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Ubisoft DRM Gets Worse And Worse: Kicks You Out Of Game If You Have A Flakey WiFi Connection

from the lovely dept

Last month, we wrote a bit about Ubisoft’s bizarre anti-consumer policy of using DRM on games that requires an internet connection to check in (even if you’re just playing locally). But, it gets worse. As a whole bunch of you sent in (but compgeek was first), apparently it doesn’t just check once to see if you have an internet connection, but regularly checks, and if you’ve lost that internet connection, it will boot you out of the game and you’ll lose everything that you’ve done since your last checkpoint or save. This is a serious problem for anyone who has even slightly flakey WiFi or an internet connection that goes down frequently (all too common these days). Ubisoft’s history with DRM is filled with similar missteps, and it’s really amazing that the company seems to be so oblivious to why treating fans badly is such a bad idea.

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Comments on “Ubisoft DRM Gets Worse And Worse: Kicks You Out Of Game If You Have A Flakey WiFi Connection”

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76 Comments
Jeff Rife says:

Re: Re: Re:

If they want to treat me like a criminal they’re sure as hell not getting my money.

This is absolutely the correct way to think.

Everyone who buys the game puts money in Ubisoft pockets. It you then use a crack to disable the DRM, you might actually enjoy the game. At that point, Ubisoft will believe that they have a million happy customers, because nobody complained about the DRM.

The only way to teach these companies to stop using stupid DRM is to stop buying their software.

Modplan (profile) says:

This both a shame and odd hypocrisy as several of their games are actually available DRM free from Good Old Games (yes, official and Ubisoft approved, the site itself focusing deliberately on DRM free and provides other exclusive content like artwork and various other things when you buy).

I guess publishers stop caring about DRM encrusting games when they’re not the new hotness that they want to attempt to milk. It’s even better with recent calls by the industry that second hand games are a “problem” that needs to be stopped.

Anonymous Coward says:

This was pretty much already known when the original details came out. The fact that you’ll lose your progress wasn’t exactly spelled out, but the details did say that losing the connection would pause the game until the connection was re-established. Combine that with checkpoint-based saves and you have the latest in a string of morons at Ubisoft.

Flaky says:

Not a customer of bad DRM games

At one time, I bought a lot of games. I’ve gotten to where I won’t buy a single game till I’ve downloaded it and tested it.

Most of those with franchise themes have gotten to where they’re not worth the price of the game for content alone. That is without considering extra hoops and hassles such as ‘internet required’ or a sneaky install of copyright programs that can’t be uninstalled afterward or worse create other problems with the OS after installation.

I would not buy a car with the understanding I could only drive it on Wed. or that the tires would be coming for it next week. What makes game makers or any software company think I will accept their version of this same scenario?

All it tells me, is that if you pay for it, then you are the sucker that has to put up with the extra hassles at whatever level they deem. Pirating it eliminates both the cost and the side problems. Looks to me like the pirates have the better business model.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a serious problem for anyone who has even slightly flakey WiFi or an internet connection that goes down frequently (all too common these days).

Right, because wifi used to be rock solid and has started to get flakey only lately. Also, because home type internet connections were always perfect until recently. I agree with your statement overall but not the fluff, you can do better than that.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah… I mean, it’s not like WiFi runs on a common frequency used by cordless phones that were very popular for a few years. It’s also highly unlikely that more of your neighbors have one or more wireless routers that could step on your connection. And there’s absolutely no chance that you now have 5-7 times the number of devices connecting to your wireless connection than you did even a couple years ago.

Blasphemy I say!

/now where’d I put that upside down exclamation point???

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Flakey wifi and home internet connections in general have always been flakey. Mike makes it sound like everything used to be fine and now these days its a real mess. Its always been a mess. If Mike means to say that things are getting worse then he should say that, I think he can do better and thats it. I dont appreciate the bs part he used to fluff up the story, it was not necessary.

ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think it’s that there’s more interference now, as Mike C was pointing out.

I was an early adopter with wifi in my area so even though I was in a block of flats my network was the only visible one.

These days, even though I’m now in more spaced housing there are half a dozen wireless networks plus I have a sonos sound system which uses the wifi space and 4 cordless phones (also the number of things attached to my wifi has gone from 1 PC to 2 PCs, a laptop, an iphone, an ipod, an xbox 360 and my wii).

