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PC Games (Games) The Internet Games Your Rights Online

Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access 497

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-will-go-over-well dept.
Following up on our discussion yesterday of annoying game distribution platforms, Ubisoft has announced the details of their Online Services Platform, which they will use to distribute and administer future PC game releases. The platform will require internet access in order to play installed games, saved games will be stored remotely, and the game you're playing will even pause and try to reconnect if your connection is lost during play. Quoting Rock, Paper, Shotgun: "This seems like such a bizarre, bewildering backward step. Of course we haven't experienced it yet, but based on Ubi’s own description of the system so many concerns arise. Yes, certainly, most people have the internet all the time on their PCs. But not all people. So already a percentage of the audience is lost. Then comes those who own gaming laptops, who now will not be able to play games on trains, buses, in the park, or anywhere they may not be able to find a WiFi connection (something that’s rarely free in the UK, of course – fancy paying the £10/hour in the airport to play your Ubisoft game?). Then there's the day your internet is down, and the engineers can’t come out to fix it until tomorrow. No game for you. Or any of the dozens of other situations when the internet is not available to a player. But further, there are people who do not wish to let a publisher know their private gaming habits. People who do not wish to report in to a company they’ve no affiliation with, nor accountability to, whenever they play a game they’ve legally bought. People who don’t want their save data stored remotely. This new system renders all customers beholden to Ubisoft in perpetuity whenever they buy their games."
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Future Ubisoft Games To Require Constant Internet Access

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  • Re:Blame piracy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:01AM (#30915462)

    But this won't stop piracy since only legit customers are going to be subject to this shafting.

    I for one would prefer to wait for the cracked version to be made available over P2P. I have never pirated any game before, but if they do this I certainly won't be buying their locked-down version.

    This isn't really about piracy though, it is about ownership - you don't own their game, you only rent it and they can kick you off whenerver they want and make you play the newer more expensive game... Well screw them!

  • by Grimbleton (1034446) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:07AM (#30915504)

    To Not Appear In My Home. :(

  • Re:Blame piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:22AM (#30915644)

    And who is "legally bound" to patch the games if Ubisoft ceased to exist?

    The ex-directors of the company can still be sued.

  • by Exitar (809068) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:40AM (#30915794)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubisoft#Controversies [wikipedia.org]

    - use of the StarForce copy protection
    - ceased to provide his games to a magazine that had negative reviews of their games
    - admit to release low quality games that need additional promotion to be sold

  • Re:Blame piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by bds1986 (1268378) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @07:58AM (#30915922)

    The game sold 15 millions units overall, not just on PC. It probably sold more on 360+PS3 than on PC.

    You do appear to be correct on the breakup of sales figures [wired.com]. If you believe Torrentfreak's numbers [torrentfreak.com], you might be right on the piracy stats as well. The piracy figures for the x360 version are also quite interesting, but of course you run the risk of getting banned by MS.

    So I do concede that you may in fact be correct on 80-90% figure, although I still argue that Ubisoft isn't helping matters any. I just have a thing about verifiable sources ;) .

  • Re:But why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:09AM (#30916002)
    You'd be surprised what your rights are. Here in the European Union, we have the right to return any product bought within 14 days, without having to give any reason. Irrespective of EULA rights, box seals anything. We can simply return a product and demand money back, without reason. That's an EU law. After that 14 days has expired it all gets a little more "open to interpretation". Say you bought ski's in Summer and you found they were useless in the Winter, that could be classed as reasonable amount of time for refund, due to the nature of the product. Try the same with a loaf of bread and your going to have fun! LOL! Now getting the retailers to respect these laws, that's another matter!
  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:16AM (#30916066) Homepage

    But this is a trend even in Xbox360 games. The new Mass Effect 2 does this. in order to even play the game you have to register with easports.com (in game they link to your xbox live account info) and it sends a lot of info there as you play. Plus the game has turned from a great cinematic experience to a "you have to buy all this crap" in order to have the good gear fest.

    It's down loadable content whore out to the extreme. $60.00 for the game and another $240.00 to actually have the whole game after you buy all the crap that the game should have came with.

    and It's only going to get worse.

  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by OhPlz (168413) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:26AM (#30916160)

    Mass Effect 2 is a great example. I purchased it on Steam ahead of the release and preloaded it. Yet the day of release, EA's authentication servers couldn't be reached. Worse, you end up having to make accounts in different places to prove you own the game, even though Steam already knows you do. It reminds me of GTA-IV. Set up an account here, now set one up over there. Now figure out how to link them. For what? All I want is to be able to play the game I purchased! Using a game for the first time is getting to be as bad as doing taxes.

  • Re:But why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by gerddie (173963) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:29AM (#30916188)

    You'd be surprised what your rights are.
    Here in the European Union, we have the right to return any product bought within 14 days, without having to give any reason. Irrespective of EULA rights, box seals anything. We can simply return a product and demand money back, without reason. That's an EU law

    No, that's only true for things that you bought on-line and to a certain extend for doorstep selling, and no, if you broke a box seal of a CD, a Video/DVD, or some software product then they don't have to take it back.

  • Re:But why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Peteskiplayer (1032662) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:42AM (#30916350)
    Not only this, but Mass Effect 2 for PC was out 4 days before release, entirely cracked and working, rending ALL the effort that went into the DRM scheme useless even on day 1, annoying SOLELY for the legal purchaser.
    ...This is ridiculous!!
    Check out a torrent site for confirmation on this, s'all true.
  • by BeardsmoreA (951706) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:52AM (#30916460) Homepage
    No, you have missed the point of my post. It is mine. The bits are stored on hardware which I own. You may have some legally protected rights over what I can do with it, such as passing it on to other people, and I can accept that, even if I think those laws are flawed. The software itself, in any sane understanding of the technology and morals involved, must be mine after I buy it from you, to do with what I will within my own home. And on this I do not give a monkey's what the law says.
  • Re:Blame piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:25AM (#30916886) Journal

    It was covered on Slashdot too [slashdot.org]. Here's their article about it [2dboy.com]

    first, and most importantly, how we came up with this number: the game allows players to have their high scores reported to our server (it’s an optional checkbox). we record each score and the IP from which it came. we divided the total number of sales we had from all sources by the total number of unique IPs in our database, and came up with about 0.1. that’s how we came up with 90%.

    it’s just an estimate though there are factors that we couldn’t account for that would make the actual piracy rate lower than our estimate:
    some people install the game on more than one machine
    most people have dynamic IP addresses that change from time to time

    there are also factors that would make the actual piracy rate higher than our estimate:
    more than one installation behind the same router/firewall (would be common in an office environment)
    not everyone opts to have their scores submitted

    for simplicity’s sake, we just assumed those would balance out. so take take the 90% as a rough estimate.

  • Re:Blame piracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:32AM (#30916966)

    Has anyone ever successfully (or even attempted to) sued a shrink-wrap software company for failing to support a product once the company has suffered spontaneous existence failure?

    In the UK, it's happened plenty of times. Don't know about the USA.

  • Re:But why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by radish (98371) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:05AM (#30917436) Homepage

    I'm not sure where you get your information from, but it's wrong. There's no requirement for a network connection to play ME2 on 360, or for any kind of registration - you can just put the disc in and play. However, there is some (to be honest, absurd) registration hoops you have to go through to get access to the free/collectors edition DLC. As for stuff you have to buy, well there's nothing for sale yet so I have no idea what you're talking about or where you get $240 as a figure from. The only paid DLC currently available AFAIK is for people who don't have the Cerberus Network access code which comes bundled with new copies of the game (i.e. it's a used game tax).

  • by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:36AM (#30918914)

    If you're putting all your games in Steam's basket, be very [steampowered.com]very [steampowered.com] careful [steampowered.com].

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten