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Games Your Rights Online

Ubisoft's Constant Net Connection DRM Confirmed 631

A few weeks ago we discussed news of Ubisoft's DRM plans for future games, which reportedly went so far as to require a constant net connection, terminating your game if you get disconnected for any reason. Well, it's here; upon playing review copies of the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers VII, PCGamer found the DRM just as annoying as you might expect. Quoting: "If you get disconnected while playing, you're booted out of the game. All your progress since the last checkpoint or savegame is lost, and your only options are to quit to Windows or wait until you're reconnected. The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you're not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft's 'Master servers.' The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen — all my progress since it last autosaved was lost."
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Ubisoft's Constant Net Connection DRM Confirmed

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  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @03:33AM (#31181136)
    In ten to twenty years, when we're playing these games on emulators and reminiscing about the good old days, when these activation servers are dead and gone, we will be thankful that someone took the time to remove these checks from our games so that we could play them in the future.
    And I wonder, in this never ending holy war against pirates, what they think that Pyrrhic victory after Pyrrhic victory will earn them? Countless fortunes? Unending wealth? Do they think that making your game difficult to play will somehow make it sell billions of copies?
  • Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TACD ( 514008 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @03:35AM (#31181150) Homepage

    At last, they've made DRM so obnoxious, intrusive and butt-fuckingly annoying that even the average Joe will become enraged at the audacity of the thing. Hope Ubisoft has a team of people standing by ready to explain to people with shaky wireless routers or traffic-shaping ISPs why their game keeps booting them out.

    I'm calling it - less than three months after release before they patch this out due to overwhelmingly bad press. Christ Ubisoft, who do you think you are?

  • DDOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @03:46AM (#31181212)

    so, if someon DDOS their servers, all people on the world will be kicked out and lose their progress ?
    hmm . . . what a great idea.

  • Cloud gaming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @03:46AM (#31181218) Journal
    I'm assuming Ubisoft, EA and the like are starting to dream about gaming on the cloud- complete control over access to the content, mandatory constant internet connection to the servers, and no pirateable game files being distributed to consumers. In addition, it will become much easier to cite server costs as a reason to shut down a game after a few years.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Interesting)

    by T Murphy ( 1054674 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @03:53AM (#31181262) Journal
    My guess is they figure the chance they can get away with this is worth more than the profits they'll lose during those first few months. Chances are not a lot of people who protest initially will hold out after they relax the DRM, so those lost profits won't be too big.

    Also, I bet they can get away with more if they start with horrible DRM, then lighten up a little, as opposed to starting with typical draconian DRM.
  • Re:Cloud gaming? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by starblazer ( 49187 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @04:08AM (#31181360) Homepage

    starting to? They have been since WoW became so popular. Why do you think starting with BF2 it became required to "login"... with 2142 you had to purchase the game to login.

  • by bignetbuy ( 1105123 ) <dirrtygsharp.outlook@com> on Thursday February 18, 2010 @04:17AM (#31181406) Journal

    Very true. Case in point: CoD: Modern Warfare 2. PC gamers were up in arms about lack of dedicated server support, console port, etc. Talks of boycotts over missing features and the price ($60 v/s $50). What happened when the game was released? Biggest video game debut ever? PC gamers who signed boycotts and joined Steam boycott groups were seen playing the game.

  • by Petrushka ( 815171 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @04:33AM (#31181516)

    What they are doing is like telling the customers WE DON'T TRUST YOU and that ain't the way to run a business.

    Actually I feel it sends a much stronger message than that: I interpret this as telling me, "If you give us your business, we will punish you." Well, I can think of better companies to do business with: Ironclad, 2D Boy,, Stardock ...

    Incidentally, this DRM has pushed Rock, Paper, Shotgun [] to boycott all coverage of any aspect of the game henceforth, other than DRM.

    Incredible. In-cred-i-ble. It’s like someone taking away your food mid-meal because your napkin’s fallen on the floor. It makes us want to pull an expression we’re not physically capable of, like this. It’s also worth noting this is a day on which EA have turned off multiplayer servers for games that are only a year old – so it’s hard to have faith that Ubi’s activation servers will be around for many years hence.

    If you're getting journalists that pissed off, you know you're really doing a good job, right?

