Far Cry 4 Publishers Messing With Pirates By Getting Them To Admit They Are Pirates

from the okay-then dept

Ubisoft and DRM go back a long, long way. In nearly every case, it hasn’t exactly gone well for the game company, either. Its uPlay launcher, for instance, sort of stripped all the DRM out of publisher’s games, which didn’t make them too happy. Then there was the time its DRM allowed for the remote hacking of its customer’s computers. Yay. Yet, even these experiences never really deterred Ubisoft from trying to beat the pirates at their own game with different, but always annoying DRM strategies. My favorite, frankly, is still the vuvuzela DRM.

I have no idea how far this latest strategy of Ubisoft’s will go or what it plans to do with their honeypot trap, but the company sure has done a nice job getting Far Cry 4 pirates to out themselves.

If your copy of Far Cry 4 on PC doesn’t have FOV (Field Of View) options, and you complained about this on a forum, you might want to go and delete your comments. Because there’s a very good chance you’ve just outed yourself as someone who pirated the game. Seems the option to adjust the FOV was added as part of an update that came along with the retail release of the game, so anyone who doesn’t have it is most likely (a small handful of folks might have bought a disc version and never gone online, but then, how would you be complaining online?) in possession of a pirated copy.

Which, I mean, meh. In and of itself, getting those who pirated the game to unwittingly out themselves is kind of funny, kind of clever, and certainly isn’t of any harm. If used in conjunction with a human approach and a little social shaming, it could actually be quite productive. Ubisoft’s reputation would have to be overcome, but, hey, this is the land of second chances or whatever. If this is part of some plan for Ubisoft to bring out a legal hammer however, well, that ain’t going to work as a matter of a long term business plan.

Which is what makes this seem simultaneously exhausting and futile. This arms race with pirates at best will never end and more likely will always be lost eventually, so what’s the point?

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Companies: ubisoft

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Comments on “Far Cry 4 Publishers Messing With Pirates By Getting Them To Admit They Are Pirates”

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56 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

This sort of thing is really old news, and yet, a lot of the time the sort of bugs and flaws that get the sort of “Oh, you must be a pirate!” reaction out of typical forumgoers tend to surface in legitimate copies of the game. Ostensibly, some of these are even caused by the DRM itself; games that inject DRM that intentionally breaks the game in specific ways when pirated, often trip false positives, or just plain breaks, causing the problems for legitimate users. That may not be the case, here, but I wouldn’t be so quick to assume everyone who’s complained about this issue is a pirate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yeah, this is last week’s PR gaffe. It wasn’t an anti-piracy measure, it was a crappy PC port and a well-timed comment now being taken out of context..

The original 1.00 version of Farcry 4 didn’t include an FOV slider, even if you had purchased the game. The 1.01 Patch that added the FOV slider went out on release day, the 18th of November, and was promptly cracked and distributed by the pirates within hours. The only people who had a copy of the game on the 17th were people with pre-release copies, people who bought from stores that broke the street date, and pirates.

Anonymous Coward says:

And then a fix was found and posted online, so whenever people with illegitimate copies faced the same problem and could be bothered to search for a solution, they did so without having to “out” themselves.

I can’t imagine what Ubisoft was planning to achieve here, outside of a little boardroom meeting where they all giggle like schoolgirls about how they beat the nasty, filthy pirates – for the amazing duration of “who cares”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh, gamers are stupid, and would cheerfully accept those complimentary groin kicks. Consider: years after every intelligent person on this planet figured out that they should never, ever, buy anything with DRM, gamers still do it, all day, every day. Then they whine about it.

If they had any brains and any guts, they would force an end to DRM in games but completely boycotting any product with DRM. Simple. Easy. Effective. Wouldn’t even take that long. Wouldn’t even have to get up off their couches or stop stuffing their faces with Cheetos.

But no. They can’t even manage that. So screw them: they DESERVE to be ripped off.

Uriel-238 says:

Re: Re: Re: Same can be said...

…of people who use non-Linux operating systems or most productivity applications.

That’s because a boycott by the free-data enthusiast crowd doesn’t impact sales much, now that the bog-standard end user is just a shmoe that wants to play COD or write his term paper.

I had hoped that people would balk at the ridiculous home-phoning of Windows XP, but they not only sucked that up but went on to buy DRM-loaded zune music, all of which has since expired.

DRM screws not only legit end users, but also the companies who use it. But explain that to the bean-counters who don’t want to get ripped off “on principle”.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Same can be said...

I had hoped that people would balk at the ridiculous home-phoning of Windows XP, but they not only sucked that up but went on to buy DRM-loaded Zune music, all of which has since expired.
What’s Zune? Is that what I got by ripping CD tracks into MP3s from long before it was legal in my country (England)? (Not actually as naïve as my question would suggest, just stating the fact that not everybody suffered Zune, but instead used better, if extra-legal, methods of getting music onto MP3 players.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Same can be said...

“I had hoped that people would balk at the ridiculous home-phoning of Windows XP”

They did, but in reality very few people were affected by it. Most general consumers didn’t know about it at all. You have to actually get people to notice the bullshit, and things can change if enough people notice and complain (see: Microsoft’s embarrassing U-turn when people refused to accept an XBox One that would stop them using their legally purchased content if their internet connection went down).

“they not only sucked that up but went on to buy DRM-loaded zune music”

Sales figures suggest otherwise. Last time I looked, Zune was a hideous failure, while consumer demand led labels to drop their insistence on DRM in iTunes and other marketplaces, which in turn led to Amazon’s entry into the market to give real competition.

“DRM screws not only legit end users”

ONLY the end users. pirates always find a way around it, often getting a better product than the people who paid money. Sadly, it doesn’t always come back to bite the companies themselves, but there’s enough examples of that happening to give some hope.

“But explain that to the bean-counters who don’t want to get ripped off “on principle”.”

Those people actually love piracy. They can ship out a half-finished, shoddy product and then whine about pirates if people don’t buy it. They profit if it does sell anyway, and relieve themselves of responsibility if not.

RadoGamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well said. I’ve been gaming since the days of Pong and it seems to me that a lot of the new gamers are not willing to take on the quest or battle outside of the games they play. I live life like the games I play, Each day is a quest each task a battle I set out to win. You are correct sir as hard as it may be for some to swallow or take. You are right!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

lol “punish people”. Give me a break…

It only “punishes people” if you’re using it outside it’s intended use, like sharing it with friends, etc. There’s not ONE case where a legitimate use has been hampered because of it.. but, by all means, continue with your anti-DRM whining if you like looking like a four year old child.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Lets see, Failure of DRM servers prevent people playing, the same servers can be switches off when the company decides they are not worth running for the remaining players, or they want players to upgrade to the next game in the series. Cannot play the game where their is no Internet service, like when snow has taken out the phone and power lines, and you are stuck inside after getting the diesel generator going.
While that is not punishment in the strictest sense, it is making them suffer because of DRM.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Before making absolute statements ‘not ONE case…’, you might want to actually do 5-seconds of research to see if your statement is accurate.

Have a few examples:

DRM Performs Another Miracle, Turns Purchased Childrens Books Into Nothing At All
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140726/21114128023/drm-performs-another-miracle-turns-purchased-childrens-books-into-nothing-all.shtml

Destructive DRM Strikes Again: Creative Professionals Blocked From Using Adobe Products For Days
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140518/06371227275/destructive-drm-strikes-again-creative-professionals-blocked-using-adobe-products-days.shtml

Adobe Releases New DRM For eBooks, Plans To Screw Over Anyone Using Old DRM
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140204/07381226084/adobe-releases-new-drm-ebooks-plans-to-screw-over-anyone-using-old-drm.shtml

How The Copyright Industry Made Your Computer Less Safe
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140206/11054426119/how-copyright-industry-made-your-computer-less-safe.shtml

Latest Twist On DRM Of Physical Products: Machines Locked Down By Geolocation
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140109/03060325817/latest-twist-drm-lockdown-geolocation.shtml

Undownloading: Further Proof Those eBooks You Paid For Really Aren’t Yours
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130819/05521324229/undownloading-further-proof-those-ebooks-you-paid-really-arent-yours.shtml

I’ll stop at half a dozen, but I could easily find more with minimal effort. So then, will you be taking your humble pie in one large meal, or in individual slices?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“There’s not ONE case where a legitimate use has been hampered because of it.”

