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Watch Dogs Released, DRM Troubles 123

Today marked the launch of Watch Dogs, a highly-anticipated action-adventure game from Ubisoft. Early reviews for the game are fairly good, but not without complaints. Eurogamer said, 'Combat encounters also draw inspiration from existing games, with slightly stiff but workable sneaking and cover mechanics and decent if unremarkable gunplay. ... There's a sense of sterility beneath the surface, though. As dazzling as the game can look, this Chicago feels like a place you travel through rather than a world you inhabit. Pedestrians gasp and gawp at car crashes, but exhibit no real life.' Polygon's review complimented the bits of structure within the open-world game: "More than any stealth game I can think of, Watch Dogs does a remarkable job in allowing for proper preparation. It creates a universal environment of constant puzzle solving, which sits cozily next to all the action on display." Rock, Paper, Shotgun added, "It feels churlish to complain about something which is only magical 90% of the time, but in some things, ten percent can seep out and render the rest infuriating and useless." It's worth noting that some users are running into problems even playing game, thanks to authentication issues with Ubisoft's UPlay digital distribution service.
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Watch Dogs Released, DRM Troubles

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  • Entire Article... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:11PM (#47103319)

    ...the entire article about "authentication issues" is a guy who failed to install UPlay correctly, and a link to "uplay down" on Twitter.

    Super, super informative.

  • Ubisoft and PCs... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raydobbs ( 99133 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:12PM (#47103327) Homepage Journal

    Those 'in the know' generally don't buy Ubisoft games for the PC anymore - even though they have been trying to turn over a new leaf in terms of how they view PC gamers. Many at Ubisoft apparently still see PC gamers as pirates - even those who pay for products. Not the way to garner new customers.

    Sadly, these days - the only way to buy new release Ubisoft products (if you want to at all, that is) is to buy the console versions of the products.

  • by tysonedwards ( 969693 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @07:42PM (#47103479)
    Buying the game was super easy as those servers were all up and working. The game auth servers were not though, so once it was downloaded, it could not be activated to be played "offline". So Ubisoft has no problems taking your money, just with letting you use your purchase. Then on the other side, those who pirate it get to play immediately without all of these problems, but apparently some releases include a bitcoin miner. In thinking about it, amazed that game developers wouldn't incorporate that model into games themselves where "download for free, and we lower the quality of your experience by siphoning of compute cycles to earn us money, or pay to download and not have your computer mine for bitcoin while trying to enjoy our title!"
  • UF***D (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eddy_D ( 557002 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @08:54PM (#47103921)
    I hate UPLAY... so much.

    I battled with it on Far Cry 3. I still do not understand why I needed to login to UPLAY *after* I logged into Steam (where I played it from). Wasn't Steam enough of a DRM check for UbiSoft? 2 levels of login really?

    AFAIK the original article was about someone who did not even install it correctly.. but still having to require it on top of Steam is just ridiculous.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @02:32AM (#47105559)

    The main problem here is that they're artificially lowering the value of their product compared to their competition. Yes, lowering. I know that "consultants" and other panhandlers from DRM companies claim that only with DRM you can actually retain value in your product (really, they do. The logic is that something that can be multiplied at will is worthless, and DRM keeps people from doing that), but actually, you lower the value of your product with DRM.

    Since it is a non-corporal product, the usual risk management system to determine value does not apply because we neither need to consider recreating the product (recreating it is trivial and possible near free of charge to the original creator), nor do we have to take into account the value for a competitor (because he could not use it due to copyright issues). What's left is the value it has to the customer. And the value to the customer depends to no small amount on the convenience to use it.

    And convenience to use it is the big advantage legal software has over illegal copies. Or rather, it could have that advantage.

    Let's face it, what is the reason for Steam's success? That you can buy stuff online? Nah. You could do that with Amazon. That it's available instantly? Nah, you get the same when you go and buy it from the local store. What makes it successful is the convenience of doing it. Buying it and installing it is easy to do and very, very convenient. Not only that but your software is available at a mouseclick, too. No need to find some DVDs, just click on "install" and wait a bit. It's installed and it "just works". And that's what people go for. They are willing to pay for stuff that "just works". That's what makes Steam a success. It certainly is not the price (seriously, compare Steam to Amazon or other online stores and Steam rarely wins, usually you can get anything you can get on Steam cheaper somewhere. But rarely this convenient).

    An illegal copy isn't that convenient. You have to find it, download it, tinker with the crack (which may actually be a problem for less tech-savvy people), hope that it works (and that the crackers managed to get rid of all pitfalls)... and all that has to be repeated every time there is some patch, some bugfix, some alteration to the game. Which is, btw, another thing that "just works" with tools like Steam.

    DRM can now take away the most important advantage a legit copy of game has over an illegal copy: Its convenience. Its "just works" character. As this example shows, bad DRM can actually even invert this relationship between legit and illegal copies: The illegal copy works while the legit one causes its user trouble.

    That's about the WORST you can do to your IP. Because that kills the most important (and some would say only) advantage a legal copy has over an illegal one.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault