back to article Ubisoft revisits Internet-at-all-times DRM

Ubisoft has revealed that in order to play its forthcoming title Driver: San Francisco on a PC, users will require a permanent internet connection. The news was Tweeted by a Ubisoft community developer, who in response to a Driver related query, simply stated "PC version requires permanent Internet connection." This is …


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  1. nichomach

    Good reportage of dick move

    Well done for picking this up, boo to Ubi for not learning their lesson.

  2. DaveTheRave


    If it was like the last one, it will be crap anyway.

  3. Si 1


    Ubi's DRM has been broken for ages, so why they insist on still using it I don't know. What good is an anti-piracy measure that won't stop piracy and just pisses off legitimate paying consumers?

    After the shit-fest that was Driv3r, I would have though Ubi would be keen to attract as many people as possible back to the franchise, rather than driving them away.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Driving pirates away?

    I haven't bought a single Ubisoft, EA or Valve title since they started this bullshit, with Ubisoft's being especially heinous.

    I might have downloaded their products for free though. What was that about pirates?

    1. Ian Yates


      When did Valve ever do this? Only Valve titles I know of that require constant Internet are L4D, L4D2, and TF2 (etc.).

      Certainly, though, I'm shocked Ubisoft and EA haven't learned their lesson - this doesn't stop pirates at all and just makes me want to pirate the game more.

      As an example, I really wanted to like StarCraft 2, but I just got so fed up with the DRM that I gave up and never went back. Annoyingly, they already had my money by that point, but I'll never buy a game with so much DRM again.

      1. Charles 9

        And THOSE are for a reason.

        They're ONLINE-ONLY (none of these are designed with single-player in mind unlike Portal 2, which is only online-required for Co-Op, for obvious reasons). Therefore, it makes sense to have them require an Internet connection at all times--you need them just to play the game ANYWAY.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @Charles 9

          Thank you Capt. Obvious

          Have a beer as well, but I can only pick one icon

  5. Thomas 4

    Error in your subtitle

    "Drive away the customers."

    Fixed that for you.

  6. dotdavid

    Of course...

    ...this isn't going to drive away the pirates at all, is it. I'll bet it's already on some torrent site somewhere.

  7. peter 45

    Thanks for the heads-up

    It is always good to know which Game not to buy

  8. Tegne


    Another title where the pirates will get a better experience than the people who pay for it. I'll be the one sporting the skull & crossbones for this one.

  9. Monkey Bob

    And as with all their other attempts at the same...

    ...I'll give it a week.

    1. Stuart Elliott

      A week ?

      I'll give it a couple of hours.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I am disappointed

      by your lack of faith in pirates. I expect it to be cracked within 24 hours.

  10. dogged


    Always a shitty game anyway. I won't be buying it, especially after the abortion that was Driv3r.

    Ubi really need to stop treating their customers as criminals.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    And this will be cracked in no time

    And once again, because these fools never fucking learn, those who download the cracked version illegally off the torrent sites will have the better gaming experience and be able to play offline without limitation, while those who actually pay for it are punished for doing so. Guess if I bother playing it at all I'll be playing it offline for free after all. Not because I can't or won't pay for it, but because if these idiots are going to treat me like a criminal I may as well be one.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    sounds like a rubbish game and wont be getting it anyway, but estimated time till cracked?

    Why buy a game you can't play when and where you want to?

  13. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    DRM Fail again...

    So the legitimate purchasers and players of the game will have all sorts of bother with it for no fault of their own each time the local pizza delivery moped sccots past and takes out WiFi, ADSL, etc. (or some group takes out their DRM servers for lulz, or....)

    BUT the people who download the game and don't pay a penny will have the enhanced version that PlaysForSure® with the DRM removed.

    Someone from Ubisoft, please tell me how does this help counter piracy?

  14. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Drive *away* pirates? Heh

    Of course this will not drive away pirates, it will drive people towards piracy. Why would this trouble pirates, their version of the software will have the rights restrictions removed? This of course will rive people *towards* piracy (percentagewise), as those who would buy the game will not due to the overbearing rights restriction system, and some of those will pirate it instead. And it'll greatly decrease sales.

  15. Guido Esperanto


    Whilst I totally respect the right for a company to subdue piracy of its products, the whole DRM thing is a total no win.*

    Its such a double edged sword.

    Sure Ubisoft gets to guarantee (for a while) at least that legit version of its game are being played.

    But the consumer is punished if connectivity falters and it can frequently happen, even on the higher end packages.

    This pisses the consumer off no-end, because they cannot use a product they pay for, so what do they do?, they either a) look to circumvent the DRM restriction or b) circumvent Ubisoft.

    So not only do they not gain sales, by converting would be pirates into buying legit copies, but they alienate legit consumers and end up hurting their sales in future.

    As stated, I support the idea of protecting their product, but this cannot be the best way.

    * Assumptions are based that the DRM system is a frequent auth-check system and not just a one hit checking mechanism.

  16. Lars Petersson

    Another game to avoid...

    These days I just walk away from any game that require Steam, Valve or some other 3rd party app that want to manage my games for me; and the only games which can justify a permanent internet connection are MMOs and other on-line play games.

    As someone else already said, another game where the pirates get a beter experience than paying customers...

    1. Ian Yates


      Personally, I find Steam a better experience than non-Steam games. They're always patched (without each publisher having to come up with different ways to patch games), and things like Steam Cloud means you never lose game progress.

      Plus, the offline mode works, assuming the game doesn't have another form of DRM.

      However, just last night I fired up BioShock 2 for the first time and Valve have been forced to include Games for Windows in it... my broadband being down until this morning, I carried on without signing in to GfW and played for about an hour before finding out that I can't save without GfW... REALLY?!

      To make matters worse, I tethered to my phone so I could sign in to GfW and guess what happens - after waiting for five minutes for a mandatory update to GfW (having only downloaded it a few days ago), it prompts that the GfW account has changed and boots me to the main BS2 menu...

      I was seriously pissed - not sure if I can be bothered to go back to BS2. I'll certainly avoid all other GfW-encumbered games in future. Why the hell would 2K (MS?) insist on TWO forms of DRM?!

  17. deegee

    Who's at fault, What's on second

    The fault lies entirely with all of the people who pirate games and software.

    If we didn't have people illegally stealing the game and passing it around, we wouldn't have DRM, there wouldn't be a need for it.

    And don't give me the lame "justifications" that so many pirates do -- stealing is stealing, no matter how you try to sugar-coat it.

    As to how this affects the legit buyers will depend on what system they are implementing. And blaming things like Ddos attacks on Ubi and their DRM is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

    Personally I use Steam all of the time (an "Internet DRM"), I've never had any issues with it at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Steam is an odd case

      Steam, as a form of DRM, has benefits. Thant's not to say it wasn't despised when first introduced. Online store, online delivery, auto patching, no disks needed, cloud saves shared accross as many machines as you want, etc.

      Plus, if you want, you can go online to validate your game once, and never again.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Fault lies entirely with the managers unwilling to accept a non-zero piracy rate

      Bullshit. There is -no- level of piracy that a publisher would be willing to accept and write off. If they didn't include any copy protection at all, and 10% of their copies were pirated, for the next release someone in power would go "Hrm.. if we make the disc harder to copy, we'd get an extra 10% sales! Do it!" So the next release comes out, customers get pissed off, and so 25% end up getting a pirated copy. They go "Hrmm this isn't working.. those damn pirates are stealing our work, and forcing us to add DRM! Make them validate online too! That'll stop them!". The cycle continues endlessly, with legitimate customers having more and more draconian crap forced on them, and so turning to get a non-crippled pirated version as a result, making the sales figures even worse...

      1. deegee
        Thumb Down

        @AC 10:30 -- brain dead much?

        Did you even read your post? :)

        It completely 100% absolutely comes down to people being dishonest and stealing.

        Is it ok to steal a car? a home? a credit card? a CD or DVD from a store? clothing from a store?

        Where do we draw the line for what is acceptable to steal? According to you, software is ok to steal. Does that include OS, apps, does it move into the territory of smart phones and tablets, ...

        According to your logic, we should allow it to happen. With Walmart putting sensors at the exit door, they are just driving up theft. A 10% theft of cars, houses, credit cards, cds, dvds, clothes, etc. should just be acceptable "losses", right?

        I'm tired of dealing with clothes tags, them little sensor sticky things inside CDs and DVDs... the cycle continues endlessly...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Not black and white

          There's no direct analogy between "stealing" software and stealing a car/home/credit card/etc.

