Uh, Thanks: No Splinter Cell Demo

By John Walker on March 18th, 2010 at 10:13 am.

Much like Mr Fisher, PC gamers are being kept in the dark. AHA HA HA!

Ubisoft, as part of their current PR campaign to win the hearts and minds of PC gamers, are taking a new approach. Not only will anyone wanting to play Splinter Cell: Conviction be forced to keep their PC permanently online (and hope Ubisoft’s own servers stay online over a weekend) if they want to be able to play the single player game, but now very disappointingly there’s no demo for the PC player.

As reported by Blend Games, today’s demo for the latest Sam Fisher stealth-em-up is to be released for the Xbox 360 only.

“”Sorry guys,” said Ubisoft community manage Li Kuo on Twitter. “Tomorrow’s demo is for X360 only. There are no plans for a PC demo.”

The game’s due out on the 15th April, but sadly you won’t receive an opportunity to discover whether it’s worth gambling your money with the idiotic DRM before taking the plunge. Clearly no publisher is under any obligation to release a demo. But when one is available for the 360, it seems extremely strange not to offer the same for PC.

Thanks to Chris for the tip.

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158 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    The absence of a demo IS the demo. You won’t be able to actually play the game when you want to as a result of the hideous DRM, so clearly the absence of a demo is designed to simulate a small part of the experience of not being able to play the game. It’s genius I tell you!

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      That’s very clever; you’ve got to hand it to them!

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think it’s some kind of reverse performance art – the idea of creating a piece of art and then trying as hard as possible to prevent people from experiencing it.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      @vinraith @gapgen marvellous :)

    • Army of None says:

      Well played, Vinraith!

    • A-Scale says:

      Vinraith for user of the day.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Heh. How Post-Modern.

      Anyhoo, yeah. I won’t be purchasing it, due to the DRM.
      If they patch it later to take it out then I will purchase it.

  2. nihohit says:

    this calls for the usual RAGE.

  3. Ffitz says:

    Hats off to Ubisoft. They’ve really got the hang of this PC gaming business lark, haven’t they? More of this and I predict mountains of gold and a shining future for them.

  4. Flameberge says:

    I love Ubisoft, and they love me.

  5. SquareWheel says:

    Fuck you, Ubisoft. Fuck you so hard. I’m trying to make this relationship work, and you just keep giving me more reasons to throw your ass out of here. I’m going to my mothers.

    • Ffitz says:

      Best to give her a call before you arrive. Someone from Ubisoft is probably round there already.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Error Code 00000×4: Server offline. <i>Your Mother</i> was not recognised as a legitimate Ubisoft product. Please uninstall and contact your local vendor.

    • P7uen says:

      How many do you have?

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      @P7uen:
      One in every harbour…

    • RedFred says:

      @ Ffitz: Oh how I laughed at that. :D

  6. Heliocentric says:

    There is a truth in this, the drm couldn’t handle being bush whacked by demo players. And if the demo doesn’t have the drm it might offer a doorway to crackers. But more worrying to ubi people might play the demo, buy the game then find it crippled and demand right of return due to an unrepresentative demo.

    A lack of demo was easier. Oh ubi, you were 2 steps from getting 2 sales out of me so i could leap into the coop with my baby mama, stupid drm and demo free leap of faith. No thanks.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Exactly this.

    • Evernight says:

      All I caught in that comment was “play coop with my baby mama”… Helio, does this mean you found a girl to play PC games with AND puts out?

      She’s a keeper! Too bad you got her preggers… wrap that shit up son.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m getting all clone wars on this.

      I’m psychologically forming each of the children to be a perfect soldier in a specific field. I’ve got my obsessive compulsive and detached sniper and getaway driver(the eldest), my hyper aggressive shocktrooper who doesn’t take no for an answer(the toddler) and my youngest is already practising for his stealth warfare by moving about prone constantly (can’t walk yet, we are working on that.).

      The missus is the medic and support gunner. I’m obviously the leader, in addition to explosives specialist.

    • Bret says:

      You’re leader AND explosives specialist?

      Didn’t you play Republic Commando?

      You need a separate explosives specialist to be the wisecracking comic relief.

    • Wulf says:

      The thing is though is that that reasoning doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, I honestly believe you just didn’t realise why though, so if you’ll give me a moment here… I’m oddly tired and out of it but I’ll explain it as best I can.

      All software is largely generic, this is why virus scanners and similar malware seekers actually work quite well, because it’s hard to create huge varieties of malware. DRM is similar, it’s hard to make it varietal, and therefore it’s more likely that each game that has Ubisoft’s nutty DRM probably has the same DRM implemented in exactly the same way.

      The outcome of this is that crackers already know where to look and what to do from their efforts with Silent Hunter V and Assassin’s Creed 2, they’ll just apply that knowledge and have it cracked in no time. In fact, if there’s a version available to them before it goes retail then there’ll probably be a crack available (before the torrents go up, just the crack) even before you see it in the shops. The torrents will likely follow soon after, I expect.

      Myself, I won’t be buying or pirating this, Ubisoft and Activision have both been off my radar for a while now and that hasn’t bothered me, perhaps 2K will soon join their ranks, so I’m not bothered by the lack of a demo, I’m just saying that not providing a demo because it makes it easier for crackers just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, that’s all.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Voiced by the wondorous Sbarge.

      I LOVE YOU RAPHAEL

    • Heliocentric says:

      Fine, i know very little about encryption except you can’t hide secrets from the future with math.

      But do you accept they probably don’t want to except a barrage of drm requests from non paying players or send the demo out unprotected?

      I’m not sure why we have no demo, but i don’t imagine its a case of them not bothering to repeat the demo cutting pc side.

    • Lilliput King says:

      ” But do you accept they probably don’t want to except a barrage of drm requests from non paying players or send the demo out unprotected? ”

      I’d be surprised if this was an issue. If they send the demo out as merely a portion of the full game, with the content the player won’t be playing not present, then they could leave it unprotected without fear, as crackers are hardly going to be capable of generating that content, and there won’t be any DRM to crack.

      I would’ve thought, anyway.

  7. WTF says:

    Ubi will never again release demo’s as they PC users will not accept a demo that ship with the full game’s copy-protection. Asa result, shipping a demo with copy-protection would, UBI believe, enable crackers to produce cracks for the full product that much more easily.

    What UBI don’t seem to understand is that the Scene has better coders working for it than UBI do and their DRM will crumble regardless…

    Oh well – thankfully there is nothing in UBI’s catalogue that I give a flying one about any more after they destroyed Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed turned out to be such an empty shirt.

    • dingo says:

      Settlers 7 demo was released today in Germany incl. the DRM.
      I expect dead Ubi servers tonight…

  8. Gunrun says:

    Not to be a ubisoft Apologist but this doesn’t actually make much sense, and is so weird that it makes me think maybe Microsoft is paying for the demo to be 360 exclusive?

    • Gunrun says:

      Further evidence of this is that its Gold Member exclusive as well.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’m so glad microsoft is in the pc gaming alliance.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      Aren’t new demos normally Gold only for the first week? Or are they just the demos I’m ever interested in?

    • whalleywhat says:

      Well, I’m pretty sure providing a demo has been shown to reduce piracy (nobody torrenting copies just to be sure it’ll run on their rig), so it could be a paid-exclusive demo (lol) or Ubisoft is just completely clueless about how to sell their games on the platform. Both possibilities seem extremely likely.

  9. Jeeva says:

    Bunch o’ jerks.

    But seriously; though I was kind of looking forward to this (having been a Splinter Cell fan), the DRM made it easy for me to say no.

    Also: I’m pretty sure I’ve brought this up previously, but didn’t Fisher have grey hair since the last game (and in early screenshots of this one)? Impromptu dye job by the PR department?

  10. tapanister says:

    I’m just so glad I never played any of their games, rofl.

  11. SanguineAngel says:

    I finally get it! UBISoft hate money! They’re begging us not to give them any because they’re allergic to it maybe?

