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Encryption Games

Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day 678

Colonel Korn writes "Ubisoft's recent announcement that upcoming games would require a constant internet connection in order to play has been discussed at length on Slashdot ('The Awful Anti-Pirate System That Will Probably Work'). Many were of the opinion that this new, more demanding DRM would have effectiveness to match its inconvenience, at least financially justifying its use. Others assumed that it would be immediately cracked, as is usually the case, leaving the inconvenience for paying customers and resulting in a superior product for pirates. As usual, the latter group was right. Though Ubisoft won't yet admit it, Skid-Row managed to crack the new DRM less than a day after it was first released."
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Ubisoft's New DRM Cracked In One Day

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  • Re:Insolvent Company (Score:3, Informative)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:27PM (#31366678)
    If they are still in business. If they go out of business its a whole different ballgame. Customers no longer exist to be pleased then.
  • Re:Insolvent Company (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSunborn ( 68004 ) < .ta. .rellit.> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:31PM (#31366706)

    No they did not. They said such a patch could be made. It does not currently exists and the question they don't answer is. If Ubisoft lose all their money, and go bankrupt, who is going to pay the developer for making the code to remove the drm.

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:41PM (#31366798) Journal

    Unless someone can point me to a clause in the DMCA that allows the circumvention of public domain works, that is.

    The DMCA would only apply to access control mechanisms that protect an underlying copyrighted work. There is case law on this; simply cracking an access control mechanism is not enough to run afoul of the DMCA, there has to be something copyrighted that is being protected by it (e.g. not just a short number for example). (However, cracking and access control mechanism to a copyrighted work without infringing the work will run afoul of the DMCA, so the law is still idiotic).

    In this case if the work's copyright had expired, there would be no valid copyright in question, so the DMCA would not apply. But your point about the ban on distribution of tools in interesting... since in this hypothetical situation, a circumvention tool would probably contain material that could crack access controls on both copyrighted and copyright-expired works.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:58PM (#31366948) Homepage Journal

    You might be surprised. You may actually get a human to respond.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:59PM (#31366958)

    Well, you can always just walk away and not play. It's not like you don't have any choice in the matter.

  • Re:You're all dicks (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:04AM (#31367018)

    Uh ..... No.

    See, you may have had a point, except that Stardock proved that you're line of thought is wrong. They released Galactic Civilizations 2 without any DRM. It was a success for them, with many buying it simply because it had no DRM and they wanted to support the company.

    DRM is shit and will always be shit. Piracy should be viewed as a cost of doing business, not as an excuse to wage war against the people you're trying to sell to.

  • Re:Insolvent Company (Score:3, Informative)

    by RsG ( 809189 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:32AM (#31367236)

    Seems to me like the correct solution (from their perspective) ought to be to release a game with tons of DRM, sell it for awhile, then disable the DRM once it's no longer profitable. This is, of course, if they intend to stay in business and wish to avoid alienating customers from future purchases.

    Been done at least once that I know of. UT2004 (IIRC) shipped with a DRM scheme that required a CD to be detected in the drive. Within a month, they patched this functionality out. Essentially, they reasoned they'd look good to the customers by doing this, and any good the DRM did in delayed cracked copies from finding their way onto the net was over and done with - even if the DRM worked on the launch day (which is a big if), you can bet in a month it'd be long cracked.

  • by RsG ( 809189 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:38AM (#31367298)

    You guys are assuming that because a crack was made available in less than 24hrs that this somehow means that Ubisoft isn't going to make much money on the game. I'm sure the devs expected it to be cracked, maybe even quickly - but they'll still make good money from these games. Users are lazy ... many aren't willing to troll warez sites to find the crack ... many don't even know how .... sure, they'll lose money from people who crack the game instead of buying it, but they'll still make a lot more from those that dont know how, or don't bother.

    They already lost my money. I was halfway interested in AC2. Didn't buy it because of the DRM. Didn't pirate it. I have no intention of doing either.

    This is a case where voting with your wallet is the way to go. If they see dropping sales figures as compared to the first game that aren't matched by rising piracy figures, then that tells them that some people out there have ethical reasons not to pirate, and are opposed enough to intrusive DRM crap not to purchase. A pirate doesn't interest them, but a lost customer does.

  • Re:Insolvent Company (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aasqbs9791 ( 1402899 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @12:48AM (#31367382)

    IIRC, they did that because of problems with the system (it failed to detect some valid store bought CDs or with certain drives, or wasn't able to do it reliably for some reason.)

  • Re:Priceless (Score:4, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:02AM (#31367464) Journal
    That would be essentially equivalent to the "If the vital component is static(certain textures or models or something aren't shipped; but are downloaded when needed) it'll be extracted and posted on bittorrent inside a week." case.

    Given a mixture of gaming skill, inferential sleuthing through the game files(examining maps, quest dialog trees, and the like), and hacker tricks(find out where in memory the variable that stores your hitpoints lives and the challenge just isn't so serious...), it should be reasonably expected that a motivated attacker should be able to play through a game really fast. And, for any static information, it only has to be recorded once and then distributed through the usual illicit channels.

    Plus, more seriously, if you want to distribute information to the client in little pieces, according to where the player is in the game, your client binary has to include a mechanism for summarizing the game state and sending the summary to the server so that the server knows what to send and when. Figure that mechanism out, and you can spoof the game-state summary messages to systematically request what you need. To combat that, the server could keep a running tally of what was reported, and when, by each and every client and attempt to detect impossible or inconsistent game-state progressions, which would indicate spoofing; but that, again, adds cost and complexity to the server side, and raises the odds of accidentally banning speedrunners, players who stumble across bugged quests, and whatnot.

    If item spawning is dynamic, you avoid the one-time-download problem; but run into the server cost vs. ease of re-implementation issue previously discussed(server cost would likely be pretty low; but the threshold for re-implementing item spawning "good enough" for decent gameplay would likely also be pretty low).
  • Re:Human deterrent (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pinhedd ( 1661735 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:03AM (#31367470)
    yes but those childish dicks aren't capable of cracking DRM. The guys who are capable of removing it might actually go for something like this
  • Re:Surprise! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:12AM (#31367532)

    Ubisoft Sinks DRM Piracy Claims []

  • by broken_chaos ( 1188549 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @01:54AM (#31367780)

    Standard IANAL disclaimer. Just an interested amateur.

    Copyright is life of the author + 70 OR 95 years from publication OR 120 years from creation (in the United States). Life+70 is only used in some cases (non-anonymous, non-pseudonymous, non-work-for-hire) -- most works are under the flat 95 years from publication (or 120 years from creation for anything not published). But other countries have different laws -- Canada is life+50 instead of life+70, for example.

    What the GP was referring to, however, was how essentially nothing becomes public domain these days, due to *constant* lobbying by large corporations to extend and restrict copyright, patents, and trademarks (major extensions in the USA happening in 1976 and 1998 -- life+50/70 in 1976 and life+70/95 in 1998, both of these commonly believed to have been passed specifically as a result of Disney lobbying to 'protect' Mickey Mouse). That and the complexities of copyright law and revisions to those laws that make it nearly impossible to tell if a work is covered by copyright or not unless it was published prior to 1923 (which means it's definitely not).

    Once past 1923 (but before 1976), it depends on if a work was ever registered and renewed or not -- and by god, there are massive disputes over many works from this period (were they registered, who renewed them, were they renewed, who had the rights to renew them at the time, etc...). If published, registered, and renewed, it's 95 years from publication for any works between 1923 and 1976. If not published (but registered and renewed -- I don't think many, if any, works fit this), it would be 120 years. Once you hit 1976, it depends on if the work is covered under the life+70 or the flat 95. If the work has a non-anonymous, non-psuedonoymous author, and was not a work-for-hire, then you have to find out the date of death for the original author and add 70 years. If the work was anonymous, pseudonymous, or a work-for-hire, then the flat 95 applies. Unless that work was unpublished, in which case it's 120 years instead (and don't ask me what the barrier for 'publication' is, I have no idea). I also have no idea which does/doesn't apply if there are multiple authors or anything else vaguely unusual about a work's authorship.

    Anyway, this applies for works in the USA. International copyright probably gets even more nasty with the varied treaties/extradition/etc. Basic rule of thumb, currently, is that the USA has the longest copyright and anything before 1923 is therefore safe. Anything after that, you'd need to do a lot of research on who does/doesn't hold the rights. Or take a gamble that no one will care/notice -- but that's probably not smart.

  • Re:Insolvent Company (Score:3, Informative)

    by stony3k ( 709718 ) <stony3k AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:26AM (#31367950) Homepage
    I prefer to support, since they release games DRM-free. I can download the games I buy as many times from as many machines as I want and keep playing them for life. Voting with my wallet, even.
  • Re:Priceless (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:29AM (#31367970)

    The Starcraft 2 beta has been cracked to allow offline play with 3rd party AI. The AI isn't too advanced, but, considering that there was "replacement" AI for the original Starcraft, it'll only be a matter of time.

    It will be cracked and pirated, no exceptions.

  • by Brain Damaged Bogan ( 1006835 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:40AM (#31368022)

    What is this public domain you speak of?

    Disney killed it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 05, 2010 @05:18AM (#31368770)

    Just looked around on some forums and it looks like you can only play the first mission with a pirated game and you'd have to download the other levels from ubisoft's servers. Maybe it's just a bug, but who knows.

    And the whole thing is not really cracked. Silent Hunter had the option to store the safegame offline and that's what the crackers used. As far as I know Ass Creed won't come with that option, so you probably wont be able to save your game if you pirate it.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @06:07AM (#31368988) Journal

    Your argument only works if you believe that pirates are not pirates by choice (or the choice is somehow coerced). Otherwise, it's entirely the pirates' fault.

    In fact, if anything, I would say it was the pirates responsible for coercing the media companies into trying increasingly restrictive DRM. So, it would be the pirates' fault anyway.

  • Re:Priceless (Score:3, Informative)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:37PM (#31378084)

    I quite regularly disdain Star Wars quotes that are incorrect. Perhaps you meant, "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

    Now just hand over your geek card quietly and nobody gets hurt.....

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.