Introducing ‘UbiMan’ Copy Protection

By Alec Meer on April 1st, 2011 at 10:45 am.

Skilled in thirty-eight different forms of combat from the Orient

Gaming fans are to be subject to yet more unnecessary restrictions on the use of products they have legitimately purchased, with a harsh new system designed to prevent games from being copied or shared with other players.

The new protection system from Ubi, Soft & Sons requires that an officially-approved Man be stood behind you at all times, watching you as you play. In the event you attempt to pass your game onto another personage, or try to replicate its content in any way, the UbiMan will place a firm hand upon your shoulder, raise his other hand so that the index finger is level with your face and utter, “No, sir. No.”

He will then prevent you from playing with your game for the following 90 minutes. He is authorised to use “any means necessary” to achieve this, by order of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Commented Ubi, Soft & Sons president Sir Ian Smythington-Ubi:

“Standard protection measures have not proven effective against the terrible tide of game-sharing. Why, just this week I saw a boy pass his cup and ball to another boy, in clear contravention of the ‘for personal use only’ engraving on the base of the cup.

“I have even heard reports that hand-drawn copies of Snakes & Ladders are being sold from an insalubrious stall round the back of Tooting Market. We encourage all gamers not to purchase such counterfeit items, for their proceeds surely go straight to China’s opium dealers.

“Clearly, more strident protection measures were necessary. We believe that the UbiMan offers a fair and effective way of ensuring games may only be used by the individual who purchased them. He will also enhance the gaming experience for players, providing tips and encouragement as they play, and occasionally observing upon the healthy complexions of their mothers and/or sisters.”

The first Ubi, Soft & Sons game to use UbiMan will be Ludo, due for release in just 23 years’ time.

It has been a quiet week for video games.

, .

88 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    Fucking Ludo.

    • Kaira- says:

      Ludo will be the new messiah of PC gaming.

    • Matt says:

      Never heard of Ludo before – from the board it looks like a naff version of Parcheesi.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      I myself have recently had my Personal Counter-top upgraded in order to make more space for this “Ludo” game. It sounds like cracking good fun!

    • Meneth says:

      From what I’ve heard, sir, the scale of the Ludo game will be entirely disappointing. The visual quality is barely higher than older games. Your current Personal Countertop should therefore be perfectly adequate.

    • NukeLord says:

      Nonsense! There’s no way you’d fit Ludo on last year’s Personal Counter-tops as well as an operating sink.

    • Meneth says:

      One might not be able to play the largest edition available, but I do believe a midsized edition will run even on a counterop from as much as two or three years ago, sir.

    • Chris D says:

      Tis clearly a base and simplified version, designed to appeal to those low fellows who play games slouched on their sofas in the drawing room rather than proud and upstanding in the study.

      This seems to be the mode of play favoured by various members of the diplomatic service from the far reaches of the empire. One might almost say this game has been dumbed down for consuls.

    • 7rigger says:

      Dear Christopher D,

      I am writing to congratulate you on your fine comment. If these comments were to be placed in competition, I have no doubt that yours would ‘win’

      Kind Regards,
      Sir 7rigger-Smith-Smythe-Bucket

    • Chris D says:

      Thank you, kind sir. Tis an honour to be complimented by a gentleman of such obvious taste and good judgement.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      I dare saye, of late I’ve acquired from my local GameStoppe a used portable countertop of a whole two years age, and thanks to some handy modding on my behalf, it can run an entire game of Chess with ease. Anything that can run Chess *surely* has the capacity for Ludo, yes? I fear having to cast aside such a finely made instrument as my portable countertop, which I have affectionately christened “The Eye-Gram” as I feel the act of gameing with friends is similar in a manner to a telegram, but for the eyes. It has made social gameing a good bit easier, I’ll let you that, what what!

      Why just last week an enterprising young fellow showed me how – through the use of simple metal clips – I can attach an entire ‘book of faces’ to my counter in order to help keep track of the gentlemen with whom I compete, and I can even run my games of Chess from within the book itself! Though I admit it requires the constant passing of notes in order to play this way, which provides a milde nuisance if my fellow players are not in the mood for’t. Gratefully, the notes come equipped with a method of ignoring them, in the form of turning away from the messenger and pretending he isn’t there.

      Sadly, it doesn’t run Flash.

  2. OscarWilde says:

    But I like it when I have a man behind me.

  3. Staggy says:

    Indeed, I heard the blaggards at V. Alve & Co will boil kettles near the supposed sharing tykes in order for the steam to hinder the view of the miscreants. It’s just not cricket.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Nathan says:

    Might my Dutifully Righteous Man be permitted the countenance of the fairer sex?

  5. Premium User Badge

    Malibu Stacey says:

    Fucking Ludo.

    edit: that will teach me to read & comment on the other 2 articles first.

  6. Njordsk says:

    A cute woman would have been alright in my book.

    But a man…

    with a MUSTACH … no sir !

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      You some kind of mustache hating pansy boy? We don’t take kindly to those…

    • Heliocentric says:

      He wants a woman with facial hair? Foreigner!

  7. sfury says:

    Why haven’t you implemented that Google +1 button yet – http://www.google.com/+1/button/

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/1873/ – ooh, shiny, is it 1873 already?

  8. NetsukeMonkey says:

    That’ll stop those dastardly Long John Silver’s. Hats off to the fine gentlemen at Ubi, Soft & Sons, saviours of the fine industry of computational gaming

  9. somatic668 says:

    +1. Happy April first, sirs. Happy April first.

  10. Coins says:

    I say. This is terrible news for the poorer gamers that cannot afford to feed such a contraption as the UbiMan. Does anyone know if you have to house it, as well? This is an outrage!

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      I have heard reports of some Ubiman protection systems being blamed for alleged theft of household silverware items. I have as yet not been able to confirm said reports, however.

    • Matt says:

      Feed it? I’m sure he’ll just nip off to the pub in between rounds of your newly purchased game.

    • TheSaddestSort says:

      Surely the UbiMen can be bought off with a bit of smoke and drink?

  11. Baggypants says:

    I heard on the Underground Game Stand at Mornington Crescent that the UbiMan can be thwarted with a hack, I know not if this refers to an axe or a tabloid journalist.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Very well played =)

    • yurusei says:

      If unsure, you can purchase both from the Pirate gentleman standing at the Bay.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      Apparently a few shillings passed to a local courtesan is sufficient to arrange distraction of UbiMan. Ironically this method was discovered after applying concepts from a recent board game released by Ubi, Soft & Sons.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      In a further twist, the hiring of several lads with hack axes for purposes of intimidation was also employed in that same Ubi product. One would think providing a subtle clue as to the means of avoiding the legitimacy of your product would not be a prudent business practice, least the company take the idea itself and run with it. Next thing you know those very same methods might be used by the music publishing industry in any pub with a piano!

  12. Ikkusei says:

    Quite right, Sir Walker. Why just last week I caught my boy sharing the brand new hoop-and-stick I purchased for him with the loathsome public school rabble. I adminstered a stern beating with same stick and admonished him that a man’s possessions are what sets him about from the common herd, and that this so called “sharing” nonsense would be the downfall of proper society.

    I would congratulate Ubisoft on this conduct, but I cannot bring myself to thank any Frenchman.

    • Njordsk says:

      Damn another french hater.

      I really need to change my nationality, the internet is getting dangerous those days.

    • Ikkusei says:

      @ Njordsk

      Okay, breaking out of character here.

      If you felt in any way offended by my post, I apologise. I was trying to act like an old world British upper class arsehole and thought the French hating bit would be quite fitting. I am sorry if my attempt at humour failed and came across as genuinely insulting instead.

    • Meneth says:

      @Njordsk:
      What is this “internet” you speak of, sir? Surely this is the web of connected telegraphs.

    • Njordsk says:

      Nah It didn’t offend me don’t worry.

      Though I didn’t get the “humor”. Comes from my lack of english knowledge I guess.

    • Urael says:

      The “Interminable Net”: A device used to rope peoples, creeds and other such fine fellows together, by the grace of God and Her Blessed Majesty, Queen Victoria.

    • Meneth says:

      Thank you sir, for your clarification.
      I however, am not a subject of Her Majesty. I am a citizen of the noble nation of Norway, and beholden to the king of Sweden and Norway.

    • Urael says:

      Ah, good fellow! Relations betwixt our two Noble Nations are such that I feel I can welcome you into my home with open arms and a hearty draft of brandy, should the opportune moment ever present itself! One Nation under God, and all that!

    • Unaco says:

      Godless French Monsters!

    • Meneth says:

      @Urael:
      I gladly accept your invitation, good sir. I’ll bring some biscuits, or perhaps some traditional Norwegian food.

  13. Wulf says:

    Now this is one form of DRM I wouldn’t object to, specifically for the reasons that the good Mr. Wilde duly noted.

  14. DanPryce says:

    I have been fortunate enough to beta test this DRM (that’s industry-language for Dutiful Regulation Man) and I have to say it’s very annoying. He purports to look after my wiff waff ball between games, but he keeps losing it of bringing out the wrong ball.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I’d like to commend Sir Ian Smythington-Ubi on his use of the word “insalubrious.” Truly a wonderful word that should be used more often.

  16. Kismet says:

    This protection will only punish legitimate customers, while games-sharers won’t even notice, the parrot on their shoulder promptly “beaking” the UbiMan hand as soon as it comes in range!

    • Meneth says:

      Yes, surely those pesky pirates will soon manage to breed parrots strong enough to crack the bones of even this protection.
      I do believe it would be justified to buy the game from the proper source, then attain a parrot to get rid of the UbiMan Copy Protection.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Stompywitch says:

    Simply unfathomable. What about those who take the trains, or the horse and carriage? If Ubiman is aware he will be unavailable for a length of time, he will need to remove the game from the rightful owner.

    Ubi, Soft & Sons have gone too far this time.

  18. poop says:

    I fail to understand the effectiveness of such boarded-game copy protection, If one wants to illegally distribute such a product, they will find a way! I have heard that the largest board game duplication gang, the razor 1811’s, have already found away around such draconian measures, so much for effectiveness!

  19. Archonsod says:

    Egads, it was bad enough when they insisted you provided two good character references from upstanding members of the community before they permitted you to play. And I said back then this was merely the beginning of a slippery slope.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    I salute this company’s innovation in protecting its wares! One only worries that such measures are too restrained and lenient to be useful. Perhaps the officially-approved Man could drag miscreants off to the gallows to be hanged forthwith instead. That will bring an end to these “sharers”. It’s the only language they understand!

  21. Longrat says:

    Ohhh, this is an RPS april fools, not an ubisoft april fools. I am stupid.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Before? Surely that article will not be published until February 2011, some hundred and thirty-four years hence!

  22. juandemarco says:

    Will he teach me all the secret lore known to just the few who can sport such a majestic moustache?

  23. JackShandy says:

    TO THE PUBLIC

    The object of this placard is to inform the Public that those citizens protesting against the Ubiman device are misinformed, in that they have clearly never personally witnessed it’s incredible effectiveness against pirates.

    My own ship was attacked just this december past, and the UbiMan skewered three of the blighters through before they had the chance to blink an eye. I give it my highest reccomendation.

    Sincerely,
    John Chandagnac.

  24. mandrill says:

    I thought the whole point of an April fool was to, you know, fool people?

    Some of the ones I’ve seen so far (Secret World to go Fantasy, This one.) have just been too ridiculous to be believable.

    People just aren’t trying anymore.

    • Premium User Badge

      Stompywitch says:

      There are basically two styles of April Pranks, “amusing anecdote to while away a slow morning’s journalism”, and “abuse the fine name and reputation of your periodical to belittle the reader”.

      The editors of RockPaperShotgun, clearly being men of wealth and taste, have chosen the first such route, leaving the second to the cads and bounders of lesser periodicals like the Italian Gaming Newsstand.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Stompywitch:
      I for one find renewed fondness for any periodical whose yearly cadence serves as a reminder of its otherwise quality.

  25. yurusei says:

    The biggest question about the Ubiman, is of course : Does he leave the toilet seat up ?

  26. Furius says:

    Old!

  27. edit says:

    The first DRM to be distributed with its own crack.

  28. Urael says:

    Surely gaming would be better served if this gentleman was present only when you first started your gaming activity?? I see no need for him to be Always On the job!

    I pray thee reconsider, Ubi, Soft & Sons!

    • Meneth says:

      In my humble opinion, even such a measure would be far beyond what a simple boardgame requires. Can we not go back to the days where to open the game’s box, one only needed to open the lock with a code that could be found on the small leaflet one got together with the purchase?

