back to article Ubisoft undone by anti-DRM DDoS storm

Ubisoft has confirmed its rights management servers were hit by a fierce DDoS attack over the weekend that left some customers unable to play its games for much of Sunday. The attack is an apparent protest at controversial new DRM controls by the video game publisher which mean customers have to be online in order to play its …


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  1. Mr DPG
    Thumb Down

    Yeah I was one of the "small group of players" who were affected by this!

    I was seriously hacked off spending most of yesterday afternoon not being able to play the game!

    Not impressed at all and would happily accept a patch from UBIsoft to remove the irritation!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear,

      Perhaps taking up a hobyy that doesn't involved sitting behind a computer for the whole of Sunday might be worth trying?

      Like girls?

      Be still my bleeding heart...

      WRT DRM - why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL?

      1. Benny
        Thumb Down


        "why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL?"

        I find my ADSL dies when I take the laptop in the car, on the train, in the middle-of-f'in-knowhere.

        What about if the phone line dies? Or power goes out?

        Laptop still has a good 4-5 hours on it, but no, I can't play the game.


      2. Juillen 1

        You've obviously..

        Never tried working out the cost of five nines uptime on things. You don't get that on residential broadband, so you can be quite happy playing your game, all oblivous, until boom, you're dropped out for no apparent reason.

        This is all very acceptable for online games (which have built in methods for handling 'linkdeath'), but are a really, really stupid idea for a single player game, especially one that apparently doesn't cache a save.

        Whatever the arguments to and fro about DRM, piracy, ethics and what not, there are two simple facts at the moment:

        1) If you purchased this game with the DRM in it, you can't it play right now.

        2) If you obtained the pirated version of the game with no DRM, you can currently play it just fine.

        All the niceties stripped away, that's what you have. Guess what message that sends to paying customers?

      3. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Oh dear

        " WRT DRM - why is having a permanent net connection such a trauma now, with always on ADSL? "

        You're not a mobile worker, are you? Some of us find that the odd game installed on the company laptop is a good way to while away a couple of hours in a soulless hotel on the edge of a business park. Two days of always-on hotel internet is the same as a month of always-on home internet.

      4. Anonymous Coward

        Remain Anonymous..

        since being such an idiot should be a warning to anybody familiar with your name. After working all week and looking after my newly born son I am quite happy to sit and play some games whilst my wife takes care of the sprog.

        In regards to your other comment; Not everybody has ADSL?

        Just because they have a games console, does not mean that they always want to hook it up to the net?

        The fact that any progress made regardless of time is lost when the internet connection is lost before saving?

        Relying on remote servers such as the ones being used by Ubisoft are prone to this kind of malicious interference which affects legitimate players?

        Go back to just reading the articles, commenting is not your forte.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Theree is a patch available

      You can find it on pirate bay called ***Full Version Cracked*** you have to Un-install the faulty version first though. Then you will be able to play without having to be connected to the interent.

      Honestly, I don't know where the fuck the publishers think they are going with this shit. Taking the PC games industry to hell in a handcart, with consoles close in tow.

      Viva la Indie games!!!!!

      1. PirateSlayer


        Are you advocating ripping the game off here?

        The hard working developers may query your spirit of "viva la indie games". They weren't even aware they were in some commie brotherhood where their hard work was regarded as free content.

        They may empathise more strongly with:

        "Steal games, destroy the PC gaming industry!" (which is already on its knees begging not to be submerged in console fan goo).

        1. Goat Jam


          Just in case you missed it, I'm going to copy paste something posted by Juillen 1

          1) If you purchased this game with the DRM in it, you can't it play right now.

          2) If you obtained the pirated version of the game with no DRM, you can currently play it just fine.

          The fact is that Ubisoft have a choice to make. Give their customers an enjoyable and hassle free product or lose sales, whether it is down to apathy or pirates it makes no difference.

          I have no sympathy for Ubisoft, or their "hard working developers".

  2. frymaster

    even worse than detailed in the article

    it's not that you "can't save your progress if you lose internet connection" - you can't play the game at ALL if you lose connection. If it dies while you are playing, you will either get punted back to your last checkpoint, or the game will pause, until your connection is restored. So it's not like you can keep going while your train passes through a dodgy connection area and then save afterwards, for example

    by default, it saves games "to the cloud", but even if you turn that off an always-on internet connection is required.

  3. jonathan keith

    About time, El Reg

    I was wondering when you were going to get round to mentioning this insane DRM system.

    Anyway, it looks like their servers are taking another DDoS hammering at the moment.

    Tying a single-player game to a company's servers and requiring a permanent online connection to play? What could POSSIBLY go wrong? Ubisoft need a thorough shoeing about this and some wider press coverage would be a good start.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "What could possibly go wrong"

      If engineered right this can be done.

      Now, paraphrasing your question: "If engineered wrong, what could possibly go RIGHT?"

      There are plenty of ways to make this work even in the face of a relentless and overwhelming DOS assault. It is quite clear however that UbiSoft has chosen not to do so.

  4. criscros

    This is it!

    I'm officially boycotting Ubisoft and all their DRM-infested shite. Even if they publish the BEST game in the world, I'm not touching it until they remove the DRM.

    What, do they think we are stupid or something?

    1. Paul Smith

      criscros @ 15:49

      "I'm officially boycotting Ubisoft and all their DRM-infested shite. Even if they publish the BEST game in the world, I'm not touching it until they remove the DRM.

      What, do they think we are stupid or something?"

      No, they do not think you are stupid. Theiving shits maybe, but not stupid.

      1. criscros

        Paul Smith, Reading comprehension FAIL

        What part of "not touching" does your tiny brain not understand?

        Even though I would NOT personally pirate a game over the internet, I have no problem with others doing it. Copyright infringement is not theft, it's copyright infringement: Ubisoft loses nothing from it happening, especially if the pirates never intended to buy the game in the first place. Piracy gives people the opportunity to try before they buy, and I respect that.

        Stupid DRM like this just makes our lives harder, and the pirates always have a cracked copy within hours. Ubisoft should realise that what they are doing is pissing their customers off, and they'll have to stop when enough people decide that enough is enough.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Usual Bad Argument

        I loved PC gaming and I've built a fairly hefty PC gaming rig. Then EA Games decided I would get the worst of both licensing and ownership for Red Alert 3. I decided not to buy any PC EA Games titles while they implemented that version of Securom and I'll now do the same for Ubisoft PC titles.

        I still buy games but because I don't want my machine infected I buy PS3 games. Because second hand PS3 games are so insanely cheap I tend to buy old PS3 games.The sad thing is I own a PC good enough to run Crysis well, but it's been sat unused for so long I'm considering replacing it with a Dual Core Intel Atom.

        But your right rather than come to the conclusion that people like myself are fed up with their invasive DRM, they will probably just decry that the PC market is dying and filled with pirates.

    2. Where is Ben

      That kind of mentality... not going to get you very far in life.

      If it was the BEST game in the world I think I would pick it up and play it, possibly on my console instead of PC; depending on how shitty my net connection was.

      I don't agree with the DRM but that kind of boycotting isn't going to help. It will just cause you misery.

      1. criscros

        Strange that...

        ...because I always thought if you don't have the balls to stand up for what you believe they'll just take advantage of you.

        For example, they might sell you subpar, crippled products at £50. Say nothing, and in a couple of years they might try to sell you even less for £50. In my book, that is a downward spiral, which is what real misery is like.

        If we don't speak with out wallets, then what do you propose? A DDoS attack perhaps?