    Seriously, I have no idea how a business can stay profitable with literal monkeys at the helm. My prediction is that Settlers will cost 34.99 bananas rrp.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Tinus says:

    It’s almost like they are forcefully phasing out their support for the PC as a platform.

    • Rich says:

      Now there’s a novel theory.

    • Clovis says:

      I hope they do this as soon as possible. It would be so awesome if they shut down their servers any time within a year. The rage would be fantastic!

    • Dante says:

      A few people have suggested this conspiracy theory, but seriously, why bother? Why not just stop?

    • Serenegoose says:

      @Dante: Allow me to make it a proper conspiracy theory for you. If Ubisoft slowly pull out of the PC market, all the while making an ‘incidentally’ big fuss about how much better service you’d be getting on say… the 360, with demos and the like, then they’re essentially giving a wedge of free advertising to microsoft, who soak up money from each game and console sale with their +5 sponge of profit. Some of which might just unofficially make its way in Ubi’s direction.

    • Wulf says:

      @Serenegoose

      If Ubisoft get bought out by Microsoft without the next three or so years, then you’ll get to laugh harder than most because you saw it coming.

  13. Ravenger says:

    You’d have thought that releasing a demo that uses their new DRM system would be an ideal way to show prospective customers how good it is. After all they face an uphill struggle trying to convince us to buy games with the system. Given that you can’t return PC games it’s a big risk to buy a DRM’d game these days without trying a demo first to see if it’ll run on your system.

    Perhaps they don’t have the capacity to deal with an unknown number of users legitimately trying to contact their DRM servers.

  14. mizipzor says:

    Im a long time fan of the Sprinter Cell series. This hurts, Ubisoft is trying really, really hard to kill the PC gaming.

    What I usually do when faced with way to inconvenient copy protection systems is that I buy the game, put on the shelf (still in its plastic wrapper) pirate the game and have fun. The developers get the money they rightfully deserve and I can play the games I want without asking for permission before I start it.

    But this time they really do cross the line. Its time to cast the only vote they care about. Time to vote with the wallet.

  15. Dawngreeter says:

    I know what they’re trying to do here. They’re treating us like abuse victims. Statistics show that a large percentage of people involved in an abusive relationship will keep returning to their abuser simply because they start equating being abused with being cared for. They have probably figured out that we’ll whine for a while until we get used to it, and then we will curse at DRM-free games for not loving us enough to bother giving us a backhanded bitchslap.

    I base this on watching TV shows occasionally.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Personally, I like the depth to which you have researched this theory. It can only be true!

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I am nothing if not meticulous in my research.

      I have also concluded that Ubisoft has developed this DRM on an unknown and mysterious tropical island, but that their operations there will soon be put to a premature end thanks to a rag tag band of time traveling plane crash survivors.

    • the wiseass says:

      Two thumbs up for this my friend.

    • redrain85 says:

      Sadly, this seems not too far from the truth.

      A lot of gamers these days act like crack addicts, willing to put up with any abuse from their dealer publisher just to get that next hit.

      Raised the price of the game? Crappy, unoptimized port? Held back content to sell later as DLC? Always online requirement DRM?

      Who cares, I need my hit! I’ll do anything, man. Just gimme!

    • Wulf says:

      @Dawngreeter

      I have to agree with my esteemed wiseassed colleague and thank you for that, as it got a good chuckle out of me. Especially the second part.

      @redrain

      This is true, and to be honest it saddens me. All gamers care about today are grinding up bars and getting shiny trophies, none of which I find at all interesting. Blessed are the developers, big and small, that haven’t bought into that yet.

  16. Risingson says:

    Love is all around UBI

  17. NT_ says:

    Almost like?

    Is.

  18. Brendan says:

    I was extremely interested in the new Splinter Cell; believe it or not I care about what happened to Sams daughter, and I had always thought that her death was a little out of the blue. But, now I will never know, because Ubisoft insist I rent the game from them and have my playing time dictated by their flaky servers.

    No thanks Ubisoft, I’ll give my money to another publisher, perhaps EA, who have changed their tone over the last couple of years. Dead Space, Mirrors Edge and BC2 are all stellar games that I am glad I supported with my hard earned doller-moneys.

  19. UsF says:

    Hey I didn’t buy Assassins Creed2. Guess I won’t buy this one either and Settlers 7 can keep my copy on the shelf as well. Let’s see when they start to cry about financial losses due to piracy, because their DRM wasn’t strict enough yet.

    • Clovis says:

      According to Ubisoft, no one has completely broken their DRM yet, so they really can’t complain about piracy.

    • Wulf says:

      Settlers 7 is the only one that bothers me, and I find it absolutely gutting that I can’t play it and reward the developers with my money, but I can’t buy into Ubisoft’s vile scheme. I have to stand with the small amount of gamers that can prove that we do have some standards, so I’m leaving behind something I want here, too. I could buy it and crack it, but I won’t.

      If this is how Ubisoft treats its customers then they’re dead to me.

  20. neolith says:

    How To Not Make Me Buy A Game, Lesson #1: Do It Like Ubisoft Does

    Well… they must really hate my money as they make every effort possible to not give them any of it…

  21. toomany says:

    We’ve treated our customers like shit, created a defective product and have been unable to support it with our crappy infrastructure. Goddamn those pirates for ruining the PC games industry.

  22. Schadenfreude says:

    Ubisoft will be a demoing a slightly new form of DRM for Splinter Cell. The game will continue playing uninteruppted so long as the user is chewing a fresh piece of Airwaves gum. Should they run out of Airwaves the game will pause whilst the player runs to the shops for another pack, whereupon they will be put back to the last checkpoint. Furthermore different pieces of Fisher’s equipment will only be available to the player depending upon which flavour of Airwaves they are chewing. As the piece of gum degrades in the player’s mouth so too will the game – various shaders turning off, bump-mapping getting less bumpy, audio volume dropping.
    But you can save online so that’s alright.
    Yes, I’m still annoyed over SC3’s non-stop Airwaves pimping.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      It’s interesting to note that said pimpage seems to have been completely removed from the version of Chaos Theory I have on Steam.

      I concur with the general feeling of utter contempt for Ubi over the whole DRM issue, especially seeing as I was really looking forward to Conviction, and my console-ship of choice recently changed from Xbox to PS3 on account of my 4th console death.

  23. Dude says:

    Well I guess RUSE will have the same kind of crap attached to it.
    It really make me want for some hacker to crack this (faking the server?). Great play Ubisoft, apparently the PC market is too small to be interesting for you? Shame it is the platform showing the greatest progression last year….
    Oh well I might still get this because I really really like SC, but then for other game (RUSE) I might keep my money until they drop this crap….

    • Dude says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzGNd98Hjo8
      Obviously it had to be done…

    • Premium User Badge

      piphil says:

      R.U.S.E. at least appears to be coming out on Steam (there appears to be a beta available at the moment); I’m assuming the Steam version won’t come with the same DRM, or am I mistaken?

    • Colthor says:

      @piphil:
      Sadly, you are; the Steam version of RUSE will come with the same online-only rubbish as retail copies, according to the store page.

      The beta, however, doesn’t seem to – so if you’re interested now would be your chance to play the game, legitimately for free, with only Steam required.

  24. kastanok says:

    You’ve got to admire Ubisoft for doing their best to help me save money for important things like groceries and alcohol. They’re so considerate.

    Of course it’s not like I don’t have half a dozen other games to spend my money on.

  25. Mungrul says:

    Actually, in all seriousness, I think it really is their new DRM scheme preventing the release of a PC demo.
    Think about it: while not all demos have save systems, it wouldn’t surprise me if this Splinter Cell demo needs to record at least player settings somewhere. This is fine and dandy on a 360, where there’s no cloud saving and things can be saved locally, but on the PC, where you’ve already written the full game to only utilise cloud saves, re-writing the demo to avoid using it involves time and money as well as possibly giving inventive hackers an insight as to how to circumvent the protection on the full game.
    It would also mean having to pay for bandwidth and server space for essentially a free demo if they were to use the cloud save system.
    In Ubi’s eyes, this would surely be seen as a lose/lose situation.

    • Clovis says:

      Yeah, that is probably correct. I don’t think Ubi is trying to piss off PC gamers on purpose. They want to keep using this DRM system, but it would cause too many problems for them to offer a demo. They probably feel that there are plenty of Splinter Cell fans who would buy without a demo anyway. I really don’t play demos often myself; I just buy for cheap after patches are available.

      I think they are just trying to hold out as long as possible with this DRM. Maybe they’re hoping other companies start using a similar system. If that happens, and this type of DRM becomes common, then most gamers will just get used to it. Seriously, gamers aren’t exactly a strong willed group of people (see MW2).

      That must be their plan. Or maybe, as someone mentioned above, they are allergic to money.

  26. H4NNiB4L says:

    Bye (not Buy) Ubi Games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Alegis says:

      It’s not like they actually want your filthy PC gaming money – if my interpretation of their actions is correct.

    • whalleywhat says:

      Why would I want to make money when somebody, somewhere gets something for free. That’s my opinion as an astute, successful business-type person, wearing a suit and everything.

  27. H says:

    If Ubisoft are deliberately trying to alienate their PC fan base and ruin that part of the market for themselves, they’re doing a pretty bang-up job of it.

  28. Magic H8 Ball says:

    PC demos have been dead for years now. Why does this even come as a surprise to anyone?

    • Psychopomp says:

      Because the 360 got one.

    • Wulf says:

      Every game I’ve been interested in recently has had a demo, so I find that a bit odd, but I suppose a lot of mainstream stuff has been shying away from demos, yes.

  29. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Meh. Who cares, right? About the game, I mean. I’d rather not get into a game knowing its developer does stuff like this. Saves me from having to worry about it should it be a good game. After all, there are a lot of other games in the world.

    Besides, there’s little I can do except for not buying the game.

  30. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Because of the DDOS no one has actually finished games with their DRM either!

    ba dum tshhh

  31. GS says:

    i was looking forward to this…oh welll. :/

  32. Mario Figueiredo says:

    It would be a lot worse if Ubisoft produced good games. So we are ok, really. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • w says:

      Truth has been spoken… :E

    • DrGonzo says:

      Assasin’s Creed 2 was an excellent game. This game looks very good. Potentially they also have Beyond Good and Evil 2, which is the sequel to one of my favourite games. Also, Far Cry 3 and you never know, Scott Pilgrim could be good too.

      You sir, are wrong.

    • WTF says:

      Assassin’s Creed 2 good? Nope – its you who are wrong.

      Sure BGE2 and FarCry 3 are something I would regret missing, but given they are years away, I imagine that Ubi will have swallowed its pride and backed down from this retarded setup they are currently using.

    • Mungrul says:

      Why is it all of a sudden cool to bash Assassin’s Creed 2?
      I thought it was universally acclaimed when it was released on the consoles, and it was certainly one of my favourite games last year, but all of a sudden I’ve been coming across people saying it’s a shit game without offering any reason.

    • WTF says:

      “Universally acclaimed on the consoles”? lol! So was Halo 3, mate. What exactly is your point?

    • Brendan says:

      @WTF: Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t make it shit.

    • Wulf says:

      @Brendan

      No, but it is his right to hold the opinion that it’s shit, because an opinion is subjective, it isn’t fact, and it’s not something you should be levelling Zealous Fan Rage™ against. Geez, if Zealous Fan Rage™ gets any worse with its habit of shutting people down for mere opinions then it’s going to become like some sort of gamer breed of fascism.

      Knock it off, eh? Your opinion is that it’s good, his opinion is that it’s shit, agree to disagree.

  33. Tei says:

    Doing a demo is something rare nowdays. I don’t see this as something important.

    • Clovis says:

      I was annoyed when Magic H8 Ball said the same thing, but when Tei says it I find it to be a compelling argument.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      @ Clovis: Hahah, you are completely right. Go, Tei!

