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DRM Games Your Rights Online

Ubisoft's DRM Cracked — For Real This Time 443

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-you-next-scheme dept.
therufus writes "A few days after the release of Assassin's Creed 2, naughty piracy sites were announcing they had cracked Ubisoft's Online Services Platform. Turns out, that wasn't entirely true. While it was possible to load into the game, players were unable to advance past a certain memory block. But now, it seems Ubisoft will need to draft a new response. A new crack has begun circulating that removes the DRM entirely."
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Ubisoft's DRM Cracked — For Real This Time

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  • you might want to google for "OnLive"
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:38AM (#31974856)
    It's already in the works at On Live [onlive.com]. IMHO I think the latency related to gaming in this fashion will ruin it for everyone (unless you're playing board games or the like).
  • Almost 2 months (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:43AM (#31974906)

    In 2001, a developer at Insomniac wrote an article [gamasutra.com] about how they went about protecting their new Spyro game. It also took two months to be cracked. But as he says in the article, the goal was not to be unbreakable, but to delay the hackers -- 50 percent of the total sales occurred in the first 2 months.

    Effectively, Ubisoft has already won.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:48AM (#31974958)

    Even unencrypted it took weeks to emulate/"crack" the protection. So this was rather successful by the standards of DRM. They can step up this kind of protection in future titles. Allegedly the new Settlers game uses a variant of the same DRM which has a more complex integration with the server. Either way, the legit customer is stuck with a game that will only run when the server is up and reachable. If you see anybody playing AC2 on a plane or even on a train, they're almost certainly playing a pirated version, because legit customers simply can't run the game.

  • by Zero_DgZ (1047348) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:53AM (#31974998)

    You mean like people already do with World of Warcraft pirate servers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @10:57AM (#31975048)

    At which point prices will have to drop significantly because you're no longer selling a game; you're selling a subscription to a game.

    Why the hell is this modded "insightful"? It's either "troll" or at best "funny".

    They'll just sell a lifetime* subscription for the regular price.

    * Really just as long as we feel like running the servers. No longer than the date of the release of the successor or 2 years from release.

  • by celibate for life (1639541) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:17AM (#31975230)
    Nothing stops them from resurrecting old titles as a "Vintage Special" and offering you the privilege of playing them for a fee.
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:20AM (#31975252) Homepage Journal

    Dragons Lair was VERY successful- and it had a wee amount of delays..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Lair [wikipedia.org]

    The game's enormous contrast with other arcade games of the time created a sensation when it appeared, and was played so heavily that many machines often broke due to the strain of overuse. It was also arguably the most successful game on this medium and is aggressively sought after by collectors.

  • by celibate for life (1639541) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:21AM (#31975268)
    Most MMO private servers simply involve official server software leaking by an employee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:22AM (#31975276)

    And yet, they are still taken down using the DMCA....

  • by jeremyp (130771) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:36AM (#31975468) Homepage Journal

    The real issue here is that SkidRow took the "values" database from the community who initially logged them, and pretty much claimed it as their own work. The original cracking community inserted some fake "values" as trackers in order to determine when anyone stole their work and released it.

    One group of pirates being ripped off by another group of pirates is not an issue, it's funny.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:49AM (#31975620)

    So the pirates are winning. Look at it this way. The pirates have pushed DRM to be so draconian that even the ardent pro corporatist shill is getting stung. The only unbroken DRM out there requires you to have a 24/7 internet connection. Good luck playing your favorite single player game while you wait at the DMV, on that flight, during your commute, etc. well except for that pirate guy sitting next to you. Imagine your the guy who paid for these games in that situation. How do you feel now?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:57AM (#31975686)

    I work at Ubisoft as a programmer, which is why I'm posting as an AC. What the next step will be in the DRM, the ramp-up, is gameplay code that is run from the server. So in order to crack that one the pirates will have to fully emulate the server side code. Not the whole of the gameplay code mind you, just a small, but necessary and essential, portion. This should be in effect for the coming summer releases.
    For the record I think Ubisoft are being asshat idiots in continuing to ramp up this obscenity of a slap in the face to paying consumers. And I'm not alone, you should see the in-house mailing list flamewars about this (which also means that other employees are freaking greedy douchebags, it's not just the suits.)

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @11:58AM (#31975700)

    Indeed, "I'll believe it when I see it" is not a bad position to take with OnLive.

    Seriously though, it's going to take a very long time before an online system can replace a local system - think about it, current bus technologies between hardware and TV/Monitor run in the multi-gigabit range.

    Now that's uncompressed, Cable TV has shown that you can crank those numbers down quite a bit, but you're still talking about a lot of people completely saturating 200-300mbit connections to match the quality of video you get on your local hardware. The connection would have to be very very reliable as well - just a few hiccups in latency or speed can cause extreme annoyance for the gamer. So in reality you're looking at probably a 500mbit connection with a guarantee of no less than 300mbit or so.

    It would take one hell of an infrastructure improvement to handle that.

    It's also a moving target, because video advances continue (though slower than some would like), and by the time we get 500mbit connections in enough homes to make this viable (you'll always be cutting off a big chunk of the market with this setup), the target could very well need to be 1gbit to match local hardware.

  • by Yosho (135835) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @12:14PM (#31975844) Homepage

    Nothing stops them from resurrecting old titles as a "Vintage Special" and offering you the privilege of playing them for a fee.

    Uh, except for going out of business. Assuming they had the proposed sort of DRM, if I wanted to play Pool of Radiance again, who would offer that? How about Tyrian or Jazz Jackrabbit...?

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:35PM (#31976548)

    I think it's more of "I really want it, but you're a total dick, so I'll just steal it."

    It's certainly not right, but it's also not un-justifiable. Given that a pirateer generally has a better gaming experience than a legitimate gamer should be illuminating.

    Really, the more obtrusive these DRM schemes get the bigger the market will be for pirated copies. That's the crux of their problem.

    You know a much more effective way to limit piracy? Make it more convenient to buy it than to pirate it. Valve has shown how effective this can be with Steam - they don't get nearly as much piracy on their games because it's just a lot easier to use Steam than it is to deal with cracking scheme X. Add to that the abundance of viruses disguised as game cracks, and a service like Steam becomes very attractive. Plus, with Steam Valve can react to changes in the market instantly, instead of having to wait. They can even do live testing en-mass, reducing the cost of market research. An example of that was when Valve reduced their prices on Steam and saw their revenues shoot up.

    Valve pretty much has it figured out, I don't understand why nobody else seems to be catching on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:38PM (#31976578)

    The tired old, simplistic view of "supply & demand" doesn't apply to a product that has infinite supply and basically a $0 distribution cost. The rules are different.

    I see this argument in the housing market all the time too. People chant like zombies, "oh, it's supply & demand!" Without considering the multitude of factors (both real and artificial) that influence both the supply and the demand. You might as well just say "well, that's life" because it's just as insightful.

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:43PM (#31976632) Homepage Journal

    Uh, yea, if you're going to talk smack, make sure you know what you're talking about.

    A linux server is EXACTLY how I bypassed the DRM initially, and I DID get past the memory block most couldn't get to - learn to check your in-process opcodes, fools.

    I had ACII running the week before official release. I beat it the day of official release.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @01:48PM (#31976692)

    Ever wonder why we have to haggle on prices? Because motherfuckers are greedy.

    There is something to what you say, of course the necessary corollary is that they are also stupid. I run into this quite a bit. A company that charges a "fair" markup on its costs will do better in the long run than a company that haggles to get every dime. It is why haggling went away for a long time in America (and elsewhere, but I am less familiar with the economics of this sort elsewhere). Quaker merchants in the colonial era sold their merchandise for what they believed to be a fair markup over their cost. Everybody knew that when you went to a Quaker merchant, you paid the same amount as the next guy no matter how good of a haggler you were. They also knew that the Quaker's markup was not excessive. Additionally, the Quaker merchants response to people who wanted to haggle was, "That's my price, if you don't want to pay it, go to somebody else." This meant that the merchants who haggled only got the customers who were good hagglers (eventually, as people who weren't good hagglers realized they were paying more than from the Quaker merchants) and therefore could not make as much money as the Quakers (or other non-Quakers who followed the same model).

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @03:06PM (#31977472) Homepage

    The fact that prices consistently fail to fall to just about the marginal cost of production DOES, however prove that there are either very few truly healthy markets out there or that market theory is fundamentally flawed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 25, 2010 @03:54PM (#31977896)

    And I'm not alone, you should see the in-house mailing list flamewars about this (which also means that other employees are freaking greedy douchebags, it's not just the suits.)

    Please leak them.

  • by Goaway (82658) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @05:34PM (#31978636) Homepage

    Man can make a one-time pad, man can not break a one-time pad. Your generalization is false.

  • by complacence (214847) on Monday April 26, 2010 @01:14PM (#31986764)
    1. Taking someone's work.
    2. Taking credit for someone's work.

    These people value skill and care about giving credit for it. They do not care about stealing a product while expressly leaving the credit where it's due. Their value system is contiguous and non-contradictory, hence not hypocritical.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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