      2. Rattus Rattus

        @ Where is Ben

        That kind of boycotting is really the ONLY thing that will help. How many times have you heard "If you don't like it, vote with your wallet"?

        If sales plummet every single time a company tries to pull this shit (and conversely, sales recover at least a little whenever they give in and remove it) that's going to send a pretty clear message: "We don't like what you're doing, and doing it is going to hurt your bottom line."

        We definitely DON'T like what Ubisoft is doing here - how else would you suggest we tell them that? I've already decided Ubisoft are not going to see another cent of my money, on any platform, while they keep treating their customers like thieves. That doesn't mean I'm going to pirate it, I can live without any of their games and instead give my money to other publishers who treat their customers better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Er.... yes...

      ...they DO think we're stupid. And judging from their sales, they're right quite distressingly often.

  5. PirateSlayer


    "Skid Row has releasing a crack for the game based on this work, Zdnet reports."

    Does this mean a crack has been released and confirmed as existing? Or that someone has said they have cracked it but there is no evidence yet?

    I feel a bit shafted here by hackers and anti DRM people...what a waste of time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      "Steal games, destroy the PC gaming industry!" (which is already on its knees begging not to be submerged in console fan goo).

      So why participate in suicide by using DRM?

  6. M Gale

    Screw this for a lark

    Membership, tuition and liability insurance at BMFA-approved model flying club: ~£40-£120 per annum.

    Weston UK Magnum racing airframe and .50-ish engine w/tuned exhaust: £280

    2.4ghz Spektrum DX7 radio gear: £262 with 4 high-speed servos

    Fuel: Roughly £20/gallon @ 15% nitromethane, enough to last all week.

    200MPH so low you're cutting daisies with the prop: Priceless.

    There's some hobbies where you don't get actively screwed over. For everything else, there's DRM. the long-term costs are cheaper than keeping up with PC game specs.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Alternatively, try one of these...

      1. M Gale


        Dammit, I wish I had £3k per engine to blow. Dat is sum sweet big boy's toy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And if you can't afford a hobby...

      ... take the dog for a walk. Read a book. Get a life. Etc, etc.

  7. Greg J Preece

    Buy a legit copy, then crack it

    That's what I do every time some arsehole comes up with ludicrous DRM like this. I bought the game - so bugger off!

    Though I do remember proudly patting my - at the time spanking new - AMD64 box when it turned out that Stardock only worked in 32 bit environments. Bwhahaha.

  8. Stone Fox


    and I was thinking about buying silent hunter 5....

    Thanks for warning me it's DRM'd up the demon hole. I might have to investigate pirate bay as a serious alternative - at least the cracked version will work all the time!

    Congratulations ubisoft on forcing people to download pirate versions of your game to actually IMPROVE the experience.

    1. Fat Jez

      Re: wow

      Not forgetting the lovely bugs that make firing a torpedo more miss than hit, since the TDC seems to not work very well...

    2. PirateSlayer


      ...stinking pirate.

      Why not take the moral highground like the guy above and buy a game and THEN steal it. That way your incredulousness at Ubisoft will be justified and you can't be accused of being a thieving pirate.

      1. Fat Jez

        Re: Another

        I'm assuming your comment was not directed at me, since I DID buy my copy of SH5. £27.99 from Tesco.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @wannabe PirateSlayer

        When UBI promotes piracy of their own games; forcing their loyal customers seek alternative to UBI's bronken games.

        Therefore "vive le pirates"! That bring some common sense and balance to UBI broken anti-piracy strategy.

        Also UBI still have an option of avoiding to see more of their customers searching for pirate copies of their games... till then all options are valid.

        Of course unless you are one of those fanboys that prefer to give away your money and not be able to play the game you purchased. In that case, tastes, flavours and masochism aren't for discussion!

      3. Stone Fox

        yes actually, and proud of it.

        I frequently download 'evaluation copies' of games.

        It save me wasting £20-40 on a bug ridden, non functional piece of plop.

        But yes, if anyone is wondering, I do buy those games that I feel are worthy. I even (sometimes) pre-order a game praying it'll work properly, but only if it comes from a company I know and trust like the total war series.

        For everything I'm not sure of, there's piratebay. THEN the shop if it passes the bar.

  9. Desk Jockey

    Why the hell...

    ..can't they just copy Valve/Steam and create a Ubisoft equivalent of Steam so that games can be activated once and the client itself would run the game, but not require to be online post the initial activation? Being forced to login online, every time you wanted to play a game in single player mode is just stupid. What about people who want to play on a laptop while on the move etc?

    What a bloody awful DRM idea. Makes EA seem like nice bunnies in comparison!

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      Steam is just a piece of the same DRM crap.

      As far as I am concerned anyone who demands any internet "activation" or "verification" for a product that has been supposedly *sold* over the counter is a fraudster and a thief.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        No, it isn't, dumbass. I know this as my ADSL fell over recently, and my steam games worked just fine.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Fail yourself

          Just because you don't know what DRM is, Steam does not stop being a DRM crap.

      2. Mark 131


        I think you have missed the point in that steam is a choice to use some people like it as i do, the ubisoft thing isn't a choice and requires constant connection which is the retarded part.

      3. Stone Fox

        @Vladimir dumbarse

        Several replies below have covered how and why you're wrong but I wanted to add my 2p.

        I actually find Steam really useful. It rather helpfully keeps a record of all the CD-Keys for all the games I've bought for me long after I've lost the manual, disks, case whatever.

        If I decided I'd like to revisit a game or need one specific for a LAN party all I have to do is log onto steam and direct to drive it. No disks, no keys and no mucking about.

        It's also very handy for managing DLC & updates for said games.

        DRM? Not that I've noticed, I know that's part of it's function but it's not intrusive.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          @Stone Fox schmuck

          So you have not noticed the DRM? Good for you. Not intrusive? If you play with a hand grenade it's not intrusive either. Until it explodes and blows your ass off.

          Go and get yourself something else unintrusive - an ID card or something... or read my post properly before replying.

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Stream = more useless shit

      FFS, stream is more useless shit, I bought a game last year, "requires online registration to activate". Fair enough I thought, I've no problem with that.

      What the bastards don't tell you (and no it wasn't mentioned on the URL on the back of the box either) is that stream is going to install a 60MB runtime that is going to be active ALL THE TIME and is going to be CONSTANTLY COMMUNICATING with the stream servers, even if you are not playing the game. And it took four attempts to install the game because the game couldn't access the stream servers.

      I played the game once (Dawn of War II) and removed it.

      So despite buying DOW 1 and all the expansion packs I will not be touching any more games with this sort of shit DRM (GW please note the loss of sales as well).

      So there games producers, do you seriously think I am going to put up with these abuses of my PC and (capped) broadband connection? So shove your game and its crap DRM up your arses, the only losers are your stockholders.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        I wonder

        if you are running the same version of Steam that I am

        You verify your game (and maybe get a patch or 3) after install, then when you next start it up if it cannot find an internet connection, it will start in something called "offline mode"

        Ok you may not be able to hack your way through hoards of left 4 dead zombies with some on-line friends, but I can still give a few headcrabs a damn good wacking.

        Easiest way to get steam into off-line mode I've found is to use zonealarm firewall and use the internet lock function, then start steam.

        As for the 'always on' DRM of ubisoft......... guess which games company aint getting my business in the coming year.........

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @ FMVK

        In Steam, click Settings. Right there on the very first page is the option to start Steam automatically when Windows boots. Untick that box, done.

        Or are you so blinded by your rage that you can't untick a simple box?

        At least Steam has Offline mode once the game is validated!

        In fact, the Pros of Steam COMPLETELY outweight any minor Cons. I only buy games from Steam, period.

      3. I Like Heckling Silver badge

        Some one doesn't know how things work on ta interweb

        Congrats on not having a clue. :)

        Steam does not have to run in the background all the time... Only when you want to play a game. Don't like it running at startup.. simply stop it from running at startup.

        Want to play a steam game, run steam, play the game.. close steam. It's really that simple.

        Steam doesn't 'FORCE' you to be online all the time, it has an off-line mode too. Sure you activate the game online, heck.. you download the game from their servers... you get free updates and patches when required... and you don't have to wait for a game to be delivered or trapse around the shops to buy it.

        Is it a perfect system... no. Is it an adequate system... kinda.

        The only things that bug me about steam are the prices and no resale.

        They're scared to compromise retail outlets by offering games cheaper and/or are ited to specific prices by the developers/distributors. This means games that have been reduced in the shops are still more expensive from Steam. So I never buy a new game from them, I stick to the slightly older and cheaper games that are usually less than £15.

        The fact you can't resell games on that you own is a pain in the arse too... but as I only ever buy budget games from them, it makes no difference... I can't sell the large pile of games I paid full price for either, even when asking for a couple of quid each.

        What Ubisoft are doing is just wrong... it's nothing to do with anti piracy... it's about moving their customers to a subscription based game model for everything. Forcing them to be online just to play an offline single player game is just pathetic, and whoever though up that idea should be fired... All that money will be wasted developing this system... I'm already boycotting Ubisoft games, and I've boycotte4d other companies for similar systems in the past (Ubisoft and Codemasters over starforce for example)... It makes no difference to my life if I buy a certain game or not. For the same reasons I won't buy another GTA game from Rockstar, whilst you can play offline... you cannot play the same game you've been playing for hours/days/weeks when you logged into your online account... and they also force their Rockstar social game client on you, as well as games for windows... All that for a badly coded bug ridden game that is virtually unplayable on high end hardware... and the reason for it is Rockstar made a game to run on hardware that didn't exist at the time... bullshit excuse to avoid addmiting the fucked it up... Crysis was another one that did a lousy coding job too.

        I vote with my wallet... I can live without Silent Hunter 5... I still play III & IV and the mod community is alive and kicking for those.

        Got DRM, Not getting my money.

      4. Kalthorn

        I understand you're angry but not even knowing the actual name of the service you are decrying doesn't gain you any sympathy and makes us all wonder if you know how to handle your hardware or software.

        Steam, not "Stream", has never required an "always on" connection for single player games. At worst you will need to have Steam running in order to play but guess what, Steam has an easily selectable Offline Mode. Once running in Offline Mode, restarting Steam gives you the option to stay in offline mode. A quick web search tells me that DoW2 has an added step of telling Games for Windows Live to go offline too.

        Steam also has the option, per game, to not automatically download updates. This is useful if you accidentally do connect.

        So, other than the first connection to Steam to register the game and download the initial patch, you would never need to connect again. If you then want to avoid having to redownload the initial patch for all eternity, copy the game's install folder from the Steam directory (after the patch) and save it or burn it to disc.

      5. frymaster

        I shouldn't respond to someone who types a five letter word with 6 letters...

        ...but I will.

        a) dawn of war 2 is close to 2 orders of magniture bigger than 60 megs, I think you can spare the HDD space

        b) you have a choice about running Steam* on startup or on game launch, y'know... I run it on startup because I have many games and that way they can download updates when I turn the computer on rather than when I go to launch the game, if you feel differently then fine

        c) all "require online activation" systems conceptually work like Steam* (install a gatekeeper program which validates on install and helps run the actual game program), the difference is they don't have a user-space UI and a nice friendly entry in your add/remove program list

        d) Unlike other schemes, a Steam*-registered game can be redownloaded at any time i.e you don't even need your disk any more.

        Personally, I find point d makes it worthwhile even for single-player games. The integrated updating / friends system makes it a must-have for multiplayer

        *Note spelling

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Hail to all Steam-lovers

          Makes me think all Steam lovers are suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. You know, "it's OK to be raped by this guy because he uses a lot of vaseline and lets me smoke afterwards" type of thing...

          Steam changes your status as a consumer - you no longer have control over your copy of the game, you can not sell it to somebody else (prohibited by EULA and enforced by the software now).

          You not only now have to buy your copy of the game but also "subscribe" to Steam, from where it follows that if the "subscription" is terminated your games are no longer yours. In fact it means that the games you "purchased" you have actually rented and you are entirely dependent on the continuing good will and kindness of the providers (this is the key indication of the "rape" bit if you have not yet noticed).

          Steam requires online activation - so your legitimately bought game is worthless unless you get a separate permission from Steam. Which may be withheld.

          Steam can disable your account or any individual game licence at any time without having to provide any reason. You paid for your game? That's just tough.

          Steam can introduce charges for any "service" or for playing any game (for which you have already paid for) at any time if they feel like it.

          Steam requires automatic updates of itself, which you cannot block (and don't have any rights to) and it can install and delete any software from your computer which it does not like.

          Steam does not let you roll-back software updates in case an update proves incompatible with your system.

          Steam let's you redownload your games but I am not sure if it is possible if you have not properly logged out from your account first. So it your PC crashes suddenly and unrecoverably (e.g. HW failure) and you have to replace it - "your" games are gone.

          Yes there are many useful features that might have made Steam a good service but by mixing it with DRMs they have totally destroyed its value. Unless of course you enjoy being screwed.

  10. JimC

    Strong thread of fascism here isn't there...

    I don't want software with DRM so I won't buy it is perfectly fair and reasonable, and doubtless the market will demonstrate whether its better business to have x% paying of a presumably larger number of users rather than 100% of a lower number of users and copy protection of some kind.

    But can anyone make a morally acceptable case for DDOS, hacking or whatever? Surely all its doing is attempting to remove other folks freedom to decide for themselves whether the downsides of copy protexcted software exceed the upsides? As such its just a variation on the terrorrism theme isn't it? And also, of course, liable to bring down legislation. I wonder how long net anonymity will last with so much of this sort of thing going on...

    1. Juillen 1


      Well, ethically, DDOSing anything isn't good. What they aren't doing is taking anybody's choice about DRM away; that's a completely different argument.

      What they're doing is DDOSing a set of machines. The fact that the DRM reacts that badly to it is a seperate issue. Effectively what they're doing is showing people the choice they've made; it's quite easy for a company to keep this quiet amongst the masses in normal cases (put it in, and nobody notices until it's too late, then you get individual complaints here and there, and you can palm individuals off by saying it's all the fault of the broadband provider). However, with this massive flaw now making the news, and affecting so many people all at once, the forums are full of masses of irate people who all of a sudden realise that they're not the only one. It's not their broadband provider. It's actually the way the software company designed it to act.

      So, ethically bad to DDOS. Morally grey (causing a service failure, but showing people that this service failure is a highly possible event, not just some abstract conjecture, or something they don't even know about).

      Rather than remove people's choices to decide, I actually think it increases them (you can't decide about something you're either not aware of, or don't understand; now, I think people both understand, and are aware of the issues, so they can make valid informed choices).

      No variation on terrorism. Terrorism is all about "do something we want, or we do something that terrifies you". There is no threat here, just action. I think it's more akin to vandalism. Definitely not terrorism (who'd be terrified of not being able to play a game? And I've never heard of annoyorism, so that's out).

      This kind of thing has been going on for ages. It's already illegal, so legislation is already in place. That really helped, didn't it?

    2. Mike VandeVelde

      fascism? terrorism??

      Sorry but I'm not terrified by the thought of a server on the internet being unavailable. Terrorism is where people might get physically harmed. DDOS is protest, not terrorism. Like picketing a store front. Nothing like a suicide bombing.

      FFS, it's bad enough with idiots screaming "THEIF! THEIF!" when the subject of *COPYRIGHT* *INFRINGEMENT* comes up. Especially idiotic when the rights holder tries to eliminate the rights of the purchaser, like backup copies, or even more ridiculous like in this case trying to monitor all use of the work that's already been paid for. Take your "fascism" and "terrorism" extremist nuttery and go away please.

  11. Citizen Kaned

    not just PC DRM

    the fuckers have copy protection on their ps3 gamesaves too! imagine that!

    so, ps3 dies, sony kindly send me a new one. i restore from a HDD and none of the gamesaves are there. apparently they dont want people to share gamesaves.

    assassins creed 2 is a friggin single player game! i was about 95% of the way through and no way im redoing it all. wankers. (same goes for the people who make guitar hero! what tossers copy protect their gamesaves ffs?)

    1. Steve the Cynic

      ''Sworse than that... (re: not just PC DRM)

      Ubisoft's Shaun White Snowboard on Wii won't even let me copy the savestate onto an SD card, much less recover it onto a new Wii. Grr.

  12. Bardlee

    Renting? or buying

    Buying a DRM laced game is only renting it for a period of time. What happens when those DRM servers go kaboom or are discontinued?

    I have old vintage games still like Total Annihilation, etc. I can still play these.

    Shame on your Ubisoft for eventually making ACII disappear into nothingness when half the population can't play the game when you discontinue "support".

  13. jonathan keith


    Just for the benefit of our community of potential downloaders:

    There is no working crack for these games yet. Data seems to be pulled from Ubi's servers and so what that implies is that the game on the DVD is actually incomplete.

    The reports I've read state that there are cracked versions out there but you can't play them fully. So UbiSoft have managed to solve their zero-day piracy issue by not allowing their paying customers to play their games either.

    A stroke of genuis, I think you'll agree.

    Ubisoft have done this to combat piracy. I'd plead that you don't download cracked versions of these. It only encourages Ubisoft to focus on piracy, when what they should be doing is actually focussing on their paying customers.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      It's not about "piracy"

      The whole purpose of these kinds of DRM is to totally control the end-use of the product.

      If a press of any button by you requires their approval they can use this power to force you to pay for things you would never even think before.

      They will charge you for starting a game, stopping a game, saving a game, reloading a game, for playing a game which has less ads in it you will pay extra premium.

      But explicit payment demands is not the only possible exploitation - your games may be withheld from you unless you vote for a particular political candidate, for example. Or until you watched a particular TV program, or until you send them a will for your house.

      Illegal? Just watch their lobbyists.

    2. Juillen 1

      Can't play fully..

      Versus not play at all..

      If this debacle stopped all downloading, as you advocate, the statistics will show:

      An increase in DRM = A decrease in piracy: Job done, good show chaps, let's keep this thing going.

      However, if everyone then goes to download the cracked version, as the paid for one didn't work, what'll show in the statistics is:

      An increase in DRM = An increase in piracy rates: What are we paying extra for in DRM when it has an effect opposite to the one we want? Find something else that works or another job.

      I'm not advocating one or the other. What I am advocating is that games companies stop treating their paying customers like criminals and find a way to penalise the pirates while making it easy for the customers. How? Well, I'm not being paid to find that answer. That's what we're paying the software companies to find out (though pay me enough and I'll have a stab at it).

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Steady on

        "What I am advocating is that games companies stop treating their paying customers like criminals"

        Calm down, before long you'll be asking the music and film industry to do that too.

        Madness, I tell you, madness!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They start treating their customers like criminals and surprise surprise now they've got some criminal attention.

    I don't feel sorry for them in the slightest.

  15. Adam Salisbury

    So Ubisoft

    I bought a single player game and single player rig but I need an always-on connection to prove I bought it, fair enough - now when are you going to start for my internet bill?

  16. Gordon861

    No more Ubi

    I was thinking of getting the new version of Settlers when it comes out, not now.

    And they won't even guarantee that they will un-DRM any game that is being removed from their servers.

    1. Ceiling Cat


      It's too bad the new Settlers is going to be "protected" with this crap DRM, as I was looking forward to it as well. On the other hand, I've known about this for ages, as the issue has been discussed on the official Settlers forums. Christ, even Penny Arcade have taken a shot at this. <-----Probably NSFW.

      Either way, the system has now been proven to be a steaming load of shit. I don't agree with DDOSing the servers to make a point, but there IS a point to be made here. Anything Ubisoft do to downplay the seriousness of this is effort they could put in elsewhere.

      Considering they removed the TAGES protection on Settlers 6 with the v1.7x patches, their new stance is a step backwards. Perhaps if their games were a little cheaper (Ubisoft games for PC always start @ ~$70 CAD) more people would buy them.

  17. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    It's funny

    Software houses seem to periodically forget the lessons learned from previous forays into DRM. At the end of the day, they will never stop a determined cracker who has the will to decompile and reverse-engineer the DRM to get around it.

    DRM measures like this that achieve nothing other than inconveniencing the end user will never gain acceptance. If the software house has a big problem with piracy, then surely it makes better sense to go after the few people who are cracking the DRM on the games in the first place, rather than punishing the legitimate users.

    As mentioned above, Valve seem to have got the balance right with Steam, and although I'm sure their games still do get pirated, I strongly suspect that they suffer from it less than Ubisoft do.

    1. Rune Moberg

      Steam any better?

      Ed, on my system I cannot play the game I just purchased if I tell Steam to enter "offline" mode.

      1. Not That Andrew

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        Assuming that a game on Steam only uses Steams DRM, you just have to run it once with an active internet connection and then you can play it offline as much as you want. Annoying, but far less than most DRM schemes.

        The problem is that almost all 3rd party games released on Steam use their own DRM as well as Steams, so you end up with an ungodly combination that can only end in tears. Which is why I only buy old re-releases and Indie 3rd party games on Steam

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I used to play silent hunter 1,2,3. These games where half finished piles of garbage, endless patches, some patches added new bugs. They claimed to realistically model the boats and their capabilities? SHITE. On the type XXI, you couldn't fire torpedoes unless at periscope depth 18m, whereas the XXI could fire at 50m. Track and fire on a sonar bearing? nope. Schnorkel mounted radar warning working? nope. It rained in fog?, you couldn't use your deck gun in rain, even if the sea was flat calm. I'll not miss more buggy SH5 shite, and definitely not with DRM.

    Way to go UBI, piss your customers off

  19. raving angry loony


    This time it was DDoS. Next time it'll be some construction worker putting the digger through the cables. Or an electrical storm. Or some fat-fingered manager demonstrating how resilient their setup is. In each and every case, it's going to impact the customers. You know, the ones who ACTUALLY PAID MONEY for the product? The ones who want to use said product when THEY want, not when some arrogant idiots decide they can?

    It will, however, have zero impact on those who decided they'd had enough and just went for a cracked version. Another sterling example of screwing your customers and forcing them to patronize the very people you're trying to get rid of.

  20. Waderider

    Lost customer

    I don't exactly have my ear to the ground regarding the world of fact Silent Hunter 3 is the only game I play. But as my internet connection is as flaky as a snowy day, and drops every five minutes, I will be unable to play Silent Hunter 5.

    So, I'm a potential customer will cannot play this new game legally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lost customer and counting

      Well you are not the only one whilling to get SH5 but not forced to use crap verification software that requires be online all the time just to be able to play a game that cost money to purchase. As gamer I play when I want, where I want and online-offline. I do not want to be online to play any game unless I'm playing against other players.

      So another UBI customer happy to wait till games have different DRM that allow be played offline... or then if it cannot be bought legal games I won't mind start looking to those not so legal if that means be able to play them offline.

      Therefore UBI went the wrong way with their customers as long time customer of UBI products this is my breaking point... if UBI is fighting piracy it doesn't seem doing the right job at it, to me is just promoting more piracy of their products...

      Lets count the days till one of their newest games gets a crack to be played offline and let UBI counting the peanuts in lost revenew. I'm sorry UBI but you deserve to stop pissing off your customers.

  21. JJS

    what's a title for?

    In the end, the pirates will get their crack and will be able to play whenever they want and the legit buyers will be forever at the mercy of the master servers and the "cloud". I don't understand why it is so difficult for publishers to realize this is only hurting their reputation.


    1. C-N

      In the end?

      Within 24 hours of release is the beginning; as far as I can tell.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ddos? my arse

    Their horrid lame DRM system just failed to scale. There isn't enough facepalm in the world for Ubisoft.

  23. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    No more money

    I nearly bought SH5 at the weekend, but saw the 'always on' requirement and wondered how that would work with my laptop when I'm travelling. No money for Ubisoft till they create a single player version I can buy and play offline. So then thought about getting Bad Company 2 till I saw the EULA, but then that's good'ol EA. No money for them either.

    When will they learn?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "When will they learn?"

      Never, unfortunately. Funny thing is, it will always be the pirates fault for their falling revenue. "Oh noes, we had piracy rates of 25%, so we lost money this quarter"...

      Yeah right. Sing me another one.

      A game is pirated within 6 hours of hitting the shelves - statistic. People out there that didn't pay for this game, are having less hassle than me to play it - fact. People that pay for the game turn to hacked versions just to get the damn thing to work - fact AND statistic.

      It follows that the current piracy rate is directly in your hands. It's gonna get pirated. You get to control just how much that hurts. Spending 20% of the sell price on securing it - badly - is 20% you could have pocketed, or reduced the price by.

      Hand-grenade. DRM is the pin, and you just pulled it. Good luck.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Some learn

        I declined to play Ubi and EA's games but found Fort Zombie from Kerberos and Achtung Panzer from Paradox. Both companies (Paradox especially) don't seem to treat their customer's like idiots.

        Both those games cost me less than 1 heavily promoted Ubi or EA title and both will likely offer more replayability than style over substance snoozefests like Assassins Creed. Pretty game, shame the first was sooo tedious and repetitive which already put me off taking a punt on the sequel.

        So shame about Silent Hunter and Settlers, both games I'd previously bought all of the franchise. WIth this DRM, no more. It's bizarre when DRM only inconveniences the legitimate purchasers and not the pirates. Shame Ubi and EA don't get normal marketing and supply/demand curves. Counter piracy and lost revenues by jacking up unit prices, then wonder why people pirate more games? Even better, shift to digital distribution but charge same as for physical packaging.

        They never considered dropping the price might shift more volume and decrease piracy? People that won't be comfortable dropping £40 on a game might be more likely to spend £20.

        But I never bothered getting an MBA, so what do I know?

        (if folks like tactical wargames, really recommend Achtung Panzer. Has a few quirks, but amazingly detailed and a bargain price)

  24. Hairy Scary

    No sympathy for Ubisoft

    Last games I bought were Doom3 and Prey -- place disk in drive, wait till it installs, find and enter the serial number --- enjoy! That's he way it should be, I have never bought (and never will) any game that needs "activation" to work or needs an internet connection to stay active. The only niggle is that you need the disk in the drive to play (though he addon game to Doom3 did away with that)

    I had the savegames folders copied to a backup drive so if disaster struck (hard drive failure) I could re-install and copy in the saved games.

    I can re-install my games any time I like, don't need to depend on the companies activation servers still being on line to run them.

    If Ubisoft ever remove the ridiculous DRM I will probably buy some of their games, till then forget it!

    1. M Gale

      Doom 3

      Not sure about the Windows version. I know if you install it on Linux (wot, games on Linux? Yes really!) it'll contact some kind of validation server if there is a connection available. That said, it also doesn't require any disk in the drive and doesn't fall over if you're playing it without network connectivity.

      Seems to run better under the toy unix too. That or I'm just not running as much crapware on that box.

  25. Inachu

    What rights? I see no rights!

    I bought teh game to have a right to play the game.

    After you install the game it should then authenticate me if I am legit or not.

    If the world was operated by ubisoft then I could not go to the toilet without the toilet being connected to the internet.

    Flight controllers would not be able to let planes land without being connected to the internet.

    You would not be able to use WIndows without it being connected to the internet.

    Who's rights are they talking about with DRM? It sure is not my rights as they preemptivley taken them away without asking me a single question!

    When I buy software I expect to be able to use it on or offline.

    This is total fail on Ubisofts part.

    Their whole DRM division should be fired.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Take it back

    Buy the game , unwrap it - if it doesn't play without an internet connection. Then take it back and demand your money back. If enough people do the same I am certain the message with get back.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cracking software is not piracy!

    To download an illegal copy of the game is. The crack can be used on legal copies so it is only a tool to remove the DRM protection. If you buy the game and use the crack, all you are doing is to apply a workaround against the stupid protection system created by a company that is managed by retards.

    The DDoS is not nice or course. I think boycotting the games from Ubisoft is a much more powerful weapon at the consumers disposal. In fact, if done right, Ubisoft could go south after a few years releasing this kinda of bullshit protection on their games. I am in favor of bashing the games on their reviews too. Gamespot, Gamespy, take a specialized site and let them hit Ubisoft where it hurts most: the pocket.

    1. Goat Jam

      Raising Awareness

      I think the point of the DDoS was to demonstrate to the sheeple who are purchasing this crudware how tenuous their ability to make use of their purchase.

      While many people may be aware that the game requires an active internet connection, they probably haven't thought the ramifications through fully.

      "What? So if the game servers are uncontactable for any reason I can't play my game?" which leads to them hopefully extrapolating from there to "But what about if the company goes out of business?" or "What about if my net connection goes down, or I'm on my laptop?"

      People need to be fully aware of these issues or else they will continue to purchase this stuff without caring too much about the DRM.

      Me, I'll just lump Ubisoft in with EA from now on. If those two companies ever put out a game that looks interesting I'll check it out on the 'bay.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's an additional question you need to ask here..

        What will happen to my legally purchased game when EA decide they aren't going to pay for the servers to allow me to use it anymore?

  28. Rune Moberg

    Up a certain creek

    I do not play many games these days. It would typically be an activity reserved for an afternoon when my Internet is unavailable or similar. Or when travelling. I spent several hours playing the previous (or still current?) Splinter Cell on my previous laptop. None of those hours saw me anywhere near a working Internet connection. (And even though this game lacked such strong DRM -- I still paid full price for it!)

    In addition, I still feel the burn from buying games with de-funct DRMs. Yes, it has been ten years, but I was unable to play games like Settlers 3 and Discworld Noir due to DRM incompatibility with Windows NT4 / 2000. One company refused to address the compatibility problem and the other went bankrupt shortly after. Thankfully there were "unofficial patches" available.

    So... To buy a game today, I need the following checklist:

    * Widescreen support?

    * Support for high resolution? (I have a 30" LCD with 2560x1600 pixels)

    * Surroundsound?

    * Will it work sans Internet?

    Added bonus: Will it work without me spending five minutes searching for the original CD/DVD? Five minutes of searching, plus five minutes of various ads and intros that cannot be skipped, and suddenly the fifteen minutes I have set aside for actually playing has been reduced to less than five.

    And that is just grand.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Why didnt they learn what EA did with Spore

    iirc EA tried to place huge restrictons on spore, amount of reinstalls etc and they failed massively.

    This POS is even more restrictive

    Ubisoft is another one to be very wary of now

  30. Jess--

    more companies are killing old games

    an example of a fairly recent game being crippled was Dirt from codemasters

    1 month before the release of dirt 2 they shut down the game servers for the original dirt, the original Dirt was only 2 years old at this point.

  31. Stefan 2


    I've just received a marketing email from Ubisoft inviting me to purchase AC2.

    After venting my spleen in a short and sweet email reply back, I feel much better.

    Ubi remind me of Sony, who blame poor PSP / PSP Go sales on piracy. Piracy is everybody's whipping boy, it seems. Game not selling well? Piracy. Attach rate dipping? Piracy. Profits down at all ever? Piracy, piracy, piracy.

    It's so tempting for them, is the thing. I mean, there's always piracy. Nintendo are forever winning $2M settlement suits against horrid, nasty pirates. Pirates are evil, of course. Everyone would agree, unless they're stupid. Knock off Nigel? Oh dear. Nobody would agree that Nigel is anything other than scum. I mean, he probably even funds terrorism. Probably *is* a terrorist.

    I have a cunning suspicion that Bad Games are more effective in fucking up your sales figures than piracy ever will be. It's a little coincidental that the more a software publisher struggles to meet expected targets, the more they climb on the piracy bandwagon. Eventually, of course, they go out of business.

    Whose fault is that? The scurvy pirates, of course!

  32. NukEvil
    Thumb Down


    I stopped buying/playing PC games after Sony's rootkit debacle a few years ago. Never again...

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Why would I feed the hand that bites me?

    Why would a company show such contempt towards the consumer? No more Ubisoft for me!

    (Unless they release the sequel to Beyond Good and Evil, I'd do almost anything for that)

  34. pctechxp

    Doies seem a bit like overkill

    Although I'm sure the developers do get a tad fed up with their work constantly being ripped off so the only way to go I suppose is to make things more difficult.

    Unfortunately the only way to do this is to make the game dependent on something hackers don't have access to and that means making it server dependent.

    However, DRM is always going to be a double-edged sword so those who want to play the game offline qill not be able to do so.

    Only thing I can suggest (that is legal) is purchase the games via Steam?

  35. Anonymous Coward

    They are shooting themselves in the foot.

    I'm not gonna claim any moral high ground but its already apparent that this DRM tactic is not working.

    A lot of preorders have been cancelled because of this DRM. So many in fact that here in the Netherlands the 'limited edition preorders' are now lying in the stores going unsold.

    I considered buying the game because of what I heard from friends and because I really enjoyed the first part. But the DRM on this game is going overboard. I won't be getting it until I can either get a crack to disable the DRM or Ubisoft releases a patch that will do the same.

  36. tuna 1

    Last Game I Bought Was Half-Life 2

    Much to my surprise, I had to activate it online to play it. It was an alright game, I have since skipped re-installing to replay it b/c it's none of anyone's biz what I play, when or how often. Had I read the requirements more carefully I would have skipped the purchase altogether.

    *And no, I don't want a hacked version w/ free trojans either.

    Anyway, thanx to Steamer I have spent 100's(1000's?) of hours of my life not playing video games these past 4 years. I feel like I should pay them for this dis-service...

  37. Mectron

    Inflict Maximum Damage

    Ubisoft illegal DRM servers need to be hammered 24/7 and everyone who pay for the game ask forr a refund (it does not work and is full of maleware) and get the "pirate bay" version wich is fully functional and contain no illegal DRM.

    Ubisoft need to go down for that. and hopefully they will, what they did is even more criminal and the rootkit in Sony music cd.

    1. Rob Moir

      ah yes

      pirate their games to prove to them that DRM rather than piracy is their problem.

      Prove them right... that'll certainly learn them.

  38. BlackMage
    Thumb Up

    I need no title

    I'd stopped buying games with intrusive DRM before even Bioshock and its rootkit came out. However, I have many games on Steam. Why? Because Steam gives me, the paying customer some definite advantages. They have taken, what is effectively a password-based DRM scheme and made it beneficial to me.

    1) Any game I have bought through Steam, I can play on any PC I install it on, no need for disks.

    2) Steam auto-updates all my games.

    3) Steam plays offline but syncs data with the cloud so my controls stay the same etc.

    4) Steam allows me to play games I have lost or damaged the disks for if I'm prepared to wait while it downloads.

    There's other conveniences too like early access to some games, being able to buy without braving the great unwashed on the high street, finding multiplayer games to join, easy access to friend's game lobbies.

    Steam may be DRM at heart but it is a consumer-focused product that gives me real advantages. If Steam can make it work this well, there's no game possible that could be good enough for me to use UBI's type of DRM.

    1. 1of10

      "...I need no title"... ARE you SURE?

      "...d stopped buying games with intrusive DRM before even Bioshock and its rootkit came out. However, I have many games on Steam. Why? Because Steam gives me, the paying customer some definite advantages..."

      One of them is... it works while steam exists... if Steam shuts their doors or deem a game as old and unsupported them tought! your money goes away and your game disapears from the list.

      So you are right, is all nice and tidy, steam/Impulse I use them both as well. But on the day they close the door I see "my money" and "my games" go away without a chance of claiming anything since have no physical media support.

      So all benefits if non of them go under... otherwise physical media support beats all those benefits you mentioned.

    2. Adrian Jooste


      I too use Steam pretty much exclusively when purchasing games. However, lately I have noticed that latest releases are being sold at the highest price point the title can go for (£35) while I can order a physical copy from the likes of often for £10 cheaper.

      I really cannot figure out how an online delivery system which removes the costs of manufacturing a dvd (installation/intro booklet, dvd cover, dvd and delivery) can end up costing more than the physical version.

      The above problem applies to the digital music and movie industry too. A downloadable film costs as much if not more than a physical copy from any high street store.

      Can anyone enlighten me as to how these two delivery methods cost widely different amounts and more importantly, why the digital copy often costs more than a physical version.

      1. Not That Andrew

        I agree

        Yeah, I recently gave in and bought the Orange Box. It was on actually sale on Steam but it was still £5 cheaper to buy it from the local game shop. And that is one of thier own games. Another of the reasons i stick to indie and rereleases of old games on Steam

  39. Suburban Inmate

    Hmmm... DRM, Piracy, a pointless diatribe and everything.

    (disclaimer: comments scanned but not all fully read... and yes this slightly intoxicated post is aimed at those that do NOT share my outlook: DPG et al.)

    "Piracy destroys games publishers"

    No, products that are un-competitive due to price/quality/availability (a bit of a grey area with digitial downloads, but thats another huge discussion for another time) destroy companies. AS DOES pissing off your customers. Case study: Bioshock - I was really impressed, read great reviews, played a superb demo and finally, after one of life's rough patches, had some dosh to spare to show my appreciation to the hardworking creators (who would have recieved, err, precisely what percentage of my Hard Earned?) until I hit those three poisonous little letters. I really felt bad for the people who actually put a lot of hard work and creativity into that title, but I simply _will_not_ have some DRM turds smeared all over the walls of my PC, my digital home. I don't buy $BIG_LABEL music any more, due to their employment of suetard lawyers to chase children for tens of thousands of dollars.

