Ubisoft's Despised DRM Continues To Annoy, Fail

from the how-is-that-working-out-for-you dept

We’ve been covering how Ubisoft’s new DRM requires that users be constantly connected to the Internet if they want to play even the single-player portion of the game. That didn’t exactly thrill customers to begin with, but the DRM was made considerably worse by the fact that many paying customers couldn’t play the game they owned because Ubisoft’s servers initially kept going down or their connection wasn’t particularly reliable. Of course like all DRM’d games Ubisoft’s games eventually wind up being cracked anyway — which makes all the annoyances customers experience all the more pointless. Ubisoft’s latest game to carry this DRM, Assasin’s Creed 2, has also now been cracked, with hackers sending a personal message to Ubisoft in the pirated copy’s .nfo thanking them for the challenge:

"Thank you Ubisoft, this was quiete [sic] a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes [sic] easier."

This latest title lasted all of a month before being fully cracked (there was an earlier crack that worked, but only for certain localized versions), and while the crackers may not be the best spellers, they apparently understand that Ubisoft leeches value from their products by layering them with obnoxious DRM solutions. Hmm, perhaps if Ubisoft makes their next DRM solution even more annoying….


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Companies: ubisoft

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Comments on “Ubisoft's Despised DRM Continues To Annoy, Fail”

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abc gum says:

Re: Re:

“too bad they dont desire to actually pay for them”

Not that it matters in “the AC” world view …. but
I imagine that there a few people who did “pay for them”. They bought the game and found it unplayable due to the DRM and then obtained a cracked version because they felt that they were entitled to use what they had paid for. Now, they may be subjected to presettlement letters asking for payment … or else. Seems that some business folks do not understand the consequences of their actions. They are so focused upon the bottom line that they do not comprehend the disaster that they are creating.

Brian (profile) says:

Next time

The next step will be to have a message that pops up and will ask the person for proof of purchase, a 45 digit key printed on the receipt, every 10 minutes. The game will then phone home to get a 25 digit key which it will then read out loud. The player must then enter that 25 digit key correctly within 30 seconds or its Game Over. If you reach game over all your data is corrupted and you must purchase a brand new copy of the game.

mirradric says:

Re: Re: Next time

>>HAHA! Or what about, each time you want to play the game, you have to call them and setup an appt for an official rep from the company to come and stand over your shoulder and make sure you’re not using a pirated company.

No way. Way too labor intensive. It’ll suck up revenue like a sponge. Better to make the consumer pay rather than we pay for it.

Orrin Hatch says:

Re: Next time

In addition, they will require the installation of a computer destruction device, which can be remotely activated without notice or due cause of any kind. In addition, they will monitor your reaction via mandatory webcam and then post the vid on youtube whilst they laugh their asses off commending each other as to how incredibly evil they all are. Pinky finger optional.

Mayor Milobar (profile) says:

perhaps people will just stop playing their games. that there is a hack and all clearly indicated people desire the games. too bad they dont desire to actually pay for them.

Too bad the people that had the desire to play the games and DID pay for them still can’t play them.

I used to think UBI was one of the best game companies in the world, and considered working for them at one time. But now I know they obviously just don’t get it, and never will, so I just won’t bother buying or playing another one of their products. There are more than enough game companies that don’t treat me like a criminal out of the gate that deserve my money far more than UBI.

Kosh (profile) says:

Alternatives to DRM

I was thinking about some alternatives to DRM to encourage people to buy games and here’s a few thoughts.

MMORPGs inherently require an online connection to play on official servers, and while a small portion of MMO players use private servers, the vast majority pay their monthly dues. Pirating is almost a non-issue for a game like World of Warcraft.

The Playstation 3 is probably the only console game system since the Nintendo 64 that isn’t easy to pirate. Why? Either proprietary media (cartridges) or extremely expensive media (blu-ray discs). On a side note, I know many people who bought Nintendo DSs for the sole reason that it’s trivially easy to download hundreds of games, stick them on a single SD card, and load them into their DS for quick access to almost the entire library of games worth playing on the system.

Even if you have a blu-ray burner and an abundance of BD-Rs (which would take pirating hundreds of games to make up the cost of the BD-Rs and burner), would you really want to download a 25-50GB game that you may not even like, assuming that a mod-chip becomes available for the PS3 in the near-future? You might notice, however, that most PS3 games are only 5-10GB as they’re designed to be ported to both 360 and PS3 (and sometimes PC). But look at a game like MGS4. It not only completely fills a double layer blu-ray disc, but it requires installation and decompression 4 times in the game.

So give the customer a more precise RtB: pirating the game will be possible, but won’t be worth your time. Make games require multiple DVDs to play because they have an abundance of uncompressed, high quality audio for voices, sound effects and music, then don’t allow other compressed formats (like mp3) to work with the program to prevent warez groups from compressing the audio themselves. Do the same with the Pre-rendered video. Make textures as high quality as they can before slowing systems down. Essentially, make the game so large that it takes days or even weeks to download, and eat up 25+ GB on the pirate’s hard drive, while a legitimate customer would just be switching DVDs every so often. Give the game a very good multi-player experience, and ensure you only allow legitimate cd-keys on your servers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Alternatives to DRM

“On a side note, I know many people who bought Nintendo DSs for the sole reason that it’s trivially easy to download hundreds of games, stick them on a single SD card, and load them into their DS for quick access to almost the entire library of games worth playing on the system.”

That’s the only reason I got a 360. I knew I could flash the firmware to play burned games so I picked up a used console for cheap (less than the cost of 2 games).

