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Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

Posted by kdawson
from the single-point-of-well-you-know dept.
ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."
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Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down

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  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bertoelcon (1557907) * <berto.el.con@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:23PM (#31395374)
    Ha, ha.

    I don't know anything else that should be said here.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Funny)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:06PM (#31395778)
      My karma ran over your dogma. Never seemed more appropriate. :)
      • Re:LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:18AM (#31399372) Homepage

        What karma? People who already gave Ubisoft their money can't play. Looks to me that Ubisoft's dogma is alive and barking.

        Go on, argue that all those idiots won't be dumb enough to give Ubisoft more money next time. I'll bet that anyone retarded enough to do it once isn't the sort of person likely to learn from their mistakes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IICV (652597)

      How about I called it, [slashdot.org] as (I assume) did anyone who gave the entire stupid scheme more than a moment's thought.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sortius_nod (1080919) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:34PM (#31396068) Homepage

        It's just amusing that it's so close to the release that we've seen it happen. If people don't wake up and smell the coffee on this one we'll all be bent over a barrel with every new game release from now on.

        There's no way that an home user can afford five nines internet access, so even if it isn't the authentication server end that's a problem, well, you're screwed anyway. Hell, if there's problems at higher tier routing you're probably going to be screwed anyway. I've seen this happen before with MMOs. If the servers were hosted locally (ie, in Australia, where I am from) we'd still be able to connect, but due to international routing problems no one in Australia was able to play. I know that's a bit off topic, but it seems to me that warning signs like that dictate that moving down a server authentication method for a single player game is fucking stupid.

        Unfortunately the people who make decisions about protecting profits aren't exactly technologically proficient, let alone able to understand the intricacies in a global network like the internet. I doubt the team that programs the game even has anything to do the team programming the DRM other than having to somehow work it into their product.

        In essence, what Ubisoft here has done is given people a real reason to boycott their products in a major way. I can't say I've seen a grass roots boycott take off, but when you shit on your customers you essentially force the boycott through ineptitude.

        True, time will tell on this one, but I doubt it will be long before Ubisoft make the decision to take the same route as EA by rolling back DRM - well, that or their stock will tank and the company will go under.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nabsltd (1313397)

          There's no way that an home user can afford five nines internet access, so even if it isn't the authentication server end that's a problem, well, you're screwed anyway.

          Do you really need to play "Assassins Creed 2" continuously with only 5 minutes of downtime every year? If so, I suspect that your Internet connection is the least of your issues.

          Even three nines (eight hours of downtime per year) is more than reasonable for a normal home connection. That might even be good enough for a DRM server.

          I'm at about four nines from Verizon FiOS (about 5 hours of downtime in the 3 years I've had the service).

          • Re:LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tiberiumx (1221152) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @09:57PM (#31396748)

            My shitty TimeWarner cable internet is constantly having intermittent connection problems. It's happened at least three times already today. Most of the time I don't notice it, and I'd appreciate not having some horrible DRM system making the problem worse.

          • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

            by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @10:27PM (#31396942)

            The thing is, it doesn't matter if it's up 99.99999999999% of the time. Because most of the time you're not trying to play a game that requires the internet connection. It only matters if it happens to be down when you want to play the game.

            The only way to achieve that is to have a connection that is either ALWAYS up 24x7 with 100% reliability; or otherwise is only down when you don't want to play the game. Neither is a particularly realistic proposition.

            Sure, it's not the end of the world if you can't play the game at some point. But that's just weasel-words to get around the real issue: Ubisoft have added a dependency on a component which is otherwise completely unrelated to the game. If you're playing a single-player game, your internet connection shouldn't matter. In fact, a single-player game is exactly the kind of thing you might decide to do if your internet connection does go down in order to pass the time while you wait for it to be fixed.

            And of course, it's not just your own internet connection that matters here: your ability to play the game is dependent on the reliability of things which are entirely outside of your control. Just because your connection to Verizon is up doesn't mean their connection to some other arbitrary network is working reliably.

            • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @11:12PM (#31397244)

              Just because your connection to Verizon is up doesn't mean their connection to some other arbitrary network is working reliably.

              I use Time Warner and a cablemodem.

              One day, my net connect starts getting "spotty". Connect. Disconnect. Repeat all day long. After a couple of days it goes down altogether. I put in the call. Guy comes out and looks at the cable and shows me where a squirrel had been nibbling at it. Replaces the cable bit on the pole, off he goes. Cable goes right back down again. Put in another call. Another guy shows up, twiddles something, gets a good meter reading, and bails. Repeat this for about three months. Last guy finally fixes the problem - a router box upstream was foobaring my entire block's connection. Nobody on my block was getting internet, cable, anything through TWC. Dozens of customers complaining daily and it took them three months to finally figure out "gee the whole block is down, let's go look at the router for this block."

              So a few weeks later, a lady calls me. A customer survey drone wanting to know about my "experience". I tell her how frustrating the whole thing was. How does she conclude the call?

              By asking if I'd consider a package deal to have my telephone run through their modem too.

              This entire planet is mad, you know.

              • by ae1294 (1547521) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @11:27PM (#31397316) Journal

                This entire planet is mad, you know.

                Well yes but mostly harmless.

              • by salparadyse (723684) on Monday March 08, 2010 @02:41AM (#31398192)
                Not mad - but rather, scripted. Deviate from the script = lose your job. It's the script writers that have killed intelligent responsiveness in the "customer interface department". No longer are people employed because of their knowledge of the subject, but because of their ability to "follow the script". Reminds me of a story of contacting BT's Tech Support on behalf of a friend. I told the woman (in India) what steps I'd tried (all the steps anyone which any person with reasonably high levels of IT literacy would try) and she then took me through scripted steps, all of which I'd already tried, all of which I told her I'd tried, and when none of them worked she said "contact your pc vendor" and hung up. She didn't know ANYTHING about computers, just how to follow the script on the screen. Not technical support at all really.
            • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:30AM (#31397624) Journal

              Not just all that but as crazy as it sounds I have gamer friends with no internet, but with all the latest consoles, games and ridiculously overpowered PCs. They own and enjoyed the previous Assasins Creed games but will never purchase this latest one. Congrats, Ubisoft, you just fucked over the only guy I know that buys around half dozen games monthly.

        • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @11:55PM (#31397456)

          What I love about this is the number of posts in previous threads over the last few months claiming that this was a nontrivial DRM, that it wouldn't be broken for weeks.

          Can we finally set to rest the notion that there is such a thing as non-trivial to crack DRM?

  • Down or DDoS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Elgonn (921934) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:25PM (#31395398)
    Down or DDoS? We all know exactly how easy it was going to be for an outsider to screw everyone.
    • Re:Down or DDoS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:28PM (#31395420) Journal

      Does it really matter though? If they're using something like this, they should had have hardened and test the system properly. Things like this are completely unacceptable. I would have thought they did as otherwise its going to backfire so good, but it seems stupid people never cease to amaze you.

    • Re:Down or DDoS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:45PM (#31395590)

      It doesn't really matter to the user, does it?

      And before you say "A DDoS wouldn't be UBIsoft's fault": Deliberately and needlessly introducing a single point of failure to your system is patently dumb, and most definitly the fault of the party that introduced it if it fails.

      • Re:Down or DDoS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dragonslicer (991472) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:00PM (#31395734)

        Deliberately and needlessly introducing a single point of failure to your system is patently dumb

        Quiet! You'll give them ideas.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:26PM (#31395400)
    Skid-Row will soon have a fix for this problem. This will also lessen the strain on Ubisoft's servers!
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:28PM (#31395410)

    Why would this stem the awful DRM? They have the money, gamers are still going to play, life moves on.

    • by berzerke (319205) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:34PM (#31395466) Homepage

      ...gamers are still going to play...

      Well, right now it seems only the pirates are still going to play, while those legitimate customers will not. Reminds me of a quote I saw:

      The Arch Demon's mantra has always been they will do it The Arch Demon's way once the pain becomes severe enough. However, it absolutely amazes The Arch Demon how much pain the IDOITS [legitimate customers in this case] can endure.

    • by Pinckney (1098477) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:39PM (#31395520)

      Because it pisses off a wide audience, not just the typical Slashdot reader. This may matter when it comes to selling other games. In particular, the people affected are the people ill-informed enough or naive enough to pay for such software. Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

      Also because it kills the argument that this DRM isn't a big deal for anyone who doesn't plan to play the game for years. I know I've been told (by Battlefront.com, when inquiring about their system) that I was more likely to stop playing after years due to compatibility issues than because their DRM servers closed. Ubisoft presumably would have said similar, if asked about the end-of-life of their servers.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:43PM (#31395570)

      Why would this stem the awful DRM? They have the money, gamers are still going to play, life moves on.

      Gamers have already paid for the game but you see the issue we have here is that gamers have only paid once for the game. All DRM schemes are about extorting more money out of customers. Whether by killing the 2nd hand market or planned obsolescence they want you to pay to keep playing your games.

      Mark my words, in 12 or 18 months time EA/UBI and so forth will start complaining that keeping these DRM servers online is costing them money, meaning they require more money from existing customers to keep them on line.

      • by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:56PM (#31395702)
        I think the more likely option is that they'll be taken offline about the time Assassin's Creed 3 is brought to market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      Presumably they want to sell people a *second* game a year from now and angry customers usually aren't repeat customers

    • you're only thinking of the hardcore that knows to hit forums. All it takes is 1 phone call or email and they've lost all the profit on the sale, even if the call consists of "Servers down, try again later!".
    • Few reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @10:10PM (#31396834)

      1) Gamers may try and return the game. I suppose Ubisoft could refuse to issue refunds but that opens them up to lawsuits. Like it or not, a sold product does have an implied warranty of fitness, meaning that it will work for the purpose you sell it. If it doesn't, customers can get their money back and if you won't give it to them, a court can and will force the issue.

      2) It puts off people who haven't bought the game yet. Not everyone buys a game on the day it comes out. Plenty of people wait a bit. Well, they see this, realize that it is true if the auth servers are down there's no game to be played, and decide "Nah, I'll buy a different game." I mean we do not at all lack for good games these days, people can and will take their money elsewhere.

      3) It can lead to these people refusing to be customers again. Sure you got their money this time, however a business does not live based on selling one product. You need repeat sales. People who get burned by this (or just hear about it) may decide to give Ubisoft products a miss in the future because of it.

      The idea of "Oh well they got their money," is rather short sighted. When businesses operate like that, screwing people over and saying "We already got the money so who cares?" the end result is often the business suffering or going broke in the future.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:32PM (#31395452)

    Stop supporting games with this kind of DRM

  • I'm not mad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SolidAltar (1268608) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:38PM (#31395512)

    I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble feeling sorry for people who support DRM (those who bought the game).
    They paid for it. They got what they wanted.

    Find someone else's sholder to cry on.

    • Re:I'm not mad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by noz (253073) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:46PM (#31395602)

      I'm sorry, I'm having a little trouble feeling sorry for people who support DRM (those who bought the game).
      They paid for it. They got what they wanted.

      Find someone else's sholder to cry on.

      Good call. As someone else pointed out above:

      Why would this stem the awful DRM? They have the money, gamers are still going to play, life moves on.

      The publisher has the customer's money. Support after payment is always awful. Until customers vote with their wallets, it will only get worse.

      Enjoy your intentionally defective products!

    • Re:I'm not mad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:55PM (#31395694)
      most people who purchased this game had no idea about DRM, you jerk off.
      • Re:I'm not mad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Floritard (1058660) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:07PM (#31395808)
        Maybe they should educate themselves then. Consumer abuse such as DRM is getting by largely because of public ignorance. Even if they have to learn the hard way, ie buying a defective product, they learn nonetheless. If they need to feel burned to start taking notice then I'm glad we have companies like Ubisoft around to burn them.
      • Re:I'm not mad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SolidAltar (1268608) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:10PM (#31395842)

        Now they know better.
        This is the best possible thing that could have happened to them.

  • by InfinityWpi (175421) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:39PM (#31395526)

    First time I've heard of a DDoS attack being used to break DRM...

  • I already said it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#31395560)

    Can't find it now, but definitly NOW the DRM protection WILL be the discussion topic on the schoolyard. And maybe company lunchrooms too. People who bought the game will ask around, especially their "IT clued" friends what they could do to play what they paid for, and they will be informed about how to get cracks.

    People who never pondered cracking will now be introduced to it. So far they did actually buy their games. Either because they simply didn't know about it or, worse, because they didn't want to go through the hassle and thought that paying 50 bucks is easier, faster and less of a problem than futzing about with cracks and copying this and cracking that and executing this registry tuner and writing that into the registry...