          Software piracy (which I don't condone) isn't theft in the normal sense because you haven't deprived anyone else of its use - unlike stealing a car.

          The closest analogy I can think of is if you built a copy of a BMW (etc.) without paying BMW for the rights. Anyone else?

  18. Anonymous Coward


    The last Ubisoft title I bought was called Blazing Angels, where they insulted Our Greatest Hour by making the main pilot character an American hick.

    Just pointing out that DRM isn't their only crime.

  19. b166er


    'so surely the playability of a game shouldn't depend on the reliability of t'interweb?'

    Absolutely, playability should depend on whether it's actually any good or not.

  20. Martin Lyne


    I didnt buy Assassins Creed II or Brotherhood for the same reasons. Though, they were recently on offer for a few pounds each, so i gave in.

    They ar th best games I've played in a long time.

    I would have paid £30 each for them, instead, Steam got £10 from me.

    Pirates hack software protection, software protection ruins legitimate games. You only hurt your bottom line more by making me *envy* the pirates. Stop being retarded, use more sensible protection and you claim more of my money. Simples.

  21. Balefire
    Thumb Down

    The answer is simple.

    Vote with your wallet and don't buy it! If you keep buying games, OSes, other software with this sort of crap then of course they are going to keep adding it.

    I'm not sure who's the dumber - the companies who put this crap in, or the people who keep buying it. (You can probably guess which one I vote the dumber).

  22. shadowphiar

    It probably won't even run

    What are the chances that some bug in the DRM will accidentally blocking out a bunch of paying customers? Almost guaranteed, I'd say - I reckon Ubisoft have just about the worst QA in the industry.

    For example, Assassins Creed II Mac version doesn't accept input from USB keyboards (only the laptop's built-in keyboard). Ubisoft tech support said: "At this point in time there is no plant for a patch to change this. I wish there was enough space on the game box to write all this, but i will defiantly escalate your query to head office." Never mind that the game box was Steam's web page with esentailly unlimited space, in what universe does it make more sense to advertise your bugs than to fix them? I just wish I could have been there to see that defiant escalation...

  23. oldredlion

    DRM checking

    or is it DRM checking and downloading new adverts for in game viewing?

    And why do people put up with this sort of thing anyway? Don't buy *any* products made by manufacturers who push this sort of crap.

  24. John70

    Stop Pirates???

    When will software companies learn that no matter what DRM you put into a product it will be cracked.

    All this will do is piss off the people that bought the game especially if their Internet connection goes down.

  25. ratfox


    Message to Ubisoft:

    Soem people want to play in places you haven't thought of. Such as during a transatlantic flight.

  26. BoatsUK


    As usual, the only affected people will be the poor sods who actually paid for the game. Pirates will be able to play (online and offline) without much problems. Probably, even before the people who paid can get their hands on the game.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    the first company that supports piracy...the title should read.

    I don't play PC games but I might just get this one...

    On the other note, what about the people that have dial-up connections or have a bandwidth limit?

  28. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Here, what's this a description of?..

    'Performing the same action again and again, yet expecting different results each time'.

  29. Thorfkin

    Customer Relations Fail

    Looks like I am back to boycotting Ubisoft again. I sent them a long letter last time explaining that I would not purchase their products while they continued the ridiculous Internet connection requirement policy. For a while they appeared to have learned from their mistake but it looks like they are back to the same old crap.

    I require an absolute guarantee on the future playability of the game in exchange for my $60. The requirement of an Internet connection to play offline games compromises that guarantee. Since the only way to make them understand this is to hurt them in the pocketbook, my only option is to boycott their games and make sure they are well aware of the fact that they have lost my entertainment money to one of their competitors.

  30. kurkosdr

    Can't be cracked

    Sorry to rain on you parade folks, but this kind of DRM cannot be cracked. See the idea behind this scheme is that certain functions of the game don't existing inside the game's executable, but being implemented in a server, and the game sends requests to the server and then receives the answer. For example, this could be how some enemy AI functions could be calculated (ask the server for the enemy's position, get answer).

    -"BUT the previous incantantion of Ubi's DRM was cracked!"

    -No it wasn't, the game crashed at the second level. But the press buried this small detail beautifully.

    Anyway, PC gaming is a mess nowadays (requirements, DRM, random crashes on non-Nvidia cards). Glad I have a PS3, even if that means paying for my games.

