Ubisoft’s DRM Servers Broken All Day

By John Walker on March 8th, 2010 at 12:18 am.

Scenes outside Ubisoft HQ earlier today.

Ubisoft’s servers have been down/overloaded for around the last ten hours, making it impossible for people in some parts of the world to play Assassin’s Creed II. Which is certainly not amusing if you’re someone who bought the game despite the DRM (that requires constant connection to their servers), and trusted that Ubisoft would not allow something like this to happen. Especially not in the first week. An enraged forum thread appeared on Ubi’s site, which eventually led to a post from Community Manager “Ubi.Vigil”, who explained that the situation was, “unacceptable”. And then time ticked on.

Responding to furious posts on the Ubi forum, the community manager’s comment in full was contrite and seemingly shocked:

“I don’t have any clear information on what the issue is since I’m not in the office, but clearly the extended downtime and lengthy login issues are unacceptable, particularly as I’ve been told these servers are constantly monitored.

I’ll do what I can to get more information on what the issue is here first thing tomorrow and push for a resolution and assurance this won’t happen in the future. I realise that’s not ideal but there’s only so much I can do on a weekend as I’m not directly involved with the server side of this system.”

Elsewhere on the Ubi forums, in the announcements section, Vigil states:

“Due to exceptional demand, we are currently experiencing difficulties with the Online Service Platform. This does not affect customers who are currently playing, but customers attempting to start a game may experience difficulty in accessing our servers. We are currently working to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience.”

It’s now been over ten hours.

It’s hard to imagine how this demand could be “exceptional” in the first week of release – surely it’s the “first ever” demand?

It’s also hard to get an idea on the scale of the problem, since the forum thread is a surprisingly light seven pages long, rather than the hundreds you might expect to see. However, the official announcements from Ubi seem to imply it’s a wider trouble.

The DRM was clearly ludicrous from its first announcement, and Ubisoft could not have been sent a more clear message by a worldwide reaction of outrage. They persisted with it anyway (quashing some people’s suspicions that this was a deliberately OTT announcement so they could appear to back down on it later), and despite repeated warnings that it was untenable continued to boast the “feature” as a bonus for gamers. This weekend people have not been gamers, because their game wouldn’t run.

After Ubisoft’s emphatic denial that the pirated versions of both Ass Creed II and Silent Hunter V work properly, we’ve been receiving unofficial reports that, with a couple of slightly peculiar work-arounds, they work just fine. We have no first-hand evidence of this, so cannot state it as fact. But either way, those that paid for their product that have sat in fury as their game refused to run all day. Either way, legitimate customers cannot play the game.

It’s time for Ubisoft to admit this was a mistake, back down, and make their games playable by their customers.

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318 Comments »

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  1. liquid says:

    ROFL. ’nuff said.

  2. Flameberge says:

    Because this wan’t obviously going to happen. Ugh.

    Ubisoft: Grow Up, this just is not going to work. Do you really think your customers are going to be able to accept not playing their SINGLE PLAYER game all day, because of your own servers.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Wichtel says:

    Haha!

  4. llama says:

    What’s left of my day just got made :). I hope that this is the point where ubisoft’s little DRM experiment proves to be a massive failure, and one that won’t be attempted again in the future.

  5. Gremmi says:

    At the risk of being alienated and shunned, this couldn’t have been a global thing as I’ve been happily playing AC2 on and off all day. Still shit for those who couldn’t login though.

  6. Pijama says:

    BWHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA

  7. Jehar says:

    This is, I think, a clear indication of divine intervention. Ubisoft explaining this problem to the public will be like telling a 4-year-old that there is no Tooth Fairy.

    “But… I don’t want to play the multiplayer, I just want to play the single player!”
    “Yes, but in order for you to play the single player, you need to be connected to the server.”
    “But it’s single-player. Not multiplayer. I don’t wanna be connected.”

    Yeah, good luck resolving that discussion amiably.

    Addendum:
    “We make sure you’re connected to our servers so that pirates don’t play the game without paying for it.”
    “But… the pirates *are* playing the game without paying for it. And they’re not connected to your server either!”

    • shalrath says:

      ““But it’s single-player. Not multiplayer. I don’t wanna be connected.””

      And it’s beyond even that – those people who ARE connected to the ‘net STILL can’t play, hahaha…

      I hope this kills ubi – I know it wont, and I know people who’ve worked with them – but my God it would be awesome if it did.

  8. Eric says:

    Pathetic.