    Now they learn that buying games leads to more futzing, more frustration, more "it doesn't just work" than finding it in P2P and downloading it. Legal copies just lost the only edge they had over cracked ones: Ease of use and "just working".

    Great job, UBIsoft. Just as the software industry finally regained some footing in the battle against copying, you go and aim the bazooka at your (and the industry's) foot.

    • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:17PM (#31395904)

      Don't tell your friends to crack the game. Tell them to go to the store and demand their money back.

      The software is fundamentally broken. You haven't gotten what you've paid for. Returns will be a lot more painful for Ubisoft. Pose 90% returned games vs 90% pirated games at a stock holders meeting, and they'd probably prefer 90% pirated, as the 90% returned will be more expensive in the long run.

    • by tecnico.hitos (1490201) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:19PM (#31395926)

      Great job, UBIsoft. Just as the software industry finally regained some footing in the battle against copying, you go and aim the bazooka at your (and the industry's) foot.

      Do not rocket jump if you have low HP.

  • No sympathy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebcdic (39948) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#31395562)

    You knew the game had this DRM, you knew that it was susceptible to server crashes, you whined about it endlessly, AND THEN YOU WENT OUT AND BOUGHT IT ANYWAY. How stupid can you get? Ubisoft must be laughing their heads off.

    • Re:No sympathy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sancho (17056) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:56PM (#31395704) Homepage

      Did they? I didn't hear about the DRM until after the game was released. If I had not been waiting until it came down in price a bit, I might have purchased it based upon the merits of the first game and some early reviews which didn't mention the DRM.

      I might even have failed to notice the small print which said that an Internet connection was needed in order to play it. I certainly wouldn't have expected that to be a requirement.

      I bet a lot of people had no idea. This might do more to kill gaming on the PC than DRM, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        In this case they learned a valuable lesson: There's more in a game but graphics, sound and gameplay today that you should inform yourself about before buying it: Its copy protection, and whether it is something you deem acceptible.

        Saying that this will kill PC gaming is a bit far fetched, unless companies insist in it by continuing to push these kinds of copy protection. I'd consider it highly doubtful that people who played on PCs so far will go out and buy a 200+ bucks game console. I dare to extrapolate

    • Re:No sympathy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@hotmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:57PM (#31395712) Homepage

      "You knew the game had this DRM, you knew that it was susceptible to server crashes, you whined about it endlessly, AND THEN YOU WENT OUT AND BOUGHT IT ANYWAY. How stupid can you get? Ubisoft must be laughing their heads off."

      The non-technically inclined audience does not and did not know of the DRM and its effects. Not everyone knows what kinds of issues it might lead to. The fact that you knew about it does not negate that fact. As such, such audience got screwed by this and it is in no way their own fault.

  • Well, duh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:45PM (#31395592)

    It's as if nobody learned the first time about DRM when Microsoft shut off its MSN Music Store DRM servers, thus having people locked out of their own music they bought legitimately.

    For those who got burned, it's not like people weren't warned. If you bought the game, you got what you deserved.

    --
    BMO

  • by TSHTF (953742) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:47PM (#31395614) Homepage
    It's worth looking at how a Ubisoft rep replies [ubi.com] to a post that gives users information on how to use the now-broken service:

    Please do not post about illegal activities and or downloads.

    The response [ubi.com] summarizes the situation appropriately:

    WTF I posted a link to google that shows how to play since UBIcraps servers are down and you call it ILLEGAL activities? RAbble rabble! I will never buy another ubisoft product and I advise you to do the same!

  • This is a good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BeardedChimp (1416531) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:48PM (#31395620)
    Several DRM schemes have only involked a reaction in the tech community such as slashdot while the general public carried on not caring.
    This shambles has made it painfully obvious to the masses of the dangers of DRM.
    The 45 page thread [ubi.com] is evidence of it and is quickly filling up with hatred. Comments such as "I'll never buy from you again" which usually tend to be hyperbole this time ring true.

