RUSE Drops Ubi DRM For Steamworks

By Jim Rossignol on August 12th, 2010 at 7:38 am.


Word via the Ubi forums is that Ubisoft’s sadface-inducing DRM will not appear in forthcoming Strategy, R.U.S.E.

When R.U.S.E. is released in September, it will benefit from Valve’s Steamworks API to offer the best community experience to players. Consequently, a Steam account and Internet connection will be required to activate the game, as per Steam policy. For this reason, R.U.S.E. will not use the Ubisoft protection. Single player can be played offline.

Speculation about the end of UbiDRM ahoy! (Also thanks to everyone who sent in this link.)

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95 Comments »

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  1. Vague-rant says:

    Then why isn’t this the standard for all the other Ubisoft games on Steam? (Not so secretly hoping for Assassins Creed 2 to follow suit).

    Anyways, great news might have to give the demo a go when it comes out .

    • Radiant says:

      I played Assassin’s Creed on the old xbox360 here is my five sentence review:

      In the first 10 minute my mum was raped and I’d punched her and my sister [accidentally] in the face.
      I then nonchalantly committed inordinate amounts of knife crime.
      The button marked ‘murder this person’ came in very handy.
      This game is too casually horrific.

      Lot of fun though. 7/10

    • Radiant says:

      But Radiant you play an ASSASSIN!
      No you play an asshole.
      Ezio is a complete wanker.

    • frymaster says:

      RUSE is the first game that’s steam-only

      if you apply DRM to one version of a game, you have to apply it to all versions, otherwise people can use the non-DRM-applied versions to easily bypass the DRMed versions (especially with ubisoft’s thing, which apparently relied on downloading ciritcal game files on demand)

  2. PleasingFungus says:

    This is pretty excellent news. I really enjoyed the first beta, but wasn’t going to get the game, owing to UbiDRM. But now I can!

    • Wilson says:

      @PleasingFungus – Yeah, I’m in the same position. Might well buy it now. Admittedly having it linked into Steam is still not ideal, but so much better than Ubi-DRM. Just have to wait for a sale :)

    • Zogtee says:

      It’s great for me. Now I will actually pay attention to this game. And I love Steam. I want all my games on Steam. :D

    • IncredibleBulk92 says:

      Same for me too. No way I’m buying a game with that DRM on but I enjoyed the beta enough to consider buying it sometime in the future. Maybe after my Starcraft 2 love dies down a bit.

    • TCM says:

      RUSE is now delicious again.

  3. Centy says:

    I suspect that fan feedback and developer pressure caused this turn around good thing to I may consider picking it up now where as before it was a certain miss due to the DRM.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Don’t be too excited; Ubi have a habit of leaving this DRM off titles that everyone and his mum knows won’t sell well(the cell-shaded Prince of Persia) in a cynical attempt to then blame piracy for it not selling well and “oh how well this would have sold if we had protected it properly with our Ubishit DRM”.

      They won’t dare repeat the experiment with any of their triple-A titles because they’d get conclusive proof that they’d lost the argument rubbed in their faces. They’ve invested too much money to do a u-turn.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Prince of Persia being DRM-free was because all of Ubisoft’s games during that period (2008?) were DRM-free, even the Tom Clancy ones.

    • Bowlby says:

      That’s my theory as well, Gorgeras. If it sells well, then that’s great, and maybe we will see less of Ubi’s DRM in the future. But my suspicion is that Ubisoft don’t expect great success with this title and are taking what they perceive to be a risky approach by releasing it with Steamworks in a bid to increase sales.

      However, if it does sell poorly anyway, when they tally up their numbers they can just blame an unknown quantity of lost sales on piracy, and they can use it to boost their DRM agenda. In other words, even if the game does badly they can still get something out of it.

  4. LewieP says:

    Celebrations indeed, although it looks like HAWX2 is still going to be using the online service platform. Not sure about any other their other upcoming releases (except that Scott Pilgrim isn’t getting a PC release from the looks of things).

  5. Vinraith says:

    Good news indeed, for all that I wish they’d replaced it with something else. Now if we could just get them to retroactively remove it from the likes of Assassin’s Creed 2.

    • sassy says:

      Doubt that will happen, I have never known Ubisoft to be big on supporting products after release. AC2 may be a big title but it is starting to go past its retail lifespan.

      Anyway AC2 is meant to be pretty bad, haven’t played it personally but I hated number 1.

    • Vinraith says:

      @sassy

      Yeah, I don’t expect it to happen, but a guy can dream. I enjoyed AC1 despite its flaws, and the reviews for AC2 were generally positive and indicated that most of the flaws of the original had been dealt with. I’d have bought the game at launch if not for the DRM. As it stands, I think I may have to wait until I get around to buying a next gen console and then buy it used. As long as the PC version has UbiDRM on it, Ubisoft won’t see a cent from me for it.

    • TheTingler says:

      Agreed with everything, you just said Vinraith – me too. Would’ve bought AC2 straight away were it not for the abysmal DRM.

      I bought Splinter Cell Conviction at launch, and guess what? I could only play it properly a few weeks ago, several months later. And despite several attempts I have not been able to get a co-op match going with anyone. I can connect fine often, but they either freeze or can’t connect to the server at all.

  6. sassy says:

    I have no interest in the game but this should be very interesting.

    An earlier RPS article today stated that ubisoft will be releasing UK digital sales figures to ELSPA, so we might get a bit of an insight on just how draconian DRM affects sales. From a purely academic standpoint I would love to see a few ubisoft games with and without the DRM released around the same time. As a gamer however I still feel like I should be sending death threats (the non threatening, more pleading kind) to the higher ups in ubisoft.

    AARRGGHHH captcha hates me

    • thebigJ_A says:

      “non-threatening” death threats?? What’s that, like euthenasia?

      “I’m gonna kill you if you don’t cancel UbiDRM!! But I’ll wait until your all old and sickly, and do it in the most painless way possible!!!”

  7. TheTingler says:

    God I hope this is the end of it. I really didn’t want to have to boycott Far Cry 3 as well, when that gets announced.

    I wonder if something happened akin to that Monty Python sketch about The Society for Putting Things On Top of Other Things. “Well, we decided not to do this, as we think the whole thing’s a bit silly.” “SILLY? SILLY?! … I suppose it is a bit. What are we doing, wasting our lives like this? Okay, meeting adjourned forever!”

    • Bungle says:

      Far Cry 2 was brilliant. Brilliant! I haven’t spent that much time in a single player campaign since Half-Life 2.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Far Cry 2 was great… then when I thought it was over a whole new map the size of the first opened up and I was sadface. It was just too repetitive. A longer game is not necessarily a better game (something I did not believe until FC2).

    • Jason Moyer says:

      It’s a shame so many people give up on the second map of FC2 (did the same on my first attempt at a playthrough), because while it’s not immediately obvious, it actually plays quite a bit differently than the first one because of the way the water routes are laid out.

  8. sink257 says:

    Decent game+devs who listen to players+no irritating drm=Win!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      But they don’t listen.

      At this point it’s more likely someone broke into the office with a gun and demanded they have RUSE go UbiDRM free to test the waters or by god he’d shoot the kitten you don’t even know man hes serious he’ll do it oh god oh man im freaking out

  9. Risingson says:

    As mentioned: very interesting news for not a very interesting game.

  10. Henk says:

    Great, I didn’t even participate in the beta, because I knew I couldn’t play it properly with the ubisoft DRM. If they had announced it earlier I might have actually perordered it… Well, it’s better dan still having the ubisoft DRM anyway.

  11. Groove says:

    Need to pay attention to this game again now…

    Originally fancied it, bit stopped paying attention as soon as I heard it was Draconiansoft tm.

  12. Helmehytte says:

    Just hope this evil Steamworks trend won’t continue to grow. Steamworks is evil

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      The word evil gets tossed around a lot. Steamworks is evil? As opposed to what? Having each box come with a kitten and a letter of apology for the box having sharp edges?

    • Sam says:

      People who are still angry at Steam for not working 5 years ago…

      Steamworks is by far and away the best DRM available.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      While i like steam and have about 80 games on it. I wish it worked more like impulse. Being able to install my games on any drive I want would be nice.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      There is the problem of steamworks DRM essentially linking to the Steam store, so no matter who you buy it from it is forever linked with Steam.

      This is anti-competitive practice surely, since it’s pushing people towards using Steam as their main or only digital distributor.

  13. ManaTree says:

    Excellent. Hopefully a stepping stone to cascade of changes. But I doubt it. Still very nice though.

    I think this was a very necessary step for that studio; it honestly seemed like a lot of the “on the fence” people were against it because of UbiDRM. I’ve heard of a lot of good things about RUSE, including from a friend of mine. I hope the studio (don’t know who they are) is successful. It’d be a shame for them to shut down when they’re basically the only Ubisoft-published PC-centric studio (minus the studio that makes Settlers, but that still has UbiDRM). Am I missing any other studios, perchance?

    You know, I’d love for the studios of Ubi to combine AC, PoP, FC2 and BG+E into a giant exploration/parkour/conspiracy/open world game with awesome fantasy (taken from BG+E of course). I really hope that’s what Michael Ancel’s team is doing. That’d be such a mindblowingly awesome game.

    Have you heard the news about how Ancel’s core team is made up of 5 people or something? Apparently the reason is so they can keep their ideas distilled. Indies! Yes. I hope (I’m doing alot of hoping in this, not to mention RAMBLE RAMBLE RAMBLE) we see more indies with AAA publisher resources. That’s basically the end game.

    • Loomchild says:

      The studio is Eugen Systems, located in Paris. They are mainly known for Act of War.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Don’t forget, they’ve bought out Nadeo, who are stictly PC-based (TrackMania DS & Wii doesn’t count, they were by Firebrand).

    • ManaTree says:

      Ah, thank you. Interesting. Seems like they’ve been very serious about it (their last Act of War title was released in 2006). Really do hope it pans out well for them. PC gaming needs all the studios it can get.

      Ah yes! Nadeo. Forgot about them. Trackmania 2 ought to be a hoot.

  14. Javier-de-Ass says:

    huh, weird post. it’s been known for quite a while ruse will be using steamworks and not the ubisoft thing. how is steamworks and being steam subscription exclusive better than ubisoft drm though? I’d think having ubisoft drm would be a lot better especially for retail versions of the game

    • Vinraith says:

      how is steamworks and being steam subscription exclusive better than ubisoft drm though?

      Offline mode and local saves. Steamworks is definitely the lesser evil, here.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      UbiDRM kicks you if yourinternet connection fails. You have to be online AT ALL TIMES. Even to play single player. That’s the whole reason everyone hates it so much. Steam doesn’t pull that shenanigans. (Some people believe it pulls other shenanigans, but… what the guy above me said.)

    • TheMoo says:

      @Javier
      You’re probably new if you missed the colossal shitstorm about Ubisoft’s horrible online-only DRM.
      So to list, advantages of Steamworks over Ubi:
      -Offline Mode.
      -Local Saves.
      -Servers usually stable.
      -Game won’t quit working if you happen to lose connection while playing.

      Some people may not like Steamworks for what it does but it’s leaps and bounds better than Ubi’s horrifying approach to DRM.

    • ManaTree says:

      Er, yeah, what he said, but how the heck would UbiDRM ever be better than Steam? This is not making sense. Nothing is jumping to mind. Maybe cloud saving? Even Steamworks has that (of course, who knows if they’ll use it but still).

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Vinraith — it’s still the evil, and not in any way preferable to anything that isn’t Steamworks or UbiDRM, though.

    • ManaTree says:

      I know I’m being anal here but; StarForce? SecuROM? Tages? I think Vinraith (of all people) is well aware of the extent of Steamworks.

      No DRM is the ultimate answer, but Vinraith pretty much has it right in this case (and I think he was just talking in terms of digital services); Steamworks IS the lesser evil.

    • ManaTree says:

      Right. Besides GOG of course. Silly. Or Impulse too. Neither are really huge huge though, unfortunately.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Alexander

      Do you really think you have to tell me that? I’ve no interest in stirring up the hornet’s nest on the issue, but Steamworks is pretty low on my preference list as DRM goes, and its increasing prevalence in AAA games scares the hell out of me.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    Okay, now I regret giving the beta no attention. Good work ubi. Now do that to conviction and settlers 7 and you’ll be seeing some cashflow.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I feel the need to add. I’m not a steamworks fan because i like digital distributors competing fairly and i like being able to launch a game without having to launch a client that may fail, makes my load slower and has an online requirement which would hinder wanting to play without the net (but steam offline mode is fair).

      Hell, gamersgate, d2d and impulse and drm free straight from the developer all come before steam for me. Additionally steam beats discs at the same price, i have kids, including a 3 year old who hides things.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Given that RUSE seems to be a multiplayer focused title, it’s pretty likely they’re not just using Steamworks for the DRM.

  16. Jambe says:

    UbiDRM < SteamDRM < GOO < plain executables

    But it'll take years to learn (if they ever learn at all, which seems unlikely).

    I'd use Impulse for more than just Stardock games if it weren't just terrible in every way when compared to Steam (except insofar as how they handle non-DRM'ed games is concerned). It's just nowhere near as good.

    I enjoy and patronize Steam but I don't like the idea of not being able to download a local copy of the installer for backup and/or immediate offline use.

    *shrug*

    • ManaTree says:

      You could back the files up. The only difference is that you have to install the game first (so you download the files). There should be a backup button in the menu somewhere. It even splits it up if you want to put it on CDs/DVDs.

      But yeah, no 100% offline method is kinda annoying. I’m pretty sure that when you play the game (reinstalling should be fine, it’s completely offline), it requires you to be logged in (you know, DRM! The daft bully.).

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      My understanding is, some stuff (mostly Valve’s methinks) is kept in encrypted magic boxes, but the majority of stuff has an install directory under your steamapps directory which looks pretty similar to the sort of thing you’d get after installing a game off of hard media.

      I suspect that this’ll run even without steam (though Steamworks stuff might not) and as such you should be able to copy the whole lot to a new machine.. Has anyone tried this?

    • LewieP says:

      See I really like Steamworks because it means I can have games on my service of choice, but not have to pay Steam prices. Retail versions of Steamworks games are almost always cheaper than buying direct from Steam.

    • ManaTree says:

      The exes usually use Steam, I think. So it wouldn’t quite work. However, transferring said files as you mentioned (it isn’t encrypted by Valve, otherwise like no mods would work at all) would work, but you’d still need a Steam account that has the game to launch it.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Download the game from Steam, grab a crack, and you’re good, even in case you get locked out of your Steam account. Simple enough.

    • Wilson says:

      I know some games in my Steam library will work from the .exes in their directories without needing Steam to run. I think those are often smaller more indie-esque games though. I don’t think big games like Empire: Total War worked without Steam running. Depends on the dev basically.

    • Jambe says:

      @ManaTree: I’m just anal about wanting a simple executable to zip and tuck away on the home server (and offsite) as part of my normal backup plan.

      I suspect that this’ll run even without steam (though Steamworks stuff might not) and as such you should be able to copy the whole lot to a new machine.. Has anyone tried this?

      I’ve put a few big Steam games on the NAS, reinstalled Windows, installed Steam, and copied the games back off the NAS to the proper directories — it worked fine. I only did this because I didn’t want to redownload huge titles from Valve — my comparatively tiny PopCap games, for instance, I just snatched up from their Chicago datacenter.

      fwiw, Valve officially supports the method I just described (the Alternative Method at the bottom is the same thing).

      All of that hassle could be avoided if you had the option of downloading a self-contained installer of any game you own for archival purposes. They could wrap it in CEG to appease the DRM nuts… or they could be altruistic and make an installer DRM-free (but I don’t see that happening).

      I’d be fine with a CEG-encrypted standalone installer for backup. It’d just be more convenient than the current “drag and drop all the necessary files” backup method. I haven’t used the official Steam backup utility, but I hear it works just fine.

  17. Chris says:

    Great. Now could they retro-fit it to Splinter Cell 3 so I can buy it, please?

    • Heliocentric says:

      On steam splinter cell 3 (chaos theory) has no starforce.

  18. terry says:

    I’d like to think this is a sudden outbreak of common sense at Ubi HQ but more likely its another PoP-type drm-free experiment so when R.U.S.E undersells they can turn around and look aghast at “pirates”.

    • ManaTree says:

      It has Steamworks, though. So the situation is fairly different. I’m more concerned about the fact that it’s a new IP, and thus people will hesitate to buy it, rather than piracy being the issue.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      That’s the point, RUSE’s poor sales would be “proof” that they’ll need more restrictive DRM than Steam’s one-time activation.

    • ManaTree says:

      Ah, that is true. Grr. Just have to hope it does well then, I suppose. If it is a good game (which I’ve heard it is).

  19. ShadowNate says:

    An excellent move for R.U.S.E.

    I would never buy a game with UbiDRM or an equally restrictive DRM, demanding a constant online connection to play it. It’s a huge letdown that AC2 that I wanted so much to buy, has this, but I guess I can deal without it.

    And, ofcourse, there’s not going to be a missed oppurtunity to promote the boycott against that stupid DRM.

  20. BigPun says:

    I hope this isn’t just a ruse.

  21. roman says:

    @DJ Phantoon, lol havent heard that before.

  22. Jezcentral says:

    And, of course, Steamworks means Steam Achievements…. :)

  23. Mac says:

    Excellent news – I’m not a big fan of RTS games, but I may just buy this to boost Ubi’s coffers and let them know that I approve of the ditching of their shit’tastic DRM!!!

    It may go a little way to compensating for the “evaluation copy” of Splinter Cell I played through too …

  24. MadTinkerer says:

    “Speculation about the end of UbiDRM ahoy!”

    Oh, I do hope so. I have quite a few Ubisoft games from the pre-horribleness-era and I’m hoping I can buy more of their games some time in the future. I deliberately avoided getting ACreed2 when it was on sale even though I would have bought it at that price if it didn’t have horribleness. Me, participating in an actual boycott!? It’s true!

    I can’t wait to end the boycott, just as soon as my completely reasonable demand that my games not be attached to a horrific DRM scheme is fulfilled.

  25. SquareWheel says:

    Damn, I could have downloaded the beta on Steam after all.

    Also, I never get this captcha right on the first try.

  26. rocketman71 says:

    Thank god, thank god, thank god. So much closer to buying now.

    Sad to see the day I would be glad of some game forcing Steam on me.

    Now, Eugen.. what about LAN?. Give me that and you’ll have a guaranteed sale.

  27. airtekh says:

    I hope this signals the beginning of the end for Ubi’s DRM but my heart tells me it isn’t.

    If they dropped the DRM from Splinter Cell: Conviction and Assassin’s Creed 2, I would buy both of them in a heartbeat. As long as it remains, I will just give my money to other games companies instead of Ubisoft.

  28. ninjapirate says:

    I see parallels between iTunes and Steam.
    iTunes taught the music industry that you could still easily sell your products even without DRM technology, and I believe Steam will eventually teach the gaming industry the same lesson.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The only problem with that simile is that Steam is DRM of the rather obnoxious kind.

    • Window AC says:

      Yes, Steam is so obnoxious and intrusive, I can’t believe I have to minimize it myself. Gosh what a pain.

    • Clovis says:

      Boo! I was really hoping it would be dropped, at least for future games. If they did that I’d buy Scott Pilgrim and AC2 for my PS3 tonight.

      Oh well, I still have a ton on non-Ubi games to play.

    • JKjoker says:

      dont abandon hope, they are probably testing the waters to drop it (they need to justify throwing that huge investment down the drain to stock holders/suits after all, they cant just drop it like they did with Starforce since they have a lot of money put into it)

      however, if the drop it i doubt theyll patch the protection out of the old games and they most likely wont keep the servers running for long either, you see where im going with this, ppl who bought these games might get an even worse lesson on DRM suckage

  29. Premium User Badge

    El_MUERkO says:

    I’ve not played Ruse or any other UBI PC game since they started their DRM bullshit.

