Ubisoft DRM

This is a discussion on Ubisoft DRM within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm sure many of you have heard about the new Ubisoft DRM that forces you to stay online otherwise your ...

  1. #1
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Ubisoft DRM

    I'm sure many of you have heard about the new Ubisoft DRM that forces you to stay online otherwise your game will attempt to save (on their servers) and exit. There is no offline mode in these games. However since the reception has been so poor there have been rumors that Silent Hunter 5 will be patched so it can save games locally.

    There are several games I want to buy that Ubisoft is publishing but I do not want this extremely invasive DRM on my machine. I would just buy the game and then download the various hacks that remove the DRM but then again I'm not one to go around downloading those types of things. I hate hacks and I dislike having to do something illegal to play my legally purchased game in offline mode and for that I will most likely just forego my purchases. I really hate this type of DRM for AS 2 and SH5 but for the next iteration of IL2 I don't mind as much b/c I rarely play IL2 in offline mode since the AI is never as good as a human opponent. I may just purchase an XBox 360 for games that are extremely intrusive when ported to the PC but are games that I absolutely must have.

    Is Ubisoft's DRM going to keep any of you from purchasing some of the great games they have and are going to publish in the near future? I'll most likely buy the new IL2 but I seriously doubt I will get AS 2 or SH5 until the DRM is removed or altered to be less instrusive by Ubisoft. This sucks too since I have almost every version of Silent Hunter and I'm dying to see the rest of the story in AS 2 since I thouroughly enjoyed AS 1.

    Real bummer if you ask me. Some companies are removing DRM and some are adding more intrusive DRM. What moron or PM at Ubi thought this was a good idea? Did they not realize this would put them first and foremost on every pirate's radar and royally upset all of those who actually pay for their games?
    I feel for the developer's on this one b/c the DRM isn't preventing anyone from stealing (since it's already been hacked) and it's causing others to boycott the release of otherwise excellent games with excellent production values. I think the publisher is shooting themselves and their devs in the foot on this one. If I could forward my money to the studio that developed these games and forego sending it to Ubi I would...but unfortunately that isn't going to happen. I feel really bad for not supporting AS 2 and SH 5 but I just can't agree with the DRM that has been put in them. But I strongly feel that the developer's deserve my money even if the publisher doesn't.

    Quite a conundrum for me right now. I have friends at Red Storm which is owned by Ubi and would be more than happy to support their efforts...if it weren't for this horrid DRM.

    I think the biggest thing companies can do right now to fight piracy is to allow more content in the purchased versions of the games. I always wondered why online games did not send all the illegit players to some server with half of the game disabled. From what I know the recent Batman game did this to good effect. This kind of DRM actually benefits the paying customer and makes the retail purchased version more attractive than the pirated featureless version. I'm sure it's possible to do this on many many games and it's a form of anti-piracy that I believe will actually work and possibly save and or improve all video game sales if the industry adopts the practice.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 03-13-2010 at 07:41 PM.

  2. #2
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    (When I first head about it last week, I did wonder at some point when I would read on you about it )

    I'll level with you Bubba,

    I've had it with the gaming industry as much as I've had it with games consumers.

    Industry
    The UbiSoft DRM feature is the most disproportionate DRM system to date. Assassin's Creed 2 is a crappy game, let's face it. I wouldn't play it, if someone gave it to me. But I care. I care for my future in this industry as a consumer. And you bet a DRM like this give me the willies. Is this what I will expect to be happening in a few years? Being forced to have an internet connection -- and a constant one at that -- to play even single-player games!?

    No. Screw that. I don't care anymore for the 20 hours of "fun" a typical mainstream title offers me these days. I won't pull my pants down to these people and invite them over with my arse. I get p...ed at a company, and you bet I won't buy any titles of them.

    It's as simple as this: Every time I put my money on a game, the reply I get is "Thank you for your preference". I'm endorsing the company and its practices.

    And being forced to get myself a console to actually get rid of the DRM? Hell no! For what? To sustain the current trend of sub-par PC ports of console games? Furthermore, the consoles will stay DRM free for as long as their market keeps being smaller and less appealing to crackers. There's no single game in the XBox, PS, Wii, or PSP that hasn't been cracked. Yet the effects are still small. But if these start becoming truly mainstream gaming platforms, then DRMs will move there and you, I and anyone else will have to put up with this crap all over again.

    The DRMs aren't even meant to stop piracy. I started to drop that thought. This is the convenient excuse from publishers. The only explanation I can see for this absolute rubbish and complete disproportionate measures that hurt paying customers and never hurt pirates, is an intent to kill second-hand trade and possibly also move gamers to the console market. Publishers aren't concerned with piracy. Business has been great as always. The industry keeps steadily growing and is today the second largest entertainment industry in the world, second only to movies.

    So, no more Ubisoft for me. I don't want to buy their games. And I surely as hell can live with that. My life will not become miserable because of that. Plenty other places to go.

    Consumers
    If hypocrisy has a face, it's every consumer's face. And if it has a reason, that reason is greed. Consumer greed for "fun". Greed for arguable "quality-time" with today's industry desire to stuff us with franchises. "New content" always, and only rarely, increasingly rarely, new ideas. That's what you get today of the big publishers. Ubisoft and Activision both even tell you that in your face. They openly announce their desire to only acquire and maintain titles which have the capacity to become franchises they can explore in years to come.

    In the face of this, there's been all manner of community uproars. Just search the name Kotick on the web, although I'm sure you know exactly who I'm talking about. And yet, in the face of this, what do consumers do? They behave like the cretins they are. They rush to buy the next flashy title, for those 20 hours of fun; - I'll be damned! My name is Kotic. I'm a complete moron! I show you my utter contempt towards both gaming studios and gamers every opportunity I have. Just look for me on the web. And you still buy my games!? Man, this is the dream-market of any capitalist. This is it! This is business like anywhere else on the planet.

    ...

    I'm sorry Bubba. I understand something of this may brush on you. I'm not trying to insult you. I too have bought to all of this, resigned to the thought I couldn't change the way things are. It's just so happens I had enough. You too will sooner or later. I suspect sooner.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 03-13-2010 at 08:18 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #3
    Registered User jeffcobb's Avatar
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    I have little use for heavy DRM in games and other software. Getting used to the FOSS universe makes me impatient with DRM and DRM (combined with my proven ability to lose reg numbers) has made many bits of software that I have purchased over the years no longer available to me. On the other hand DRM has taught me a lot about how computers work (by working to defeat it on programs that I have purchased) so I guess its a mixed blessing. When I lived/worked in San Francisco I worked about a block and a half from Ubisofts headquarters...always looked like a dump..
    C/C++ Environment: GNU CC/Emacs
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    When I lived/worked in San Francisco I worked about a block and a half from Ubisofts headquarters...always looked like a dump..
    Hehe. Yep. Went to their corp. site and got linked to their San Fran offices. Wow it is dumpy looking for sure.

  5. #5
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    I think I posted some link to an article some time ago about the topic of DRM. Basically, DRM is there to protect the companies. To some extent. Kind of like comparing it to a lock and key. Sure, you lock your home when you leave your house. But will it stop people who really wants to get in? Probably not. But then, it will deter casual pirates. Same with DRM.
    However, this latest Ubisoft DRM has gone too far. This I do agree with. If I purchase a game, I want to be able to play it anywhere, anytime. The fact that it simply kicks you out if you lose connection is even worse. From what I've heard, it doesn't even save the progress. Lose connection and you're screwed. Start all over again.
    I also remember the servers going down some time ago and a lot of angry customers swarming over the Internet, blaming Ubisoft. I hope they learned something. Part of why people pirate stuff is because of the loose strings. No hassle. No trouble. No restrictions. Just pure fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    From what I've heard, it doesn't even save the progress. Lose connection and you're screwed. Start all over again.
    No. It will indeed save the game. There were some issues early, as I understand. But they were fixed. It was meant to save the game where it crashes. Of course, if you loose connection during a rather intense fight or some other point in which your concentration is required, chances are you die when you get the game working again.