    Hopefully the end result of this is that the public won't have a short attention span and make true on their threats of not buying from them again.
  • Let me just say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paintballparrot (1504383) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:50PM (#31395646)
    When I saw this story: *laughing for 5 mins* *gasping for air* *laughing for another 2 minutes* wooooooooooooooooooooooooo! ha ha ha
  • Murphy's Law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bbqsrc (1441981) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:52PM (#31395662) Homepage
    Seriously, obey, or you will be fucked by it.
  • Thank You Ubisoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohnson (62583) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @07:56PM (#31395706) Homepage

    We should all send flowers or candy or something to Ubisoft Headquarters. They've done more with one game launch to torpedo the use of DRM than a thousand indignant ./ stories and editorials.

    • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:53PM (#31396252)
      Honestly? I'm thinking of finding the customer support email for Ubisoft and writing them an email thanking them for giving a demonstration to their customers of why DRM is bad - people like me go on the forums and tell people that this shit will happen and they say "No it won't, the company wouldn't do that!" - now they know that they will. *jumps with glee*
  • by AlgorithMan (937244) on Sunday March 07, 2010 @08:07PM (#31395792) Homepage
    the german law 69d UrhG allows cracking of software that you legally own and that won't work otherwise...
  • by CharonX (522492) on Monday March 08, 2010 @12:29AM (#31397618) Journal
    What everyone predicted has happened.
    The servers fail just after the game is released, tens (hundreds?) of thousands of customers are highly unsatisfied, not to say irate.
    This is already a PR disaster, should the servers keep failing (whatever the reasons - the people don't care if your servers are to weak to handle the load or if some /b/tards decide to DDOS them for "pool's closed" - they only care that they cannot play the game they BOUGHT) it will become a massive one.
    Oh, and since Silent Hunter 5 was already cracked I suspect a crack for Assassin's Creed 2 won't be long.
    So in a way, Ubisoft, you decided to ignore the warnings, now your tears, they taste delicious.
  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Monday March 08, 2010 @01:03AM (#31397764) Journal

    The original idea of copyright, the whole "exchange" thing going on here, is that a content producer is granted a limited, exclusive time period to profit from a work before it becomes public domain, as the nature of any form of information allows unlimited copying anyway. In the US Constitution, this exchange is established to promote the advance of arts and sciences, and it is a reasonable way to encourage content creation as an actual profession. All understandable...

    When a company places nasty digital restrictions management garbage on their information product, especially this kind of phone-home to use / read sort of nonsense, it completely removes the part of the exchange that the public receives. The public, the people, via government allowed a limited time for the content creator to exclusively profit from their work before it enters the public domain, and that is the concept of "copyright." DRM, especially this kind, breaks the agreement. It destroys the very foundation of the concept. Therefore, I do not consider any such work to be copyrighted. I am not a lawyer, etc... but I am someone who understands what copyright is for, and that it has become something else entirely. Unlimited terms (beyond a human's lifetime), means it is not under copyright. Permission-every-time sorts of access models mean it is not under copyright.

    I know very well that these matters are settled by throwing money at lawyers and congress-creatures, and therefore, my opinion means nothing in a court of law. I also know that I do everything in my power to ensure that people understand the concept of "intellectual property" is against the very nature of information, and is a disgusting concept that has come about through purchased laws.

  • Send A Message (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FSWKU (551325) on Monday March 08, 2010 @04:03AM (#31398524)
    Now is the time to send a message to Ubisoft that this sort of intrusive DRM will NOT be tolerated. If the servers had stayed up and people just refused to buy the game, they would have written the poor sales off as being caused by "pirates." Now, you have a chance to prove otherwise. Every single person who bought this game on PC should return it to the store. Yes, most will attempt to deny the returns due to policy, or to exchange with a new copy since that one is perceived as damaged/defective. Do not stand for this. Tell them that yes, it is defective, but ALL copies are defective. Let them know that the software itself works just fine on your computer, and in fact ran EXACTLY the way it was supposed to. However, you are forced to return it because it does not work properly on yours or ANY system, because Ubisoft's servers weren't online to allow you to play a game that you legally purchased and met all the requirements for being able to play.

    Ubisoft won't be able to shrug it off as "piracy" when their sales numbers for this game begin to shrink due to returns and angry retailers. THIS will hit them in the pocketbook more than a simple, dubiously effective boycott. When they are forced to start handing money back because of their failures, that will speak much louder than never having been paid that money to begin with.

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