Is that because you admit that people pirating the games they paid for, but which won’t work because of DRM, is a legitimate use? Or, are you so desperate for attention that you have to rely on lies that wouldn’t fool a 5 year old using Google for the first time?

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

ORLY? I guess you’ve never heard about the case where Myst IV came with DRM that prevented the contents of the second disc from being installed, and the DRM-‘removal’ patch could only be used on a fully installed game. And that’s just the one case you claimed never happened, there are plenty of others.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Exactly. new games are released buggy as all hell, require massive multi-gig patches and first day of release and often experience game-breaking bugs for weeks after that – on both the server and client sides.

But, this DRM shite is perfect and anyone who experiences problems as a result is a thief and should be punished! We’re not even going to tell you that we think you pirated, we’ll just laugh as you try to get your game fixed (even if it turns out to be our own buggy code at issue).

The absolute idiocy is breathtaking, whichever way you look at it. Either way, this kind of thing is why I’m nowhere near the market for PC games apart from GoG or other DRM-free vendors. Sorry, guys, your own actions screwed you out of my money, not any pirate.

PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And this is a problem because…?

Remember, this is Ubisoft, so Uplay is installed. Plus, in many cases Steam. The update was a DAY ONE download. This means it came down immediately after the game was installed, so saying that the user couldn’t connect to the internet for some reason doesn’t really work. And if the user couldn’t get to the internet for the update, how did they get to the forum?

If a company makes a forum, do you believe they have an obligation to help people who have not paid for the game?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“And this is a problem because…?”

Because, as detailed elsewhere, there seem to have been numerous ways to obtain the unpatched game legitimately, and there’s numerous reasons why the patch may not have been available immediately before the players started to complain.

Since no documentation appears to have existed prior to the complaints that indicated that this was a DRM issue, it seems wrong to make the assumption that everyone complaining was a pirate (and thus wrong to white knight Ubisoft based on this assumption). At least some of these people had genuine problems.

“And if the user couldn’t get to the internet for the update, how did they get to the forum?”

Using an internet connection not in the same place as their computer such as work, school or a library? Or by using a smartphone, or a friend’s computer? Or by having an internet connection not capable of downloading gigantic patches but capable of loading a basic forum page for support advice?

Despite what Microsoft tried to convince you with its original plans for the XBox One, not every gamer has access to constant, high speed internet. They lost big on those assumptions too.

“If a company makes a forum, do you believe they have an obligation to help people who have not paid for the game?”

They should certainly have an obligation not to attack those who have. Especially since the pirates just get help elsewhere, while the legal customer only has the people who are publicly lying about them.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re: Apples and Oranges

There are a number of layers here and multiple servers and protocols involved. Right now I am using pretty low horsepower stuff that could probably be handled over a 2400 baud modem connection if necessary.

Now compare that to a large modern game download. It’s a different protocol. It’s a different set of servers. It’s different software. It’s relatively untested software.

Just the web browsing part of getting to the game patch download is going to be “heavier” than most discussion forums (like this one).

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ll admit I pirated the game, as I do with most games I’m unsure i actually want. This is down to the fact that no publishers release a demo version of a game anymore (don’t recall seeing any in a few years now for any A+ game).
I do place restrictions on myself when I dowload the game: I’m limited to 1 hour only (2 max for certain games that require extra time to get into ala total wars series, though I’ve bought every single one of those so far). If I wish to play any further, I have to purchase the game. So far its less than a 1/3rd of games I’ve demo’d like this I’ve actually bought right away, with a few other bought during Steam sales.

Can say I’m glad I didn’t buy into the hype on Far Cry 4… It is so glitchy / buggy, save files disappear, graphics are crap (running “ultra”), and the controls are wonky. I purged this crap from my system before my timelimit was up.

Just wish I’d done the same with the latest Borderlands

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Four whole colours? You kids today don’t know when you’re even born.

When I was a lad, I had a Sinclair ZX-81 for my gaming, no colours, just black and white blocks and letters, no sound of any kind, a wobbly 16KB RAM pack and power lead, both of which crashed the machine if you so much as touched them and if I wanted to play a game I had to borrow a tape cassette player from my dad so I could load the software.

But, you know, we were happier in those days, even though we were poor…

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:

Ubisoft

I’m happy to be a pirate, but not for PC games and never for anything by Ubisoft: several years ago, I bought legal copies of a couple of their PC ports which turned out to be bug-crippled unusable messes, even when fully-patched. After that I just couldn’t be bothered with them.

Watching them screw over their paying customers with bad ports and bad DRM schemes time and time again, I’m glad I don’t waste any of my money or gaming attention on them, regardless of the hype. Commenting on this article is as close as I ever want to get to the company’s output.

In this case, the assumption that no-one can be online for a help-forum without being able to update the game is simply false: here in London, there are hundreds of thousands of people – migrant workers especially – who have only limited access to the internet, either via laptops with pay-as-you-go USB dongles or mobile phones.

Usage costs for them are far too high to allow games to suck down multi-GB updates, in the worst cases representing more than the cost of buying the game, if it’s been discounted by the retailer. Branding them all pirates because of yet another Ubisoft DRM brainwave just seems like the icing on the dog-turd.

Ubisoft Creative Director Alex Hutchinson and Kotaku writer Luke Plunkett are presumably pleased with themselves. Personally, I think they’re a pair of ignorant racist dickheads.

On the plus side, quite a few more people will have learned not to touch anything by Ubisoft with a shitty stick, so it’s not all bad. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Damn the collateral damage – full speed ahead.

“a small handful of folks might have bought a disc version and never gone online, but then, how would you be complaining online?”

Yeah, that’s right. Why would anyone have more than one computer? And why would anyone keep a computer offline due to shitty DRM and other crapware? It just doesn’t make any sense.

So, let’s continue with the “You might be a pirate if” sort of logic because it will certainly give a boost to sales.

It’s more like … You might be a pirate if – screw that, everyone is a pirate!

Slinky (profile) says:

FarCry 4 is basically just another copy of FarCry 3, even the character animations including the soundFX are the same as FC3. The RadioTowers are back in a slightly modified version, and ofcourse there are some nice additions to the game. But all in all it’s definately not worth the 90 Euro for the ‘complete game’. It is obvious that Ubisoft had more focus on making easy money, than on creating something really new and groundbreaking. 90 Euros for FC4 is far more than other AAA titles, and it’s half the quality. Which is worse, screwing with paying customers, or dealing with piracy. Shame on you Ubisoft.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is 100% false and lies. I bought the game a week ago, and installed everything.

At launch, the ubisoft servers crashed and I could not update. Their own fault, not mine.

I’m now labelled a pirate because Ubisoft failed at the most basic level: can’t update a paid game.

So this is just a load of bullshit. Ubisoft, you lost another paying customer. Next time I’ll pirate it for sure, since you already labelled me a pirate because you can’t even release a game properly.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

ORLY?

(A small handful of folks might have bought a disc version and never gone online, but then, how would you be complaining online?)
Oh, gee, I don’t know. I mean, how do I bitch online about lack of download-only patches on my offline consoles and PC because it sure as hell can’t be possible on the broadband-enabled smartphone I’m currently holding in my hand, can it? Epic fail, Kotaku, epic fail. *facepalms*

Damien Bizeau (profile) says:

Eric F. Vermote: a true digital pirate!

On the web it goes without really further developing that digital pirates take strategic measures for them to avoid getting caught difficult to prove in any court; Eric F. Vermote is a good example for that because with his professional IT skills he easily got me wrongly convicted of French Press Defamation in July 2011 for a blog post I released mentioning peer to peer digital piracy he committed and bootlgegging acts of his during 2003-2004 in Maryland implicating his US Government employers NASA & UMD which never worried much about the matter despite the piracy case they were part of really occured but without a trace, “strangely”…(Eric F. Vermote actually entirely denied having ever performed digital piracy in any form in his French Press Defamation Direct Complaint against me in order to keep his jobs as a IT specialist who develops computer softwares for the US Government). Above all this the French authorities don’t investigate foreign matters of this type. Another good example related to the international “unfair system” of cases like this one is that no official French word translates for “bootleg” in the French judicial or legal vocabularies…good luck to Ubisoft! I mean it.

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