Ubisoft “Listens”, Barely Changes Driver DRM

By John Walker on August 17th, 2011 at 2:58 pm.

Maybe one day they'll do something not shit enough that I'll use a screenshot from the game.

Ubisoft have just got in touch with us to say that as a consequence of the extremely negative reaction to the news that Driver: San Francisco, on top of not supporting wheels and being a month late on PC, would have their disgraceful “always on” DRM, that they have changed their mind about the latter. Hooray! I exclaimed. Until I read it more carefully.

“We’ve heard your feedback regarding the permanent internet connection requirement for Driver and have made the decision to no longer include it. So this means that Driver PC gamers will only need to sign in at game launch but can subsequently choose to play the game offline.”

So, er, what has improved?

Ubi offers a range of DRM choices on its games. They go from the moronic Always On, all the way down to none at all. The happy medium, where the fewest hackles appear to rise, is – as with so many in the industry – a single online activation the first time you launch the game. It proves it’s your copy, it locks that particular code to your PC, and is – in my opinion – grotesquely wrong and infringing of basic rights on numerous levels, but seems to be a point where people can at least play the damned game. This is what will be coming with Trackmania, From Dust, etc.

But what Driver’s DRM has been reduced to is almost pointlessly different. Before if your internet connection went down while you played, the game would stop, and it wasn’t possible to play anywhere without an internet connection at all. Now, er, if your internet connection is down you still can’t play, and you still can’t play anywhere without an internet connection.

Always On is by far and away the most egregiously stupid and unfair DRM to have ever been included with a game. It is of a level of such punitory idiocy that means if you do something so heinous, so criminal, as to have your internet connection drop while you’re playing, you get dumped out of the game. It’s something Ubisoft have boasted, without providing any proof whatsoever, has reduced piracy. While the claim without proof is meaningless, it also ignores the rather larger issue that so would locking the only copy of the game in a concrete block buried beneath the sea reduce piracy. It would also make it even more inconvenient for a paying customer.

Unfortunately, threatening the very worst option, and then retracting it for a slightly less awful but still ridiculous option, isn’t going to draw the cheers and accolades Ubisoft are presumably after. Instead it’s going to make us raise an eyebrow at them, and shake our heads.

But let’s take one bit of good news from this. There’s a heavy inference in this slightest of backtracks that Ubi at least recognise that people won’t put up with Always On. This statement is going to make it a little awkward the next time they try to punish legal customers with the same nonsense. So there’s that.

But Ubisoft – if you’re genuinely listening to the reaction against your DRM, then please actually hear what’s being said. With DRM that requires an internet connection to launch, every time, you are once again mindlessly and needlessly punishing your legitimate customers in a way that will not affect those with pirated copies. You will, once again, be selling a product with a serious and significant defect, that those who download it for free will not be encountering. There’s no logic or rationale that makes that okay. By requiring an internet connection for launch, on every launch, you punish anyone whose internet isn’t working, who wants to play away from home (on a train, on a plane, on a holiday in Cornwall, at their grandparents’ house, in their barracks…), or who cannot afford a broadband internet connection. It is cruel. It is stupid. It doesn’t work on any level. If you are listening, really listening, then stop this. Stop treating customers like criminals, and start showing respect to those who pay you significant amounts of money for your products.

__________________

« | »

, , .

123 Comments »

  1. Teddy Leach says:

    Teddy does not approve.

  2. Yosharian says:

    Uh.. so you need a net connection to launch, but after that you can play offline? Do they not see that that’s almost exactly the same as requiring it to be always-on?

    They really are dumbasses aren’t they.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Actually, this will avoid the biggest pain in the ass scenario if you are happily playing then your connection goes down, at least now you won’t be stopped from playing. In my books that’s actually a huge improvement.

      Also, they won’t be constantly clogging up your pipe with data and using up your allowance. This is a much bigger improvement than John is making it out to be.

      EDIT: I’d like to point out that I still will be boycotting this game due to the inability to play without internet access, but I felt these comments needed some balance.

    • Yosharian says:

      I’ll be boycotting it because I think it’s going to be shit, the stupid DRM is just the icing on the cake.

    • Calneon says:

      It might be an improvement but it’s still fucking terrible. It’s like if a bank robber took 10 hostages, but then decides to release one, and then he gets celebrated as a hero for saving somebody’s life. It doesn’t work like that, you can’t make a horrendous decision, then go back on it slightly, and expect everyone to congratulate you on the improvement while ignoring the fact you made the henious decision in the first place.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Calneon that’s an awful metaphor, designed solely to promote an emotive response in people too wrapped up in UBIhate to see that it plays no relevance to the actual situation.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why is that a bad metaphor? Seems very apt to me, they made a terrible decision, made that slightly less terrible, and expect us to be grateful.

      Maybe it could be this. They said they were going to punch you in the balls, but changed their mind and decided to punch you in the face.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Because banks don’t choose to be robbed and I don’t decide I want to be punched anywhere. If I bought this game, it would have been my choice and I would have to live with the fact that I made a terrible decision, the last in a long line of terrible decisions which led to that game being on my computer.

      A good metaphor would be something along the lines of:

      It’s like wanting to buy a house next to a council owned carpark and I want to play football out there but there were signs up saying no ball games. They later, after lots of complaints changed the signs to no football, but it still sucks because that’s what I want to do.

      But that doesn’t really have the impact of violence directed at me or the emotional helplessness you will feel after a masked man points a gun at you and forces you to hand over assets you have worked hard for. I guess this situation just isn’t as bad as being punched or being involved in a bank robbery…. funny that!

    • BeamSplashX says:

      @Sheng-ji:
      Your metaphor is better, but the punching one isn’t entirely inaccurate. Buying anything with DRM is like saying “Hit me.” Some people will only do it once and then hand you a game. Ubisoft has decided to live with us and hammer us repeatedly, though.

      Also, handing over assets would be like giving the robber the deed to your house.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Maybe because I’m heavily pregnant I can see a difference in the consequences of physical violence inflicted upon my person and a game having DRM that isn’t apparent to everyone.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      Hence the punch being metaphorical, which is nothing like actually getting punched.

      Then again, I’ve never bought a house and am incapable of getting pregnant.

    • Eagle0600 says:

      I agree with the punching metaphor, because it’s a similar thing on a different level. Metaphors are just that: They aren’t a stand-in for what’s actually happening; they just describe certain aspects. So a metaphor doesn’t have to be similar in every way, just in one particular way you’re highlighting.

      Otherwise, the only metaphor that’s accurate is “Someone publishes a game with always-on DRM then changes their mind to make it one-activation-per-start-up.” Which is not a metaphor. So drop it.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The punching metaphor may work IF: (lets work through this the long way)

      You have paid someone to get into a fight with them (You pay to buy a game)

      They told you in advance that they were going to punch you in the balls (crotch for those of us with no balls) (Ubisoft told us they were going to have an always on connection)

      A week before the big fight they then put out a statement saying they are going to punch you in the face instead (Ubisoft have publically announced that they are now going to change to a connect once before every session DRM)

      In addition to that I presume that the original maker of that metaphor was only taking immediate pain into account. A punch to the balls has little to no chance of causing injury, even less for a woman. A punch to the face has a higher chance of causing an injury. The immediate pain lasts a fleeting few seconds, but an injury is worse. But my point was that someone with a different mindset to a testosterone pumped teenager and actually has a few punches under her belt (I was a police woman for 6 years and I taught unarmed combat for 5 of them. I also represented my country in a particular unarmed full contact sport) might immediately think that a punch to the face or groin is in no way similar to this DRM, because it actually won’t stop the fight. And if it did, the punch to the face would have a much better chance to do so. And also, thats kind of the point of a fight is in not, physically attempt to prevent the opponent physically stopping you stop them…. The aim of playing a computer game is not to be prevented from playing a game so….

      This fight would actually have to be a show fight. Like a kung fu battle for show. Therefore the aforementioned punched would neither hurt nor cause injury… Metaphor still doesn’t work.

      Now most people wouldn’t have actually needed that explaining.

      The metaphor while obviously doesn’t have to be a repeat of the situation, but it does actually need to be relevant.

      Ubisofts DRM is not going to cause you actual pain or injury. It will stress you out, I’m sure. Metaphors are a way of helping someone to understand why something has a particular end result. The end result in this case is stress and not being able to play your game. This is where any metaphor must end too, otherwise it doesn’t work.

      Let’s be honest, the kid who made the remark was deliberately playing on people who aren’t quite as intelligent as himself to wind them up and make them see the situation seem worse than it really is. He may only barely at the back of his mind know that’s what he was doing, or he may be deliberately manipulating the relatively stupid, but that is what he was doing.

      I just thought those who found themselves losing touch with the consequences of the announcement might appreciate some clarity and a different take by someone not attempting to troll them. That is all.

    • theblazeuk says:

      I think someone has taken things a bit too seriously.

    • Catese says:

      This DRM situation is like some simple and familiar punishment which is both intuitively understandable and precisely analogous. Does this simile satisfy you?

  3. Fox89 says:

    Well, this is an improvement. At least now you can play it if you are somewhere with a temperamental connection, as you wont have to worry about it cutting out as you play.

    However, as you say, the biggest problems of the DRM still remain unchanged. But In a day where Square Enix have screwed everyone over with their region locking, I’m in a ‘silver lining’ kind of mood.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “But In a day where Square Enix have screwed everyone over with their region locking, I’m in a ‘silver lining’ kind of mood.”

      Sorry but over reaction much?

      They havn’t “screwed everyone over”, they have done some stupid thigns but it DOESN’T effect online purchased copies, only retail copies.

      Retail copies, which lots of commenters (and in fact the writers of RPS and other publications) have repeatidly said is dying and pointless and only accoutns for a very small number of sales and is goign the way of the dodo etc. Bearing in mind this is a even smaller subset of retail that is buying a hard copy from a different country.

      So either retail accounts for a lot more purchases than everyone is saying and actually is a big force (personally i don’t beleive its massive, but i beleive its a bigger force than the naysayers are saying, and retail game sales aren’t going anywhere anytime soon), or you are massivly overreacting to somethign that won’t affect that many people, hence not “screwing everyone over”.

      Lets have a bit of reason, this is the RPS board, not the eurogamer rabble :/

    • godgoo says:

      ^ Hear this man, hear this man!

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Allow me to translate here for you Milky “I am only buying this digital download and care not one whit that others may do otherwise and about their concerns. Additionally I would prefer that anyone that isn’t me or has my same views shut up immediately and never be heard from again”.

      You’re welcome.

    • shizamon says:

      @ destroy.all.monsters
      Seriously, some of us have a data cap due to living in the sticks and having to go with mobile inernet, sure the speed is great, but can’t do more than 5-10GB a month. One game download and I’m paying extra for each bit of info I DL. Another reason all this Always-on business is absolute horseshit.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Driver SF uses the best DRM of all, the game will be terrible.

    • evilmatt says:

      And with it being terrible, very few people will pirate it. And then Ubisoft will proclaim that their DRM has successfully reduced piracy of the game. The wonders of logic!

    • Monkey says:

      I’ve always thought over the top DRM suggests a lack of confidence in their product

    • diamondmx says:

      Yeah, I don’t think I would have given this game a second look if it weren’t for Ubisoft’s repeated failure.
      Nothing made me more likely to buy it, so maybe not all publicity is good. I feel less likely to invest in other Ubi titles in future, too.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I really enjoyed the demo. Really enjoyed it. In fact it’s probably the first driving game in years I’m actually interested in.

  5. applecado says:

    :( You’re speaking too much sense – keep doing that and they’ll make it so you can only play whilst standing on one leg. And on Fridays that has to be one that’s not even YOUR leg.

    Edit: After trying the demo on 360, not buying anyway.

  6. deanb says:

    I wonder if they’ve downgraded it becuase the game is no longer coming out with the console release?
    Either way I grabbed the demo on PS3 and it wasn’t that impressive. Very heavy driving and massive lack of alley ways, didn’t really feel like a getaway game.

    I’d be somewhat fine with overly restrictive DRM is publishers just did what CD Projekt did with Witcher 2 and just patch out the DRM a few weeks after launch. Just make it policy of “DRM patched out 1 month after games release” and I’d be a happy bunny.

    • heretic says:

      +1

      I don’t feel a massive need to play games at launch these days (cos my PC is getting too old anyway), but I would definitely support that.

      At least costumers can most likely put up with always on rubbish for a month, but with no end in sight it makes people think twice about purchasing.

    • sneetch says:

      Hell, three or six months and I’d be happy. I’d also own about 10 more Ubisoft games.

    • Ovno says:

      Yeah that would be a nice happy medium we could all get behind, it’d still be a bitch and all but at least 1 month later those who paid could experience the game in as good a state as those who pirate it.

    • Cyberwizard says:

      I really don’t like the idea of companies including DRM with the intent of patching it out later. Yes, it is good for people who buy the game later. So they aren’t punishing all of their customers in the name of fighting piracy. Instead, they are punishing their most loyal customers (launch day buyers) at a time when they are most excited about the game!

      If it’s include at launch, I’m not buying.

    • Vandelay says:

      Why should it be as long as a month? The majority of DRM only stops day zero piracy, so removing it in the inevitable day one patch would probably do the trick!

      They wouldn’t want to be do something like this though, as it would undoubtedly have a negative effect on the all important first week sales. The fact that the game might sell fairly well after the removal would be of no concern of the publisher and their share holders.

    • Zelius says:

      @Cyberwizard,

      I really don’t understand this logic. Most games, with the exception of a few indie titles, already come with DRM at launch. How could it possibly be a worse decision to remove it after a while, than it would be to not remove it at all?

    • Cyberwizard says:

      @Zelius,

      I should probably explain that I’m not hardcore anti-DRM (although I see how you could get that from my post). Steam itself is DRM and I have over 130 games on it.

      However, I draw the line at certain types. Specifically always on requirements and activation/install limits. These kinds of DRM restrict how I can use a game I have purchased without giving me any benefits in return.

      So I was talking about these types of DRM. My main point is that including the always on requirement for the first month and then patching it out degrades the experience for your most devoted customers when they are most excited to play your game. Personally, I would rather give my money to companies that don’t do that.

  7. SquareWheel says:

    Sir, I would like to sign your petition.

    I have a very shoddy internet connection and cannot play “always-on” games. Even Steam is iffy with their poor offline mode.

  8. SilverSilence says:

    Well said.

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    & for the record I don’t, & haven’t since Mass Effect where i was caught out, buy any games with Install Limits or more restrictive DRM.

  10. Stuart Walton says:

    Whatever DRM they use I wish that all publishers patch out DRM after a month or when a stable pirate copy exists. Whichever comes first. Once a stable pirate copy exists, the DRM is utterly pointless.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      This. I can see the point of DRM, up to the point that the game is hacked and freely available to all via torrents, usenet et al. Once that is the case, patch it out so that your paying customers at least get an equivalent, rather than inferior product to the pirated version.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      They do say the simplest solution is often the best. I never thought of that but its spot on, they should actually do this right now!
      Cracked games are usually out the day of launch so give it a week or so and they can remove the DRM,perfect.

  11. skinlo says:

    To be fair to them, it is an improvement in that if your internet connection is dodgy, as long as it works for 1 minute or whatever, you’ll be able to play the game if the connection drops. A bit like Steam offline mode now, you need a connection to activate it, but is fine offline once it has been.

    • hb2008 says:

      Not really, Steam’s offline mode is a bit better, since you don’t have to be online to launch it, just have your log-in stored (and I think to have played online in the past month, though I’m not sure).

    • Joshua says:

      Steam’s offline mode is very weird sometimes though. If it wanted to update the next time you start steam, it will update the next time you start steam. No internet connection? This feature can not be run in offline mode! And then it just quits. If a game wants to update, you will have to wait untill you have internet untill you can play the game.

      Which is silly btw.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s never done that for me ever on my netbook. It won’t detect an update for Steam if you aren’t connected to the internet, it’s impossible.

  12. Renfield says:

    I can picture someone launching a game, and then running out the front door, laptop in hand, to catch their (non-wi-fi-enabled) train. Or off to the airport!

    • Gar says:

      Heh, that’s kind of what I was thinking. Install the game, run it when you have a connection, and then leave it open at all times – have it minimized when you’re not playing it, never shut down, only sleep mode until you’re done with the game completely.

      UBIRDRM!

      BTW, I really enjoyed that last paragraph John, well done.

  13. simonh says:

    I travel a lot and like to play on my laptop, if I’d want Driver:San Francisco I’d pirate it to skip this bullshit. If it was by a publisher I respected I would also buy the game, but I don’t know…

  14. Axyl says:

    … No PC Demo.
    /ignoring

  15. kwyjibo says:

    Piracy – the best option.

    • skinlo says:

      No its not.

      Not buying the product is the best option.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I support non-piracy simply because I don’t like to give such games any attention whatsoever.

      Well, besides the purely negative sort of attention, like this article.

    • heretic says:

      Which is a bit sad.

      Given how quickly the crackers get their teeth on new DRM these days, the pirated copy offers the most advantages…

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’m curious: did anyone manage to pirate Ass Creed 2 in the end? I’m frightened of the bits of the internet which might give me this information.

    • Joshua says:

      You know the best way to stop the guy who boasts that he is the best fighter in the world (whilst he has hardly any experience) is to punch him in the face? Same with piracy. You don’t pirate Driver to be able to play the game, you pirate it just cuz you can and show everyone that one can do it.

    • Gar says:

      @ Ross Angus

      Yea, there was a decent pirate version around 1.5 – 2 weeks after the game was released, if I remember correctly. I bought Asscreed 1 on steam and hated it, but I decided to try out Asscreed 2 anyway since I heard it was very much improved. There was no demo…

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Evidently some wizard made a stand-alone local server process that runs in the background that the UBI DRM checks instead of needing an internet connection. My anticipation is some variation of it will immediately become available for Driver SF after launch.. which can be used for paying and non paying customers.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Thanks for that, Gar. Well, those pirates sure do like a challenge, eh?

    • Khemm says:

      Banning parasites like your from the internet for lifetime – the best option.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Banning mindless drones who OBEY from the internet. Best option.

      I have no interest in helping out a society or even functioning in one that deems it ok for me to live off £20 a week and someone else £100,000 a week. Seriously. Fuck that.

    • Jimbo says:

      Well, give me my £20 back and fuck off then.

  16. Hexidecimal says:

    What has changed? Nothing.

  17. AbyssUK says:

    Will Ubisoft ever tell us the real reasons for logging everybodies ip address that launches the game each time… please this isn’t about piracy it can’t be they want the information of how many, when and were for some reason…. can they sell this data or something ???

    • hb2008 says:

      Eh, it probably is about piracy, I’d imagine they have plenty of demographic info anyway since people give that sort of info when they buy the game. But I’d imagine that one-time online activation is easily defeated by cracks and whatnot, since you just have to tell the game to skip the part where it checks in with Ubisoft and go straight to the game.

    • Khemm says:

      Do you have a Steam account? Then ask Valve.

  18. Bantros says:

    Maybe it’s a bad move for Ubisoft, especially with the calibre of games they release but Blizzard aren’t likely to backtrack and Diablo 3 is still going to be huge.

    I can easily go without most games by Ubisoft at the minute. Can I boycott Diablo 3 and not enjoy a game I’m actually looking forward to? Probably not

    • mmalove says:

      It really depends what you want from the game. For diablo III, I can justify the expense because I plan to play it with others online, and therefore can say I’ll get 50 dollars worth from the online piece alone: the single player albeit potentially unplayable during internet outage will just be an extra. On the other hand, if my intention were to play diablo III as a mostly single player, stand alone experience, then I would not purchase it.