    • Tei says:

      I still fail at this. I don’t see why the demos is important. I buy most of my games in steam, and most of then don’t seems to have a demo. A demo is something expensive, and sould be planned, because special work sould be schedule to create it. I can totally understand some random dev no having the time or interest to make a demo.

      My two favorites demos are: Darwinia (because the demo got a interesting ‘streamlined’ version of the history of the game) and Carmagedoom ( hacking the cyphered txt files to create or unlock new vehicles was hilarious. It was a time-limited demo, but the timi-limited thing was like part of the game). Honorable mention to all the “Shareware episodes” of everything that Id Software has made.

    • DMJ says:

      Tei! Tei! Tei!

      Let’s carry him around on our shoulders.

    • Wulf says:

      @Tei

      I agree with your sentiment in regards to why someone might not want to make a demo, completely in fact, but I think the reason people are taking umbrage is that the 360 version has a demo. So none of the planning or time would be required, they could just do a simple port of the 360 version to the PC, and it would be a simple port because they already have the code in place from the port of their retail PC version.

      So what people are angry at is that Ubisoft was too lazy, or too afraid, to release a PC demo. The widely held opinion seems to be that they’d have to include the DRM with their demo in order to make the demo work, and that would cripple their servers. That seems to be a reasonable guess, but for me that’s just another strike against their DRM.

  34. mbp says:

    I have a sinking feeling of inevitability about all this. PC game sales will continue to fall because the games are less well supported and less well marketed than console versions. Developers put less and less money into PC versions of their games because sales are continuing to fall . Process repeats until nobody makes PC versions of triple A games any more.

    Rock Paper Shotgun remain ardent supporters of PC gaming but increasingly the only games you guys rave about are low budget indie titles.The indie scene is a hotbed of creativity and enthusiasm but it is getting harder and harder to justify my €250 graphics card if most of the games I play on it only need ascii graphics.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “…but it is getting harder and harder to justify my €250 graphics card if most of the games I play on it only need ascii graphics.”

      And the problem with this is?

    • mbp says:

      @Lionsphil: I think the problem is that you need to spend money on a reasonable graphics card to play big budget games on a PC. People are only going to do this as long as there are enough big budget games to play. Lower the number of games available and you lower the number of people willing to buy gaming quality graphics cards which in turn lowers the market for PC games which eventually results in the demise of the few remaining “big budget” PC games.

    • Dude says:

      That’s probably why the PC market continue to progress, right?
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/03/10/2009-pc-gaming-software-sales-up-3/

      Frankly the death of the PC gaming industry is like Duke Nukem Forever, not going to happen.
      There is plenty of big PC centric game being develop (APB, RUSE (yeah that’s a ubi one), civ 5, diablo 3), would they really do that if the PC was dying?

    • Premium User Badge

      Spork says:

      Another recent example: Bad Company 2 has more players on PC than PlayBox and XStation combined. And this is a sequel to a console-only game.

    • mbp says:

      @Spork that is a very interesting statistic and one that cheers me up a bit. Do you have a reference for it?

    • Wulf says:

      @mbp

      http://www.vg247.com/2010/03/06/bfbc2-servers-back-up-more-pc-players-than-each-console/

      @Rest

      Big budget is never going to leave the PC because there’s a profit to be made here, as Valve has shown, what will happen is that the big, dumb beasts, the slow sloth-like publishers are going to have to figure out how to make sales.

      I’ve been preaching the truth of this forever: No DRM, reasonable prices which match the content and type of game (the odd sale doesn’t hurt either so that poorer people can snap up your game, and a sale window of two days doesn’t hurt one month after release), post-purchase support, sell games targeted to the right demographic and don’t whine about 5~% less sales if you try to pitch something at a demographic which isn’t completely compatible, and treat your customers with the respect and dignity that a human being deserves.

      This all boils down to one truth: People are becoming more shrewd over time, and they only buy stuff that’s worth buying, marketing is having less and less of an effect, the Internet and word of mouth are having more of an effect. The old tactics of using all your money for marketing and then screwing your customers over don’t work any more, because people talk about how they’ve been screwed rather than how great of a game something is, and the marketing then has no effect anyway.

      Eventually, all big companies will realise this, and they’ll figure out that it’s better to put their marketing money into post-purchase support and treating their customers with dignity, rather than marketing at the expense of everything else. As I’ve pointed out, some publishers have figured this out, some are still figuring this out, some (Ubisoft/Activision) have a long way to go and change is going to hit them the hardest. But PC gaming won’t die, it’ll just change, as it keeps changing. PC gaming is different now than it was a few years back, and it was drastically different a few years before that. It’s an evolving beast and publishers either have to evolve with it or be left behind.

      As for the indie surge, these are people who understand what works on a PC. Wolfire are my favourite example, because they’re very personable, they did that sale/deal thing a while back which resulted in John dying his beard pink, they’re very open and involve people in their development, they have nothing to hide, and they’re just all in all great people. Because of that, it’s easy to want to buy from them, and that’s the future. Oh, and hey, Notch and Minecraft too, I dig his dev blog and him as a person, these are just icing on the cake, the cake being the amazing game that is Minecraft.

      People who make great games, treat their customers with respect, and maybe aren’t afraid to have a little fun (Valve: Portal 2).

      So the resurgence of garage/bedroom coding, indie, or whatever you want to call it is just the changing nature of the beast, because people saw that the PC was changing, they saw that publishers weren’t keeping up, and they saw an avenue of entry, where they could make the games they wanted, how they wanted, sell them how they wanted, and appeal to the disenfranchised PC gaming audience with a different sort of approach. It’s not hard to see that that is the case, especially with the amount of people who’re leaving the slow, sloth-like behemoths in order to create the game they want to, knowing that in this climate it will sell. And more power to them!

      You know, it really is fun watching the PC evolve, and it does evolve, and this is why I prefer the PC over any console or other gaming medium of the sort, simply because this kind of thing doesn’t happen there, consoles are very static, and they go from one generation to the next, whereas daily evolution is commonplace on the PC.

  35. bill says:

    This is just the time when they need a demo.

    If they are so convinced that their new DRM system isn’t going to inconvenience most people, and they want to try and counter all the negative press it’s getting online, this is their chance to show it.

    Right now anyone reading any game blogs is getting a lot of anti-ubisoft information and being told the game will be virtually unplayable. You’d think they’d have enough faith in their system to want to show otherwise.

  36. Magic H8 Ball says:

    To save your face, I hurry to point out we did not say the same thing. I just said no one makes demos anymore. He said they are not important.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I don’t really feel inclined to moan about demos.

    I can only think of two really well done demos that I’ve ever played.

    One, the second Darwinia demo, was completely pointless as they’d already fucked up the first demo horribly badly (but fortunately not enough to put me off buying it since I could still see the appeal and had heard good things about it). If they’d got it right first time then it would have gone down as a fnatastic demo – as such it’s pretty much a bit of free DLC that preaches to the converted.

    The other is hands down the best demo I’ve played and it was for Starlancer. Basically a prologue to the main game it contained a really well done mini campaign that nicely summed up the appeals of the game and wheted my appetite for more. It’s not a format that would work for a lot of games but if it is justifiable it should be used more often. It helped that the campaign was well written, dramatic and incredibly fun to play.

    If I need to play a game before deciding to purchase it I’d much rather just borrow from a friend or have them give me a shot of it. That’s a much better way to decide than an ill judged taster session.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Go see if you can still dig up the Half-Life 1 demo. It was a standalone little ‘episode’.

      I mean, more Half-Life, right?

    • Clovis says:

      @LionsPhil: I loved that demo. I was a kid with no money, so actually buying Half Life wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I played the demo over and over again.

      I was actually disappointed when I finally played HL1 years later because I never go to that part from the demo. I eventually realized it was a separate bit.

    • Jimbo says:

      I must have played the TIE Fighter demo one hundred million times. I didn’t know anything about Star Wars and I thought ‘TIE Fighter’ was the stupidest name in the world, but that demo was incredible.

      Observe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TuOcgH0kmo

      I weep for the demise of this genre more than any other.

  38. Jake says:

    Pass. By which I do not mean pirate, just pass. Maybe next time, Ubi.

  39. w says:

    Well, it looks like they’re actively trying to discourage people from playing their games, but it’s pretty sure people will still buy them. The annoyed people will melt away, leaving a fine, sturdy base, ready as ever for for monetization and streamlining (sorry RPS, I know you hate this word).

    And then… then they will have the perfect consumers, who complain about nothing and consume, consume, consume… Those consumers will love “Big Brother” so much that they will buy anything.

  40. LionsPhil says:

    Thank you, Ubisoft, for keeping my decisions simple and my wallet thick. No demo, no sale, ever. Burnt too many times by overoptimistic reviews.

  41. Shariq says:

    Hey Ubisoft, why don’t you just stop making games for PC? You do very well on consoles, and it’s obvious that you guys don’t actually want people to play your PC ports. I think your efforts would be better spent elsewhere. Take care.

  42. Eric says:

    Seeing as they had already made my decision not to purchase for me, I couldn’t possibly care less. I might as well assume they knew that, and so decided to focus their efforts elsewhere.

    Does make one wonder why they bothered making a PC port at all, though. Could’ve saved a lot of time and money by not.

  43. Paxeh says:

    I for one would like to thank the shareholders of Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. for making me keep my money in my pocket. Your business plan amazing and mildly touching. Ubisoft has seen that due to the recession many a player of videogames can not spend the amount of money he (or she) normally spends on game purchases in this time of belt tightening and with the pro-active attitude will save many a computer gamer from having to go to a soupkitchen for not being able to pay for food as their money would otherwise had gone to paying 50 euro’s for a video game.

    Ubisoft is the new Unicef. Save these people from themselves.

  44. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Lambchops said:
    If I need to play a game before deciding to purchase it

    I have no words, no words.

    When you need a pair of shoes do you also waltz into the shop, pick whatever looks nice and leave without trying them on?

    Thank you for ruining the industry along with Tei.

    (In before “all games I ever bought were good games” – try gambling, bro)

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      @ H8 ball
      Not a valid anaolgy really.
      With games I have a bunch of friends I can talk to or a small section of reviewers whose tastes I know are similar to mine. Hence most of the time I can go in with faith that something will be decent. If it isn’t then, as I believe we’ve discussed before, I become an idiotic consumerist who has wasted ten quid. No more harm done than that (although by all means continue your curmudgeoness and tell me how I’m ruining the industry – if nothing else I’ll be mildly entertained!). I can live with that.
      With shoes I have to try them on, not only to ensure I’m not wasting money, but also to see whether they’re going to be comfy or likely to tear my feet to shreds. There’s a bit more consequence involved in this.
      To reiterate; if a purchase has consequences or involves a significant amount of money then I’ll do a shed load of reasearch. If not I’m willing to take a punt based on what I know I tend to enjoy.

  45. Karhax says:

    I was and still am unsure about the game and was hoping for a demo.

    However, now I will have to play it at my friend Pir Ate’s house to see if it is any good.

  46. George says:

    Seems like they will be lining up for an innovation award next year.

  47. Arathain says:

    Judging from the open beta, RUSE will also be good. I was pretty bummed to find out fairly late on that one is Ubi as well.

  48. DVSBSTD says:

    These days I rarely expect a proper demo anyway.

    But couldn’t they have done this whole DRM crap next year or, I dunno, never… Now there’ll be a hole on the shelf next to my SC 1 through 4 discs which I preordered day one. I even bought Chaos Theory twice.

    Ubisoft used to stand for quality to me, now they’re just the biggest disappointment the gaming industry has ever seen.

  49. Hgme says:

    You guys got it all wrong. There most certainly is a demo. It’s not your standard “1st level” or something bull, they’re demoing the whole game! Their plan is pretty genius actually.

    See, you go to the store, pay $60, then when Ubi’s decided that you’ve enjoyed the demo enough, they turn it off and you can go buy the actual game from the store.

    Not sure why you’d charge for a demo though, it seems a little weird. But since it’s the whole game I’m not going to complain, I’ll just wait for the real game to drop.