    I also remember the servers going down some time ago and a lot of angry customers swarming over the Internet, blaming Ubisoft.
    Or the common chance of loosing connection with your ISP, or simply leaving in a place where your connection is not reliable. Which is a rather large portion of the planet. For single-players games this is absolute nonsense.

    There's however also the debate that this type of DRM helps protect day 0 sales. It's true and one has to agree with how efficient it is. Supposedly, after a few days, the requirement would be removed and everyone would be happy again. If this is the case (Ubisoft never said it was) then I would have to accept it as understandable. However, chances are this is just FUD on your face and the intent is really to keep it going.

    What I cannot agree with anymore, is myself. I cannot keep badmouthing these companies and their practices, but at the first opportunity run to buy their games. As a consumer that's my sign of support. I guess I'm benefiting for a general lack of interest in mainstream titles too. Which makes this task easier. Instead games like Galactic Civilizations, Dominions 3, Solium Infernum, or Sins of a Solar Empire can cater to my strategy needs for years, not months. Companies like Bioware or Valve have been guaranteeing me so far good RPG and action titles, distribution systems like Impulse and Steam can facilitate my shopping list as I slowly start accepting these distribution methods as inevitable.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Is issue is a deep one, I think. It is similar to how the movie industry plays their cards. They are absolutely draconian on DRM, and blame all the failing sales on piracy. But all the companies, I think, never actually try to understand the issue: why do most people pirate games and movies? Some do it for the spite of it, that's life. But a lot of them do not.
    Even if the sales go down a lot, I don't think they will change. Instead, they'll just blame piracy and stop selling PC games. I think you do the right thing by buying their games, despite the intrusive DRM. But we have to make our voices heard, as well: though not necessarily by boycotting the games. It only hurts the companies and ourselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  8. #8
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    But we have to make our voices heard, as well: though not necessarily by boycotting the games. It only hurts the companies and ourselves.
    I'm not even sure where to start. Did you give this statement much thought?

    I'm far from accepting being a prisoner to a gaming company out of fear. That would be rich! This is free market we are talking about. A place where the rules of supply and demand should govern the relationship between consumers and companies. It's the tension that drives the market forward and forces companies to adapt their business to the real demand. If a company would get destroyed by bad DRM practices, another would emerge with good DRM practices or no DRM practices and flourish on its stead.

    I however have no doubts DRM is here to stay. There's no going back now. And it will only get worse. But damn me if that is going to force me to buy these games. Ah!
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #9
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I'm not even sure where to start. Did you give this statement much thought?
    Yes, it is the conclusion I have come to based on the facts I have.
    I may be wrong, of course.
    Do you know of any companies that try to lessen the impact of DRM or try to remove it? Not suggesting there aren't, I simply wish to know more facts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  10. #10
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    Just wait until one of the companies using DRM folds, and then everyone will suddenly realise that they can't play ANY of their games EVER again!.

    Any other company still using this crap to prop up a broken business model will feel a hell of a lot of heat in the aftermath. Any perception of weakness will cause sales to drop like a stone.

    Mmm, a cascade failure "a la banks in 2008". One fails, and another's product becomes unsellable, resulting in yet more failure.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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  11. #11
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    Do you know of any companies that try to lessen the impact of DRM or try to remove it?
    Sure I do. Here's some:

    - Stardock. Either entirely removed or with DRM-based validating measures for games meant to run on Stardock servers.

    - The mighty and "evil" EA, which has been downsizing their DRM policy, even launching games without any DRM whatsoever (Dragon Ages, for instance).

    - Valve, who even criticizes heavy restrictive DRM measures.

