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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems 279

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

    by IceDiver ( 321368 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:02PM (#31717224)

    It might lead to more sales, but not from me.

    I won't buy them, and I won't try to download any of these games, even if they ARE successfully cracked. Besides being illegal, it would just give UbiS*** ammo for their claims that they are losing sales to pirates.

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

  • Want them to change? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dracil ( 732975 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:10PM (#31717322)

    Don't just vote with your wallet. Show them you did.

    Mail them the receipt of the next game you buy telling them why the receipt does not have their game on it.

  • DRMlicious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Archaemic ( 1546639 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:16PM (#31717366)

    Can we all laugh in Ubisoft's face yet? Too soon? Too late?

    Companies put all this time and money into DRM. Have they yet shown that the money they spend outweighs the money they lose from piracy? It seems like this DRM scheme is particularly bad as it actually INCREASES the piracy and DECREASES the legitimate customers--the exact opposite of the intent. Sure, if there's no DRM, it might have even worse actual sales, but then again, it might not. Even if it does have worse sales...are they losing more money than they would have spent on the DRM? It's hard to say, or even to do a study on this.

    I commend StarDock for their anti-DRM attitude and manifesto, although I have seen their stuff on pirate sites. I have a friend who pirated an indie game a few weeks back, and I really hate that more than pirating a game by a large company (say, EA or Ubisoft). His reasoning was "I'll play it once for not very much time. It's not worth that money." I've seen other arguments, "Well I wouldn't buy it anyway, so they're not losing money." Is this really the selfish culture we've become? If it costs money and you're not going to pay for it, you shouldn't get to use it. That's kind of the way capitalism works. It's not about your impact on their sales, it's about exchange of goods. I'm not 100% pure, myself, having a fair amount of pirated music, and some pirated video games (all of which are pretty old and no longer published at this point), but at least I don't regard the idea of piracy as justifiable a lot of the time...

    I find the way Steam handles DRM the least draconic of any DRM and am actually fairly okay with it. You can buy it and link it up to Steam. Steam needs to be online, sure, although there is an offline mode. I'm fairly certain that Valve has stated that if they were to bring Steam offline forever, they would provide a way of unlocking the games, and I don't really doubt this. This is a sane way to provide DRM, so long as you follow through with your promise.

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

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#31717568)

    The message is already out there: the World of Warcraft client doesn't contain anything that would resemble DRM, copy protection, registration, whatever. You just copy it over from your friend, and run it. Changing from the retail server to a private one is accomplished by changing one line in a plain text file with Notepad.

    Here's the trick: the game you pay for is better than the one you get for free. The maintainers of the private servers simply cannot keep up with Blizzard's development speed. They're not threatening Blizzard's profit, they're basically marketing for them.

    Let me say it again, in case someone from Ubisoft reads this. The WoW you pay for is better than the one you get for free.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:44PM (#31717624)

    As far as I know, it hasn't been cracked yet. Neither has Assassin's Creed 2, at least not satisfactorily. The only problem Ubisoft now have is that people aren't buying their games because of the bad publicity around the DRM- Assassin's Creed 2 is down to £15.98 already on Amazon UK, a sure sign that it's not selling very well.

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

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:53PM (#31718230) Homepage

    I don't really think it leads to more sales. Let's suppose I'm a pirate (*ahem*). If I can't play Settlers 7, or Assassin's Creed 2, or whatever hot-game-of-the-minute, I will find something else to occupy my weekend. I'm not going to feel the overwhelming urge to go "haha, ok Ubisoft you win this time" and give them $70, when there are hundreds of other recent titles available right on the first page of my torrent site. In fact, if something is known to be "uncrackable" a pirate is more likely to NOT want to buy it, for fear that it will rootkit their PC, mess with Daemon Tools, or phone home with a list of all the other ill-gotten software they have.

    Now I'm going to take a rather offensive stance: I, as an occasional producer of (low budget) software, pirate my own stuff. By that, I mean I routinely package the product that I myself created, throw in a valid unlock code, and seed it on torrent trackers, push it through Usenet, stick it on Rapidshare. Why in the fuck would I do that ? Because pirates make up the oldest and largest social network of all time. I shit you not, I have been making more money and more repeat sales. The reasoning ? There are several types of pirates, I lump them into four main categories:

        1. Hardcore pirates who won't pay for software, ever
        2. Casual/bored pirates who will download whatever's new and try it out
        3. Average Joe who shares stuff with a few friends and relatives, might do group buys
        4. Try-before-you-buy types (yes they do exist)

    #1 is most likely 12 years old and/or living in the 3rd world, might as well forget about them there is no hope for this category

    #3 is small peas, blue-collar cheap-ass. Even legit businesses don't spend much on marketing to these types

    #2 and #4 are GOLDEN. The try-before-they-buy types often become life-long supporters. These are the guys who will chat you up in the forums and spread your gospel to coworkers and acquaintances. The casual pirates are similar, but they won't buy your product: their friends will. The casual pirate will blog about your app or mention it on IRC/Facebook, proportionate to your app's quality and apparent ease-of-use.

    I know these observations don't directly scale to these big-name game houses. Obviously there is a greater benefit to indie guys like myself, but on some level, people will always buy a certain portion of their software... for some it's 100%, for others it's zero, and I don't think DRM has much influence on that.

    Piracy is a constant. You can't kill it, no matter how clever you get, it's still just a software or hardware lock, and both can be broken by someone with a bit of smarts, time and motivation. DRM is nothing but a series of small pyrrhic victories and each incremental tightening of "security" leads to an equal or greater increment in the cracker's knowledge and skill. The only ones who truly profit from DRM are the people selling DRM.

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

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:20PM (#31718410) Homepage Journal

    DRM was rampant in the late 1980s, and gamers revolted and stopped buying and playing DRMed gamed. DRM went away.

    It's time for another revolt, and maybe it's beginning. It's not proven that piracy costs sales, but it's very obvious that DRM costs sales.

  • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @04:36PM (#31718496) Homepage Journal

    Oh, so AC2 has somehow been kept away from torrent trackers even though it's been cracked. You're full of shit.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.