Copyright

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
admissions, drm, far cry 4, piracy, video games

Companies:
ubisoft



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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 9:31pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 9:58pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:41am

      Re:

      If that's right, it's even more stupid. There's at least 2 different types of people who could own the game legitimately, but the guy in charge calls them pirates anyway? Forget the PR gaffe, and the direct defamatory attack on paying customers, he's pretty bad at understanding his own product's release cycle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2014 @ 10:01pm

    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".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 10:18pm

    Remember The Settlers 3 where iron smelters would only produce pigs instead of iron when a copied DVD was detected? Problem of course was that some drives reported copied DVDs even when original DVDs where used, so honest customers were screwed yet again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:35am

      Re:

      DRM: The quickest way to punish people for buying your product outside of complementary groin kicks with every purchase.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:29am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:06am

          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".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Sheogorath (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 3:20am

            Re: 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.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 4:55am

            Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Given that Windows and games consoles have their OS's protected by DRM, why worry about DRM on the games, unless you are running a DRM free OS, like Linux?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          RadoGamer (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:23pm

          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!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:36am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:35am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:07am

    What this will be used for is a way for white-knighting community members to refuse to have anything to do with those "caught" using the game without the update installed (on the basis that pirates are evil and should be excommunicated permanently after the first offense similarly to cheaters.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PopeRatzo (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:04am

      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?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:29am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:09am

          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).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:15am

    better not complain about anything, just in case...bye bye forums

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:45am

      Re:

      More like: better not buy anything, bye bye Ubisoft. Next month's comment from Ubisoft: we lost money, it must be because of pirates. We need more DRM!

      Thus, the cycle continues...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 12:28am

    Considering how this was added in a dayone patch and the pirates had the game two days early and edited the fov settings in the config files...
    Again the pirates had this feature early. I suspect this will turn out to be bullshit and ubi is again refusing to patch a real issue and just blames pirates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:44am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PopeRatzo (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:00am

      Re:

      They DID release a demo of Far Cry 4.

      It was called "Far Cry 3".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      ...graphics are crap (running "ultra")...

      What do you define as "crap" graphics in today's world? Only 1900x1600 resolution running at 80FPS with only 10 levels of filtering?

      It's amazing to think that people used to be happy playing games in 640x480 with 256 colors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:50am

        Re: Re:

        256 colours? Didn't know you were born! I had to walk 5 miles uphill both ways to get a game with 8!

        etc, etc.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Rabbit80 (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re:

        When I started gaming I was lucky to have 4 colours! Many games were mono!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          DocGerbil100 (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:26pm

          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...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 7:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Cassette player? you kids and your fandangle equipment.

            When I was a kid, I had to put in 28 single sided floppy disks one at time every time i wanted to play.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Sheogorath (profile), 27 Nov 2014 @ 1:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            At least you had games with graphics, I played interactive fiction and I'm not even that old!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:55am

    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. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:04am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:28am

    If I were the author of this article I would remove this post out of embarrassment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Slinky (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:04am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:30am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:33am

    Pirates are cool

    So, all I have to do to become a pirate is to say my copy of Farcry 4 doesn't have a FOV option? Cool! Let me do it then:

    Of all my copies of Farcry 4, none have a FOV option. (I don't even have Farcry 4).

    Am I a pirate now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:09am

    Since they no longer generate any art, this may be their new business model. Far Cry FOUR? Really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:14am

    In other news...

    Internet messing with Far Cry Publishers by getting them to admit they are clueless about effects of DRM on pirating

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    seedeevee (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 9:59am

    Ubi Customer Service

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

    What kind of a bullshit customer service line is that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 11:57pm

      Re: Ubi Customer Service

      "Service" that ignores a large number of real-life scenarios in order to pretend they're not causing problems for legitimate customers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:44pm

    And in among all this lest we forget is Ubisoft's marketing plan.

    Plant a few fake forum posts from 'pirates' and drum up cheap publicity for their game........

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 27 Nov 2014 @ 12:04am

    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*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LordWabbit, 29 Apr 2015 @ 10:41am

      Re: ORLY?

      Because the data cost of downloading a couple gig on a smartphone is extremely expensive. So no, it's completely understandable, not an epic fail.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    iiocbx (profile), 8 Dec 2014 @ 2:43pm

    far cry 4

    any bloody wonder everyone pirates ubisofts games. They obviously got a gorilla to do the port and everything they release needs multiple patches to run well. Maybe if they released finished games people, myself included wouldn't feel the need to pirate it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Damien Bizeau (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 10:00am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Game isn't worth pirating anyway, just wait a few months and it'll be $5 on STEAM

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    shawn, 17 Dec 2014 @ 7:19pm

    except

    That makes sense besides the fact that a lot of people can just download the updated game and still have it pirated so as the developers release updates piraters will continue to get these updates as well, so this seems like a frivolous forum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Meh, 5 Aug 2015 @ 3:56pm

    Ubisoft is French avoid it like the plague.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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