  • Re:BRING IT ON !! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday February 18, 2010 @05:19AM (#31181764)

    If your customers somehow took 85% of your revenue

    [citation needed]

    Ubisoft: 3rd quarter sales (Feb 9, 2010) 495 million pounds sterling. []

    Now let's see if I get the math right, if 495 million is 15 percent, then 33 million is 1 percent, therefore 3.3 billion pounds is 100 percent.

    So, according to you, a company like Ubisoft should be selling 3.3 billion pounds PER QUARTER? Just as a minor comparison, General Dynamix (a small defense company that makes oh, fighter jets and boats) only sold 2.1 billion DOLLARS last quarter.

    I absolutely LAUGH at "piracy hurts sales" whiners who start throwing BS numbers like that 85% about. You are full of shit.

  • Re:BRING IT ON !! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @05:41AM (#31181920)

    It's not about having money, it's about having the will to buy their crap in the first place.

    I've pirated some games and deleted them after an hour of bad gameplay experience. I was very glad I didn't purchase it.

    And don't go waving the "Try a demo, you liar!" card, because draconian DRM like Starforce (which rootkits you and makes USB ports go haywire, disables some of your software) are nowadays included with those demos.

    No, I don't feel bad about what I'm doing.

  • Re:BRING IT ON !! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @05:55AM (#31181998)

    No the parent is NOT correct, because he has not (nor has any development exec) demonstrated that DRM has ever stopped even 1 pirate. The evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary, drm ONLY inconveniences paying customers while doing nothing to solve the problem of piracy.

    Do I blame developers for trying to do SOMETHING to stop game piracy? Not really. But I do blame them for pointlessly inconveniencing their paying customers and decreasing the value of their product to the point that the pirated version is a superior product, without ever preventing any piracy. All drm does is ENCOURAGE piracy by making the pirated version a superior product for a lower price.

  • Re:DDOS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @06:20AM (#31182128)

    Almost certainly not enough spare bandwidth to deal with a halfway decent DDOS--which if a piracy/bot ring wants to convince people to install their infected/pirated version, best way would be to use their botnet to bring down the server a few times.

  • Re:Let'see.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rpillala ( 583965 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:15AM (#31182410)
    Hey I don't know if this is your situation or not, but I used to have a similar problem with my cable internet. After months and months of Comcast sending a guy to reboot the modem, I finally got someone who understood that the problem was intermittent. It turned out that the signal was too loud. He put a splitter in between the wall and the modem, and this cut the signal down enough for stability. Hope that helps.
  • by JakFrost ( 139885 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:37AM (#31183396)

    Send a letter? What is this, the 1970's? Get real, nobody is going to read your letter or care what it says and it will be junked as soon as it is opened. They are not going to rush your letter to the CEO personally letting him know that you are unsatisfied. The upper management won't care about some complaining doofus still writing letters, griping about something or other. You're targeting the wrong people with your letters and there is not enough distribution to them.

    Instead write a Blog entry or a Forum post and get vocal about the reason why you won't buy the game. Have some people reply to what you wrote and start up an angry thread. Target the people who care about the issue, because obviously the game company doesn't otherwise it wouldn't be implemented, and try to reach a wider audience regarding your grievance. The more people who hear about the problem the more they know and the less likely they will be to spend money on some game where everyone is complaining about.

    Would you buy a product that had terrible reviews online and by word of mouth because everyone and their aunt knew it sucked and they found out about the suckyness beforehand?

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:24AM (#31183974) Journal

    In addition:

    Give the games 0 star reviews on all websites that allow ratings to be provided - Amazon, Metacritic, etc. State why. I certainly know that I pay more heed to the user scores on Metacritic than the average-paid-for-magazine-review scores.

    Complain to your local/national consumer protection agency about artificial disabling technology in products that you have purchased, and explain how this is different from the historical standard where games software would continue to run as long as you have the platform it ran on available. Explain how the company can disable the game by disabling the server that enables the game to run, or if the company goes bust, etc.

    And don't buy any software from companies that use such restrictive DRM.

  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:49AM (#31185234)

    Ever heard of Metropolis? Famous movie from the silent film era?

    Parts of it were lost, but a few years ago most of those were dicovered ( []) on a 16mm copy in Argentine that was not destroyed (as required) after showing the film.
    Technically that makes the cinema owner from the 1920s a pirate, but thanks to his breach of contract(?) Metropolis is almost complete again.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith