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Ubisoft Testing PC Prince of Persia Without DRM 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-on-ya dept.
Ars Technica reports that the upcoming PC version of Ubisoft's Prince of Persia will not feature any sort of copy protection. (Not including Steam downloads, of course.) After the backlash in recent months over the DRM in games like Spore and GTA IV, Ubisoft is giving gamers the chance to demonstrate that DRM actually increases piracy. One of Ubisoft's community reps had this to say about their decision: "You`re right when you say that when people want to pirate the game they will but DRM is there to make it as difficult as possible for pirates to make copies of our games. A lot of people complain that DRM is what forces people to pirate games but as PoP PC has no DRM we`ll see how truthful people actually are. Not very, I imagine. Console piracy is something else entirely and I`m sure we`ll see more steps in future to try to combat that."
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Ubisoft Testing PC Prince of Persia Without DRM

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  • Virus free keygens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:27AM (#26100579)

    I look forward to not having to download virus/trojan packed keygens.

    • by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser.gmail@com> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:34AM (#26100619)

      Real nerds run them on a virtual machine, sandboxed in the copy of VMware they pirated years last week.

      • by ZorbaTHut (126196)

        Real nerds are aware that VMWare Server is free. ;)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Wine is also a solution. Ran as a different user, of course. During the last few years once I had to run a small program, which I suspected to be carrying malware. I simply created another user on my machine and ran the program with Wine as that user.

        The ~/.wine of the user immediately got filled with all kind of crap, the program what it was supposed to do correctly, while obviously filling the Windows system folders with all kind of malicious files. So I simply erased this folder and I had my job done.

        Of

      • You are aware that with free virtualization software like Virtual PC, WMWare Player, WMWare Server, or VirtualBox, plus a free OS like Linux with Wine, you don't need to pirate a thing to get your sandbox.
  • I've heard the PC version is a fairly decent port, with the ratings approximately equal to the console versions. Does this mean that quality won't be an issue for how well the game sells?
  • Seed plz! (Score:4, Funny)

    by tonto1992 (922918) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:35AM (#26100621)
    ps, need crack
    • by Sparton (1358159)

      The sad part is people will probably still say this, conditioned that they are to the wrong meaning of "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:37AM (#26100631)

    That would also show that DRM is moot as it has no effect on piracy. The fact is you will never lower piracy levels through DRM, as long as you can lock it up, there is someone who can unlock it. Copyright infringement is part of the cost of doing business in the gaming world.

    Fact is people don't like to be treated like criminals, and if they well they might as well act like one to hold up their end of the bargain.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LtGordon (1421725)
      Alternatively, if they can skew the numbers to say that Prince of Persia was pirated on a larger scale than any of their other games, it will be the poster boy for DRM-pushers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Alternatively, if they can skew the numbers to say that Prince of Persia was pirated on a larger scale than any of their other games, it will be the poster boy for DRM-pushers.

        Considering how it might affect their business model, wouldn't be surprised if some DRM-creators try to push the "piracy" totals up. Would be great if they got caught at it though.

        • Considering how it might affect their business model, wouldn't be surprised if some DRM-creators try to push the "piracy" totals up

          They already did by having some dick insult the public's honesty. Now I'm not stupid enough to fall for it, but I'm not going to buy the game anymore just to skew the numbers the other way like I initially was going to (despite not playing games on PC anymore). He's also convinced me not to buy any of the new Prince of Persia games for now (though I bought Prince of Persia Classic on PS3 for nostalgia's sake).

      • by vux984 (928602) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:03AM (#26101039)

        Alternatively, if they can skew the numbers to say that Prince of Persia was pirated on a larger scale than any of their other games, it will be the poster boy for DRM-pushers.

        On the other hand, since they aren't paying for the DRM, which I suspect is licensed per copy, not a one time purchase, there is actually a range, where its being pirated more, they sell less, and they actually make more money. It would be beyond funny if the actual results fell into this range.

        That said, I figure the reality is that this game will be pirated exactly as much as any other. No more, no less.

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @04:15AM (#26101091)

      That would also show that DRM is moot as it has no effect on piracy.