    "pirates will pirate, always"

    Snake & Indian, Dog & Scorpion.... or whatever else you find. Then again, I pirate games and music, how is that evidence that I do not pay for such things? (Yes, you saw TWO present-tenses.)

    "by default, it saves games "to the cloud"

    Well that makes perfect sense! With so many personal computer systems nowadays being sold without the inclusion of any sort of internal non-volatile data storage device...

    F.E.A.R. fucked what little trust^H^H^H^H^HFaith^H^H^H^H^HPatience I had for DRM... After 7 minutes clicking retry with a legit DVD in my branded DVD drive... Off to the crack house I go!

    Also let me play my legit Quake 2 with my choice of music CD... Rammstein, usually.

    Beer, because there's no "70 euro-cents liter box of wine" icon. I live in Portugal... See, I went through with leaving the UK, rather than just blabbing vainly on El Reg.

  40. shawnfromnh

    Will they be always on?

    How about the DRM servers? Will they be always on?

    I recently put in my old Diablo game and played a game after over 5 years. I still play Diablo2 Expansion with MedianXL mod.

    I wonder if I could play Diablo that I bought around 10 years ago if it needed DRM through an online server? I highly doubt it.

    I will never buy a game I need to be online to be able to play. Imagine when some huge game company goes belly up right after releasing some games like these and no one wants to take over responsibility of running the servers and there are a few hundred thousand people that are just screwed and stuck with a useless game. I can see this happening if this DRM online trend catches on.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    Just does not work. Period. Even the bloody record industry is slowly realising that.

    I would bet that if a company like UBIsoft completely removed all this DRM and authentication crap (they might as well - games are normally cracked within 24 hrs of their release) they would achieve 2 things:

    More customers, as they would in fact appreciate the company more, possibly buying more products. A lot of gamers are just simply turned off by the frustrations of big brother style "copy" protection and as a result are just not buying games. I am one of them.

    Save money.

    The companies keep bleating that its piracy piracy piracy but its a circular argument. The more difficult you make software for a paying customer to use. the more pirated copies will surface and sales will suffer and then more DRM crap the companies will add. Ultimately it will be the companies who suffer for failing to listen to the loud footsteps of people walking away from their products.

  42. Neil Cooper

    There needs to be a law against this

    There needs to be a law to stop publishers preventing fair use of something customers have already bought and paid for.

    The law should ensure that all products should have very clear labelling about its particular DRM and all its limitations, including specifying the number of years of guaranteed availability of the DRM server.

    The law needs to to protect customers who bought some software but cant use it because the DRM is unfairly stopping them.

    Many DRM schemes only let you install software a very low set number of times then refuses to work. This is a terrible abuse of rights.

    Also when the publisher arbitrarily decides to turn the DRM server off because the product is old, where are customers rights then?.

  43. john 212

    valid issues

    People always bang on about Piracy and the effects. What Ubisoft has managed to do wonderfully here is push to the front of the debate one of the most valid and real issues on this whole subject. Which of the two, Big publishers or Bittorrent/P2P has actually delivered the game or product or content in a way that the consumer wants it and can enjoy it better?

    Another important issue is one of consumer rights. In the U.K at least you have the right to own a backup of something your legitimately own. Now since they insist on adding these odd DRM schemes you’d actually be at fault for trying to bypass them yourselves, so you’re quite entitled download a version where someone else has done this for you. Murky waters would come from then sharing this with people you can’t confirm own the game or not or as it should often be described but isn’t, illegal uploading instead of the over used and mostly false term of iIlegal downloading. But that is another story for another time.

    So the point here is now that paying and legit customers actually have the right to choose between the hard copy they paid for or downloading a, well fixed .exe or whatever it they need for this particular game, since they often having the full game means you don’t need to download it from the net, you just need the part that fixes it.

    Throw in a few words like Pirate, freetards, thief’s et al and you have a confused and unsure consumer who doesn’t understand what they are entitled to and that this P2P thing can benefit them. As well they should be benefited for supporting a game that they like. This is not much different from when Ubisoft support used a cracked .exe from Reloaded I think for customers who were having problems with the game. People who are genuinely having issues with this DRM should be made aware that they can legitimately benefit from these online backups. And why shouldn’t they get to enjoy what they paid for as they see fit? It’s hardly fair that these apparent Pirates should only be the ones to reap the rewards of a network heavily geared towards delivering content based on the demands and deisres of the users.

    I don’t agree with the servers being DDOS’d. The DRM scheme if it would fail should have done so one its own merits and no one should have taken it upon themselves to force the issue. Perhaps it could be viewed as a catalyst of the debate but in this case it wouldn’t be proper to use it against Ubisoft as it wasn’t a naturally occurring result of their DRM but a forced one outside of their control.

  44. cosmogoblin


    People are whining a lot about these DRM things, but there's one fundamental point they don't seem to realise, and that is this:

    PC game publishers have almost entirely eliminated piracy!

    That's a fact. We're not quite there yet, but when nobody in the world is able to play a game, piracy rates will drop to zero. And in the end, isn't that what we all want?

    Addendum: There are two sorts of copy protection I like. First, Steam, which turned out to be a hell of a lot better than I expected. Secondly, the method employed by Darwinia (something along the lines of "We hate copy protection, so we're going to trust you not to be a bastard.")

  45. Michael Tripper

    so Ubisoft will pay broadband fees?

    it's so ridiculous it's almost beyond imagination but there it is.

    You must pay for broadband in order to play a single player game?

    This has got to be anti-competitive and illegal someway.

    Is it not too onerous? Are there no limits?

  46. ZenCoder

    I'm voiting with my wallet.

    I am not going to buy their games .. I won't even pirate their games because they might actually be good and then I might be tempted to buy them or sequel or tell a friend how fun they are.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another thing about DRM is that not only does it not stop pirates, and it causes a nuisance in practical terms (finding disks, swapping things, having to be connected to a server, etc) but often the DRM software causes odd bugs in games.

    A number of games I've played in the past will work perfect;y fine in one region where DRM type a is used, but be completly buggy in another region where another kind of DRM is used. Well to be honest you often just get two sets of different kinds of bugs. Then you end up with a different set of bugs if you get them from an online store.

    Then you have patch incompatibility between versions, and nowdays you have to patch becouse the games industry is run by marketing instead of game developers.

    DRM has never been any good, the best I saw was a grid that couldn't be photocopied on the Amiga, but my brother just drew the thing when he copied it.

  48. A B 3

    Decoder wheel/sheet with red cellophane

    The decoder wheel must be just as good at slowing down pirates.

    In the past I rarely pirated games because of the risk of viruses and malware, but now that a legal version is going to be crippled there is no reason for me not to pirate

  49. Flybert

    You think this is bad ?

    flight simmers have been waiting for a WWI combat sim with decent gameplay SinglePlay and MultiPlay since Red Baron 3D introduced free server-client software in October 1998, not to mention Red Baron II/3D is still considered the best SinglePlayer Campaign devised, all designed for a Pentium 200MMX with about 4MB minimum video memory

    So comes along last Spring, is this Rise of Flight alpha out of Russia where not only do you need to be connected to play *SinglePlay*, but the base game ( about $40 ) has only 2 aircraft

    and you need to buy others at about $7.50 apiece .. so now, to have all the planes to fly, it's a $150 deal ! .. and it's got no historical prespective of SP campaign .. no dogfight servers, only co-op and I've yet to hear of a successful 50 player game were RedBaron3d servers have done 76 player stable .. in 1999 !

    It's a graphicly beautiful game, great flight and damage models .. but the customers are beta testers paying alot out for the priviledge, and have to worry that if they DON'T support noeqb at this point, the sim will fail and they'll have nothing to fly.

    I remember a well designed MotorCityOnline by EA, online only, was great except the netcode and it's security sucked, and cheaters quickly ruined the races .. I think the servers stayed up for about a year .. $40 down the tubes ..

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @john 212

    "In the U.K at least you have the right to own a backup of something your legitimately own."

    No. There is no right of "fair-use" in the UK and there never has been.

    If you make a "backup" of a film, music, game whatever you have in fact broken the law unless the film, music, game etc specifically allows you to copy the media.

    Its civil rather than criminal law but you have broken the law. For now its civil, but NuLab are in the process of changing the burden of proof such that it would be down to you to prove you didn't "backup" for commercial gain rather than the CPS having to prove you did now. Commercial gain makes it a criminal offence rather than a civil offence.

  51. pitagora

    i would pay for a crack

    considering that I don't have always have an internet connection and the only thing I can do on the PC to amuze me when I don't, is play single player games, this is going to be a problem for me. The only reason why I would buy a single player game is to play it offline. Multiplayer games are a lot more fun, but since I don't always have an internet connection I can settle for single player. Well apparently not in this case :(

    I'll be very honest here: I will probably play the regardless if I pay the money to some guy that found a smart way to crack it, instead of UbiSoft. YES, I'm not willing to buy the game if can't use it offline, but I would be willing to pay the full amount for a cracked version, as I am sure others would too. So a message to anybody out there trying to crack it: you have at least one customer if you succeed.

  52. davefb

    ubisoft lose nothing thru piracy?


    apart from the millions spent developing the game of course. Let alone duplication costs, let alone setting this DRM up.I'm sorry, but whenever one of my friends prattles on like this, I ask them about coming round my house and doing some work, I mean, doesn't cost them anything does it?

    What a childish attitude, if you can't afford something, you don't steal it.

    Ubisoft know damm well this will annoy people, but the scale of piracy is making it utterly impossible to do pc dev without losing millions. Short of mmorpg the pc will die as a games platform as will any console that gets cracked properly. Which is insanely stupid because the pc format is generally a cheaper format to buy games on since you don't have to pay the Sony/m$/nintendo monies.

    As for 'its not good enough' err well DONT BUY THE APP, I suppose the similar would be pirating a copy of a song you dont actually like, then bleating to forums 'that cheryl cole, its a horrid song, why doesnt she do decent songs, hardly worth my time pirating her latest single'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      all the money they wasted on drm was busted in 24 hours by crackers and a large number of people who would have bought the games didn't becouse of the online crap.

      Think before you speak, it'll help you not look like a salivating idiot.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      You sir are a tit.

      so heres a few scenarios for you what I want you to do is tell me how much ubi makes from each of them?

      1) 12 yo kid has no pocket money so goes out to play in the street.

      2) 12 yo kid has no pocket money so d/l pirated game...enjoys game tells friends.. enjoys gaming considers it to be a hobby, many years later he has a job and actually buys a game.

      Point 2, OF 'the millions spent developing a game' how much is recovered per sale from the following:

      1) multimillion selling blockbuster.

      2) non charting flop.

      Point 3, how long will it take for pirates to empty ubi's warehouse under the following conditions:

      1) if a game is sold once and pirated once.

      2) if a game is sold once and pirated one hundred times.

      Piracy is not theft. it is copyright infringement - its a very different thing. now go do your own work you lazy tit.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        Unfortunately, you seem to be one of the people confused by the rights owner's propaganda about DRMs being used to "fight piracy".

        You need to understand that DRMs have nothing to do with piracy and are meant solely to increase the degree of control exercised by the rights owner over the final use of the product.

        The targets for DRMs are not pirates who use illegal copies of the games but the law-abiding consumers like yourself.

        By restricting what you can do inside your own house with the product you just have paid for the publishers want to be able to charge you more than once for the same thing over and over again.

        The publishers do not give a bent penny for all the pirates over there - they have already made all the necessary provisions for any leakage through "pirate" copying etc in their accounts before launching the game.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Piracy isn't stealing. Piracy doesn't cost developers/publishers millions.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @ davefb -There are no lost millions, that is a fabrication

      If these people were not going to pay for the software anyway how have you lost any money? This is simply the vendor's pique due to the thought of all the money you could have made had the freetards purchased their unfinished products.

  53. green_giant
    Thumb Down


    Had Assasins creed 2 giving to me a gift from the fiancee. Been looking forward to it for a while.

    This new DRM madness is driving me mad. Im in the process of s purchasing a new router as my current one is flakey. Which means constant game drop outs and lack of playing the game.

    If I was still doing my old job which involved a lot of travelling. I wouldnt be purchasing any of their games. As id want something I could play in a hotel room with no internet access.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      A suggestion

      Instead of buying a new router how about sending the game back to Ubisoft and demanding a refund?

  54. Anonymous Coward

    Rant enclosed

    I pay for all my games and usually talk about how much pirating of games annoys me. But I'm starting to lose faith. When even I am thinking, I would rather pirate this, you know something is wrong. You're losing a core customer.

    I've had some bad experiences lately where I bought a game, and the copy protection prevented it from working correctly, and it took me two weeks to get the game to start up. My friends were all playing the game from day one. I'm left thinking: why did I pay for it? The pirates are providing a better service.

    Let's look at the facts here. The pirates will crack whatever protection you put in within a day. It takes little technical acumen for someone to use the cracked version. Is adding DRM going to convince anyone not to use the cracked version? No.

    So the DRM you are forcing on people hurts ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO PAID. It barely affects the pirates, except to give them an argument in favour of piracy, as we've seen in these comments.

    To compare to the music industry, at one point you had two options: buy a physical CD for quite a lot of money, or download an MP3 in seconds without paying for it. No wonder people were scared. However now there are other options: pay 69p and download a DRM-free MP3 in seconds, or use a free ad-funded service like Spotify to listen to.

    I'm sure services like those do far more to combat piracy than prosecuting individuals or adding restrictive DRM ever did.

    Make it easy for people to pay and play your game, and the majority of people will do it. Those that won't, wouldn't have anyway! Make it harder for people, and you lose the people that would have. I think Steam are more along the right lines.

  55. Mark Eaton-Park
    Thumb Down

    What about Valve / Steam have you read their contract?

    All these internet based anti piracy attempts are useless, if enough people want the software then a hacked version will appear.

    Software piracy loss is a calculated percentage of the cost of all software and even when the software hasn't been ripped we all still end up pay it.

    All my software is legitemate however most of the stuff I have paid for it has bugs and vunerabilities that are continueously patched at my expense.

    I personally do not sell buggy code so to me anything with bugs is still beta and hence they shouldn't be charging for it.

    If these developers want my sympathy then they shouldn't release thier software until it works properly, there is no excuse. Anyone who says complex software must come with bugs knows nothing about developement. The vendors know that they can simply release unfinished products as they can con their customer into repatching over and over again. The likes of microsoft have done this for years, when they get close to a working version they release it as a brand new product.

    So cry me a river we all know you still make your money regardless of how many pirates are out there not to mention the free support knowledge base and sales recommendations these pirates provide.

  56. Sadie

    Not a new problem

    I had to crack a game because there was a faulty batch that wouldn't pass CDLCKSPL (IIRC) - Retailer swapped 3 of them without complaint, then advised to crack. Complained to Publisher who basically said "Not our problem, you must be using a pirate copy"

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