back to article Ubisoft's Watch Dogs muzzled by delays

Spooks working at one of Europe's largest defence contractors have warned that the delayed Ubisoft game Watch Dogs could create a whole new generation of hackers. Cyber-security experts at Thales, a French multinational defence firm, are nervous that kids will be "turned on" to hacking by the new game. However, they may have …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me translate:

    There is this hacking game with a tenious link to the real world, therefore can we have several more million quid please?

    Right I'm off to jump in my helecopter and flatten a city or two.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Let me translate:

      Or alternatively. Our marketing droids insisted we come up with a obscure real world threat to publicise this expensive new business unit we have set up, and Ubisoft were the most likely not to sue us.

      1. Dr Insanity

        Re: Let me translate:

        "Or alternatively. Our marketing droids insisted we come up with a obscure real world threat to publicise this expensive new business unit we have set up, and Ubisoft were the most likely not to sue us."

        Or Ubisoft were the most likely to benefit from the increase in sales garnered from a "controversial" game.

        No-one batted an eyelid when Introversion released Uplink, even though that's probably a closer approximation to "real world hacking" - and I bet a whole lot less people have heard of that now than Watch Dogs

      2. auburnman

        Re: Let me translate:

        They'd be better off waiting until the game is out and passing off game footage as real world recordings to a suitably thick government official:

        "You need to buy our security product: Watch this criminal cause a car crash by hacking the traffic lights with his phone!!"

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Let me translate:

          Using such sound logic, Americas Army must have made some excellent american soldiers then....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me translate:

      I doubt that there is any lack of cyber-security customers at the moment, given the amount of media hyperbole. More likely, the company are trying to find some hacking talent.

      By the way, Thales does rhyme with Chalice. Thales Australia used to have an advert linking the pronounciation with Alice Springs, because they got so fed up with people rhyming them with 'Gales'.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Works both directions

    Awareness of hacking is also a good thing. Future devs will be far more likely to integrate security in order to avoid being hacked...

    This is a win win lose lose situation.

  3. Homer 1

    "building franchises"

    From the linked BBC article:

    'Chief executive Yves Guillemo called the move a "tough decision". "We are building franchises that will become perennial pillars of Ubisoft's financial performance," he added.'

    Maybe Ubisoft should consider making decent games, instead of "building franchises", then perhaps its stock wouldn't tank, and 95% of its users wouldn't "pirate" its software.

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    "It will raise awareness of hacking."

    Because, like, no one's ever heard of that hacking thingy and it's a total, like, secret, like PRISM or something, you know...

  5. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Probably Ubisoft and Thales marketing bods had a pow-pow

    They got together over cocktails and prozzies to decide that it would be in both their interests if certain inane media bleatings were made.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...hacking might become a game too"

    Odd sentiment that. I thought the essence of pure hacking was that it was fun : it already is a game.

    What people go on to do with their hacking skills, beyond the fun part, is another matter - and I don't think a hacking game is going to make one bit of difference to that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely this is just an oppertunity for Thales to step into and charge various goverments trough the nose for security solutions ?

    mind you, these are quite badly needed anyway. (Hi pretty much every industrial control system!)

  8. Don Dumb


    Thales' (which rhymes with chalice)

    I disagree, I have always pronounced them as 'Fails'. In seriousness, I know quite a few people who work with them and they all say 'Fails'. Is their founder Hyacinth Bucket?

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Pronounciation

      Is "phallice" any better a pronunciation?

      I, too, thought it was pronounced "Fails".

      1. Zot

        Re: Pronounciation

        It's Greek, so I guess it ends in 'eez'

        You don't mispronounce 'Isosceles' after all.

  9. tmcd35

    And in other news car thefts, hit and runs, and bank jobs have all increased 10 fold since the release of GTA V. Who'd have thought?

    I've looked in Apple's App Store and I'm struggling to find the iPhone app that lets me change the lights on the junction at the end of my turning :(

    I thought about hacking the locl cities computer systems. Then realised that, like all public IT projects, it's not actually working yet. Already 10 years late and £30m over budget. I've decided to catch a train to London, if I get lucky I can't swipe the information I need from a convinent laptop or USB stick some government bod will undoubtably leave there.

    Yep, a video game about hacking is a real threat. Thales are right to be concerned.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      I thought it was just me.

      Last night I jacked a car, robbed a gas station (I shot the clerk anyway because I felt like it), beat up a hooker, ran over some pedestrians and then drove off an overpass during a high speed pursuit. I thought I was dead for sure but then I woke up outside of hospital without a scratch on me. The police didn't even seem interested in talking to me any more.

  10. phuzz Silver badge

    It's a good thing nobody ever made any form of entertainment where someone hijacks traffic lights for their own gain.

    Hang about lads, I've had a great idea...


  11. James 51

    "It will raise awareness of hacking. I'm not saying players will leave the game able to breach serious defences, but it's a game, so hacking might become a game too."

    Too late:

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I expect Uplink is a far more relevant game...

