Correction: Ubisoft’s DRaMatic Change

By John Walker on March 18th, 2011 at 9:29 am.

Stupid orange.

Mea culpa. Last month, in reaction to Ubisoft’s confusingly worded statement about their change of DRM for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I launched into a lengthy rant about how it still wasn’t good enough, based on my own misunderstanding. I understood that it would require an online authentication every time it was launched, whereas it appears to be the case that it’s only the one time after it’s first installed. So I think I owe Ubisoft an apology. It’s important to note that Ubisoft have not contacted us regarding that article at all. They are stoic. And it’s also important to note that I’m not saying that I believe that one-time online authentication DRM is acceptable either. I am not stoic. But I do not like having misrepresented the facts, and as such want to make my mistake clear.

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105 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    QuantaCat says:

    Repairing damage before its’ done, eh?

    AC:B hasnt released yet on steam, it just “switched” to the 18th of march, but a guy from Ubisoft, (UbiGabe) was pretty helpful on the subject. And I never had any DRM problems with UbiSoft, aside from that its a silly system. (actually, I never had any connection problems and ended up with a free copy of PoP)

  2. Ian says:

    You’ve let us down, you’ve let yourself down, but most of all… you’ve let the duck down.

  3. Chobes says:

    Someone care to explain the duck and the orange for me?

    • Meat Circus says:

      The duck represents man’s inhumanity to man, the orange is a spiritual container for all our hypocrisies.

    • Theoban says:

      The orange chases the duck, why does the duck fear the orange? No-one can know, a wise man once said ‘never present the duck with an orange’, and promptly died. Such is life.

    • Spinoza says:

      They are lovers.In this and in etherworld.

    • Bennus says:

      Culinary philosophers once encapsulated the failings of Man in the dish Duck a l’orange.

    • thegooseking says:

      The French for duck is ‘canard’. Derived from this, the English word ‘canard’ means “A false or misleading report or story, especially if deliberately so.”

      I have no idea about the orange, though.

    • Jables says:

      @Theoban

      Haha! Reading that made me promptly Lol. ! :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Richard Beer says:

      I had Duck A l’Orange in Andorra at the weekend. That entire country is like something out of the 80s.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Do they have big brick sized mobile phones, stupid hairstyles, shoulder pads & a still black Michael Jackson?
      If so I’m in.

    • smokingkipper says:

      Throwing an Orange at a Duck, is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman.

    • Sarlix says:

      The duck is a representation of Johns guilt. Ergo, to look ‘duck faced’ The orange is somewhat of an enigma. Neither man nor duck can truly understand the orange. If an orange is placed directly infront of a duck there are two possible outcomes.

      1) The duck spontaneously combusts. 2) The duck eats the orange. In the second world war the Nazis tried to harness the duck-orange paradox by strapping oranges to the heads of ducks. The goal was to unleash squadrons of orange ladened ducks into enemy territories, spontaneously combusting and killing large swashes of the population. However the Nazis failed to anticipate the second stage of the duck-orange paradox – Duck eats orange. And thus the orange filled ducks waddled straight into allied arms and eventually propagated the victory over the Nazis and ended the war. And this is where the saying ‘Feeling Ducky’ comes from.

    • D3xter says:

      I’d say it’s all part of an elaborate test to find out if a duck can duck.

    • iHavePants says:

      Male ducks are called drakes, if you slur your words and say “drake orange” very quickly it may sound like draconic?

    • Ian says:

      @ smokingkipper: You terrify a bird and waste a perfectly good orange?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Oranges: A duck’s only natural predator.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      @ smokingkipper: What, you can’t bring yourself to do it out of consideration for the traumatic impact on the duck?

    • Gotem says:

      Watch out! an orange! DUCK!