    • Urael says:

      Mayhaps you are correct, good Sir Meneth. While it behooves me to accept most gentlemen into my parlour with as good a cheer as can be mustered, I do find the effort required in this instance somewhat tiresome, likely to sap one’s vigour if indulged in overmuch. The solution you prescribe, that of the printed material and codifed master key that once accompanied our beloved distractions, was infinitely less vexing in this regard.

    • poop says:

      I’ll say! ever since my copy of Ludo arrived my Ubiman has been quietly sitting, unmoving in my living room, eyes transfixed on the board for all hours of the day.

    • Urael says:

      Aye, poop, therein lies the rub: for once UbiMan is installed into a location, who is to say where those inscrutable eyes may wander? Best curtail his activities at the outset!

  29. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Dependable Righteous Man? I think ’tis rather akin to Despicable Rascally Myomorph, am I not right?
    I am an indignant male on the telegraph.

  30. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Bet I could crack UbiMan with a well placed kick on his balls.

  31. Orzo says:

    Official advice from Ubi sons: “To remove dead or obsolete Ubimen please use no less than 1911 razors.”

  32. MadMinstrel says:

    Finally! A less onerous protection scheme!

  33. funtard says:

    Just like all drm systems this one will be cracked. Probably by a swift elbow to the balls.

  34. bwion says:

    While it is of a certainty true that this practice unfairly discriminates against the legitimate partaker of entertainments, I find the uproar surprising in light of the sheer lack of outrage, and, indeed, adulation which has been leveled at the very similar practices of Gabriel Valve and Sons., Ltd. While I have nothing but respect for their own entertainments — Door, in particular, is a triumph of engineering and hinge technology — and it cannot be denied that their steam-powered home delivery service has revolutionized the distribution of games, has no one noted that the manservants they provide to operate the service, courteous though they might be, tend to linger and might be given to stern admonitions of their own at the sight of any games-sharing? Now, I will grant you that their contract stipulates that they can be asked to step outside whenever it is convenient, but who can say that they have actually managed to successfully utilize this Outside Mode?

    Why, my cousin’s uncle’s neighbor heard of a child who was accused, without any proof whatsoever, of cheating at jacks, only to find all of his games and toys confiscated by Valve and Sons, without any recourse available to him!

    • Meneth says:

      The Outside Mode is functioning great for me, sir.
      The manservant usually even goes outside while it’s raining, so I consider the Outside Mode quite a success.

    • diestormlie says:

      In my experience, I must ask the menservants to got outside when the weather is fair. They will wait outside in the rain if the rain starts after they leave. They will, however, refuse to leave is it is raining at the time. I expected better from them.

  35. MarloBrandon says:

    “Clearly, more strident protection measures were necessary.”
    I don’t care if I look like a pedant or whatever, the word is “stringent”.

    • Chris D says:

      Turning to my dictionary I found this:

      strident(stri|dent)
      ˈstrʌɪd(ə)nt/
      adjective
      1 (of a sound) loud and harsh; grating: his voice had become increasingly strident

      2 presenting a point of view, especially a controversial one , in an excessively forceful way:
      public pronouncements on the crisis became less strident

      In which case it seems that Ubiman could certainly be described as a strident protection measure.

  36. K1d Icarus says:

    It is a disgrace that you did not mention this method of copy protection in your review of Ludo http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/06/10/7-in-1-magnetic-family-game-ludo/

    Surely this only penalises legitimate purchasers of said game. As it is, with the UbiMan hovering over me, i find this a considerable detraction from my enjoyment of Ludo. With your omission of this little fact, it will be the last time I rely on a review in your publication for purchasing games.

  37. Gerard says:

    We fought two wars to keep those Chinese opium sellers in business! How dare Ubi, Soft & Sons oppose our supporting of those men!

  38. mattjb says:

    Being French, Ubi, Soft & Son like to scoff at Americans while smoking their thin cigarettes and insult them at leisure.

  39. diestormlie says:

    I call for a show of support for our oriental chums in the opium business! I shall be hosting an Opium night at my mansion! Be there by the eighth hour for a night of spiffing fun and games (without the Ubimen, having acquired the services of the pirate standing by the bay and some other drug known as crack, which is really rather good.)

  40. Auspex says:

    This is my favourite RPS post ever. Just thinking of it it cheers me up when I’ve had a rough day.