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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the there's-a-lesson-here-that-nobody-will-learn dept.
Joe Helfrich writes "Ubisoft's Settlers 7 servers have been causing problems for over a week for users worldwide, and Australian gamers are hardly able to connect at all. 'The problem reportedly strikes after the game has already confirmed an active Internet connection, and prevents the user from playing even the single-player campaign, returning the error "server not available." But they are available, because other people are logged into them and merrily playing away.' Wonder how they're going to describe this one as an attack."
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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:57PM (#31717158)

    I hear the pirated version of settlers 7 has none of these problems. Best of all: I hear you can get this "pirate" version for free!

  • by selven (1556643) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:03PM (#31717234)

    that pirates are, as usual, getting a superior product [slashdot.org]. Remind me, why am I supposed to pay for the legit version again?

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:06PM (#31717266)
    I am not a gamer simply because I stare at a computer screen 12 - 16 hours a day and can't see getting my entertainment from a computer or console. But ...

    I am numbed by the lengths that these game developers go to try to stop piracy. I completely understand the need to protect their investment and product, but not at the expense of their paying customers. This seems like a ridiculous tale of a snake eating itself and smugly stating "see, I told you so" as it takes its last bite.

    There has got to be a happy medium between this draconian DRM and unprotected products.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:07PM (#31717280) Journal
    Why is this flamebait? It's entirely relevant to the story and makes a valid point. DRM doesn't affect pirates, it just degrades the product for the legitimate customers and makes the pirated version more attractive in comparison. It's much easier to persuade a legitimate customer to switch to the pirated version than it is to do the reverse, and DRM schemes like this have exactly that effect. Any company that spends money driving its customers away is badly in need of new management.
  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:09PM (#31717300)

    it most likely does lead to more sales from the pirates front as they can't play the game otherwise.

    I seriously doubt this. Pirates are after free stuff. Even ye olde sea pirates were after free stuff. It's not like they'd say "Yarr, we haven't found a spice merchant ship to raid in over a month, lets go legally buy some spices at port and sell them at another port." No, they'd just go raid a small village somewhere.

    This type of DRM will cause nothing but loss for Ubisoft. They spent money to make it (or license it), pirates will move elsewhere, and people that would have bought it will be reduced in number because they hear from their friends "It never lets me play!", assuming they didn't hear from their techy friends that "It won't let you play some day".

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:27PM (#31717470)
    I agree. The solution to the DRM problem lies with the consumer. If the consumer refuses to buy games that include DRM, companies that use it will need to make the change due to "market forces" in action.
  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:27PM (#31717472) Journal

    No, actually it's sending a message to Ubisoft that their DRM works. We want to send the message that they are losing sales BECAUSE of DRM. It certainly worked for Spore.

    No. Pirating the game will just tell Ubisoft that you like their game but they need to make their DRM stronger so they get you to buy a game you like. At the same time you're also getting your gaming fix from the game you pirated and won't be alternatively buying games from developers and publishers that dont include such DRM. Not only are you showing to the bad companies that they need to strenghter their DRM, you're advancing their business by them keeping you from spending money on their competitors.

    The only good answer is not to buy and not pirate it altogether, but ignore the whole game.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrMista_B (891430) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:31PM (#31717502)

    "Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message."

    I'm afraid your wrong.

    They will simply decide that your lack of a purchase is proof of your piracy.

    People aren't buying their games? It must be piracy!

  • by Xugumad (39311) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:38PM (#31717582)

    ...on Thursday, and boy was I glad I wasn't trying to play an Ubisoft game while I waited for it come back...

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:42PM (#31717608) Journal

    You cant really compare an MMO and a single-player game. Most of World of Warcraft work is done on server-side, including quests, NPC's, interacting with other players, trading.. etc almost everything. Private servers cant keep up with Blizzard because so much is kept on server side. In fact, this is something that Ubisoft would take as a pro thing for their DRM - start keeping even more on server-side and it will never be breakable. The unavailability of cracked versions of the games having this DRM already shows this very same thing.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gmail . c om> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:45PM (#31717642)

    DRM doesn't affect pirates

    Everyone repeat this until it sinks in. It only takes one DRM-free copy from some ubercracker.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gmail . c om> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:51PM (#31717702)

    In fact, this is something that Ubisoft would take as a pro thing for their DRM - start keeping even more on server-side and it will never be breakable.

    See, that's the difference. Blizzard stays ahead of the private servers by making a superior product. Ubisoft thinks they can require an internet connection for a single-player game.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <.almafuerte. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:53PM (#31717712)

    Except Piracy is stealing fucking ships on the open seas.

    And downloading and cracking software is .... downloading and cracking software.

  • by Korbeau (913903) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:55PM (#31717736)

    As far as I can tell, the article you are pointing to refers to Silent Hunter 5, and both Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers 7 remain uncracked.

    Also note that the solidity of DRM techniques like these depend at how much time the developers spend to "secure" their product. My guess is that for Silent Hunter 5, a very niche product, they only did the minimum. But for their big titles they probably have hordes of programmers messing the game pretty much beyond recognition without the connection to the server. Oh, that never makes it impossible to crack, but it's no longer a simple matter of by-passing some CD key checks by inserting NOPs, you really have to build a set of tools around a particular title and it can take weeks to do so ...

    And that's really their goal. Most of the sales of a game are done during the first few days / weeks. If it takes a month to crack the damn thing, they have reached their goal.

    If they sell 10'000 more titles because frustrated kids can't find their free crack and must beg their parents to go to the store, they have reached their goal. I'm eager to see their financial numbers about this - I'm still skeptical it will change anything, but we'll see.

    Now to answer your question: you are supposed to pay because 1) it is illegal to do otherwise 2) you support the developers of the games you love.

    Wiseass like you wonder why all PC games are crap and developers focus on console gaming since the Internet got popularized ...

    (PS: that is not to say I'm all for these draconian DRM practices. I don't really care about the "always connected" feature as long as the requirements are clearly visible when you buy the game, but I don't like the fact that it prevents resale).

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shihar (153932) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:11PM (#31717882)

    This isn't going to lead to a sales boost. When I was 14 and a pirate I pirated because I was poor. Every game I didn't or couldn't pirates wasn't a game I bought. It was just a game I didn't own.

    Well, now I am twenty something and out of college with an engineering degree. I am single, make a tidy pile of money, and have pretty much no expenses beyond student loans. I buy every single video game that catches my fancy without thinking twice. I never pirate because I don't need to. I just pass on DRM titles. There are more than enough without DRM that it isn't a hard decision.

    Ubi has lost money from me. I would have bought Assassins Creed 2 and Settlers 7. Hell, I was even eying Silent Hunter 5 a little. Instead though? I just went out and got Bioshock 2, both Empire and Napolian Total War, the new STALKER, the new Dragons Age, and Mass Effect 2, on top of a couple of small indie games. Metro 2037 and MW2 are in my list of games to buy as soon as I catch up on the pile I have already bought.

    I really doubt Ubi has "forced' pirates to buy any games. They might not be playing any Ubi games, but what good does that do if they don't buy the game either? For people like me though, I have not and will not buy any Ubi games. Keep a pirate from playing and you gain nothing. Make me and people like me not want to play, and you lose a few hundred bucks.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rallion (711805) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:32PM (#31718074) Journal

    According to Ubisoft, one did...

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:42PM (#31718142) Homepage

    Nonsense. WoW doesn't include DRM, because the whole MMO model is DRM.

    The problem with Ubisoft games is that it's supposed to be a single-player game, yet it requires a constant internet connection to play them. That's not a problem with WoW because MMO are supposed to require an internet connection.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:47PM (#31718182) Homepage

    Or maybe they're trying to play legal versions while not connected to the Internet.

    Dumbass.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:15PM (#31718384) Homepage

    Sure, but that just one (or a few ) samples. You can't say that any significant number of people will pay for software if they can't pirate it. Some will, some won't. Some people can afford it, yet still pirate because it's easier (Steam converts a lot of these). Some people can't afford it, because they live in some idiotic slave nation, and will never buy anything because that big-studio game costs more than what they earn in a year.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:59PM (#31719044)
    You can't say that any significant number of people will pay for software if they can't pirate it. Some will, some won't.

    Yes, I'm fine with the statement that majority of pirates wouldn't have bought the game. However, when piracy numbers are as high as they are (Stardock / Demigod claimed 85% of the people trying to connect to their servers were pirates; 2dBoy said 90% of the people playing their game pirated it), you don't need a large percentage to get a big boost in sales numbers. If we said 90% of those pirates wouldn't have bought, that sounds like a strong argument. But, if 10% of the Demigod pirates or 10% of the World of Goo players bought instead of pirating, Demigod sales numbers would have increased by 56% and World of Goo sales would've increased by 90%. (Would you like to get paid 56% or 90% more money for whatever job you currently work at?) Sales increases of 56% or 90% are hard to ignore -- and that's based on the idea that only 1 out of 10 pirates equals a lost sale.
  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <.almafuerte. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @06:11PM (#31719112)

    Your post is almost correct, except for one small detail ...

    You say it is "... the same crime as making a mix cd of cds you own ...".

    It's actually not, because it's not a crime. Not everything that breaks the law is a crime. Breach of contract is not a crime. Parking in the wrong spot is an misdemeanor, not a crime.

  • by kupekhaize (220804) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @08:18PM (#31719902) Homepage

    I was playing a game on Steam last night and got a Steam ad for this game. I don't have them turned off because once in a while they show good games, sometimes for $4.95, others full price at $49.95+ or whatever, but I have no problems paying for good games. Started looking through the screenshots and got more interested; I've never played any of the Settlers series before but 7 looked pretty good. Then I saw the publisher was Ubisoft... instinctively I started scanning for what kind of DRM was being included. Couldn't find anything, surprisingly enough. Nothing in the right hand columns about SecuROM or the others. But, it didn't seem right to me, so I googled it. Low and behold, "Permanent internet connection required." I went back and rescanned the Steam listing again, and sure enough it was listed. Wasn't in any small print or anything, it was just the middle section below the description; someplace I wasn't expecting it before.

    As soon as I found that out, the game instantly became unplayable to me. Yes, I have an internet connection 99% of the time. No, I don't want to be kept from playing a game that I ****ing PAID FOR when my internet, or your DRM servers are down. End of story. Not the first time I've been kept from purchasing games; and it won't be the last.

    I have a special message for you, Ubisoft, and anyone else willing to implement these DRM schemes. I hope you son of a *****es either get a clue or go out of business before you kill the rest of PC gaming. You're the ones keeping me from purchasing games right now, not the availability of some virus infested warez version. I'm your paying customer, the one who keeps you in business, and you're losing me. I'm not against DRM in general, I pay for lots of games via Steam and there's DRM in there. But having offline playability for up to two weeks at a time says one hell of a lot about a company who actually gives a **** about their customers. Especially ones that add features (unlimited download and install on any # of computers) vs 3 activations, ever. Please get a clue.

  • Re:iTunes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p10link ... inus threevowels> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @08:24PM (#31719934) Homepage

    I was under the impression that the music industry decided to allow their music to be sold online DRM free not because of consumer outcry but because they realised it was the only way to break the ipod/itunes dual product lockin. Also don't forget they had been offering drm free (or at least very weakly protected) CDs the whole time and that music has a HUGE analog hole (video has one too to some extent but there are things like macrovision to try and make it harder to exploit it).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:45PM (#31720950)

    I enjoy playing games. Matter of fact, I just finished the Penumbra games today.

    I make it a point to not buy games that have bull-shit scams like product activation in them though. These people are so busy inconveniencing their customers, I hope they drive themselves out of business. That would really make me happy!

    Ubisoft: I will never buy another game from you again after Splinter Cell CT, and hopefully the rest of the world will wake up soon and stop supporting you as well. Even if you somehow produce an incredible game that I must play, I'll buy it used, just to avoid giving you a dime..

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:54PM (#31721006)

    The ones who use DRM weren't getting his money either way.

    I bet he still played their games, though. He's just a hypocrite, like everyone else around here who says they pirate because they don't like DRM, when what they really mean is they pirate because they think they can get away with not paying for the hard work of others as the law requires.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:20AM (#31721692)

    And I've seen non-pirates not purchasing a game they actually planned to because of restrictive DRM.
    So what? Single incidents don't prove anything.

    Yes, a (small) portion of the pirated copies are actually lost sales. Not anywhere close to 100% as game companies want to make us believe. Just pulling numbers out of thin air I'd guess it's as low as 1-2%, possibly even lower.

    But DRM also causes lost sales. People are put off by it and want a convenient product. If you check amazon reviews and forum posts you will notice that this is actually a _huge_ concern for honest customers.

    So in the end the question is: Will DRM cost you more sales due to not satisfying your customers the best way you can or will piracy cost you more sales due to a very very small percentage of those pirates that might have bought the game?
    Personally I think DRM is not worth it economically.

    It still gets implemented out of spite. Companies sadly don't always think with their profits in mind. They see "Hey, someone is using out stuff for free!" and automatically think that's bad. They don't think of free PR but only of _imaginary_ lost sales.

    What we need is more capitalism, more soulless calculating which will show that a satisfied customer has more monetary worth to a company than one angered by intrusive DRM.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cfalcon (779563) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:10AM (#31722298)

    The "whole MMO model is DRM" is a big fat lie.

    DRM is Digital Restrictions Management (Digital Rights Management to some). It controls what goes on on YOUR computer, the one YOU own, that is supposed to work for YOU. This is not the case in an MMO, where you have a client that talks to a server, and your client IS working for you. The server, running as Blizzard's property, is not. It's ok to run locally if you mess around with it a bit, but you end up with a vast boring world that isn't interesting like if you had, you know, other people in it.

    Not even remotely DRM. The MMO model is actually selling you a SERVICE. These twits are just dillholes whose local code is broken by design unless their shitgobbling servers are up and gobbling shit at the correct rate.

  • For UBI idiots (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:32AM (#31723948)

    Forcing DRM on a single player game is like forcing bicyclists to stop to a gas station.

         

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:05AM (#31724190)

    Huh? Is Assassin's Creed the only Action-Adventure-3D-sorta-game out there (what's that genre called, anyway?)? Is Settlers 7 the only RTS game out there? Can't play that one? Ok, let's play another one.

    It's not like there is no choice...

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