      No, this won't show anything either way, or if it does show something, it will be opened to interpretation. This is not a study. This is not a test. There is no control group. The game may do well, or not well. This will depend largely on how good the game actually is. Also, a criterion of success cited by one side may be cited as a criterion of failure by the other. So for instance, if the absence of DRM increases the word-of-mouth referrals and sales, that might be counted as a success by one side, but if that same spurt in word-of-mouth referrals increases the number of downloads from p2p -- that same company may see this as a failure (since it would be seeing all those downloads as a sign that imaginary dollars are walking out of the door).

      So with no predefined criteria of success, and no control group of any kind, both sides are bound to repeat the same old arguments over again. It's just that all that rationalizing, framing/reframing, and arguing will be done with freshly acquired data, instead of historical data, and people from either side will probably just stick to their preconceived notions either way.

  • Of Ubisoft and DRM (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:45AM (#26100659)

    Ubisoft's actually bowed to customer pressure on DRM before. Consider Silent Hunter III and IV.

    III shipped, if I recall, with StarForce---and Ubisoft eventually patched it out, and new bargain copies are completely DRM free.

    IV, in response to the outcry over StarForce, shipped with SecuROM---which, of course, was patched out, and newly pressed CD's come without.

    Basically, their habit seems to be to ship with DRM to try to preserve initial sales, and then bow to customer demand to keep bargain sales reasonable and keep old fans happy.

    So, I suppose, the moral of the story is: don't buy Ubisoft games when they come out. Wait a year, until the game's down to fifteen bucks and they're stripped of DRM.

    You cost Ubisoft most of the profit they might have earned from you had they released it DRM free, and then get the game DRM free at a dramatically reduced price.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shados (741919)

      Basically, their habit seems to be to ship with DRM to try to preserve initial sales, and then bow to customer demand to keep bargain sales reasonable and keep old fans happy.

      It makes sense when you think about it (and a few publishers admitted to that). The initial sales are the ones that matter. The big numbers, the fanboys raving, the little kids who need it NOW NOW NOW NOW... If you can stop piracy until the day -after- the game hit the stores, you catch all of the impulse buyers and OCDs, which is a s

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sentry21 (8183)

        If you can stop piracy until the day -after- the game hit the stores, you catch all of the impulse buyers and OCDs, which is a seizable market.

        Yeah, but what they don't seem to understand is that this doesn't work. Take Spore for example - DRM'ed up the ass, and what happened? Pirated BEFORE launch day (as usual). In fact, even the Mac version was pirated, and we normally get screwed as far as games go.

        What they need to understand is that DRM doesn't stop piracy, but intrusive DRM does make customers avoid the product, or causes problems with people's computers and results in the game being returned. Pirates don't care because they crack the DRM w

      • Makes sense, afterall if a game isn't popular like Spore it'll take at least a week to break the DRM, or that long for someone to make the attempt anyways imo.
  • I don't think that it would help really, most people pirate because they can't afford to pay that much. I know people that have 8000 song music collections, do you really think that @ 99 cents a song at most music download places they paid $8000 for their music? I doubt it.
    • This is not insightful, it pisses me off. What in HELL grants them entitlement to 8000 songs, whether or not they can afford it? Nothing, you say? I thought so. While I understand the gripes people have about paying good money for games that suck, I don't think piracy is justified. If companies are motivated enough, they will figure out a way to let prospective customers make educated buying decisions. But to suggest that people have entitlement to copyrighted works is utter nonsense.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        What the hell grants you entitlement stop people from using their electronics as they see fit? If Alice has an MP3, and Bob has a player, it is THEIR business what they do with their property. Not yours, and not the artists either.

        • by symbolic (11752)

          As along as you're not doing with property that belongs to me (or any other artist), has value to you, and yet you've refused to pay for (because you think you're entitled for some strange reason), then you're absolutely right - it is none of anyone's business.

    • I have about three and a half thousand songs, all either ripped from CDs, bought from iTunes or actually legitimately free to download. I estimate it must have cost me about £2100 over the past five years. I'm probably just insane.

    • When people have over 8,000 songs, they're either wanna-be DJs and/or they're hoarding. Do they really listen to all those songs (at least more than once)? I seriously doubt it. This move is not designed to quell those hoarders/downloaders (at least, I hope not), it's designed to quell those customers who are on the fence.

      Also, a large .exe file is not the same as many .mp3 non-executable files. Normally, people would be naturally afraid to download an executable from p2p, so the disincentive is somewhat t

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:49AM (#26100683)

    I've refused to buy games with intrusive DRM. Now that someone is actually assuming customers are not criminals, its worth supporting the effort. Even if the boxed game just gets chucked in the back of my car and forgotten about.

    Its not much of a carrot, but if it got around that people actually went out of their way to buy games without DRM, software publishers may just loosen their stance.

    • by Shados (741919)

      Now that someone is actually assuming customers are not criminals

      I'll do the same, a game without DRM (that I wanted anyway, but was going to get for console) is worth it. That said... I see that quote splashed all over... "They treat their customers like if they were criminals!"...though, they pretty much are :) Thats just human nature... people would be robbing banks, killing and murdering left and right if it wasn't for the fear of getting caught.. The 6 of us that wouldn't are just flukes.

    • by LtGordon (1421725) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:59AM (#26100745)

      Now that someone is actually assuming customers are not criminals, its worth supporting the effort.

      Hardly. The point is to release a game without DRM and then massage the numbers so they can turn around and say that the lack of DRM drove piracy up significantly. The point will be moot, because how do you gauge losses due to piracy? The same way Microsoft does: (Every single theoretical download) * (Retail price) = (OMGthehorror$$$)

      • by Mascot (120795)

        No worries, they already thought of it.

        They went and region restricted it (at least on Steam) to ensure a large amount of people will still find it more convenient to pirate.

        Some will always pirate, of course. Those are not the target audience. It's those that are on the fence about buying or not they need to provide the game to in an as easy and convenient fashion as possible. In that area... major fail.

      • by trytoguess (875793) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @08:31AM (#26101915)
        Ubisoft spends considerable amount of money on DRM. If it can be shown that it's a waste of resources why on earth would they continue to support it? Hell, even if the numbers are ambiguous, it'll make them less likely to use DRM. Course it's possible this test will show an increase in piracy, but I don't think they'll jump to any conclusions considering that there's a considerable amount of money and time to be saved.
    • by graymocker (753063) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:23AM (#26100859)
      GoGamer.com currently has the game for $30, a great price for a recent release. Early reviews for the port seem very positive. I'll be buying this one. As far as voting with my dollar is concerned, I consider this a three-fer: (1) It has no DRM, (2) It has jettisoned the nu-metal "hardcore" posturing of the last two games that affirmed all the worst adolescent gamer stereotypes for the charming storybook quality of Sands of Time, and (3) It's $30, and I think the demand price curve for computer games is such that publishers should be pushing out more titles at lower price points. Oh, and (0) it's supposed to be great fun, as well, naturally.
    • Anyone (other than the government, who have guns) wanting my money had better be prepared to offer me value in exchange.

      Removing DRM will certainly remove one factor that lowers the perceived value of this Ubisoft title. Whether it will be enough or not, I don't know, I haven't really looked at this game. But buying it even if it gets chucked in the back of my car? Hell no. I demand a lot more for my dollar than a pretty box with no DRM inside.

      Vote with your dollars by spending them wisely, not by throwing

    • If you want good, non-DRM games at reasonable prices, I have two good ones for you:

      World of Goo [2dboy.com]: The demo is the first 1/4 of the game. It's a blast. Silly building/puzzle game. Well worth the $20 they're charging. Made by 2 guys.

      Sins of a Solar Empire [sinsofasolarempire.com]: A Fantastic RTS game, based on building orbital structures around planets, and massing fleets of spaceships, some with unique abilities and leveling increases. It's got great music, but the controls are the pinnacle of what I've seen in any RTS game, E
  • Alright

    I'll spend my money on this one, just so I don't have to spend money on buying a legit Digitally Restricted game later.

    Wait, what?
  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:59AM (#26100741)

    DRM is only one of many factors.
    Another is the game itself....the music, the graphics, the gameplay, and stability.