      A am excited, but a little confused, that my diablo III characters will be able to join any battlenet friend in a game, whereas my wow characters were limited to one of 100 servers, and would have to pay extra to join friends in dungeons. MMORPG fail logic, imo.

  19. runbmp says:

    I think if your going to play Ubisoft games, its best done on a console. They seem completely disconnected from their PC user base.

    When a publisher has so much revenue and tax incentives in Canada to just shut off a consumer base I think its time that said publisher gets its incentives removed.

  20. V. Profane says:

    Why do they think more people will pirate this game (which is all they seem to care about, not sales) on the PC than From Dust or Trackmania 2? This game reeks of a Call of Juarez: The Cartel style B-Game that probably shouldn’t even be sold for full price, for consoles at least.

  21. Joe Duck says:

    I see no reason to lift my personal Ubisoft ban…

  22. Diziet Sma says:

    I heartily approve of the final paragraph. I do hope ubisoft read it as I do so like their games. I’m enjoying From Dust at the moment and glad I got the PC version as it uses the control scheme I hoped for. I just need to figure out how to sort out the odd mouse smoothing. I’ve managed to get it to vsync thankfully.

  23. onehitter says:

    One day we’ll look back on this and say…it was DUMB.

  24. JoeFX69 says:

    I really hate idiots of this world.

    Ergo, I fucking despise Ubisoft.

    This isnt shooting themselves in the foot. Its hacksawing it off then nailing it to a red barrel and using it for target practice

  25. CelticPixel says:

    Steam. Works.

  26. CMaster says:

    Ubisoft’s claim that their crazy DRM “reduces piracy” shows that well, they don’t have a clue about what piracy means to them. As a developer/publisher/whatever, it doesn’t matter to you how many people pirate the game at all. Makes no difference. All that matters is how many people actually pay you for the game. If they could show some good reason to believe that people bought the game rather than pirate it, then they’d have a “sucsess” on their hands. Otherwise not.

    (And of course, there’s always the chance that the number of people who didn’t buy because of crazy DRM exceeded the number of “reformed” pirates)

  27. nihlus says:

    The game is properly not worth buying anyway but it still does change the fact that DRM will ruin it for those who buy it once ubisoft realize that which they properly never will cause they are only thinking of
    pirates. Like the new game From Dust that already been crack and working so why they continue to make these useless DRM that NOONE befits from its just utter retarded. Its like fighting terrorist in Afghanistan never ending war.

  28. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    To be fair this is an improvement in terms of people with minor glitchy connections, up&down wifi, etc – and probably should have really been mentioned in the article. (It’s my own personal bugbear with AlwaysOn – my wifi connection in my house is up and down like a tart’s knickers, but wouldn’t really be an issue for a game startup connection request system).

    Obviously it’s still all a load of unwieldy bollocks – and I agree with the general principle of connection-DRM being a Bad Thing for people on the move – it’s just this IS an improvement in other ways and should still be recognised as such, regardless of the overall ballhang of DRM.

  29. jay35 says:

    At least the game looks pretty terrible. Makes continuing to avoid UbiSoft games that much easier.

  30. woodsey says:

    One time activation is about as lenient as I’m willing to go on DRM. If it actually worked then maybe they’d have a leg to stand on.

  31. Sixtoe says:

    I bought the asscreed collection in the recent steam summer sale, took my laptop with me on hols to the middle of nowhere in France and then totally failed to be able to play it. On the bright side, gave me time to play Ben there Dan that and time gentlemen please. and eat cheese.