    1. Charles 9

      Black servers.

      All the pirates would need to do would be to figure out what parts of the game are online, obtain them (perhaps through traffic sniffing) and duplicate them on a localhost server that would run alongside the pirated game (with the game itself patched to look at localhost instead). Game sends request to localhost server, gets response from black server, game goes on.

      That said, another possibility could be a custom-constructed game executable, delivered online and just for that user when the game is installed. Since each executable copy would be unique and have a distinct and hidden signature, pirated copies would be dead-easy to detect and blacklist while not affecting anyone else (since their programs are different).

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Silent Hunter 5 too

    They tried this too with SH5, so I just didn't buy it. Well done Ubisoft, sale lost. But to be fair, it was the usual bug ridden POS that is usually excreted by them.

  32. Luther Blissett 2


    They'll turn it off after a couple of months.

  33. Tom 35

    a bid to keep piracy subdued

    Dream on idiots.

    It will be cracked in short order and people will be playing without needing any internet connection at all. If they are lucky a few people might buy a copy, put it on the self, and play the cracked version. But most people will just spend their money on something else.

  34. Rattus Rattus

    I don't really care...

    ...since after they announced this kind of DRM for Assassin's Creed 2 I already decided I was never buying another Ubisoft product ever. I also make sure to discourage all my friends from buying their stuff either, on any platform.

  35. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Down

    I don't tolerate always-on internet applications....

    ...even if they're *FREE*.

    What makes ubi think I'm goint to tolerate this for something I would need to pay for?

  36. CaptSmegHead

    old skool

    anyone remember the days when you had to type in a randomly selected word from the user guide? that didn't work either ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Civ did it well

      I remember playing the original Civ, being challenged by an usurper and having to prove I was the rightful king by displaying an impressive amount of foresight regarding technological progress. If I got the tech-tree question wrong, all my units deserted. Neat mechanic. Course, after you played the game a while, you got to know the tech-tree off by heart...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes the game more challenging too

    #playing the latest level at maximum difficulty#

    I'm in the lead! I'm gonna win!

    #wifi connection drops"#


    I remember buying Gears Of War for PC, and there was a problem with the DRM certificate being expired. So I shelved my genuine-legal-paid-with-my-hard-earned-cash copy on the shelf, downloaded the pirate version, installed the illegal crack, and off I was playing with no aggreviations whatsoever.

    I learnt a lesson that day: not to buy games anymore. Not that I pirate them now, I just don't play anymore because my goal when I play game is to have a good time, not to eat my nails down to my elbow just by installing it.

  38. Martin Milan
    Thumb Down

    Ok Ubisoft - here's the thing...

    Your online service sucks, and it sucks big. I recently bought Rainbow Six Las Vegas II, which is supposed to require me to log into a Ubisoft account if I want to play online with friends. Four of us bought the title, and all four have had various problems with your network not responding. It got to the point where we simply gave in - and when we play now we use Tungle and from the game's point of view host locally on a LAN.

    Why are we having to work around your shite software though?

    On the back of this experience, all four of us have sworn not to go near Ubisoft again...

  39. Charles 9

    Hate to ask...

    ...but perhaps the reason this game will require Internet at all times is because the game will be online-ONLY? If so, then it makes perfect sense to piggyback the DRM requirement to the game requirement. Will the new Driver game have a single-player component, or will it ALL be online?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Its not about Piracy is it?

    Its really about locking in consumers so they can be milked longterm. Making sure we cant escape and then delivering pay as you go services which we have renew to continue our habit.

    Everything seems to be going this way these days including things like books whose access I used to take for granted.

    With a connected pay as you go service they can get us to agree to anything using those seditious continously changing T&Cs which we blithely accept without reading, its already a habit.

    They will be able to delete content considered unprofitable and out of date, Market directly to their consumers, levy charges at will and decide what content should be available. Its an everdecreasing net as we swim happily along with the rest of the herd. I often wonder whether they believe that we will find the cash from somewhere if they can make us want their offerings badly enough.

    Lots of services insist on a connection to use their services, a Kindle can have its content deleted remotely. These people could rewrite history in their own image.

    Perhaps we should not so much be worrying about Internet freedom as Freedom from the internet and the potential control that connectivity through it implies.

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