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Ubisoft Working On a New Anti-Piracy Tool 377

Ubisoft recently revealed that their game sales have seen a 50% drop over the past quarter, blaming the overall market slowdown and piracy (particularly on the DS) for the low numbers. They also announced that four of their games, including Splinter Cell: Conviction and Red Steel 2, would be delayed until 2010. The company's CEO, Yves Guillemot, now says they are working on a new anti-piracy tool that should be ready by the end of 2009. He didn't offer any details about how it would be implemented.
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Ubisoft Working On a New Anti-Piracy Tool

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  • by dk90406 ( 797452 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:34AM (#28849515)
    Ubisoft: Your development budget is better spent on developing good games (I am not saying your current games are bad - I have no experience with them), than yet another copyright scheme that will be broken.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I am not saying your current games are bad

      Well, you should. I haven't bought OR pirated an Ubisoft game for the last six months for the exact same reason: they suck. The last game I did buy was the new Prince of Persia, which I was deeply disappointed with. Prior to that, I bought Assassin's Creed, which I was mildly disappointed with and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent which was terrible.

      I usually do not pirate Ubisoft games because they don't warrant the effort. The only one I have ever pirated w

      • by Gulthek ( 12570 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:49AM (#28849925) Homepage Journal

        Bummer. You let critics ruin what would otherwise have been an enjoyable game.

      • I agree. SC:DA was horrendous on the PC. It was clearly a port from the console version, and the controls on the PC blew goats. I played 2 levels and never touched it again...which sucked because I own all of the previous ones and love that series.

        I guess it was made in Shanghai. Over the last 4 in the series, every one made in Montreal was kick ass. The others suck and were plagued with technical issues. There's no way I'll touch Conviction with a 10 foot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by farrellj ( 563 ) *

        Of course, not only is quality of product important...but, Has Ubisoft heard about the World Wide Recession?!?!?!?! Do you think it *might* have something to do with their sales?!?!?!

        And if they want to compare to a Movie...well, a movie is almost an impulse buy, with maybe $8-$15 price wise...but when you start talking around $50 for a game....if you don't know where you next pay check is coming from, it's hard to justify a layout of $50 a pop,

        Way back when, games for 6502 CPUs used to have all sorts of co

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PitaBred ( 632671 )
        I haven't been impressed with their PC games, but damned if the Raving Rabbids titles on the Wii aren't fun
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good games? They have no clue what the hell that is, they're too busy pumping out trash like Imagine Babyz [].

      (No really, that's not my misspelling.)

      • by JohhnyTHM ( 799469 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @01:12PM (#28855045)
        The parent is spot on. Most UbiSoft releases are utter dross.

        The only title of theirs that I have been interested in recently was Far Cry 2, which I didn't buy (or copy) due to the SecuRom with limited installs. There was a thread on the UbiSoft website begging them not to use SecuRom, with some polite, thought out reasons why it was a bad idea. When the game was cracked five days before the official release date I pointed out that those downloading it didn't have to put up with SecuRom and limited installs like the paying customers did. My forum account was banned. For telling the truth. Apparently it was considered to be promoting piracy.

        Way to fuck off those willing to buy your games Ubi!

        Maybe this is the real reason sales are down?

    • by tehSpork ( 1000190 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:10AM (#28850069)

      I am not saying your current games are bad - I have no experience with them

      You've saved yourself some money and hours of crappy gameplay then. Assassin's Creed was almost enjoyable (if it hadn't been so buggy), other than that I haven't really enjoyed an Ubisoft title since Chaos Theory (released in 2005). I had been looking forward to Splinter Cell Conviction, however with the way they keep delaying it and changing things by the time we get it I doubt it will resemble the original franchise at all.

      A note to game developers: Just because a franchise is successful doesn't mean that it will survive a substantial change in gameplay like we got with Double Agent. Furthermore, after a bomb like Double Agent it would be wise to return more towards the style that popularized your game in the first place before branching out in new directions. I'm not asking for EA Games Madden-esque repetition here and not saying that taking franchises in new creative directions is not good, but when you fail so badly take it back to base before you try again.

      Also: If you notice game sales going down it probably has a correlation to your games sucking, regardless of the actual effects of piracy. Since the industry has pretty much stopped offering demos often times the only way to try a game is to download it first. If it sucks why would you bother purchasing it? "Better" DRM isn't going to help you on this front, however games that don't suck would. =)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tuntis ( 1065596 )
        There's a gameplay video of Conviction [] - it certainly doesn't remind me of the old games, but it still looks like a good game. I don't think Double Agent is a bad game - but the horribly buggy PC version ruined it for me.
  • Anti-privacy tool? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:35AM (#28849517)
    At first I misread the title as Anti-privacy tool, on second reading i realized this might be close to the truth.
  • Anti-piracy tool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:36AM (#28849527) Homepage

    they are working on a new anti-piracy tool that should be ready by the end of 2009

    In other news, hackers are working on breaking Ubisoft's new anti-piracy tool. They expect it to be cracked by the end of 2009 plus one day.

  • Details (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@gmail.COLAcom minus caffeine> on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:38AM (#28849537)

    He didn't offer any details about how it would be implemented.

    Because he doesn't know, obviously. Oh, and there is no copy protection that won't be cracked on release day. Again, there is one and only one method I've seen so far that worked: make the server you control essential to gameplay, see WoW. (Oh, and Blizzard actually releases their client without copy protection whatsoever.)

    You don't control my computer, and you deserve to go bankrupt for trying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh, and there is no copy protection that won't be cracked on release day.

      Really? because it took quite some time to crack Starforce when it first came out. And, even then, the first cracks were only workarounds that made it look like you were using an external SCSI drive which, for some reason, allowed the binary to run. At least, that was the eventual "crack" for Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

    • On release day? I'd say it takes a few days normally, even a week or 2 sometimes.
      but ya.
      There is no unbreakable copy protection.

    • Again, there is one and only one method I've seen so far that worked: make the server you control essential to gameplay, see WoW.

      The summary mentions games for Nintendo DS, which are often played miles away from Wi-Fi hotspots. Bundling a 3G to Wi-Fi adapter (such as MiFi) and 3G data service with your game is cost prohibitive.

    • by selven ( 1556643 )
      Not only do they not use copy protection, they let you download the client an unlimited number of times if you have the right account status (basic, BC, WLK). They don't need to - even if every computer in the world has WoW on it, you still need to pay to get an account on their server to play it.
    • He didn't offer any details about how it would be implemented.

      Because he doesn't know, obviously. Oh, and there is no copy protection that won't be cracked on release day. Again, there is one and only one method I've seen so far that worked: make the server you control essential to gameplay, see WoW. (Oh, and Blizzard actually releases their client without copy protection whatsoever.)

      You don't control my computer, and you deserve to go bankrupt for trying.

      Unless you count the free to play pirate servers that emulate the functionality of the official Blizzard servers. There aren't completely the same and often quite buggy, but the game is / was in a somewhat playable state without the aid of Blizzard's servers. You're right anyway though, offering an exclusive service for your product is often a better business model than selling any product.

  • by Caboosian ( 1096069 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:40AM (#28849549)
    Here's your best anti-piracy tool: Drop the price on new PC games to $40, and ffs, stop treating your customers like thieves.
    • by Duds ( 100634 ) *

      Exactly, I stopped looking at their stuff for the same reason I stopped looking at EAs and for the same reason I buy very few PC games that aren't £10 or from It's a f'ing hassle to get legal copies running.

  • by raymansean ( 1115689 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:41AM (#28849559)
    When will they learn that lack of sales != piracy? Lack of sales implies that people are not willing to pay the price you want for what you have to offer. This may be a direct cause of a tanked economy or your product sucks. There are plenty of reasons why your product will not sell piracy is not one of them.
    • by Gulthek ( 12570 )

      Of course. This is just pandering to the shareholders who may not take kindly to the news that the games aren't selling because they just aren't good. They can't technology the "problem" away because: 1) piracy isn't what's killing their game sales and 2) copy protection doesn't work. But they can point to their new protection scheme and say to the shareholders: "Look look! We're fixing it."