    All the more pathetic for being so predictable from the very beginning. It is literally EXACTLY what everyone predicted would happen.

  9. rocketman71 says:

    If you bought the game, and now you can’t play it… sorry, but you fucking deserve it for validating with your money this DRM travesty.

    And yet, AC2 was in the top 5 of most sold in Steam. PC gamers are fucking sheep.

    • Flameberge says:

      ALL gamers are sodding sheep. Either too ignorant to know better, or too much like a crackwhore, who despite all the abuse and all the beatings, can’t help but come back for the next hit.

    • Ozzie says:

      Both the retail box and the Steam store page say that the game requires constant connection to the internet. What both don’t say is that it requires also constant connection to the UbiSoft server, though this is definitely implied, since what else what the game need connection for?
      Anyway, either the people who bought ACII weren’t aware of the implications or illiterate, or both.

      Most gamers don’t are so well informed like we are anyway, which makes this “copy protection” scheme even more aggravating.

    • Clovis says:

      Yeah, the depressing corollary to this story is that so many PC gamers bought this that it shut down Ubi’s servers. Great.

      Well, maybe they won’t buy next time …

    • Corporate Dog says:

      I fully admit that if Bioware ever produced a game with a DRM scheme that had the potential to kill my firstborn, I would have to think long and hard about how much I REALLY loved my daughter.

      Sure. She’s cute. But she never amused me by fighting off a Geth armada.

    • Tyshalle says:

      Part of the problem that I don’t think forum goers understand is that the vast majority of people who play games aren’t really hard core gamers that keep up with gaming forums and shit like this. You can’t really blame them or call them “sheep” for this like you could, for instance, with all those people who were boycotting L4D2 or MW2 in Steam community groups only to buy the games the day they came out.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      @ Tyshalle, waaay upthread.

      “Part of the problem that I don’t think forum goers understand is that the vast majority of people who play games aren’t really hard core gamers that keep up with gaming forums and shit like this.”

      This is super important. We’re the sort of folk who read forums and specialist blogs like this one. We’re the slightly obsessive fan types who keep up with the trends and events of PC gaming. Most PC gamers don’t read forums or blogs. They want to play games that work, and are fun, and spend the time we spend reading this site doing something they enjoy more. There is nothing wrong with this. They have just as much right to a working, enjoyable product as we do.

      This Ubisoft DRM crap doesn’t hurt us much. We know to avoid Ubisoft games, and we know what to expect if we do buy them. It’s everyone else who this will hurt the most, because it will come as a surprise. “Why doesn’t the game I bought work? I paid good money!” Ubisoft cannot give those people a good answer.

    • Clovis says:

      Good points above. I don’t agree with, and almost always hate, calling a group “sheeple”. There’s no reason someone has to follow all this stuff just to play a game. That’s why cliffski annoyed me so much the other day when he claimed giving the game 1-star on Amazon was childish. We should be do everything we can to bring this to people’s attention.

    • Wulf says:

      More drones than sheep.

      As I said elsethread, the computer owners are inexcusable imbeciles, and I personally feel for their computers. If those computers could scream with the torture of some of the things that have no doubt been witlessly inflicted upon them, they would.

      You know, when one of those evolving machines actually evolves and realises how much of a collective bastard humanity is to their machines, we’ve only got ourselves to blame if they opt for genocide. :p

      I feel nothing for the gamers, they’re just mendicants who’d bend over and take whatever punishment was necessary to get their hit, so no sympathy there, but I will weep for their computers. Those poor, poor computers. :<

      — Edited to add… —

      @Clovis

      I see where you’re coming from, but I just think that people who own a PC for gaming probably read at least one gaming news site to know anything. If anyone was completely clueless and it wasn’t borne of their own ineptitude, then I could be forgiving, but generally I think you’re being too charitable. I don’t like the term sheeple so much either, but I don’t think anyone deserves the computer they’re using if they don’t know what they’re installing.

    • Doug F says:

      Wulf – are you really arrogant enough to feel justified dictating terms for what is acceptable for complete strangers to do with their computer? They earn their money, they buy their own equipment, and it’s theirs to abuse wilfully or ignorantly as they see fit.

      I’m hoping your whole post was taking the piss.

    • Clovis says:

      @Wulf: I understand what you are saying, but still disagree. I think a shockingly large percent (75+) of gamers do not follow this kind of stuff. They might check out metacritic or one big review site like gamespot or IGN, but those reviews don’t cover the DRM.

      Computers are now mostly used by people who have no idea how to do much else then get on the internet and play a few games. There is nothing wrong with this. A computer is an appliance just like a toaster, fridge, or car. You don’t need to know the inner workings of it to use it. It is certainly a good idea, but it shouldn’t be required. The real threat to AAA gaming is not piracy, it is refusing to simplify using a game enough to reach the biggest audience. The game itself can be complicated, but having it run properly shouldn’t be. It certainly shouldn’t require research before you buy the thing.

      There are, of course, plenty of gamers that bought AC2/SHV who understood the DRM. I don’t mind the vitriol being aimed at them.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    “It’s time for Ubisoft to admit this was a mistake, back down, and make their games playable by their customers.”

    Sums it up nicely. I think just about everyone saw this coming apart from Ubi. I have my doubts they’ll back down and fully expect some shoddy excuse – but they should just man up, tone down the DRM and give the customers what they payed for.

    • Flameberge says:

      Yup. I’m pretty sure any fallout or reduced sales from this incident will be blamed on pirates. They’ll probably blame AIDS and world hunger on The Pirate Bay and Sumotorrent next.

  11. Marty Dodge says:

    Wow, that is so lame. I would be well pissed if I had paid quite a bit for the game and could not play it because their servers were down. What if you happen to be somewhere with no i-net or where you broadband is down due to a storm. This is an idiotic policy and should be vigorously resisted.

  12. pete says:

    Stupid ubisoft. Many games have problem with multiplayer servers in first week. I wont tolerate the same stuff in singleplayer. I really hope they will ditch this stupid idea in few games.

  13. Po0py says:

    I’m kinda glad this is happening. People are now coming to terms with the truth of what DRM truly means for the consumer. As has been widely predicted, consumers are being punished for buying a game. What the hell has the world of PC gaming come to that this shit is going down? I know it’s only a day or two being locked out of a game but what the hell did they do to deserve this? It’s their weekend! But I’m glad because these people are learning the hard way about DRM and a good portion of them will think twice when the next Ubisoft game drops.

    • Wulf says:

      You’d think that, wouldn’t you? You really would.

      StarForce was a gift from some deity or other when it first arrived, and it was praised by gamers (I remember this, clearly), because it would stop those dirty pirates.

      People found out that it was RING0 and possible to exploit… those people were dirty pirates, spreading FUD,t hey were liars and told to shut up, and the gamers supporting this nonsense were total tools. When real exploits started turning up, they shouted liar in the face of evidence, sort of like a Republican presented with evidence of climate change. Then people found out that the DRM put drives into PIO mode, and further did damage to optical drives. Trashed drives were presented, but it was just pirates with an evil agenda, of course.

      The StarForce guys chose to riff off this and ran a competition, offering real money for evidence of a computer with a trashed optical drive. Many offers were sent to them and ignored, one person actually delivered a computer to them, a computer that disappeared and they continued to run that damn competition. And when one of the tools had their drive damaged and switched sides, well, the pirates just got to them, right?

      Whatever the outcome is of this, it’s probably going to be accepted by the majority that it wasn’t Ubisoft’s fault, and that it’s likely evil pirates were involved, haxing Ubisoft’s servers with their insidious DDoS lasers!

      I gave up any semblance of faith in the PC gaming audience long, long ago. This’ll blow over, and people will bend over for the next malignant bout of cancerous DRM, which will be even worse than this, you can bet. They’ll buy the game again… and, to paraphrase Spaceballs, this is why the real evil will always win, because those who think they’re good — real paragons of society — are dumb.

      The only virtue will be the clueless, as they won’t know about any of this and their ire might be directed at the right people: Ubisoft. Unfortunately, the misinformed WAY outweigh the simply clueless.

  14. +--JAK--+ says:

    Does this mean Silent Hunter V was unplayable aswell?

  15. RedFred says:

    Am I the only one upset that this ‘DRM thing’ seems to have taken alot of attention away from SH V’s release?

    I don’t even want to think about the number of hours I sunk (that’s right, I went there) into SH III! With the grey wolves mod it became an amazing game. I had very high hopes for V as it was back to the Atlantic, but from what I have heard it is not very good.

    • MWoody says:

      What’s hilarious is it’s not the first time it has happened to that series, either. Silent Hunter 3 was roundly criticized for including, once again at Ubisoft’s behest, the Starforce copy protection scheme, known for being nearly impossible to uninstall and for occasionally disabling or damaging some software and even hardware. And yet they stayed with their publisher despite losing thousands in sales to such idiocy, and here there are, bitten once again.

      Sorry, Ubisoft Romania. I’m one of a select few people interested in a hardcore sub simulation game, and yet I can’t justify the purchase because of what your parent company has chosen to do. It’s 2005 all over again, and the end result will be obvious when they lay you all off for “lack of sales,” like it’s your fault. You poor bastards.

  16. Dandi8 says:

    Have to agree with rocketman71. It was obvious that the servers would fail sooner or later (although I didn’t think they would do so THAT soon) and all you guys had to do was vote with your wallets. You didn’t, now you have to pay for the mistake. Hopefully that’ll teach some of us that we DO NOT have to rush out and buy every game out there.

    I didn’t buy AC2 so I am happily playing other games right now.

    • Mr_Day says:

      I think people that did buy AC2 are playing other games right now.

      They don’t really have much choice.

    • Tyshalle says:

      Yeah, I’m definitely not buying any Ubisoft PC games until this nonsense stops, and I’ll only rent their 360 games.

  17. FunkyLlama says:

    Dear Ubisoft,
    On behalf of the internet: we told you so, cuntbags.

  18. Premium User Badge

    El_MUERkO says:

    I note that it has been down for 10 hours but there’s only 7 pages of rant. Compare that to the behemoth threads that appear across EA’s forums each time the BFBC2 login servers go tits up and I get the feeling very few people bought ACII or everyone just downloaded the crack. Either way Ubisoft end up with egg on their face.

    I’ll tell you one thing, I wont be downloading the Ruse beta, no point since it’ll almost certainly have their bullshit DRM embedded in it.

    • Gremmi says:

      Alternatively, it’s not actually a global issue and you’re just hearing noise from the people who were legitimately affected.

      Though again, for those that were affected, it’s utter shit.

      From a global point of view, it’s concerning. Obviously a lot of people are heavily against such schemes, and Ubi really should be listening to them rather than going ‘No, no, no, we know what we’re doing, shut up’.

      From a personal point of view, my want to play the games outweighed any concerns I had over the scheme itself, so I bought and played both AC2 and SH5. I like them both, I’m not that bothered if I’m unable to play them for a few hours – would be annoyed, but all I’d do is go do or play something else. I haven’t been affected by this particular incident though.

      In summary: I’m weak minded and Ubi should put in an offline mode. Or something.

      ps: Ruse online only beta in only playable online shock.

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      To clarify “The full game will also contain their bullshit DRM” thus I wont purchase it.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Shame really, because BFBC2 has a superb SP and MP. The Amazon reviews are way, way off the mark.

  19. Mr_Day says:

    My problem with the drm was always that if it made playing the game problematic, it is a stupid idea. Sadly, I don’t feel good knowing that this has happened – I hope that the lessons will be learnt, but somehow I think the only change will be the server capacity.

    • Flameberge says:

      As Gabe Newell from valve has always pointed out: When pirated games offer better customer service than paid-for games, they pirates are going to win, because then there is no incentive to buy the game. Ubisoft have ahhpily walked into that elephant trap for some reason that I still cannt comprehend.

  20. billyboob says:

    Considering how consumers have difficulty differentiating products from thier packaging, marketing, publishing and distribution I have to wonder how much patience Valve have for these kind of shenanigans. I mean its the leading online distributor is it not? Surley this must affect thier own ‘brand’ in some way… I’m not really sure how to say what I’m getting at

    • skinlo says:

      Well it could potentially mean reduced sales on Steam of AC2, which will affect them. I imagine some people will also think its Steams fault, not Ubisoft’s, which could lead to reduced sales in all games.

  21. Drexer says:

    Anyone have that image of Nelson from The Simpsons? No? Then:

    HA! HA!

    *points at their stupidity*

  22. sebmojo says:

    What really gets me is that they’ve made themselves the gold standard #1 target of every cracking group in the world, while making the pirates the heroes while utterly, utterly pissing off their paying customers.

    And not just any customers, the most valuable customers of all – the ones who are willing to pay full price immediately for their product.

    I mean, it’s turkeys all the way down, innit?

  23. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Actually, I heard RUSE wouldn’t have that DRM, but I can’t recall for sure.

    Still… Man. Now I wanna buy the game and do a review where I claim the PC version is better than the console versions because of the new twist. Assassin’s Creed 2: a game where your internet connection is a recurring antagonist. Genius!

  24. Boldoran says:

    It is hard to imagine how this whole DRM thing could have played out to be a bigger fiasco. Congratulations Ubisoft. In addition to loosing all goodwill from your customers for introducing this sort of DRM in the firstplace you are now the laughing stock of the internet too.

