back to article Hackers crack Ubisoft always-online DRM controls

Hackers have overcome Ubisoft's controversial DRM system that relied on constant connection to the internet for games to function. A crack for Ubisoft’s anti-piracy system published by a group called Skid Row allows gamers to circumvent the controls for games such as Assassin's Creed II. A message from the group on a gamers' …

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  1. serviceWithASmile
    Thumb Up

    well done

    Tip of the hat to them for showing that game DRM, nomatter how extensive, is fundamentally flawed in its implementation, and at the end of the day the 'pirates' win regardless.

    I pay for my games, but on more than one occasion have not bought one I would have bought otherwise due to reports of OTT DRM. Atleast not after getting GTA IV and having it refuse to run on my system, after installing all the mal<cough>software that came bundled with it. Was it Securom or something that did the DRM on that? Ended up having to enter into a long and extremely frustrating exchange with them to basically circumvent their own system using their own workarounds so I could play my bought and paid for game.

    Finally did so, and got it to run, only to discover that the game was pretty shit anyway.

    Just another case of DRM making a game unplayable for the people that buy it.

  2. Thomas 4
    Flame

    Well, what a waste of goddamn time that was.

    I'm interested to see what kind of rubbish Ubisoft will come up with for their next DRM measure. I suggest some sort of subliminal message that hypnotises the user into killing themselves if they even think of pirating.

    Mind you, EA scored a massive own goal in this regard a a month back. We had the beautifully DRM-free Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 and then followed it up with the always-on DRM of C&C 4. Thankfully, the game was c*** so it wasn't an issue. Even the SecuROM obsessed folks at Gearbox *eventually* listened to their customers and removed SecuROM from the Steam version of the latest Borderlands add-on.

    Steam is the only service to have got copy protection right, imho. Steam games get their copy protection, gamers get a store (with dubious pricing at times, but that's another story) a good match-making system and in-game communications overlay. You don't even have to be online to use your purchases!

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Steam is no answer

      "You don't even have to be online to use your purchases!"

      You don't PURCHASE anything on Steam, you rent it.

      If you have to ask someone's permission before installing and/or using a product that's not a purchase.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Sorry, but it is NOT a rent

        I simply cannot agree with you on this point.

        Steam is by far the least annoying of all online game selling stores.

        Let's be clear on one thing : if YOU sold games online, what would YOU do to ensure that the person accessing your services was the one that had the right to do so ?

        Steam does have online checks, that is true, I cannot deny it. But you can play offline.

        More importantly, when you upgrade or change computer, you do not have to reinstall Steam OR your game folder from scratch. Steam lets you port your whole Steam setup to a totally different PC - all you need to do is log on with your credentials and bingo! - your games are there and playable for you.

        Contrast that with EAGames, whose download center is absolute crap and needs to be reinstalled from scratch - and games re-downloaded (all 12BG of them) every time you so much as patch your graphics card. I abandoned that one in a hurry.

        Ubisoft has certainly proven itself to not be even able to think of its paying customers in pursuit of failing to prevent piracy, so count them out of the user-friendly universe.

        The only other service that has any chance of standing with Steam on the same level of useability and user-friendliness is StarDock with its Impulse service. Anything else is just a nuisance that either takes over your PC without any right to do so, or is so paranoid about piracy that any change to your PC configuration makes it fall dead.

        No sir, I'm sorry but Steam lets you play your games with far less hassle than anybody but StarDock, and over multiple PC reconfigurations to boot.

        In my book, that is called user-friendly, and proper customer service. The only real issue is the difficulty that Steam has in letting you give one of your games to someone else. That is pretty much impossible. But give them time, I'm sure they'll think of something.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          LOL!

          "Steam lets you port your whole Steam setup to a totally different PC - all you need to do is log on with your credentials and bingo! - your games are there and playable for you."

          No they're not. You need to "check them out" from your old computer first, otherwise you're stuck.

          Anyway, nothing in what you said refutes my argument that Steam "purchase" is not purchase at all but a rental transaction. You cannot do anything with the games without permission of a third party.

          As for "protecting their rights" - I do not have any intent to infringe their rights if they don't infringe mine, so they need no protection. Thousands of software products, a lot of them more expensive than games, are being sold in the world without any need for online authentication. That means the business model works without any need for post-sale control to be retained by the owner. It is their desire rather than necessity and that desire infringes MY (and YOUR, but you of course don't see this) rights.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            Umm, no, you're talkign out of your arse

            "No they're not. You need to "check them out" from your old computer first, otherwise you're stuck."

            This is made up, and bollocks. I have my steam games installed on at least three different machines, and all I need to do to play them is to boot the machine.

            It's great for slapping games on my laptop in a hurry before a long train journey too, precisely because of this. Best of all is stuff like Torchlight, which also copies your save files down from steam cloud, too.

          2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            No, there is no checkout needed

            Sorry to insist, but I have rebuilt my computer a number of times, and reformatted the OS dozens of times.

            Checkout is simply not possible when you've nuked your OS partition, and that has never kept me from logging on Steam and playing my games.

            Your technical arguments on Steam appear to be a bit out of date.

            And the fact that you don't INTEND to infringe is no longer - unfortunately - part of the deal. On that point, I must concede that you are right.

            As for ownership of the games I have, be they under Steam or on DVD, there is a marked tendency of the entertainment industry to believe that the individual only has a license, on that point I concede that you are also right and I very much resent this direction.

            However, I maintain that, of all the nuisance schemes that exist today, Steam is certainly the one that has bothered me the least and has given me the best impression that it respects MY property.

            The day they throw a switch and I can no longer play any of my Steam games (like EAGames already did to me with Battlefield 2142), then I will agree that you are totally right and I never owned them.

            Until that day, it seems to me that Steam is playing fair. Yes, they potentially have the ability to lock me out of my games, that I cannot deny. But the days where games could not call home to check in are long gone, and nobody can go back on that.

            We have to make do with the situation now, and right now Steam and StarDock are doing it best.

            In my opinion, of course.

      2. Thomas 4

        @Vlad

        Yes, and that makes Steam different from all the other DRM nasties out there....how? I'm pretty sure that's what UBISoft's and EA's always on stuff is doing.

        What I was trying to say is that if the DRM makes itself unobstrusive and beneficial to players, then I really don't mind it. I've yet to see a way that always-on and SecuROM make themselves beneficial to players.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At what point

    Did the copy protection mechanisms in games out-innovate the games themselves?

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Since forever

      This has been happening since the early 1980s. I played more than a few Spectrum games back in the day which were derivative, thrown together crap delivered with copy protection which had been given much more thought and development time than the game it tried to protect.

      It usually took about 5 minutes for someone to crack those early DRM systems too, and the infinite lives hack would be in the pages of YS a month or two later. Besides, none of them were a match for a decent twin tape deck.

      I'm sure all the other systems of the time had similarly pointless copy protection.

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        Coat

        THIS.

        I remember some games for the venerable Commodore 64 and it's 1541 disk drive. The games would do some absolutely fiendish things with the disk drive's onboard ROM/RAM and make the hardware do some pretty crack-addled stuff, all in the name of copy protection. (for the non-retro computing folk: Commodore's disk drives were "intellegent peripherals", basically they had controllers that could accept programming and other instruction tweaks from the computer during runtime.)

        Even then, games were cracked on that platform, and there was a similar arms race as well. At one point a couple games were not playable if your drive was slightly out of alignment, unless you had the cracked version.

        Mines the dusty old one next to the C128 Programmers Manual stuff into a duffel.

      2. david bates

        Multiface

        would deal with pretty much anything that was'nt a multiload :)

        1. Thomas 4
          Thumb Up

          Good lord

          I remember the multiface - an amazing little box of gadgets. I wasn't old enough at the time to fully appreciate everything it could do but the ability to modify the code of games directly for the purposes of cheating never failed to impress me.

          And being able to copy from tape to disk with it was a lifesaver.

  4. Ronn1e
    Pirate

    Pirates

    The pirates will always win. I remember when they said they couldn't crack cubase's usb emulation and 10,000 hours later they had a usb dongle emulator. It seems that their are some dedicated hackers out there. What seems to sell a game is after market support for the end user. For example battle field 2 has supported its customers very well and has sold more than expected copies on the PC , instead of wasting time creating shitty DRM support the end user.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Only a matter of time

    They're only punishing legitimate users with this rubbish and rewarding pirates.

  6. Tom 15
    Unhappy

    Plus...

    Plus no Ubisoft games are available on Steam in the UK despite being available on Steam in nearly every other territory.

    This will be the first game I've torrented in about two years since I started getting everything through Steam...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    letters and/or digits

    "Eventually we could see games with so many restrictions and requirements needed to play that they would be all but unusable to everybody but the pirates."

    If by eventually you mean last year. Can't be fucked with PC gaymes anymore.

    "noo you can't have a cd drive emulator installed if you want to play our game"

    No? well bugger you then, I'm taking this shit back for a refund.

    1. Loki23
      FAIL

      SecureRom and the Task Manager of Doom

      SecureRom not letting you play because you have a CD drive emulator. Ok - can almost understand that (but then I only use it for work and have a separate PC that is my game PC).

      However SecureRom 7 doesn't let you play if you have - at any time since bootup - run the SysInternals Task Manager (now owned by Microsoft - free on the website just google it - and still so much better than the built in one). It doesn't even have to be running any more.

      I assume that SecureRom processes can't hide from the SysInternals Task Manager and so is counted as a "debugging" tool.

      As for Ubisoft and the always-on connection then presumably they have tested their games on something better than my flaky Virgin broadband. I'm avoiding their games until they remove this ... or perhaps the Pirate's Hack might be useful to play a legitimate game.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Guess I won't be buying

        Any SecureRom 7 protected software then. I have Sysinternals Task Manager sitting in the tray at all times.

        Nor will I be buying any UbiSoft titles seeing as how I'm stuck on dial-up (America, fuck yeah! Outside the city, connection's shitty!)

        Way to drive people straight into the loving embrace of the pirates. Yo ho ho, indeed.

  8. Chris 3
    Thumb Up

    Thank goodness...

    ... I might be tempted to actually buy it now.

  9. irish donkey
    FAIL

    I stopped buying UBIsoft games

    The restrictions in playing with a legitimate DVD were unbelievable.

    The only way I could get Vegas 2 to run was using a crack. I found this little tit-bit on the UBIsoft official forums.

    Will this encourage me to buy again? NO! because UBIsoft didn't fix it...... an evil despicable pirate did it!

    UBisoft needs to wise up

  10. Michael 82
    Thumb Up

    1 single word

    Pwned

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Games only being playable by pirates already happens

    Why I will NEVER purchase a DRM'ed game again.

    1) I was one of many who had a DVD drive destroyed by the DRM on X2.

    2) I bought Oblivion when it first came out. The version of Securom that it used then disliked certain models of DVD-Rom drive, among them my replacement DVD-ROM. I had to use a cracked exec and a torrented DVD image to INSTALL the game. The arseholes at the game store had refused to refund me, so that was my only option as I'm not one to destroy a £40 (I think) game disc out of hatred.

    3) Couple of years later, installed the Demo of Crysis under Steam. At that stage Steam didn't mention if games used 3rd party DRM as well. For some bizarre reason EA insisted on having securom DRM on the demo. My system was well within the posted minimum requirement and just under the recommended. However the combination of Steam and Securom caused it to BSOD my computer. I was not the only one as the Steam forums were full of people complaining about the securom on Crysis. Granted, this being Crysis, it might not have been the DRM in this case.

  12. cjmUK
    FAIL

    Quelle surprise!

    It's only us paying customers that have to suffer the DRM. I even know people who buy the game but download the pirated version...

    It's notable that shortly after this genre of DRM announced by Ubisoft, that they also announced that they were mainly going to concentrate on sequels and franchises...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Put me on that list.

      I pay for my games, (or my music, or movies, what-have-you.) I then crack them so I don't have to carry 50,000 optical discs with me when I take my laptop anywhere. All movies/tv shows/etc. I buy go into the ripper and get stored on my server. (This sort of fair use is, to my knowledge, still legal here in Canada...for the 0.5 seconds left until the US rams the DMCA down our throats in the form of ACTA.) If you paid for your goods, then it isn't piracy, it's fair use!

      I just don’t buy a game until there is a working second-generation crack in the wild.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Buy the game, play the pirate version

      Did that with Painkiller.

      Came back home with a shiny, collectors edition of the game and it never wanted to install.

      It's quite a shock when you slip the official, paid-for disc, launch the setup and get a "Please insert dics 1" error message !

      Painkiller was so locked up nothing would do to get it work, and the store has a policy about open games meaning it gives itself the right to refuse returns of open game boxes, so I was stuck with my game that refused to install.

      Result ? I torrented it, and was finally able to play MY game.

      Disgusting.

  13. Stone Fox
    Thumb Up

    Sweet!

    I might actually buy a copy now!

  14. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Not just gaming

    ***"In general, it seems DRM restrictions in gaming are becoming more intrusive and creating problems for genuine customers, rather than the pirates who happily bypass these measures every time,"(Chris Boyd)***

    This is a general truth regarding DRM and applies to just about any application where it is applied, not just games.

    I cannot think of a single case where DRM has defeated the pirates, but many cases where it has inconvenienced, sometimes severely (as in the case of the Sony rootkit fiasco), legitimate users.

    Poorly conceived and obstructive DRM "solutions" (and that's, pretty much, all of them). merely piss off legitimate users and make them *more* likely to resort to pirated/hacked/cracked products next time.

  15. Si 1
    FAIL

    DRM is a waste of time

    I detest the DRM being inserted into PC games these days. Why should it be so restrictive that I can't even play the game when my laptop is away from my wifi router?

    I'm a gamer who plays all sorts, and so I still have everything going back to the NES hooked up and ready to go. 25 years on I can still play Super Mario Brothers. Assuming my NES doesn't break, in another 25 years I'll still be able to play Super Mario Brothers. No restrictions, install limits or constant internet connections required.

    In 25 years if I put Assassin's Creed II into a PC (assuming I can find one with the right drivers, hardware, operating system, etc) it will likely refuse to play/install because I'm sure by then Ubisoft will have turned their servers off.

    I'd also agree with Boyd's statement about the layers of shit^H^H^H DRM being placed into games. Bioshock 2 on Steam has Steam's restrictions, Games for Windows Live's restrictions and SecuROM's restrictions. Is that enough DRM for you 2K? And of course the game was cracked and released before the real thing had even hit the shelves once again proving that the legally paying customers are the ones getting the shitty deal.

  16. SoulSpite
    Unhappy

    DRM Sucks

    The UBISoft DRM stopped me buying Assasins Creed 2, and any other always connected DRM will have the same effect.

    I buy most games from Steam these days and get annoyed at the inclusion of securom and the like in the steam downloads. BioShock 2 had three levels of DRM, Steam, Securerom and Games for Windows Live. Sheer bloody madness.

    On the subject of DRM spoiling the experience for legit consumers; I purchased the Avatar BluRay and this was glitching in my Sharp BluRay player. Investigation proved this to require a firmware upgrade for the player ( the third in 12 months). Sharp advised that the film ditributor had changed the way the AACa (Advanced Access Content System) was implemented to stop pirates and that this was not compatable with the existing formware. What a way to treat consumers!

    I'm ok with updating the firmware on my BluRay player, I'm guessing my 74 year old father won't be though. Sharp were rather cagy in answering my question about how long they will issue updated firmware after a model is no longer manufatured. Mmm, another raw deal there then :(

    I'm honest and yet I seem to be the guy who has the most grief from this stuff.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      AACS

      "I'm ok with updating the firmware on my BluRay player,"

      It's not YOUR BD player. You only renting it with permission from AACS LA.

      They can disable it at any moment (any time you insert a new disc or when the player connects to the net) without notice and without having to compensate you in any way. Your firmware "updates" may not be updates at all but revocations of your "licence" to watch any or all BD discs you already paid for.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      On getting screwed

      I don't have any HD kit, but a quick Google for "avatar hd torrent" showed up a suitable number of links, and "avatar download" offered standard DivX for people who are more interested in the story than the image quality.

      The dishonest people who wish to rip the film and post it to the freetards have evidently done so without undue difficulty. You, meanwhile, have had to update your player (again) with the worry of what will happen once your model is obsolete.

      Well, here's a question. No need to answer. You buy a Bluray disc. It fails due to updated DRM. Do you say sod it and look for a download? If you do, would you stop at just the one film? After all, if a new breed of DRM is out, how many other new releases would fail? Should you have to purchase a new player just for some ineffective DRM? Why are YOU out of pocket, twice? The movie that doesn't work, and the player that might work but might need updating, if there is an update, if it will be continually updated, if... if... if...

      Yes, Mr. Honest, you are getting screwed the hardest. Wonderful, innit?

      1. I didn't do IT.
        Unhappy

        Where this will lead...

        Is to users having many, many pieces of media, and *gasp* _NO MEDIA PLAYER FOR ANY OF THEM_.

        Each one of the pieces will simply be a "license" to view the media on the player or device of choice. Buy up a copy of BlueRay this or HD DVD that, and download the torrent to view conveniently on your PC or through HDMI on your TV, in a format that won't expire, and you could even back up several movies/music/etc at a time to an archive DVD in case the hard drive fails. This leaves the original "license" copy (probably still in the shrink wrap) safely on a shelf and secure - scratch free.

        Of course, once this becomes commonplace, DCMA IV will have to come out to squash this as we would no longer buy back catalog on newer media formats, eh?

        1. Haku

          DIVX lives again?

          No not DivX, DIVX - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIVX_%28Digital_Video_Express%29

          How long till you 'buy' BluRay discs that only work when the player is online and you've paid your subscription...

  17. ph0b0s

    Now can I can buy Assasins Creed II

    This new always have to be on-line DRM, really turned me off, so I did not buy Assasins Creed II for the PC. Now this 'patch' is out I will quite happily buy the game... Thanks pirates for help out us legitimate gamers.

    1. Kevin Smith
      FAIL

      Ehh..

      And you think Ubisoft will give a shit about whether or not you had to suffer their DRM, once you've given them your money?

      How about making an actual stand against something you claim to oppose and not buying it AT ALL?

      Mindless consumer sheep are the reason that companies continue to pull this crap and get away with it.

  18. James 139

    Maybe...

    "Eventually we could see games with so many restrictions and requirements needed to play that they would be all but unusable to everybody but the pirates."

    Or more likely games will be released on consoles only.

    DRM, Destroying PC gaming one game at a time.

  19. Yorkshirepudding
    Thumb Up

    flame warz

    and this is why i love my console

    1. TJ 2
      WTF?

      What?

      Your console is a low-tech POS, PC gaming is far superior to console gaming.

      PC hardware drives the frontier of gaming. Console gaming is forcing what could be fantastic games to be published for 3-6 year old tech consoles, thus games are being held back by your rubbish console. If you had any clue about gaming your would ditch your POS low-tech junk and use a PC, you donk.

  20. blackworx
    Stop

    DRM

    From what I've read, DRM gets forced downwards from the board level at these big publishers. With a bit of luck they will soon see how damaging it is to their bottom line.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      They won't see

      They use DRMs not to protect from unauthorised copying but to force legitimate buyers to pay for "services" you don't want and for copies of product you would otherwise not have bought.

      Therefore, if DRMs seem to reduce their bottom line they just take it as a loss leader or an investment until such time when they will collect it many times over from you - when you will need to pay them continuous subscription to play single-player games, when the games will force you to buy updates and upgrades, when you will need to pay all over again if you change your computer or when they just thought that you played enough without paying them and will charge you again.

      1. blackworx

        I wouldn't go that far

        I don't think the boards of these companies have such evil schemes at heart. Sure, I have no doubt they'd jump at what you describe if it was handed to them on a plate but it won't happen like that because the market won't buy it.

        The simplest explanation for DRM is imo the most likely: the boards are just doing their job and trying to protect as well as maximise the return on shareholder investment. Not that they've been doing the job too well though as, until recently, none of them has seen that DRM is having the opposite effect. They want to be seen to be doing *something* but, constrained in their ability to do anything even remotely creative or risky, they do exactly what politicians or anyone else in their circumstances would do: jump to the wrong conclusions, panic, react with idiotic (and often counterproductive) measures to the problem they *can* see - i.e. diminishing shareholder value - without taking in the bigger picture - i.e. diminishing custom and the futility of DRM - which they cannot.

        From what I've read and heard in interviews, pretty much everyone below board level at publishers and developers HATES DRM and completely understands the damage it is doing. It won't go on like this for much longer, and I honestly don't think your "nightmare vision" will come true in our lifetimes because I don't believe anybody out there - even at the top levels - actually wants it to happen.

  21. Stuart Reid

    title needed

    I thought it was cracked on the first weekend of release?

    Cos it was cracked and then Ubis servers went down, meaning every chump (like me) that bought it legally couldn't play whilst the pirates themselves.

    In fact you even wrote an article on it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/08/ubisoft_anti_drm_hack_attack/

    Interestingly the same group...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Bears and Woods!

    The cracking groups couldn't give a monkey's about the games, they're simply not interested in the games or the distribution ( they have people for that!), they want the kudos that comes from being told something cannot be done and proving they can in front of their peers and sticking one on the game publishers.

    The only people who want this DRM/copy-protection cack are the heads at the publishers, who think they will one day get something no one will crack. They have to been seen to be doing something for the shareholders. I appreciate some developers may want it. but I can imagine it's more of a pain in the arse to implement, they'd rather spend a few more weeks getting the code right than faff about retro-fitting DRM code!

  23. adam payne
    Stop

    DRM.....

    DRM is why I haven't purchased any UBIsoft PC games in the last couple of years.

    I understand they have a right to protect their games but surely this shouldn't be at the expense of legitimate customers.

    I won't buy UBIsoft games on the PC until they stop this nonsense.

  24. nordwars
    Thumb Down

    Ubisoft: Stop killing PC gaming

    I specifically didn't buy this the other day because of the DRM horror stories.

    PC gaming (the best kind) is having enough trouble surviving without them making it worse. It makes me want to cry slash kick whoever is responsible for this in the nadgers (or female equiv).

    1. Freddie
      Joke

      Femail equiv.

      You want to kick someone IN THE OVARIES?! That's some nimble footwork.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Femail != Female

        Either that, or he has some *really* small feet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Troll

          I really don't think this is likely

          Using a large and unnecessary force (DRM) to compensate for a small problem (piracy) sounds more like something a guy would do than a woman.

  25. irish donkey
    Stop

    Of course when UBIsoft fail

    It will all be blamed on the Pirates cracking their software and not the fact that they alienated their customer base by engaging in a war of technical prowess with the Pirates.

    So more tigntening of the the DEB Noose to follow. All the victims of the 'War on Digital Terror'

    1. Thomas 4

      45 minutes....?

      We suspect these pirates may have methods of mass production.

  26. Jellied Eel Silver badge
    FAIL

    Planes, trains and automobiles

    Same. No more games that I can't play where I choose. If it's an MMO, I can live with having to be online because that's the point. For single player games, I want mobility.

    Lower prices, shift more units. Don't raise prices and add restrictions.

  27. Dave Bell
    Flame

    Out of balance.

    I can see the point of DRM that stops the disks being trivially copied

    If I have to be on the internet to play the game? I know my internet connection has been down twice in the past month, by the look of it my ISPs side of things. If the game needs the internet--other players to communicate with--it's part of the package. If the internet is needed to check the install. there might be updates and other advantages for me.

    If Ubisoft, or whoever, need to massage executive egos, why should I pay? They can get their own whores.

  28. Ross 7

    Gaming industry slow on the uptake

    The games industry is soooo slow on the uptake here. Any IP can be copied and made to work without paying for it, be it a game, app, film, song etc. Tech isn;t the key - changing ppls minds is.

    Example - have you noticed how they'd stopped showing those despicable "you look like a thief" ads at the cinema now (well, that's what they feel like to me). I go to the cinema almost every week (sometimes we';ve seen everything except Alvin and the Chipmunks and we have *some* limits). I pay to do that obviously. To then be told that "copying films is naughty - don't do it" having made that payment is bloody galling.

    I turned to my lass once and told her it made me want to d/l the thing just because of that ad.

    They don't do that anymore 'cause (1) it pisses off ppl that pay, and (2) the pirates just delete that bit from the file before uploading it so the ppl that don't pay don't see it!!!!! Huzzah! They caught on! Now they give you a little "awww, thanks for paying - we lubs joo" which makes me feel fuzzy inside (that could be the blue slush tho)

    Games houses need to catch up - telling me they don't trust me and think I'm prolly a thief MAKES ME WANT TO TORRENT IT. Out of spite. Giving me a small benefit (even one that costs them nowt) is going to be far more effective.

  29. pitagora
    Flame

    will never buz ubisoft games ever

    My last experience with ubi soft so quite bad :( The game didn't work because I have an emulator installed (which for the record I use only with legal ISOs - I have a MSDN Pro Subscription and the only way you download the software from it is as ISO).

    Anyway why buy a game if in the end I still need to find a cracked version to be able to play it? I refuse to pay them money just so I end up looking for cracks and warez and exposing my self to viruses because Ubisoft tries to dictate what I can and can't have installed on my PC? If they would say all these restrictions on the box, so I can see them before I buy this piece of crap yes, but I just hate surprises and no refunds! No more buying from Ubisoft for me!

  30. nigel 15
    Pirate

    Full text of Crack

    is shown here:

    http://nfomation.net/info/1272339111.rzr-set7.nfo

    Razor 1911

    they are quite mocking of Skid Row's crack.

    it's an interesting read.

  31. lukewarmdog
    Badgers

    @vladimir

    Step away from the computer and go outside.

  32. transientcylon
    Thumb Up

    Vote with your wallet...

    I stopped buying consoles a few years ago because once they became internet connected I saw this coming... I refuse to buy any product with such draconian DRM. I refuse to buy a perfectly good product that was split into 3 products for the benefit of the publisher's pockets (Starcraft 2). I also recently canceled my WoW account because Blizzard is just getting greedy with the combination of micro-payment items AND a subscription fee. Cheers to the folks who cracked this proving yet again DRM has a 100% failure rate.

  33. ph0b0s

    PC gaming dieing

    Been gaming on the PC since 1989. But I think games creators more and more don't want to develop for the PC. I understand why, with the extra difficulty of make the games work on all the different hardware configurations, for less sales than on a consoles.

    It is just not an attractive platform. There will still be smaller or start-up companies that will develop for the PC to show off their new game engines, without having to pay Microsoft or Sony console royalties. But once they have a successful engine or franchise the PC will then get dumped for more lucrative console opportunities.

    The increased amount of 360 games ported have helped, but the trend is obvious.

    What annoys my is the companies that blame piracy for them stopping PC development (eg epic for Gears of War II and III). That is not the real reason but what I mentioned above and games publishers should be honest about not wanting to put in the extra effort to make a good PC game. The conspiracy theorist in me also thinks that it is part of the games makers plans to put huge amounts of DRM on PC games saying if you don't like play the game on a console. I do think some games makers would be happy to not have to develop for the PC anymore.

    Dice got a lot of praise for their support of the PC gaming recently with Battlefield Bad Company. But I have all the previous versions of Battlfield and like to try a demo before deciding if I want to buy. And guess what, this time, no demo for the PC, but there is for the 360.

    As for me, when gaming on the PC dies so will my playing computer games, as I have never had much fun on consoles and I refuse to use a joypad to play an FPS. PC snob? Yes.....

    1. Peter W.

      BF:BC2 PC Demo

      Admittedly they may not have a PC Demo (though one may be in the works - hard to say, as they do have both X360 and PS3 demo's)... they did run a beta for about a month or so prior to release which you could have participated in to get a feel for the gameplay. It was actually quite decent.

  34. b166er

    HA HA HA FUCKING HA!

    Instead of spending a fortune trying to protect their software with a system that would have its pants pulled down, they could have made the game cheaper and consequently sold more copies.

    You may say that then more people would have downloaded it if it had no copy protection...that's rather moot now isn't it.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Thank Bob

    Now maybe my mate, who was stupid enough to *buy* AC will actually be able to play it. Whenever the stupid lame-ass DRM kicks him out at a moment of high drama, the language is nothing short of disgraceful.

    He gets slightly less pissy when it just won't start due to the DRM servers being down, but is still pretty insufferable.

    Hopefully he already has a torrent coming down. Pirates will definitely be at a massive advantage to people running the uncracked one with any recent Ubi game.

    Screw you, Ubisoft, your ridiculous DRM got me a lot of earache. I hope that you all get eaten by gaint zombie clowns.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    copy protection is a mixed bag

    My Dad was an amateur into slow-scan TV and he bought an Amiga product which was a decoder board and some cunningly copy-protected software. He wanted to make a backup but the disk was unreadable by every amiga copying program around. I took up the challenge out of curiosity, I'd never tried to break copy protection before. It took a while but I was very pleased with myself when I cracked it - it was a fascinating challenge, and I received no commercial gain, but I did learn a lot about tricks with the 68000 CPU.

    Roll on to a recent event where my wife bought some CAD software. The program generates a code when installed and you then get an activation key from the suppliers. She upgraded her computer and they reluctantly issued another key, and then that new computer was stolen, and they warned her that she would have only one new activation chance again! Rather than waste a future activation, I worked out how the program stored its activation details in the registry so I could clone it. In the meantime I am actively looking for a crack, because if something goes wrong and we need to do a fresh install and the company are not cooperative, a crack is the only way we can use software we bought legitimately.

    My wife also had a Sony CD which refused to play because it had some copy protection. I'd never P2P'd music before, but the copy protection drove me to try shareaza and piratebay to download music we we'd bought^Wlicensed legitimately. Once I discovered how trivial it was, I downloaded other stuff too. I don't make a habit of it, but having felt ripped off by the music industry, my qualms were much more easily overcome!

    My point is that copy protection can cause sufficient pain to legitimate users that they are driven into the arms of the "pirates", and any amount of DRM will be cracked sooner or later.

    1. Chris007
      Happy

      Dragon 32 cracked

      I worked out how to crack Dragon 32 games (tapes) that gave perfect backup copies (not tape copying) and I also worked out how to change the text logo that a lot of the companies used - defacing as they call it now.

      A few months later (I was 14) it was the summer holidays and we were at the local sports centre for activities when I got talking to a guy who lived 20 odd miles away (light yrs away as a kid) and we got talking about computer games. He mentioned the Dragon 32 and started talking about this guy who had managed to make pefect [backup] copy of games and said the moniker that I was using.

      I felt quite humbled that my recognition had spread so far.

  37. David McMahon
    FAIL

    Sim City (1)

    As a Kid I had Sim City 1, it had a dark red sheet with shapes on, you had to match the shapes for the code given by the game!

    If you didn't enter correct code the city would self destruct with constant fires, earthquakes, floods etc!

    Only problem is I was too young to figure it out at first :(

    Oh and FSX Gold is on Amazon for £20 only game you need :)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flight-Simulator-X-Gold-PC/dp/B001E95V5K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=software&qid=1272474103&sr=8-1

  38. Nebulo

    Can't help thinking

    that there's a sizeable market opening up here for some competent programmers to get into writing good games (, CAD, etc.). Just not for the companies who are forcing this cr@p down the throats of their users.

    Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      no...

      Screw me twice, then at least make me a decent breakfast...

  39. informavorette
    Pirate

    harder pirating vs harder cracking

    As always, security is a question of how big a hurdle it is for the determined individual to overcome it. So actually, it makes sense to make pirating games as hard as they can, even it won't be impossible.

    Now, what does this mean for me as an aspiring pirate (assuming that a buddy of mine has the original)? With a game without DRM at all, there is practically no hurdle for copying. A DRM requiring a second DVD device and a bitwise copy program is a one-time investment which will pay off. Or just install the game and give the original medium back. It gets harder when it is combined with a cd-in-the-tray requirement. This needs a crack. To virtually all of the world out there, playing a game without paying for it isn't worth learning how to do reverse engineering in assembly. So I, as your average pirate, don't write my own crack, but download an existing one. I risk that the file is either malware or a decoy torrent planted to catch me infringing copyright over p2p. Clearly, this is going to deter more people than no DRM at all. So using such technology is (from the game studio point of view) a good idea.

    As we saw, raising the hurdle benefits the game studio. So why not use harder DRM? So hard, it gives the scene boys a month of constant nerdgasm till they've conquered it. Studio implements it, scene cracks it. Our potential pirate has to decide whether to buy or, erm, "borrow a test version". A rational pirate bases his decision on the hassle caused by DRM (which is bigger than in the previous case) and on the difficulty and risks of pirating - which is exactly the same as in the previous case.

    A riddle for our game studios: what would a rational pirate do? (Hint: if you don't know the answer, who the hell let you manage a company?)

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