On the flip side the wifi router is better than my old one, but even so connections drop occasionally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Stuff like this happens. I recently learned that My neighbor has a video security system and it may use WiFi or maybe the transmitter overpowers the whole frequency band. I’ve tried changing WiFi channels, and moving to B/G, but nothing helps.

As a result, our WiFi is screwy because of our adorably paranoid neighbors who were worried about Obama coming to take their guns. These problems started a little over a year ago…

Spectere (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wi-fi itself isn’t the problem, it’s that it’s becoming too popular.

Go to a house in the suburb and you’ll be fine. Go to an apartment complex and you’ll be lucky to not get booted off every once in a while. I used to live in a densely populated apartment complex in Maryland and I’d get at least 15-20 networks popping up on my list at any given time. If I were to fire up Network Stumbler or Kismet I’d be looking at triple that. Considering the limited number of channels and the even more limited number of channels with no overlay (three, to be exact) it’s difficult not to see a great deal of interference.

Let’s not even get into 2.4GHz cordless phones. There’s nothing like getting kicked off your own network because your friendly neighbor one floor beneath you made or received a phone call. It made me with that 802.11a had caught on.

Cynyr (profile) says:

Re: Excuses, Excuses

because uptime is paid for in a big way, want 99%? pay up, hell my linksys router + Qwest dsl modem have a fight about 2x a week that causes me too loose internet for several minutes while i reboot both. 100% reliable internet should not be required for offline play. Not that i was going to buying this with out official WINE support or a proper linux port.

RD says:

...and the retards come out to play...

“If you can afford to buy a Ubisoft game, why can’t you afford a proper, reliable Internet connection?”

A) it shouldnt be necessary to have an internet connection just to play a game (online-only games are different of course).

B) a “proper, reliable internet connection” isnt always available, and SHOULD NOT BE ASSUMED TO BE AVAILABLE. See A) above.

C) Your elitist snobbery makes you look like an overbearing, anti-consumer jackass.

Tom Landry (profile) says:

I frequent many gaming sites and their comment sections. Ubisoft is quickly replacing EA as the most hated publisher in the industry. I find it difficult to believe that their PR people are willfully ignoring the horrific word of mouth that their company is engendering.

They are going to lose far more money from disgruntled potential customers than they ever will from piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

DRM relaxation

The strategy thus far for game companies that are presenting strict DRM at release time seems to be to start with the most draconian measures possible, then ease up just before release with lighter restrictions that are still quite draconian, in an effort to guide consumer thinking to the notion that DRM restrictions are the norm. I think it’s part of a larger plan to simply acclimate gamers to DRM so they can leverage greater control over games in the next decade. DLC at ship-time seems to play into this, with increasingly larger and larger parts of the game now only available to “official” copies.

The plan might even be working, if you look at community response both before and after DRM restrictions are relaxed. Spore is a good example. Gamers see headlines like “Super Xgame DRM requires urine sample every 5 minutes” and become outraged, then later see “Super Xgame restrictions relaxed”, and they essentially absorb only the headlines, allowing the restrictions the publisher wanted all along to be slipped in as the norm, as the cost of some company image.

There’s probably a term for this ask-for-the-world strategy, since it’s hardly a new thing and it’s bread and butter for politicians, but I can’t think what it is.

TechWeasel (profile) says:

Re: DRM relaxation

It’s a variation of the “door in the face” strategy in interpersonal communication – ask for or demand something totally crazy, making a subsequent, lesser request seem more reasonable.

Not to be confused with the “foot in the door” strategy, where you make an inconsequential request of somebody; after he/she accepts, a slightly bigger request or demand is more likely to be accepted as well.

bob newheart says:

Re: DRM relaxation

“DLC at ship-time seems to play into this, with increasingly larger and larger parts of the game now only available to “official” copies.”

LMAO……. DLC content is and has been hacked also..

I am like a few other people who have posted here.. I have gotten so tired of paying good money for crap that now days i download and test out anything before buying it..

As you know.. Once you buy a PC game the store you bought it from will NOT take it back. DRM is dead.. And the sooner Game publishers figure this out the better it will be for them.

Fact.. I have bought way more games after Downloading a “illegal” copy of it.. Then i ever have without downloading it beforehand. This is a issue that music companies have yet to figure out also.

Wake up .. No matter what copy protection you put on it its going to be broken. The only people your preventing from playing your game with this stupid DRM is those people who buy legit copies.