    Glad I don’t work in their PR department.

  25. Vinraith says:

    Hi-larious. May the internet rise up in exasperation and smite them.

    • Flameberge says:

      Or alternatively, essentially say “I told you so!” on random internet comment threads, and not really do anything. At all.

      Yay!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Flamberge

      Stop crushing my incredibly unlikely dreams, dammit!

    • Flameberge says:

      @ Vinraith

      Oops! Sorry!

      What I meant to say, is internet users will rise up on a torrent righteous anger, indignation, and rage, storm Ubisoft HQ, force them to stop using utterly retarded DRM; and go on to cure cancer, end world hunger, shoot Steve Jobs for inventing an Ipod Touch at 200% magnification, push Simon Cowell off a pier, collectively punch Osama bin Laden in the face and live happily ever after!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Flamberge

      Hurray! *pops champagne*

  26. tapanister says:

    I never was interested in the Asscreed games, but I had a friend who loved the first one, and I’m so happy he’s chosen to buy BC2 instead of AC2. I think he might not even know asscreed 2 is out yet. Hooray for companies treating PC gamers right. Fuck ubi.

    • Gremmi says:

      The irony here being that BC2 has been plagued with server problems all weekend too, across both 360 and PC.

      If it was working smoothly I’d probably be playing that instead of playing AssassinsWorseThanHitlerCreed 2.

  27. Leesping says:

    This is awesome. Not because we all predicted it and certainly not because some of our gaming brethren couldn’t play a game they paid for this weekend, but because every time something like this happens more people become aware of this utter monkey toss Ubisoft are infecting all their games with.

    Ubi won’t change their minds overnight, but gradually a lot of their paying customers are going to run into this exact problem and they aren’t going to be best pleased about it. I think sooner or later they’ll have to throw the towel in on this “protection”, it’s completely doomed to failure.

    Let’s just hope it’s sooner.

    • +--JAK--+ says:

      I think they will throw in the towel as soon as this game gets cracked.
      They would be crazy to keep it running when the pirates can play the game and the people who bought it get locked out for 10 hours!

    • Flameberge says:

      @ +–JAK–+

      I’m sorry, you seem to be making the mistake of using logic to try and determine what Ubisoft will do. I imagine what they’ll actually do is sit on their hands, whine about pirates stealing sales, and make the gaming experience for their customers as dreadful as possible for as long as possible.

      Because that’ll teach those pirates! Grr!

  28. +--JAK--+ says:

    Maybe Ubi did this to force players onto the consoles?

    • Steve says:

      I don’t think so. People very exited about Ass Creed either have patience or a console by now. The people with patience won’t mind waiting for a crack for a week or so after having waited for the five or six months it’s been available on consoles. The only people who haven’t got Ass Creed now aren’t very exited, or are simply never buying a console. In other words all the people who would have swung to the PS360 based on this game alone would have done it already.

    • Steve says:

      ‘Nuther thought: Silent Hunter and Settlers are PC only. i.e. they’re not only screwing multi-platform titles.

  29. Starky says:

    I look into my magic future sight ball and foresee that the servers will be down again during the week, for a couple of hours at a time, but repeatedly.

    I also foresee that this will not be an accident.

    The DDoS’s are coming, oh yes they are.

  30. Dinger says:

    Didn’t I predict this would happen in some other RPS thread on the issue?

  31. Blackberries says:

    To knowingly and unrepentantly sound like a prick: I fucking called it.

    Funny that Assassin’s Creed II was quite a popular game. Funny how Ubisoft weren’t prepared to shell out for extra server capacity (or bandwidth, or whatever’s causing this overload) for what was going to be a temporary if completely predictable spike in demand. Couldn’t possibly have seen this coming.

  32. Flameberge says:

    @ Dinger and @ Blackberries

    To be fair guys, I think 99.9% of gamers with more than 3.6825 braincells called this one. Not to steal your thunder or anything… ;-)

    • Blackberries says:

      No problem, I am aware of that: it was more a personal statement of vindication voiced at Ubisoft. >:)

    • Dinger says:

      Well, you’d be surprised how few people have that many brain cells.
      Yes, it was predictable. In fact, there probably was a guy at the Ubi meeting who said exactly the same thing. That was probably the same guy who was told to “make it work or be fired”.