      Unfortunately all this crying wolf over piracy eventually results in actual legislation to attempt to rein in the free

    • If your pricing is wrong or advertising is inadequate, then the CMO is in trouble. If your games suck, then the COO is in trouble. If your company can't manage the overall economic decline, then the CEO is in trouble.

      Is it any surprise, then, that when these guys get together to figure out why their sales suck they all collectively point to piracy, which conveniently keeps all of them employed?

  • by janek78 ( 861508 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:42AM (#28849561) Homepage

    If they keep delaying their titles that will surely teach the pirates a lesson. Look at Duke Nukem Forever, no-one has cracked that one yet!

    • They've decided to thwart piracy by not releasing any games. Sounds like a Winner. In fact, they can also save a bunch of money by firing all the employees.

      If they wait long enough, their customer will discover the Actual Reality game "Women."

      "Women" are much less predictable, while being much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, you generally don't want the MM version, since it's typically infected.
  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:44AM (#28849573) Homepage Journal

    ...FarCry, Unreal, heroes of might & magic, & Prince of Persia.
    All these had their day and now are as dead as Duke Nukem. The Rest of Ubisoft's vaunted arsenal of games are either unplayable or so bad that using them as coffee coasters seem an insult to the coffee.
    Ubisoft's CEO seems to have his head so far up his a$$ that he gets high on his own "perfume".
    Instead of blaming his company's utter failure to produce good, replayable games with deep themes and good graphics, he blames an outside factor that his beyond his ability to control.
    What makes him think he will succeed where the Evil Empire Sony's SecuROM and other hundreds of copy-protection have failed?
    His Capitalism 2 doesn't play on Windows 7 64-bit. When asked, his company's cold reply was that i switch back to Windows XP.
    Uru was a rockin' failure and a complete insult to Myst.
    As usual, corporate CEOs are so far removed from reality that they can continue to fool stockholders every single day with more fairy tales of their own.
    I would start shorting Ubisoft's stock from today, if i can.

  • anti-piracy tool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:45AM (#28849577)
    Repeat with me, there is no such thing as an anti-piracy tool for offline gaming.

    After 30 years of gaming, I was hopping that maybe they will get it.
    • I still have the old hole puncher I used back with my C64 for turning single sided floppies into double-sided, which would then be used to copy hundreds of games with my Fastcopy disk. Things haven't changed that much since, thanks to bittorrent.
    • I am afraid you were deluding yourself for 30 years.

      There is quite difference between game that you can copy without any trouble by normal cd-copy routine of your favorite burning software. And game that you simply can not copy without some net digging and without waiting for someone to crack it.

      100% Prevention? No, not really, obviously does not work and can not work, but they do not need to get even close. All you really need is to make it difficult enough to make sure game gets week or two of shelf life

      • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
        "difficult enough so that timmy, the clueless, will never really be able to give copy to his friend johny the clueless."

        This so stupid it hurts my mind every time I read it.

        A friend of mine asked me how to make a copy of his new CD, so he could listen to it also in the car. I told him to not bother and use a torrent site. Since then he doesn't buy new CDs, he learned it's easier to copy them from the net.

        Gratz music industry for alienating your clients.
  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @06:55AM (#28849637)

    For less than the cost of a single DS game (and they're only about $30), you can buy a cartridge and microSD card that can hold all the games you could ever want and then some *and* lets you play old school [s]nes/gameboy games. No juggling or losing cartridges, it's all just there.

    Why would I want to participate in the for-pay DS economy when the pirate experience is far superior?

    • Why would I want to participate in the for-pay DS economy when the pirate experience is far superior?

      Because you like the game, and want to support the developer creating more of those in the future?
      Just a wild guess here...
      • I use a cycloDS. All my games are played from that. However, all of the ROMs were ripped directly (and personally) from my own carts and those files are kept in my sole possession. I keep all the carts too.