Stupidity in this world knows no bounds

anti Mr Big Content says:

ya its amazing that i used to buy games and since i had one that screwed my box up and lost loads a data. Ive never bothered
just let them price themselves into bankruptcy let the fools that pay keep doing so till there richy parents have no jobs and money
it will come be patient this cant continue and when this crashes you wont have any trillions of tax payer cash to spend out of it.
GO GO GO DRM

Yakko Warner says:

Re: We need one of these for games

I like.

My kids scratching up our copy of Madagascar was probably the best thing to happen to that movie. I ripped the video to a DVD-R, and now we can watch the movie we bought without having to sit through an unskippable 5-minute “featurette” on the “upcoming” movie Over the Hedge every time we put the disc in.

EviLiu (profile) says:

Gears of War

I had a problem with Gears of War similar to this the other day. I just got back into the single player Gears of War on the pc, until my connection went out for a few days. Without a connection, you can’t sign into Games for Windows LIVE or whatever it’s called, and therefor can’t save or load a game, at all. You can only start a new campaign and Insane difficulty is locked out.

BigKeithO says:

Re: This is why I won't buy ME2

EA seems to have come around on the DRM front. You get the basic disc check when you load it up, annoying but its been like that for ages on the PC.

They do make you pay for the “Cerberus Network” (at least on 360) which will run you about $12. Without that piece of DLC you can’t actually buy any additional DLC. If you get the boxed copy of the game they include this with the disc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Digging through the links (this article -> older article on TD -> Gamespy), it seems that this whole system is supposed to emulate Steam in some fashion.

It “lets” you install the game on any number of PCs, run it without the disc, but more importantly all saved data (like your progress etc.) is stored remotely on Ubisoft’s end. That sounds scary to me anyhow from the simple perspective of: what happens if Ubisoft stops supporting my game. They won’t keep these servers going forever, so if I want to play a game 17 years after it came out (I just played through the original Doom again yesterday) I am out of luck, though I paid for it?

I can understand why they would think that phoning home constantly would be okay in a game that requires an internet connection to store saved data anyhow. Not that I agree with it, I won’t be buying any games with this type of DRM (I won’t be pirating them either).

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“They won’t keep these servers going forever, so if I want to play a game 17 years after it came out (I just played through the original Doom again yesterday) I am out of luck, though I paid for it?”

What they’ll probably end up doing is selling a cheaper non DRM’d version in a couple of years. Maybe those who have proof of purchase will get a discount on the non-DRM version once it’s released. Probably not.

What’s more disconcerting is the fact that you won’t be able to play without an internet connection now. Not everybody even has internet, or access to it full time. What about when you’re traveling? Want to play AC2 on a plane? Better hope they have WiFi on the flight that you now have to pay for.

markryder (profile) says:

not to all those stupid posters saying they will steal it

Change your computer because all software has bugs and as time goes on they will fix it (for those that are legal)

Its amazing the comments about cracks and torrents from the scummy thieving people who don’t buy the software anyway (which is why the company need to protect it)

If you use windoze computers make a note to self your widows is not wanted anymore. No it’s acceptable to wait for the update so what’s different

Stealing is a crime and protecting your software from thieves who comment about how they wont play it anymore has no values because you steal it anyway go on steal something else instead make a note.

Also your not treated like a criminal because they want to check their software (that’s if its genuine)
Just like all software if you steal your just a scummy person and your comments hold no value to any article about copy write because you don’t buy the products and if you did not steal then expect an update to fix any issues like all the other software in the world.

Nothing is perfect those that have noting to hide will get their updates those that steal will have a harder time playing this as a stolen game.

All games should implement this with an auto save before checking

Mark Ryder
Strictly underground

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: not to all those stupid posters saying they will steal it

“All games should implement this with an auto save before checking”

That’s certainly the publisher’s right. Just like it is the right of gamers to not buy those crappy games that are more of a hassle to use than the games made by the competition. See that’s the beauty of the free market. By all means, make poor decisions if that’s what you think is best. The market will just buy from those who make better decisions.

Perhaps instead of name calling potential customers, you should use that time to learn a bit about basic economics.

Annoyed Gamer says:

Don't buy it, but don't pirate it.

I get annoyed when I hear people use bad DRM as en excuse to justify their theft of software. I have no love for Ubisoft’s new DRM model, but I will avoid their software in protest. I WILL NOT steal the game. All that does is give the publishers more ammo to justify bad DRM and the ugly cycle continues.

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