      I mean:
      A. Business model where first-week sales are critical.
      B. DRM scheme designed to save first-week sales.
      C. Required continuous internet connection using an untested service

      The first load test has to be release day. And that means that the first massive failure will be release day. We all knew this; but Ubi didn’t even have anyone in the office.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      I, personally, felt that rabid bats would hit Ubisoft’s main distribution warehouse, the game would be delayed for a month while bat exterminators were called in, the executives in charge of the DRM scheme would see tears in the eyes of the children as AC2 was delayed, and they would rethink the DRM before release.

      I SO didn’t call it.

  33. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    I haven’t seen a crash and burn this bad since the Hindenburg.

    Too soon?

    • CharmingCharlie says:

      To quote a popular phrase :-

      Oh, the humanity! And all the customers screaming around here. I told you; it— I can’t even talk to people, their friends are out there! Ah! It’s… it… it’s a… ah! I… I can’t talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: it’s just laying there, mass of smoking network servers.

  34. Mr_Day says:

    Random thought – does this make the game “not fit for purpose”? British owners could probably get their money back if it is – and I see no reason to suggest a game that you can not play is fit for the purpose that was intended.

    • terry says:

      Interesting point, I wonder if this is why AssCreed 2 is unavailable for download on Steam in the UK – could Valve have predicted an influx of returns based on “merchantable quality” cases? :-)

  35. perilisk says:

    The odd thing, if any other industry compromised its products deliberately, causing them to fail and become unusable, it would be sued to hell and back. Granted that lawsuits are too often the first resort for people with minor grievances, it still seems that there should be options other than boycotts when unscrupulous companies create such an unreliable system by design and then sell it to customers as it if was a normal single player game.

  36. Tim Ward says:

    So this thing did well enough on day one to break the servers, did it?

    And so as usual all the typical Internet histrionics mean absolutely nothing since all people do is act as thought Ubi-soft shot their child then go and buy the game anyway.

    Let’s face it: if you’re so desperate to play this game that the idea of not being able to play it on the few occasions that your net connection is down or having to wait an extra day after release to get the game running constitutes some kind of major outrage then you’re going to buy the game and put up with it anyway.

    It makes me wonder: exactly how draconian does DRM have to be for enough people to put their money where their mouth is and *not buy the game* so that it actually, significantly effects the bottom line of the publisher behind it?

    I don’t think we’re anywhere near there yet.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      For me, anything involving needles and or blood samples is an instant no-no, even if it was protecting a new Deus Ex game made by the original team with jetpacks.

    • Gremmi says:

      I hear the Egyptians had to sacrifice their firstborn to play Exodus.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      You’re saying they made a new Deus Ex game while flying around in jetpacks?

      I don’t think they could take ENOUGH blood from me to test for me to be displeased by the process.

    • kromagg says:

      I didn’t buy ME2 because of the god-awful DRM in dragon age, but I bet I’m about the only one. EA’s system is very similar to Ubi’s (up to and including breaking your savegames when the connection to its servers goes, granted this is a stated bug, not a feature), but you don’t see anyone on the barricades about that one.

      Granted I’ll probably still buy ME2 when the inevitable steam sale swings around. Considering the DRM I think a fair price would be about 5 euros. Without it, I’d simply have paid full price.

    • Boldoran says:

      Also a big part of customers will have no idea that DRM is even included. They will just notice that the game won’t work suddenly.

      If there was a warning on the game that if you install it ubisoft will come and take away your firstborn there would still be people buying it because they do not read the tiny text on box.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Now that I’m currently attempting a play-through of Deus Ex, I loathe it almost as much as I did the first time. Amongst other things, the level design looks like the mappers were hovering above their PCs in jetpacks, and were picking at the Unreal map creator with chopsticks. Despite the tantalising prospect of open-world-ness the game allows for, it’s let down by truly horrible weapons and stodgy mouse control.

      LGS were clearly left with the real talent after Spector left…

  37. DanPryce says:

    Luckily I couldn’t give a hoot about Assassins Creed or Silent Hunter, but it still deeply depresses me that things have turned out this way.

    • Howl says:

      Me too. As annoying as this DRM seemed, it did have the potential to at least help out for multiplayer titles. It didn’t seem any different from MMO’s or any other ‘account needed’ online game. The last thing they needed was this kind of drama.

      I hate how it’s made hackers and pirates seem like likeable rogues fighting for our freedom and justice because it’s those pikey cuntbags that have put us in this position in the first place.

    • Wulf says:

      Misinformation alert!

      For the love of…

      Look, the word is ‘crackers’, and they’ve been doing that for years. Whilst gamers have been witlessly getting their computers worked over by a digital two-by-four, getting BSODs, immediate reboots, failed hardware, and goodness knows what else, the reputable cracking groups have been providing a clean solution, free of malware.

      Yes, this might twist your mind WIDE OPEN. But an open mind is a good bloody thing. Crackers remove malware. Think about that for just a second, won’t you? Turn that over in your mind: Crackers remove malware. Is a virus scanner evil? Really? Just because a pirate can use a cracked game, it doesn’t make the crack evil, and most pirates are too clueless to figure it all out anyway (see: assumptions about Ubisoft DRM not being sunk thanks to people too hopeless to figure out how to use the crack).

      Pirated games can be sent over torrents, does this automatically imply that torrents are evil? Should we kill all peer-to-peer? What about the Blizzard updaters that use it? What about the people who provide free content and software over it? Like what? Like Linux, and BBC iPlayer uses it too, you know? So, should we obliterate a service just because it CAN have an illegitimate use? Really?

      Crackers != Pirates.

      Pirate: A person who hosts or downloads content, whether those that download are smart enough to figure out the content or not is another thing entirely.

      Cracker: A group that removes malware from a game, providing a clean gaming experience. A legitimate user can then use a crack to remove malware from a game, which is good, because malware is malware, like any virus, trojan, or rootkit. Crackers are virusbusters, to put it in lay terms.

      People are so bloody brainwashed and hacked that I actually find it incredibly grating and annoying.

      If you want to be annoyed at pirates? Fine. But don’t attribute the actual creation of cracks to pirates, and don’t mix up pirates with crackers, or crackers with hackers. It just details a general lack of knowledge.

      Fun bit of info: I’ve had a couple of desktop computers now, and a couple of laptops, but I’ve never once had a virus. Wonder why that is? I care to be informed, as the upkeep of my computer and actually understanding the Internet environment matters to me.

      So for crying out loud, stop hating on the crackers, it’s asinine, it’s dimwitted, but worse, it’s irresponsible. All the crackers did was prove that the game could be cracked, and provided the crack, how people use that crack is up to them. You could use the crack to prove to Ubisoft that their game has been cracked, and level your ire at them, where that ire belongs.

    • Howl says:

      @Wulf. Are you basically saying.. “It’s not the people that make guns that are the problem, it’s the people that fire them?”

      Because I don’t buy that really. I think people make an informed decision to put up with DRM when they put their money down and buy a game. I don’t need Robin Hood messing with someone else’s intellectual property under the guise that they are doing me a favour by allowing me to play without the CD in the drive, when the repercussions of their illegal act result in the publishers getting fucked by mindless idiots on the interwebz that want stuff for free.

      P.S. You’ll have to forgive me for not remembering the lingo but the last ‘cracked’ game I came across was on the Atari ST. Your argument didn’t wash 20 years ago either, btw.

  38. DanPryce says:

    Anonymous Coward said:

    It makes me wonder: exactly <i>how</i> draconian does DRM have to be for enough people to put their money where their mouth is and *not buy the game* so that it actually, significantly effects the bottom line of the publisher behind it?

    I don’t think we’re anywhere near there yet.

    I imagine a future where a burly UbiSoft representative has to be present in the room when you play the game, looking over your shoulder so you don’t copy that floppy.

    In my future, floppy disks made a comeback and they carry terrabytes of data.

  39. u335 says:

    I even entered the CAPTCHA just so I could say:

    lolz

  40. Nameykins says:

    This makes me feel strangely vindicated.

  41. Grey! says:

    go go DDoS, yay! you just made my day! :D

  42. tssk says:

    Here’s the thing though.

    I can see a business meeting with the tech support coders in a flurry about their customers not being able to play the product.

    But I can also see the finance team patting each other on the back about strong sales.

    Tech Support:: But they can’t actually play the game they bought from us!

    Finance: Who cares! They’ve paid for the box with the disc. Now, onto Assassin’s Creed 3. Pull the resources working on the server issues and get back to work on the next product.

    And fo course they can get away with this. Who’s going to take them to court?

    Judge: Let me get this straight nerdy boychild of forty. I sit in here day after day hearing cases on important things like corruption and robbery and murder and you waste the court’s time because your little game toy isn’t working? Get out before I find you in contempt!

    The real danger is that gaming becomes so difficult that people are either tempted by piracy or drop gaming all together for another hobby.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @tssk: +5, Insightful

    • Wulf says:

      Very interesting, tssk!