  4. Theoban says:

    I…I just don’t know what to believe anymore. What sense can we make of this crazy world now?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      The first error you made, was to believe, instead of knowing.
      Knowing is observing. With your own senses. Believing is trusting a source despite knowing that you can’t know it that way.
      A good scientist knows only one thing: That he knows nothing, and everything is just a theory. :)
      As long as the theory holds against the observations, all is well and fine.
      But if an anomaly occurs, this should happen: http://i.imgur.com/l6yfr.png
      If instead when forming theories, observations are ignored and/or sources is believed, the walk to schizophrenia is started.

  5. AlexW says:

    One-time Internet activation isn’t acceptable? I think you may have gone a little overboard there. Frankly, it’s not that unreasonable to allow it a chance to avoid basic keygen programs.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Not everyone has internet on there gaming PC’s, to play any PC games now it seems, reqguardless of where you purchased it.

      Can be annoying for lower income people who might nto be able to afford proper internet, who will end up having to basically steal wireless to get the games they have legally purchased from a shop to even install.

      Or quite simply, its on a laptop, at a airport you are installing it , and no free wifi!

    • Gnoupi says:

      Or depending on the firm providing this online activation, the fact that you have no guarantee that you will be able to install your game in a few years from now.

    • Kdansky says:

      If the games from 10 years ago had online authentication, we would only be able to play a tiny percentage of them right now, because most companies have gone bankrupt.

    • Zanchito says:

      One time activation (or any times activations) do NOT stop piracy, keygen or not. Have a look around the usual sites for proof. The only thing they succeed at is introducing additional programming & maintenance complexity and usser inconvenience (ie. have to go online to play offline games)

    • Premium User Badge

      Crimsoneer says:

      And what about those poor people who don’t have PCs? Or those who live in the deep amazonian underbrush?

      Until games are playable on tablets of stone, I’m boycotting.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      Worse is if the online activation is locked to a specific date. A fine idea to prevent early copies leaking out of the retail distribution system, certainly. But if the game is released in other territories, being told “You can’t play this for another two days yet” is rather irksome.

    • dux says:

      Crimsoneer has the right idea with that fine piece of rhetoric. Internet access really isn’t an unfair requirement in this day and age, especially if it’s just for a one time activation. If you can afford a semi-decent PC that is able to meet the minimum requirements of these games then I’m pretty sure you’d be able to afford a basic Internet connection as well, given that it’s almost essential in today’s society (how many people do you know without Internet access in their home?). For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure an ‘Internet connection’ has been listed as a minimum requirement on a large number of games in recent years, and is certainly a requirement for any game which activates over Steam.

      And if the developers/publishers did happen to go out of business then it wouldn’t be hard for them to patch that requirement out of their game, since I hardly think they’d be worried about piracy beyond that point.

    • 7rigger says:

      “Internet access really isn’t an unfair requirement in this day and age”

      It kinda is if you don’t have it. I think it definitely is if it’s not really needed either.

      I know a few people with problematic internet, and when moving house we all lose it for a little while. It’s not the constant in our lives it’s made out to be, even for the best connections.

      I do buy games with internet connection, and I don’t mind them too much (Although I threw an absolute fit when my store bought copy of Shogun 2 wouldn’t install from the disc because ‘servers are busy’) but it’s unfair to simply assume that because we all have it, every other gamer automatically will and if they don’t, then they’re somehow less important.

    • ross_angus says:

      I got the internet only this year (despite working for an internet company for the past ten years). And it was because of on-line activation. Mirror’s Edge, of all things, was the game which finally broke the camel’s back, weirdly.

      Now I’m properly on-line, it does seem that physical media is a little old-fashioned. Part of me is looking forward to the download-only future (activated, or not).

    • sneetch says:

      “And if the developers/publishers did happen to go out of business then it wouldn’t be hard for them to patch that requirement out of their game, since I hardly think they’d be worried about piracy beyond that point.”

      I don’t think patching out online activation would be high on their priorities if they go out of business. Which means you’ll probably have to download a crack to play your game. I don’t like being reliant on the publishers being around in order to be able to play my games.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      If you care about playing your games decades down the road, which I do, then making me ask the publisher nicely if I can play their game is certainly a bad thing.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      AlexW: I can only answer that by quoting John’s original article:

      The argument is so idiotic that it’s difficult to even have.

      “We are putting in DRM to fight piracy.”

      “But your DRM is demonstrably only affecting legitimate customers, while doing nothing to prevent piracy.”

      “WE NEED TOUGHER DRM!”

    • triple omega says:

      The reasons why even one-time activation is not acceptable are:

      1) There is no reason to use it. It doesn’t actually stop people playing a cracked version.

      2) If the servers have problems, which we have seen happen numerous times already, people can’t install the game they bought.

      3) Not everyone CAN get Internet. A lot of people here don’t seem to realize that Internet-penetration isn’t high all across the world. There are even western countries with only 60-70% Internet-penetration. On top of that there are lots of locations with unreliable Internet connections. For all these hundreds of millions of people, even one-time activation can be a problem.

      Plus they are wasting money that could be funding something else. Something that might actually benefit their customers?

    • jalf says:

      AlexW: that’s the usual fallacy people usually commit when they try to defend DRM: it *doesn’t* prevent keygens or cracks.
      Which means that it’s still inconveniencing legitimate customers (who, as have been pointed out, may have *no* legal way to play the game when Ubisoft goes bust), while doing *nothing* to hinder piracy.
      Why is it that DRM proponents still believe that software pirates can be deterred just by forcing them to do something they’ve been doing *anyway* for the last 15 years: downloading a .torrent containing game plus keygen/crack.
      I really can’t think of a more ridiculous way to fight piracy. It’s about as sane as claiming that “we need to make our cars use twice as much fuel, because it’ll be less attractive to steal them!”

      Why would anyone assume that pirates would be inconvenienced by having to download a crack? It’s not like they’d otherwise make a copy of their friend’s floppy disk with the game on it. No sane person would try to burn a copy of the DVD. If a person wants to pirate a game, he downloads it. And in the download, there is virtually *always* a keygen and/or crack included. In other words, with or without online authentication, the process would be exactly the same for the pirates: download a .torrent, and run whatever .exes you end up with.

    • pipman3000 says:

      as long as there is entitlement in the world video game piracy shall always exist.

    • AlexW says:

      Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I know that a one-time Internet check can’t prevent most cracks, but arguing that you can’t connect your gaming PC to even a 56k equivalent connection every now and then is pushing it a bit. My broadband often drops to <10kb/s download speeds and that's enough for an online verification. It IS a good point that there's not necessarily future-proofing, but I'm not overly worried, to be honest. If the makers of current games like that ever go under, the future equivalent of GOG will probably have them available to re-buy for a pittance if they were actually good enough to warrant another go.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      “If the makers of current games like that ever go under, the future equivalent of GOG will probably have them available to re-buy for a pittance if they were actually good enough to warrant another go.”

      Yes, and they would be cracked to remove the useless DRM as well.

    • Tacroy says:

      This is my “one time internet activation isn’t that bad” story:

      I was working at a summer internship when Bioshock came out. Having been a huge fan of System Shock 2, I of course bought it on the day it came out – I managed to find the very last copy in the store, which someone had hidden up out of sight (screw you it’s mine bitch!)

      However, since I was a busy worker bee, I never wound up with enough time to install it and play it. That’s fine, I thought to myself – there’s a gap of a week between this internship ending and school beginning, so I’ll just play it then!

      Being the cheapass that I am, I spent that week in a Motel 6. This Motel 6 didn’t have Internet. That’s okay, thought I as I made the reservation; this is Bioshock, a glorious single player tour de force. I don’t need no stinking Internet to play it.

      Ho boy was I ever wrong. Bioshock needed a one-time Internet activation before it would let me play the single player campaign. What. There was no free Internet nearby (the local libraries hadn’t caught on to this newfangled “wifi” thing yet), and I’ll be fucked if I’ll pay $5 or whatever the hell it was at Starbucks just to activate this goddamn game I fucking bought with money.