        I buy the games so that there could be the chance of more games that I like (and thus will probably buy).

        (The other big advantage of a flash cart is you can carry and play GBA games without the cart protruding from the lite.)

    • Hardly a commercial failure. Nintendo still gets your money for the hardware, and the vendors still get your money for the rom cart and micro SD card. :P

      That a lot of DS games are gimicky crap, front-ends for a collection of gimicky minigames, or just plain shovelware is another matter. I'll gladly pay money for a good DS game that I'm guaranteed to get 25+ hours out of... that's a list of maybe three or four titles a year, none of which are produced by Ubisoft.

  • by Pvt_Ryan ( 1102363 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:06AM (#28849703)
    that the games they have released were crap and they are delaying Splinter Cell yet again..
  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:07AM (#28849711)
    The best antipiracy tool is to make something that is good enough that people are willing to spend money on it. Quality. That's your best antipiracy tool.
  • Copy Protection (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Razalhague ( 1497249 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:09AM (#28849719) Homepage
    The only type of copy protection that won't be cracked is the one protecting something nobody gives a shit about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yogiz ( 1123127 )

      Having played the last few Ubisoft games, it seems that they have already started to implement this new anti-piracy tool.

  • They're already losing sales because of a bad market of bad competitiveness, and their answer to that is to lose even more sales by reducing the free advertisement piracy provides and make their users angry, thus committing suicide?
    Are they out of their minds?

    • Not to worry; their new anti-piracy system will be cracked days after it finds its way onto shelves.

  • How about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by planetoid ( 719535 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @07:54AM (#28849969)
    How about you lazy Ubisoft shitheads fix the UI bugs in Chessmaster that have plagued the software since release instead of worrying about preventing pirated copies of the next Imagine Babiez?

    Oh man I sure love being in Academy mode, moving a chess piece as the tutorial requests in a drill, and then getting stuck in the tutorial because moving a piece made it suddenly think I'm in Game Edit mode, which isn't supposed to happen when you're in a tutorial.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:16AM (#28850115)

    I forget what big titles Ubisoft came out with recently.. but I remember a discussion in my forums where most people were saying they didn't give a shit how good the game was.. They wouldn't buy it because of the DRM. I gotta admit that I'm now in the same boat.. The vast majority of pc gamers in my forums were saying the DRM would prevent them from buying the game.. PC Gamers aren't retarded console gamers.. They do their research on the game AND the DRM that comes with it..

    I have been told I had to buy an internal cdrom drive because my external usb wasn't valid.. (wtf) because of drm issues.. I have been told to 'wait until the Tages servers are back up' before I can play.. I've had cd keys just all of a sudden no longer validate. And, I've had games install all sorts of crappy software on my 64bit windows xp that weren't made for 64bit.. so it causes problems.

  • by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Tuesday July 28, 2009 @08:17AM (#28850129)

    Entertainment sales dropping during a continued recession isn't exactly a surprise. People have less money, so they buy less.

    That's why I thought Time Magazine's conclusions [] last year were just ludicrous, as they predicted that entertainment sales would go up.

  • because, you know, with a global recession and all, a decline in sales of luxury items... hmm... I guess if I hadn't taken economics in school, I might be able to see a co-relation between the two. Now all I can think of is two lines on a graph, with one moving left, the other moving down, and companies like Ubisoft trying to keep P higher than it should be. So it goes...

  • I was taking a look at Ubisoft's game catalog & aside from Beyond Good & Evil, Far Cry, & the Heroes of Might & Magic series (which has been run completely into the ground), none of their games interest me in the least. The only reason I even have Far Cry is because it was like $5 at NewEgg.

  • "blaming the overall market slowdown and piracy (particularly on the DS) for the low numbers."

    I'm certain the globally fucked economy has nothing to do with people buying fewer $50 games.

  • Best Anti Piracy Tool out there... EA and others have been successfully using it for years....

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.