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Hmm... a new variation of "won't anyone think of the children", I see.

    Speaking of which, has anyone played Introversion Software's "Uplink" and is it any good?

    I just played "Defcon" ... hold on, it seems there is someone form the moral brigade on my door probably wanting to talk about I promote nuclear wars...

    1. Dr Insanity

      Re: Hmm... a new variation of "won't anyone think of the children", I see.

      Played it, loved it - never got around to completing it...

      Great game for lateral thinkers, there's always more than one way to solve a problem if you think about it the right way.

    2. Stretch

      Re: Hmm... a new variation of "won't anyone think of the children", I see.

      Uplink was awesome and the first game in ages to actually get my pulse racing

    3. MissingSecurity

      Re: Hmm... a new variation of "won't anyone think of the children", I see.

      You can download a demo, and Its for mobile.

  14. Crisp

    It didn't happen with Uplink

    It wont happen with Watch Dogs.

    Those spooks don't know what they are talking about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It didn't happen with Uplink

      In fact, if the game's crap it may have the opposite effect and discourage kids from real-life hacking.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mixed feelings about this game after seeing online video clips. Watchdogs definitely has new gameplay elements that GTA V lacks. However the sample gameplay lacks a sense of threat, urgency and the feeling of being constantly pursued and in jeopardy...

    I'd like a game along the lines of 'The NSA versus YOU'... Imagine the relentless NPC's chasing you down in that kind of scenario! But at the moment the game seems more about achieving credo points from virtual Chi-Town citizens... I don't know if being a hero of the virtual people is as dramatic an idea. Maybe they missed a beat, or maybe I'm wrong here. They could always amend the game by April to reflect the recent NSA whistle-blowing too...

  16. hardboiledphil

    or even.... from back in 1983

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DRM Part Duh---- 'I don't see the big deal over DRM, it doesn't affect me'.

    I want to play Watchdogs and The Crew (also delayed)... But this is Ubisoft so I know the end user experience is not going to be warm and fuzzy. I primarily game on PC, so I know this means harsh DRMing and waiting on updates before you can play the game every time. I also must remember to disable Ubisoft lax-security stealth browser Plug-Ins each time too...

    There are some on these forums that say: 'I don't see the big deal over DRM, it doesn't affect me'. For those similarly inclined I'd advise you take note of my experience with Ubisoft DRM and Driver-San Francisco. I've had to replay the game from scratch over a half a dozen times to earn back my hard earned multiplayer rank. Every few months Gamer Profiles on their servers become corrupt, or the license is revoked for inexplicable reasons...

    Consider this.. Ubisoft support have no access to gamer profiles. They have no troubleshooting abilities and no way of escalating problems. They claim, if you can believe this, that the reason they don't, is for security!!! So be advised that future Ubisoft games may have similar gotchas!

    What's the use of wasting hundreds of precious hours on a game only to encounter this fiasco? Being issued a new DRM license also trashes local offline progress, so you can forget about that too... This is what we're up against folks, its the new brave new world of the Trusted Computing like DRM model. You don't own your profile. You can't fix it if there's a problem. Your only recourse?... Start over! Ubisoft don't give a flying f*ck about anything except their quarterlies...

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: DRM Part Duh---- 'I don't see the big deal over DRM, it doesn't affect me'.

      And that is the reason why I won't even touch it (or anything else from Ubisoft).

  18. Dangermouse 1


    Being French, it's pronounced TA-LEZ.

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: THALES

      Usually in French the trailing S is silent and the E wouldn't be pronounced that way without an acute accent so as written it would be something like Tal (with an elongated L). Ta-lez is a French variant on its original Greek pronunciation.

  19. ammabamma

    They *are* right you know.

    People will absolutely get turned on to "hacking" by this game. Since this is Ubi here, people will be looking for ways to disable, work around, remove, or otherwise defeat the odious DRM that will undoubtedly be smeared all over it.

  20. NomNomNom

    Where's the statement from Ubisoft?

    Isn't that more newsworthy than this stuff about Thales?

    Ubisoft's statement on this matter for why they are delaying these games is potentially earth shattering for the gaming industry.

  21. McNoir

    In that case, System 15000 must have trained all the hackers who grew up in the 80's

    Oh, wait...........

  22. KPz

    I hope...

    ...this guy never plays Just Cause 2.

  23. Jerky Jerk face

    Hack is already a game.

    I played a hacking game year sbefore this one and im still uninterested and useless at real world hacking.

    Dont forget the billions(?) of people playing FPS games every day that work normal jobs and are perfectly safe and sane.

    Just more "oh noes our jobs might get harder" panic rabble.

  24. Numlock90

    pen testers?!

    Hacking is not necessarily bad

    So what if this games make kids more interested in hacking, we need people who are aware and knowledgeable about hacking in order to protect our systems *cough* pen testers.

    And its the same old argument wrapped up in a different packaging.

    Just because you can kill and run round shooting guns on GTA doesn't mean kids are also gonna do that because its a game.

    Oh Thales, (Fhails) Face palm

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