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Alternatives to DRM

That has to be the stupidest idea for dealing with piracy I’ve ever heard outside of the publishers. “Just make it too big to pirate”. There is so much wrong with that. First of all, that is NOT a reason to buy. Nobody is going to say, “Wow that game uses the multiple discs, takes up space on the internal hard drive, and requires periodical decompression to play it! It must be worth paying for!”

Secondly, making the game “too big to pirate” just forces the developers to spend time and money just to make a game. Do you want to wait 10 years for a game just so it’s “too big to pirate”? That’s ludicrous. By the time they finish the game, internet technology would advanced enough that a 25GB game is trivial to download.

Not to mention, the console just doesn’t have the technical resources to hand a game that huge. Large textures take up RAM and CPU. Large, complex levels tax the graphics system terribly slow. You’d be sacrificing the entire game experience, technically and artistically, just so you could temporarily inhibit piracy when you should be finding a better solution.

If you had been paying attention to what has been said about these issues, you would know full-well that adding restrictions does nothing to solve the problem and only serves to make more customers into pirates.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Alternatives to DRM

Don’t presume to tell me how long a game takes to make. I am a games industry and I know what is entailed in making a game. What you propose is simply not practical for the developers. It WILL take more time AND money to make a game that consumes that much space on disc. Bigger textures require MORE detail and more detail requires more man-hours to produce. Don’t speak on things you know nothing about and presume to have the answer. Also, consoles most definitely do NOT have the technical capability to run a game of such magnitude. They are limited systems with limited resources (RAM, CPU, GPU, storage, etc.) and a game that is big just to be big is a pointless endeavor doomed to failure.

Monkeyboy (profile) says:

Re: Alternatives to DRM

“Even if you have a blu-ray burner and an abundance of BD-Rs (which would take pirating hundreds of games to make up the cost of the BD-Rs and burner)”

I’m not quite sure what store you’re shopping at, but you can find a lot of Blu-ray burners for less than $200 now. And discs are about $6 or less a piece for the 25GB disc. And with most games being priced at $50-60 these days, instead of hundreds of games it would really only take 5 or 6 games to make up the cost of the blu-ray burner and discs.

Curt (profile) says:

Re: Alternatives to DRM

GTA4 was 25GB to download for PC and that probably didn’t stop many people from downloading it anyways. Not to mention, if we ever got some real broadband competition here in the US, 25GB would be relatively trivial. Clearly your best bet against piracy is to embrace the business models this website so often talks about, not charging your customers $60 for a game they don’t own.

Wayfinder (profile) says:

Ubisoft DRM excess

I’m all for a company reasonably protecting a game. There’s a lot that goes into games and people pirating them just drives the price up higher for the legit buyers.

BUT… Ubisoft goes beyond reasonable. I bought AVATAR and on the way out of the store, happened to read their DRM on the back which basically said, “You have to be connected to the internet to register the game, and you can only register it a limited number of times before your registration ability ceases.”

I turned right around and took it back into the store. When I consider how many times Windows has crashed, I’ve had to reinstall Windows, how many times I’ve updated my computer system over the past 10 years… no thank you. There are other things to do in life than mess with Ubisoft paranoia.

I would have bought AVATAR, but took it back and got a refund before even opening the game. I don’t buy Ubisoft games any more just because of the DRM.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Am I the only one who thinks Ubisoft’s innovative DRM scheme is a good idea?”

No, not at all. Ubisoft loves the idea (and so does TAM). Think of it from Ubisoft’s perspective; The only people who don’t like this idea are the low class “normal” people, and most of them will still pay for it anyways. They only have to ignore the few vocal people the first few weeks and they get their big pay day. And in two or three years when they turn off their AC2 DRM servers, they will have already gotten their money and will force people to go to the next new money grab.

AnonymousCoward says:

“Am I the only one who thinks Ubisoft’s innovative DRM scheme is a good idea?”

Pretty much.

DRM across the board is a pain. Some of it, like Steam, isn’t so bad as they do bring something positive with the negative. For the average customer, that is worth the trade-off.

To often though, the DRM schemes are just a huge hassle to a legit customer, and really do not have any large impact on piracy rates. Some of them probably increase the piracy rates.

Things like the Ubi scheme that they’re using is such a huge pain in the ass that people (legit customers) go looking for a way around it. That leads them to warez sites where they find out they can get all this shit for free. It also breeds contempt for the company. People don’t like treated like criminals and for the average Joe, the feeling of “I bought it, it’s mine” is common.

Yeebok (profile) says:

I think that this is hilarious, I really do. I accept that companies need to protect their work, don’t get me wrong. At the ripe old age of 39 I’ve seen games cracked on everything from the CBM64 upwards. (I had them but no idea about piracy on the Intellivision or Atari 2600). No matter how hard the developer tries all DRM will be beatable one way or another. The more draconian or evil it is, the more likely people are going to want to get around it. Consider that a lot of people get no-CD exes for games just to save having their legit disc in the drive.
The only real way to beat piracy is with something *physical* like a dongle of some sort but even then I imagine software can duplicate that. I quite enjoyed whichever Splinter Cell I played when my son brought his one over ages back, but do I really want to chew my limited bandwidth just to play an offline game ? No frakking way.
Ubisoft has just become like EA – an overbearing, intrusive and basically offensive bunch of arseholes that just want money. They may make nice games sure, but they’re still arseholes.
1. Make game.
2. Be an arsehole
3. ???
5. Not.

The only real cure for this sort of behaviour is not to buy anything from them, and make sure they know why. I have, but no reply.(support@ubisoft.com.**) obviously replace ** with a relevant country code.

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