      So instead I played Dwarf Fortress and ate Taco Bell for the week, and all was right in the universe (but only because I didn’t have to share the bathroom)

      Coda:
      Later, when I had Internet, I did activate Bioshock and play a bit of it, but the whole “we don’t trust you you filthy pirate who gave us money” experience left such a bad taste in my mouth I just didn’t enjoy it. Obviously, I never bought Bioshock 2.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Tacroy Actually BioShock (SecuRom DRM) has offline manual activation!

      If you send CD key and “request code” (which generated during installation and based on your hardware) to Securom support (support@securom.com) you get e-mail with “unlock code” for activation of your game. One of my friends did this, cause he didn’t have internet and sent e-mail at his work.

    • Dozer says:

      But if you can’t go online to send or receive emails…

      (Yes I know most people can probably get email through their phone now. I’m not one of them though. I like to keep all my technology in a big beige box under the desk in my bedroom.)

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Dozer “But if you can’t go online to send or receive emails…”

      Yes I know this “manual activation” through e-mails is very inconvenient shit. Especially when during uninstallation you find out that you also need to revoke your activation through e-mails : ) But it’s better than nothing.

      “…most people can probably get email through their phone now.”

      Actually when I bought BioShock I couldn’t figure out how to customize e-mail client in my phone, so I used my mobile phone as GPRS modem for my computer, And activated my copy of the game without any problem.

  6. ZeDestructor says:

    I do like the fact that you have accepted that you made a mistake. I’m sure a lot of other people would’ve put all the blame on shitty documentation rather than on themselves failing to comprehend the info properly :)

    The high quality of journalism here is what keeps me coming back, and the little details like this really shine

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      Hear hear!

    • Yorick says:

      I too give my applause. A genuine, well crafted retraction as an entire article is a rarity in any kind of journalism these days. Also, cool duck.

  7. Shadowcat says:

    This new 3D technology you have incorporated into the site is incredible! It’s as if the orange is floating right there in front of me.

  8. Premium User Badge

    abhishek says:

    I wonder how many people are aware that Steam also performs online authentication every time you launch a game with Steam in online mode. Which means that the majority of people who run Steam in regular, online mode are submitting to the very thing that they otherwise rant about in forums.

    • Out Reach says:

      but steam has an offline mode that works perfectly fine.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Only so many times you can use it before you have to re-authenticate with Valve, though, from memory.

    • Phoshi says:

      Steam is also a digital distribution service, though, meaning that many of the same arguments don’t hold water. As a solid platform, instead of just a DRM solution, it’s also much less likely that the authentication servers will be shut down one day to encourage people to buy newer titles.

      It’d be nice if it wasn’t there, but it’s not really the same.

    • Setroc says:

      I think you might need to publish a correction now too drewski. As far as I’ve been able to work out on my laptop, steam requires only a one time activation of games in online mode and then seems to work in offline indefinitely after that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      As Phoshi says Steam is a digital distribution service, it’s pants-on-head-retarded to expect people to be able to buy & download games from Steam without an internet connection so one would expect them to be able to use the same internet connection to also authenticate those games at least once.

      I’d like see some evidence of limited activations or a timeout before reauthentication is required for offline play every time someone brings it up.
      I moved to my current accomodation in July 2009 & was without internet for a little over 3 weeks while BT & o2 sorted my phone line & DSL out & I played loads of different singleplayer games through Steam in offline mode without any problems at all.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Steam was never able to stay offline for more than couple of weeks (about 4) for me. After that there were always errors when starting, stating that Steam can’t start the game in offline or need to reconnect for some reason. Theoretically it should stay offline without limit, but practically it is very easy for Steam to fuck something up during normal play (for instance when there’s not much space on drive left) and it then can’t work without calling home back. Maybe if someone has only couple of games it is easier to stay offline for long.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      @ Setroc – perhaps, I’ve not tried running Steam in offline mode for a while. They may have changed it again.

    • Lilliput King says:

      You need to run the game once in online mode, and after that you get unlimited access to it in offline mode. This is essentially identical to the UbiDRM where you must connect once to the auth server and then get unlimited offline access. There’s really no other way of slicing this – they are identical. It’s also not true steam needs to do this because it’s an online service, because Impulse and GOG don’t do the extra checks.

      I think it’s fine as long as it’s patched out eventually but a bit worrying otherwise, personally.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      Seems like it’s supposed to be able to run offline permanently, in theory. I managed to go three years without a connection on my main PC without steam hiccuping once. Other’s, obviously, have not been so lucky. I guess it’s the same as when a new game comes out, runs flawlessly for some folk, for others, on the off chance it actually boots for them, basically doesn’t run to any acceptable degree.

      Who’s actually in charge of investigating things like that?

      Oh, it was always fun dragging my PC across town, on a bus, to visit a net cafe to activate the latest EA game. Good times.

    • myca77 says:

      I had no interetz for 3 months after moving house very recently due to BT/O2 being idiots, and Steam worked in offline mode flawlessly all that time, the only issue was I couldn’t download any of the games I got in the christmas sales that I still don’t have time to play, too busy catching up on last years purchased games.

      I was waiting for this dreaded offline mode to stop working and lock me out of my account, but it just didn’t happen.

    • Kaira- says:

      For me, Steam’s offline-mode is like coin flipping, 50-50 chances that it’ll work. Most trouble seems to come when I’m connected to a local wireless network, that is not connected to internet. Go figure.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      abhishek: You are right; Steam’s DRM does exactly the same thing, and applies to almost all games distributed through it, not just those using Steamworks.

      For that reason I’m not entirely comfortable with Steam—especially for games I particularly like—but I do continue to use it because of the benefits it offers of convenience and accessibility of the games in my Steam library, and the community and in-game-overlay*.

      It’s a conscious trade-off for me, and when choosing to buy on Steam or at retail, I will usually choose Steam. When it’s a choice between annoying DRM (often with install limits and nonsense) and annoying DRM with the side benefits above, Steam is usually more palatable.

      If a game has only a CD check though, I will buy it at retail and archive its ISO and the nocd patch. And I’ll be buying The Witcher 2 through GOG, as they say it will have no DRM at all that way.

      (*Yes, I know this works even for games launched through Steam but not bought through Steam; but it’s a minor point, as it’s enabled by Steam itself, and it would seem silly to run Steam if I had bought no games from Steam).

    • Tacroy says:

      @Liliput King: the difference is, if I buy a game in a box in a store, I don’t immediately think to myself “Oh, I should activate this sucker online before I go traveling to deepest, darkest America where they don’t have Internet”; after all, I have the box in my right hand and the disk in my left. I own that sucker like a pro on a noob server. I should be able to play it regardless of Internet connectivity status.

      On the other hand, if I buy a game online from Steam, I do indeed think “oh I should do some Internet activation probably” because Steam is an online digital distributor and obviously there’s going to need to be some initial Internet talky talky for the game to work.

      It’s a question of expectations. I expect that if I pop a game DVD into a working computer, I’ll get a working game out of it regardless of Internet; on the other hand, if I buy a game off of Steam, I expect that there should be some small amount of Internet setting up to do beforehand.

      Maybe the former is expecting too much in these crazy days.

  9. Ondrej says:

    I think the orange isn’t really there, it casts no shadow! Also, the duck seems totally flabbergasted.
    Still, I am done with Ubisoft since they first came with this ridiculous DRM. Never bought anything from them ever since, for full price even.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I would like to say something interesting and relevant, but the little white domestic duck is too cute and distracting.

  11. Nagz says:

    I wonder how much Ubisoft has spent on DRM now? At what point do they spend more on DRM then they ‘actually’ (not what the DRM peddlers tell them they are) lose to piracy?

  12. Tainted says:

    It’s great to see the editorial integrity of this site. Bravo for admitting that you were incorrect.

  13. Phoshi says:

    And this is why I love RPS. Most sites would have either done nothing, or made a footnote at the bottom explaining they were wrong. Keep up the excellent work, this is why you’re one of only two gaming sites in my google reader, and top of my “things and or people to throw money at once you stop being a poor student” list.

    On the subject of DRM, though, first-run-online-authentication is right on the line between acceptable and not, for me. On one hand, online authentication is simple, on the other hand it’s highly inconvenient to those of us without a solid internet connection, gives publishers far too much control over whether you can play their game, and doesn’t work. I suppose it’s only half decent in comparison to the harder solutions, ideologically it sucks.

  14. DeanLearner says:

    Hey can’t explain the picture, but orange you glad it isn’t a banana? HAHAHAHAHA

  15. Ravenger says:

    The issue here isn’t the DRM itself, it’s the lack of transparency and poor communication.

    It’s not just Ubisoft who is failing to adequately inform purchasers of the details of their DRM systems, other publishers like EA are doing this, not disclosing exactly how their DRM works before or even after release and leaving it to users to dig through EULAs or the game files to understand how the systems work. (Or more often, don’t work).

    In the past even developers have been caught out when they don’t understand the DRM system they use themselves, and inadvertently mislead their customers saying there are no activation limits in their GFWL games, when there are – they’re just kept secret.

    let’s have some more transparency on this please, with DRM disclosed well in advance of release, and easy to understand definitive DRM FAQs published.

    We can’t be informed customers if you don’t inform us!

  16. Hoaxfish says:

    This just in, confused by the misreporting of their DRM by a website, Ubisoft assumed it was a bug when their version of the game did not work as described… You’ll be happy to know that they have now patched the DRM so it works as described on the website.

  17. Flameberge says:

    Yay, a duck.

  18. Njordsk says:

    One time activation is alright in my book. Though their games suck badly, so I don’t care much.

  19. Jimbo says:

    I pointed this out twice in the comments on that story, and provided a Ubisoft source.

    Of course, everybody was too busy getting hysterical about DRM (again) and swooning over you being the bestest journalist in the whole wide world to want to listen.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      No actually Jimbo, you didn’t “point this out”. You said this:

      I took “an initial login” to mean once when you install the game, not every time you play the game. Are you sure about this, John?

      And then this:

      “But the DRM still requires that players be online to launch the game.”

      “We’re talking about single-player games played in single-player mode, requiring that we be online every time we launch them.”

      Again, is this even accurate? It seems like an important thing to understand before getting all hysterical about it. This http://twitter.com/UbiGabe/status/40452617201131520 suggests to me that you actually only need to be online once when you install the game, not every time you launch it.

      And the tweet you cited says this:

      Not “no DRM,” just different DRM. You’ll still need to authenticate online after installing, but we’re including offline mode.

      You did not point out that John was wrong—you questioned the accuracy of John’s statement. And you did not provide an umabiguous source; the tweet you referenced stated that there authentication required after installation, but does not clearly state that it was only a one-time authenticaion (because if there is only one required, why is there an “offline mode”?).

      I hope that at the time you emailed John at his handy-dandy email address linked at the bottom of the page, because as the hivemind have said on many occasions, that’s the best way to inform them of corrections—they might miss them in comments.

      Sorry to be That Guy, but I guess I just wanted to point out that if there are errors in an RPS story—or what seems likely to be in error, as in this case—that the comments thread is not the best place to put them.

  20. Premium User Badge

    JohnArr says:

    John Walker, the first man to admit fault on the Internet. Bravo.

  21. Navagon says:

    The fault is Ubisoft’s for not being at all upfront about the matter. I’ve heard varying accounts of the kind of DRM they’re now using, yet nothing official.

    This seems to be a widespread problem given how difficult it is to get such details out of the anti-DRM CD Projekt about the Witcher 2. All they’ll say on the matter is that all versions not sold directly through them will have some kind of DRM.

  22. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    tbh this has now passed my purchase policy inclusion test, but only if it’ is of exceptional quality.