    In that same way...if Microsoft were to release a DRM-free operating system but it was sluggish (even more than Vista) or blue-screened often (more than Windows 9x)...I doubt people will buy it or use it even if it was free.

    • Microsoft is a special case. They've got a monopoly and there are so many people who think that there is no other choice. If they were to repackage windows 3.1 as windows 7.5 and put as much effort into selling it as they did Vista, they'd probably still be able to browbeat 50M people, worldwide into buying it.
      • by Asmor (775910)

        Microsoft is a special case. They've got a monopoly and there are so many people who think that there is no other choice.

        And then there are plenty of people, such as myself, who are perfectly aware of the other choices and have chosen Windows (XP in my case, but there are some poor misguided fools who like Vista, too).

    • DRM is only one of many factors.
      Another is the game itself....the music, the graphics, the gameplay, and stability.

      I think there is also a question of how widely known it is that the game doesn't include copy restrictions. I mean, who'd assume that it was anything but in need of a crack?

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @03:22AM (#26100853)

    Could it be that UbiSoft was a bit pissed at their former supplyer of DRM, because they themselves couldn't get rid of it from Rainbow Six when it caused too much trouble without stealing a crack from Reloaded? And when you couldn't find a new supplyer of DRM in time for the next release, hey, let's make a PR stunt out of it!

    When God gives you lemons... well, I'd find a better God, but some just squeeze really hard.

    • Could it be that UbiSoft was a bit pissed at their former supplyer of DRM, because they themselves couldn't get rid of it from Rainbow Six when it caused too much trouble without stealing a crack from Reloaded? And when you couldn't find a new supplyer of DRM in time for the next release, hey, let's make a PR stunt out of it!

      Alternatively I'd suggest that it's fear over people giving negative reviews on Amazon about inclusion of DRM like they did for Spore. It'd be nice if I was right, the customers won one.

  • Quite honestly, Prince of Persia isn't as highly anticipated as Spore, GTA IV or a whole bunch of other games. Regardless of critical reception, it's a sequel, of a sequel, of a sequel that's gone on long enough they're re-using the original-original name. =P

    Ubisoft may have put in a AAA effort (well, AA, since it's the Assassin's Creed engine already developed, right?), but it doesn't come across to me as an AAA title.

    Now if they'd go DRM free on all their games for an entire quarter, or even a full year,

  • This is predicated on a whole lot of nonsense. Who in their right mind thinks that DRM increases piracy. DRM has very little to do with piracy at all. It only affects the people who legitimately buy the game, not the pirates. That's the point. The amount of people who would deliberately download a game because it has DRM is so minor it's silly. Hype is the single most largest factor on whether a game is pirated and that is a double edged sword

    Congratulations to Ubisoft on coming up with their publicity
    • Who in their right mind thinks that DRM increases piracy.

      Just about anybody in their right mind, actually. Requiring the disc to play the game is annoying, especially on PCs. Not being able to back up said disc is offensively annoying.

      The amount of people who would deliberately download a game because it has DRM is so minor it's silly.

      Only if you don't think it through. Back in the olden days the easiest thing to acquire was a NoCD patch for any given game. Over time, connections got faster, and games started requiring more and more patches that would, intentionally or not, break the NoCD patch. So in order to play that game without the disc, you are best of

      • by Haeleth (414428)

        Requiring the disc to play the game is annoying, especially on PCs.

        For you, perhaps. I don't really notice it. I'm generally only playing one game at any one time, and games are the only thing my drive gets used for these days, so the disc just stays in there until I want to play something else.

        If you want "annoying", go back to the days when games were played from 5.25" floppies, and you'd have like 8 discs for each game, and every 10 minutes or so everything would come to a halt and a little box would p

      • Yep, I've completely failed with conveying what I meant to say. Shortsighted on my part, but my point was that the only people affected were those who want/are to be legitimate customers and that DRM didn't make people "vindictively" pursue pirate options for the kick of it.
    • Who in their right mind thinks that DRM increases piracy.

      Well, actually, everyone.