    The issue here is not DRM free games. I don't see why someone should defend that. Instead, proportionate DRM measures that do not hurt paying customers.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 03-14-2010 at 09:45 AM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #12
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    The issue here is not DRM free games. I don't see why someone should defend that. Instead, proportionate DRM measures that do not hurt paying customers.
    Amen to that, should it become a viable future!
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    The issue here is not DRM free games. I don't see why someone should defend that. Instead, proportionate DRM measures that do not hurt paying customers.
    Absolutely couldn't have been said any better. I have no problem with a company attempting to protect it's assets in some way and they have the right to do so. However there are methods that work. CD-keys is one of them that I have no issue with - I wouldn't even mind going back to the manual type protection where you type in some words or phrases. At least this would mean I would actually get a manual with my game. Of course this type of protection is easily broken with the internet and all but can no one prosecute this type of stuff when sites openly place copyrighted material on their servers?

    If people pirate the game and you as a company allow them unfettered access to servers and in-game content then it is your design that is flawed for allowing that to happen. C'mon there has to be a way to make the retail purchased version more attractive than the stolen one. Surely all the gurus doing the games have enough smarts to figure this one out before allowing their industry to go kaput b/c of the mean evil pirates. Right now it looks like Pirates 1 Companies 0 and the companies are turning tail and running from the PC. Those that run here and now will not be prepared when it comes to their oh so precious console market.

    It's sort of like pirates in the old seafaring days. When they started to attack ships here and there.....companies put cannons on their vessels. When the pirates got bigger and better cannons companies and even countries started hiring out pirates to work for them to protect their vessels. What better way to fight pirates than with more pirates? But in the end pirating was not as profitable as it seemed to be and it gradually died out for the most part.

    I guess my point here is that you adapt and overcome the issues if you want to survive. If you really don't care then you turn tail and run off to console land hoping the pirate issue will never reach it....which we all know is not true. This is a key chance for the industry to experiment with ways to make pirated games less attractive on the PCs so that when the problem reaches the consoles as it some day will they will have already figured out how to adjust and continue to make money.

    Software pirates will never go away and thus companies must come up with good strategies to maintain their paying customer base yet also protect their assets. Ubi's DRM will destroy their customer base. It won't turn me into a pirate since I will not pirate the game. However it may cause me to buy the game, remove the DRM, and continue to enjoy it. Doesn't mean I won't put my money forth...but it also doesn't mean I'm going to allow Ubi to inundate my PC with their stupid DRM. Just as it is their right to protect their investment it is equally my right as a PC owner and builder to protect my investment in my PC.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 03-14-2010 at 01:08 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    Just wait until one of the companies using DRM folds, and then everyone will suddenly realise that they can't play ANY of their games EVER again!.
    I'm curious what your views of Steam are?
    Although I generally loathe DRM and agree with the sentiments in this thread, I find we anti-DRM'ers seem oddly accepting of Steam when in-fact we are in the same "cascading failure" scenario. Just as Steam has promised to make all games indefinitely available if they should tank, so can any other DRM provider. So why do we believe it any more so of them than of others?

  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Steam so far allows for offline playing. You just need to be online to purchase, download and activate the copies.

    Now, as far as an online purchase is concerned, I have nothing against that. I do not need to purchase games on Steam if I don't want to (and I surely don't, except for their back catalog). What bothers me about Steam is the Valve game I purchase on a offline store and that still forces me to go online to activate.

    This relationship between offline purchases and the internet requirement is something I consider an abuse of my consumer rights. However, I'm not sure anymore how it can be fought. I think it came and is now inevitable. There's no going back, except for those publishers and small development studios who insist on keeping things as they were. But the question as you put it, sill holds. If Valve server warehouses were to collapse under an earthquake, what then? If the company collapsed in a financial scandal, what then?

    Consumers are putting too much trust in these companies. This happens because unfortunately it is easy to develop cult-like followings in this business. Nobody cares for their toaster brand, or even for a big movie studio, the same they care for their games studio. And so, all manner of abuse can take place.

    But in any case, give me 10 Valve over 1 Ubisoft or Activision any day. If anything can be said of Valve is that, at least there's still some level of decency.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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