    As long as they do it for ever one of their PC games I wont buy a game of theirs.

  30. dingo says:

    Steamworks is under control by the cracking groups so history will go on:
    No Ubi game ever wasn’t cracked incl. the Ubilauncher ones.

    H.A.W.X.2 will be the next batleground then.

    • rfry11 says:

      I really don’t think that’s what Ubisoft wants to hear from people in regards to switching DRM.

      Although, I saw this coming, what with the whole “Play R.U.S.E. Free Over Steam For A Month” thing they did. I don’t think it was a month, but it was a really long time.

  31. dingo says:

    The point is that they should understand that money spent for DRM is a waste of resources.
    Instead of seeing every copy as a lost sale they should focus on catering to the paying customers like me.
    As a collector I want my games to be playable after 10-20 years without some bullshit server that might or might not exist anymore!

  32. Window AC says:

    @bit_crusherrr

    You can install your games on any hard drive too, you just have to log in in order to play them.

  33. Jimbo says:

    Alright, cool. Still remains to be seen if RUSE is worth buying or not.

  34. Crawler says:

    Anyone who thinks RUSE is a shit game, hasn’t played in the multiple beta tests they had up. The game is actually trying to do something with the RTS genre – even if it aims to streamline it – which is a lot more than certain other mega-bucks RTS’s are doing that just came out.

    People didn’t want to buy this cause it had UPlay attached to it. Now they took it off and some people say they still won’t buy it because they are boycotting Ubisoft altogether. This isn’t fair for the developers who have been trying to cater to their player base the entire time, but are being chastised because of their publisher’s misdeeds. Just watching the developer videos, you can see them respond to player concerns and ideas, and explaining logically why certain ideas are being excluded and others are being taken into account. Not to mention the game itself is incredibly fun to play after you understand what’s going on, and remains accessible to people who aren’t the best micro-freaks on the planet.

    If you aren’t buying this game because it’s set in WWII and you think it won’t be anything original, you’re already wrong. Just catch the next beta/demo and you’ll see why the game deserves your money and time.

  35. Rob says:

    It’s a shame that I don’t really have any interest in RUSE since it’d be an insta-purchase if it were something like, say, AC2.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    This is very good news. I played in the earlier multiplayer beta of RUSE and really enjoyed it, and I don’t usually go for multiplayer RTSs. I would highly recommend taking a look at this.

  37. adam says:

    Now they just need to remove the reliance on microsoft’s proprietary windows media player that is required to play the game.

  38. DirtDiver says:

    To bad its Steam DRM its still the same as EA’s phone home to play Single Player which sucks. So it a no buy for me. Now if they made a steam free version and put it on Stardocks Impuse without there DRM I would buy it in a heart beat. as is hell no… Steam sucks…

  39. Celestatiune says:

    I don’t even understand why companies think this sort of DRM is such a good idea. I understand that it provides a basic difficulty threshold for piracy which does help (you’d be surprised how many people can’t handle something as simple as looking up a torrent site or following the directions in your average .nfo file)

    The issue is when the piracy becomes so invasive that you’re actually getting a BETTER product by stealing it than by paying for it like a good little boy. The UBIsoft online DRM obviously falls under this heading, especially those of us with unreliable or non-24/7 access to the intertubes. So do some less obvious methods like the CD-Check – I wonder how many people have discovered how easy piracy really is just by finally getting fed up switching their legitimately bought discs everytime?

    And I wonder how many people have rediscovered the joy of buying games through the convenience of services like Steam, GOG, etc.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Personally i buy most of my games from steam and gog, i don’t really mind DRM as long as its kept at a reasonable level, Steam is acceptable since it hasn’t given me any problems yet and i can play singleplayer games offline if i wish (gog is even better since its DRM free), UBIs latest crap isn’t simply because it doesn’t have an offline mode, i’ll be boycoting R.U.S.E despite its lack of DRM simply because its an UBISoft title, Settlers was the last drop for me and until its fixed UBISoft won’t see another cent from me.