      * If I need to put the disc in every time I play the game.. I'm going to download a pirated version which will run without the disc. That's purely because it's a headfuck to find the disc, put it in, wait for the disc to spin up at critical times when it checks it's still there and freezes while my DVD drive powers back on (takes a few seconds to spin up; old drive).

      * If the DRM makes it incompatible with some drives people who paid for it will probably go and download the pirate v

  • How are companies buying into the DRM thing when every single DRM scheme has been cracked within days of release? Prince of Persia will probably be pirated at exactly the same rate as any other game, since every other game is on the torrent sites, DRM or not.

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      How are companies buying into the DRM thing when every single DRM scheme has been cracked within days of release?

      X3: Reunion's DRM was not cracked. Eventually the company removed the DRM like they do with their past titles and then it became piracy galore. The only way to get a pirated copy of the game working was to install it, then physically disconnect your CDROM drives from the system and run it.

      X3: Terran Conflict - Similar situation to above, nobody has cracked it.

      Prince of Persia will probably be pi

      • I've never even heard of X3:Reunion or X3:Terran Conflict. If their DRM was so great, how did their sales go? Once they removed the DRM, you say it became piracy galore - there's a good argument that those pirates weren't going to buy the game to begin with, since they had ample opportunity to do so, and it was inconvenient/impossible for them to get the pirated version in the first place. Another quest is that since many more pirates played the first game once the DRM was gone, how did it affect sales of t

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          I've never even heard of X3:Reunion or X3:Terran Conflict.

          They're popular in the space game genere, it seems a lot of people are rediscovering the sci-fi freeplay genere through the X series of games. Quite a few bits of the game seem to be inspired from the Elite series.

          If their DRM was so great, how did their sales go?

          Apparently they went well. X3: Terran Conflict came out recently, so that still remains to be seen.

          Once they removed the DRM, you say it became piracy galore

          Yes.

          there's a good argument that

  • I would be very curious to know which angle they're looking to pursue at the end of this story. Honestly, as someone who's downloaded a piece or two of software, I would be surprised if the lack of DRM itself made any significant dent in the amount of piracy centered around this game. That said: 1) In Canada at least, this game is selling for $30 at retail. That's 30 CAD (~22 USD) as opposed to the flat 50 USD on steam. A very good argument in favor of lowered piracy rates right there, clouding any results
  • Where's the Demo? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kneo24 (688412) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:35AM (#26101729) Homepage

    I honestly can't figure out why anyone would complain about piracy when there's isn't a visible demo for this game. The honest people are being forced to pirate this game so they can make an informed purchasing decision. This alone will skew any erroneous figures that they will ultimately make... When will these companies learn?

  • for a dollar!

    Joking aside, I'll actually buy this twice at full price. One for me, one as a gift.
  • Gonna download the game from Torrent as soon as it comes up, then make a bank transfer of their fair share of the price of the game.

  • So this dipshit is saying that his customers need to prove themselves? But people pirating games are not his customers. And DRM is something that doesn't affect 99.9% of pirates, but affects ALL customers.

    And it is the people implementing DRM that are making the allegation that DRM forces me to buy the game. So the the game pirating community proved them wrong, and the people who wanted to buy the game but wouldn't because of the draconian rules imposed on them to deter the pirates--who, remember, are un

    • and the people who wanted to buy the game but wouldn't because of the draconian rules imposed on them to deter the pirates--who, remember, are unaffacted by DRM--and now they are telling their customers that the onus of proof is on THEM?!

      Should read
      and the people who wanted to buy the game but wouldn't because of the draconian rules imposed on them to deter the pirates--who, remember, are unaffacted by DRM--now have the onus of responsibility ON THEM?

  • I don't understand how they expect to get accurate measurements of the number of illegitimately spread copies of the game in order to compare the numbers with a DRM-infected game.
  • Your Community Rep is a total dipshit and this stinks of 'publicity stunt', but it does take balls to go against the current industry trend in such a way. I, for one, will buy a boxed copy of this as soon as I get the chance, more than one if it's cheap, and the older games too if there's one still being sold.

    Again, thanks for removing the utter shit that is DRM.

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