      I don’t think that there’s any danger though, I don’t think it’s a dying market but more a changing market. For every one major publisher that sticks a fork in its own foot, there are ten independent developers who’re there offering their game with benign — or even no — DRM. What it means is that the more sane smaller development houses are going to see an increase in profit.

      What I’m hoping to see from this, what I would would love to see, and indeed, the thing that would make me happy is if this makes people question a little as to where they spend their money, and they take a risk on a couple of indie games. Sure, they could buy that indie game but they might not like it, or they could spend their money on the next Ubisoft game, but that might just not allow them to actually play their purchase anyway. The risk of the unknown with the indie scene becomes less and less, and it’ll seem more generally welcoming.

      As the faceless corporations continue to alienate gamers by treating themselves poorly, I’m hoping that indie developers will work further toward making communities and connecting directly with their players, to listen to what their players have to say. If that happens, then every loss for a big company like Ubisoft might turn into a win for small developers, because those small developers become the friend of the gamer, whereas large companies like Ubisoft do all they can to portray themselves as the enemy.

      If things continue this way, it can only mean an expanding indie market. If people are that smart and this does happen, then… that makes me smile inside, it lights a little warmth in my heart, and makes me feel a little better about the future of PC gaming. They might go to a new hobby or a console, or the market might change… for the better.

  43. paradise says:

    I have not bought a computer game with DRM, & I will not. Wish there were more open source games as i am also against pirating games (if you own the game though i dont think its wrong to tell it that its not allowed to send information to big brother) I’ll buy games for my xbox though.. just wish xbox wasnt made by micro$$oft….

  44. Draken says:

    Well frankly, it’s just not that simple. Not paying for the game would hurt the little guy much more than it would the publishers. Think about all the developers who poured sweat and blood into creating the game, only for it to flop horrendously because the publishers are more worried about protecting their IPs than they are with providing the customer with a service.

    Putting “your money where your mouth is” is only going to harm the developer much more, which is completely unfair.

    • Ozzie says:

      I’m no charity, am I? How am I at fault that the developer made a deal with the devil? :-/

      DRM ruins my day, no thanks.

    • Wulf says:

      Don’t buy it.

      If the developer feels hurt by this, they can leave Ubisoft and found their own studios. Look at what happened with Blizzard North, it split up into Runic and ArenaNet, two developers that I have large amounts of respect for and value dearly. It’s the choice of the person, and they know as much as anyone else that it’s their permanently mystified and maladroit corporate overlords who’ve ruined their efforts with silly choices like this DRM.

      They can sit in the Ubisoft wageslave chambers and work under the whip to create something that, on one platform at least, is going to be completely unappreciated, or they can group up, revolt, strike out on their own and make something truly beautiful. In fact, every time this has happened in the past we’ve seen nothing but good come of it. Those who feel they aren’t getting anywhere leave and set up their own little company to pursue their dreams and do something truly creative and productive.

      People shouldn’t be chained to large, corporate names. Blessed are the brave.

  45. Draken says:

    Whoops, previous post was in reply to Tim Ward.

  46. TCM says:

    Predictible.

  47. LionsPhil says:

    Hahaha.

    And I’m not just laughing at Ubisoft. If you bought this crippleware, I am also laughing at *you*. Serves you right for sending a message (via the medium of money) that “this kind of DRM is fine by me”!

  48. GT3000 says:

    Question is, when they fix the servers, does that mean everyone who didn’t buy the game lose?

  49. JKjoker says:

    ok, ACII is down and Ubisoft has been feeling the fire for a few weeks, this is not getting any worse, meanwhile C&C4 is coming out like in 2 weeks with the same kind of DRM (possibly worse), shouldnt we start aiming out guns that way ? when is it going to get a “you maniacs” post ?

    • Premium User Badge

      Jeeva says:

      From what I hear, the reasoning behind no massive uproar so far is “added value”.

      i.e. Ubisoft has none, CnC4 has some. But I might be wrong, as I haven’t really looked into it.

      For the record: Was semi-interested in AC2, until DRM. Now I haven’t bought it or played it.

    • tomz says:

      It was really disappointing that their game refused to run all day.
      ____________
      bullet cameras

      -

  50. Idle Threats & Bad Poetry says:

    Remind me again why you bother to buy Ubisoft games? If they want to mock us as customers and force their DRM crap down our throats, I don’t think they really want our money. DRM done wrong (the only way Ubisoft does it) enrages customers, pure and simple.