  23. adonf says:

    As if I was not addicted to this site enough, now there’s pictures of ducks on it !

  24. jamie says:

    Well I don’t think this has been mentioned above, but Steam have managed to mess up another game’s launch. AC:B was meant to be available last night at 6. However just as it was about to become downloadable (literally) to those that loyally prepurchased the release date changed to another 24 hours time. I want to go to a shop and buy it so I can play it on my only day off (today) and have asked steam for a refund on my prepurchase (which ive read can happen). Anyone had any experience with getting a refund on a preorder here? They’re very cunnning at making money.. It really winds me up.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      i’ve asked for a refund of a pre-purchased game & it was given to me almost immediately, the only games that they don’t do it for are ones with beta’s and such

  25. AbyssUK says:

    Your doing this all wrong… corrections from journalists cannot be located on the front page.. at the very least it should have been in size 4 font hidden within the html footer… myself i would have 128bit encrypted it and placed it into the html source as a comment.

    EDIT – talking of html footer yours still says 2007-2010… I may point out its now March.

  26. Text_Fish says:

    One-time online authentication sounds even less intrusive than Steam, so … Yay Ubisoft?

  27. Deano2099 says:

    It doesn’t bother me that much, but there is always the “what happens when the servers go down?” question (not such an issue with Steam, as if the servers are down, you can’t buy the game).

    It’s particularly interesting in light of the stuff going on in Japan leading to the Final Fantasy online servers being taken offline for a bit. Obviously that’s a sensible response to what is happening, and Square are providing free play time in compensation, but it does demonstrate the simple fact: disasters do happen. Even beyond companies going out of business, sometimes stuff just happens that means you can’t keep authentication servers up.

  28. Oneironaut says:

    I’m interested. Is this change also applying to games that already had the UbiDRM, like AC2, or Settlers7?

    • Delusibeta says:

      AFAIK, no.

    • Navagon says:

      Those now require authentication every time you start the game, rather than constantly throughout. So you’ll still need a connection whenever you want to play the game. But it won’t matter if it’s lost while you’re playing.

      It’s not good by a long shot. But it is still somewhat better.

    • Nameless1 says:

      Ah.
      Would be nice to have this (official) information. I’m interested in the SH IV drm.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Oneironaut I have AC2 and Conviction, both of them still require authentication every time you start the game.

  29. smokingkipper says:

    This is all part of Ubisoft’s plan. Online activation today, sending a droplet of your blood to their head office to verify authenticity tomorrow.

  30. Iskariot says:

    A one time online activation I can live with. Although I do not like it, I understand the need for some kind of protection. I mean, I want Ubisoft to have the resources to be able to create great games in the future, so they have to protect their property somehow.

    I really, really, really want to know if this one time activation also applies to AC 2 now. Will they / have they released a patch for that game?
    If so, I will immediately buy both AC2 and ACB.

    But how do I know this latest news about the DRM is correct?
    Why doesn’t Ubisoft inform their potential customers about this? Ubisoft’s attitude is their biggest problem. They should put some effort into communicating about this stuff.

    • Deano2099 says:

      The problem is, the always-on DRM was a major inconvenience but it actually stopped piracy for a month or so.

      This is a minor inconvenience for no benefit at all. In a way, this is strictly worse.

  31. Tachikoma says:

    So does Settlers 7 still have always online drm? Until that is removed, I shall not forgive ubisoft for ruining my most anticipated game of 2010…

    • Vinraith says:

      If they applied this retroactively to AC2 I’d buy it right now, but unfortunately I doubt they’ll bother.

  32. Kefren says:

    I think John’s comment about online activation and DRM is still spot on. DRM isn’t just a gaming issue, it includes every modern media. I’ve recently blogged on the subject at http://karldrinkwater.blogspot.com/2011/03/drm-will-kill-us-all.html

  33. The Army of None says:

    All else aside, I’m so incredibly joyful that the commentators here on RPS have a good sense of humor. No fowl play here at all.