophical, you could say that cultural resistance for change and introduction of new things is an Uncanny Valley problem.

Re:uncanny valley (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 3 months ago | (#47104181)

Sounds more like it's just weak AI. It's easy to code an NPC to "if see_crash then gasp_mode = true", but canned responses and a lack of interactions can make them feel shallow

Fuck Ubisoft, Support Haemimont. (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 3 months ago | (#47103855)

Tropico 5's campaign mode is a better sci-fi story than Watch_Dogs, it's $20 less, has far less DRM, is getting a Linux port once SteamOS is at 1.0, and is actually fun.

Re:Fuck Ubisoft, Support Haemimont. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 3 months ago | (#47103987)

Hell yeah if Tropico 5 comes to Linux it will get my money.

Re:Fuck Ubisoft, Support Haemimont. (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 3 months ago | (#47105907)

So are XCOM Enemy Unknown and Civ: Beyond Earth aka Alpha Centauri 2 if Linux native versions are an insta-buy.

UF***D (5, Insightful)

Eddy_D (557002) | about 3 months ago | (#47103921)

I hate UPLAY... so much.

I battled with it on Far Cry 3. I still do not understand why I needed to login to UPLAY *after* I logged into Steam (where I played it from). Wasn't Steam enough of a DRM check for UbiSoft? 2 levels of login really?

AFAIK the original article was about someone who did not even install it correctly.. but still having to require it on top of Steam is just ridiculous.

Re:UF***D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106153)

This.
I just decided to never buy Ubisoft again.
I don't even care if they stop using Uplay.

Re:UF***D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106177)

Can you play Valve games without Steam? Can you play EA games without Origin?

I'm not defending this, because it sucks, but it's standard for big publishers nowadays.
They saw the success of Steam and wanted a piece of the pie, so they try to lock you into the "ecosystem".

Re:UF***D (2)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 3 months ago | (#47106445)

Believe it or not, Half Life 2 and episodes are DRM free and can be run without Steam. Lots of steam games don't have DRM. Steam is simply a distrobution platform that provides optional DRM that actually works pretty well. On top of all this, Steam's family sharing even lets you share your games with family and friends. The only games that don't work with family sharing are those with additional DRM on top, like Uplay, GFWL, Rockstar, etc. because they require a secondary login and the key can only be registered to one account.

Re:UF***D (1)

twocows (1216842) | about 3 months ago | (#47107181)

Uplay integrates into their games, and it's their DRM/game platform thing. They don't use Steamworks, which is Steam's DRM system, they just make a release on Steam because a lot of people prefer that platform. But it just uses Steam for distribution, their DRM system is still Uplay, which is why you need to log into it.

Give the AI folks more resources, FFS. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 3 months ago | (#47103969)

As dazzling as the game can look, this Chicago feels like a place you travel through rather than a world you inhabit. Pedestrians gasp and gawp at car crashes, but exhibit no real life.

That's because they only give us AI devs 1% or 2% of the budget. If you stopped harping on about how amazing the graphics are and realized that games are interactive art and that it's the "rules and logic" (AI) that make a game happen, then we can sacrifice just a tiny bit of those graphics and physics to give you a vastly better gaming experience.

Until folks start talking about the "Immersive Environment" and including the AI, your games will feel as wooden and false as ever. Give AI More Resources! [gdcvault.com]

Re:Give the AI folks more resources, FFS. (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 3 months ago | (#47104071)

Hear, hear, as a consumer, eye candy is wasted on me, artificial behaviors are the "life" of the game. There are a couple games I experience regularly, one has really old tech (like 1990s era) with fabulous AI that keep me on the edge of my seat, the other undergoes regular development, receives compliments on it's visuals, but feels lifeless.

Idiotic reviewer commentary (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about 3 months ago | (#47104183)

It feels churlish to complain about something which is only magical 90% of the time, but in some things, ten percent can seep out and render the rest infuriating and useless.

It really annoys me when I read comments like that, not because I think the game is any good, but this non linear scale they apply to anything to do with rating a game. Case in point, the 7/10, which has become meaningless because mediocre games always get a 7/10. So the sentence quoted really grates because if 10% feels like as if it's more important, it's clearly bigger than 10%!

Re:Idiotic reviewer commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47106115)

I remember when defiance came out. almost every review was:
"The game is incredibly fun to play" 4/10.

How very unususal. Not. (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 3 months ago | (#47104199)

Yet another UBIsoft game that has so much shitty DRM it makes the game itself practically unplayable. Seriously, Did anybody honestly expect Watch Dogs to be any different, given UBIsoft have been doing this since 2006? I think the most newsworthy thing here is that anyone still buys their products at all.

Got it with a new GFX card for free (4, Informative)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 3 months ago | (#47104275)

I'll straighten out the details on this clickbait.

First, while uPlay is indeed a complete flaming piece of shit, it doesn't prevent you from playing the game once installed. When you launch it and press 'play', even if it wont sync with ubisoft's servers, it will still launch. It takes a good while (couple of minutes) for uplay and the sync to time out, but it works.

An actual gripe on uplay: what kind of game publisher doesn't institute predownloads for people who've already bought the game? It didn't show up in my games list until today so I couldn't even get the DL started. Their servers being crippled is partly due to not distributing downloads for pre-purchasers properly, forgivable 5 years ago but not in today's distribution systems.

Console port gripe: mouse acceleration is on by default and you must turn it off by actually going in and editing the xml settings file. If that doesn't scream lazy, I don't know what does. The menus and mouse control aren't bad overall, but that mouse acceleration makes the gameplay infuriating, felt like I had a joystick deadzone on my mouse. After googling and changing this setting, the game felt much better.

Overall though, I'm happy with the game, though I've not gotten far into it. I wouldn't have bought it straight up, partly due to bitterness about destroying the Thief franchise and partly due to their shitty company policies, but I've enjoyed it as a bundle purchase. Ubisoft is a frustrating company. Their policies and DRM money-grubbing aspects make them almost as unlikeable as EA, but they make the type of games I tend to enjoy. I prefer to stay away on principle but its hard.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47104797)

Hm. DRM on a game where you play as a cracker. I'm not sure if that's irony, or should be interpreted as a challenge.

Re:Ironic (1)

captjc (453680) | about 3 months ago | (#47106671)

Of course he's a cracker, There isn't a whole lot of games where the default character isn't white (or a dude for that matter).

So you haven't learned yet? (2)

Torp (199297) | about 3 months ago | (#47108211)

Do not touch UPlay and Origin. They're Steam clones done on the lowest budget possible and basically do not work. Personally I prefer GoG style distribution, but Steam is at least functional most of the time.
And for whoever said you should buy Ubisoft games on console, there are comments on the related Eurogamer article mentioning UPlay problems on the PS4. Sounds like you need that piece of shit even on a console now, which basically rules out ever touching their games.

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