  32. aeromorte says:

    If it comes to that ill just download a crack to my purchased copy … then you ask whats the point of buying the game? Youre saying that we should get that game without any crap like that? Hell i agree but if ubi wants to screw with us then what are the alternatives? Pray for them to change thier minds? – yeah right lol …. Dont buy the game i was waiting for for god knows how long? – … n/c … Or buy the game as it is and play with the retarded drm and have problems all the way when the pirated versions will work better? – … lol im reading the last one and snap so many ppl will choose to download pirated version just becouse of the drms … god UBI just how retarded are you? gl hf

  33. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Still pirating if it’s good, and will buy when (if) the DRM is removed as I did with Assassin Creed 2.

    • KenTWOu says:

      But Assassin’s Creed 2 still has DRM that requires an internet connection to launch! But Ubisoft just says that Driver will have the same DRM as AC2 (internet connection to launch).

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, it seemed odd to me that with Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell, we got a celebratory “Yay, Ubisoft removed their DRM” article, and with this we get the (correct) “This is barely an improvement, Ubisoft, WTF” for exactly the same downgrading.

  34. shoptroll says:

    More egregiously stupid DRM than having to look up word 27 on line 30 on page 10 in the manual every time you start the game?

  35. zacaj says:

    I get the feeling this is actually the most evil marketing scheme in history. I mean, they basically purposely annoy the internet, and then if enough people blog about their game, they make it slightly better, so more people will buy it, and people will post about it again. “All publicity is good publicity”

  36. Khemm says:

    OK. I’m fed up with the hypocrisy constantly being displayed here and on most PC gaming sites.
    How exactly is this solution OH DEAR SO HORRIBLE compared to Steam? Ubisoft gets the honor of being trashed in an article, but when it is revealed that game X uses Steamworks, everyone suddenly shows his willingness to lick Newell’s boots.

    There’s no third party storefront bullcrap running in the background. You can install safely offline. You only need internet activation the moment you launch the game.

    A Steamworks game needs an outdated, intrusive nonsense to be installed first. Said nonsense needs internet connection to install and update. Only then will you be allowed to install what you paid for, which is the actual game. Surprise! You still need internet connection to be established, even if you install from the disc. If your connection fails, so will your installation. Oh, you can’t choose a separate directory for your game. To launch our game X, we need to launch Steam first.
    Now, I know what most people will say here. Offline mode, right? Here’s the deal – IT DOESN’T WORK for many people and it’s a feature that exists only on paper. I managed to switch to offline mode by deleting&replacing some files in the Steam folder after hours of wasted time and energy, and even then it only worked by making it remember my login&password AND switching to offline mode while being online. I have NEVER EVER managed to make Steam launch in offline mode when my internet connection suddenly dropped, Steam would ALWAYS quit saying it needs to connect despite hammering the GO OFFLINE button.
    A friend of mine is in a worse situation – he is FORCED to launch Steam in online mode every time, we’ve tried everything – offline mode won’t ever work, PERIOD.

    To summarize – Steam won’t let you install and often even run the game without an internet connection, Ubisoft’s solution allows you to even install offline and only requires that you have an internet connection the moment you launch the product. Plus, there’s no bloatware that needs to launch in the background and Ubisoft can easily release a patch to remove the connection requirement should they feel like it. See Anno 1404 for reference.

    For me, Ubi’s solution is no different than Steam, still intrusive, except less so than Steam thanks to a simple installation process that doesn’t force you to jump through hoops.

    • Gar says:

      Steam Offline mode works great for me, and in fact, I’m always in Offline mode on Steam unless I want to install a new game or want a new patch I’ve read about elsewhere.

      How many games are on Steam that you can’t buy retail, install offline, then simply have Steam quickly update the files once you are ready to play?

      You can’t play a single player game offline with the DRM Ubi is proposing. You can with Steam (if you’re not doing it wrong, which you and your friend clearly are).

      You can easily move to Steam to a different directory. I had to in order to play Morrowblivion, and it took all of 2 minutes. Google is your friend.

    • PetiteGreve says:

      ^ lol @ Khemm hateboy :D

      “There’s no third party storefront bullcrap running in the background.”
      => lol (24 MB of RAM when minimized, 34 MB of RAM when open, 70 MB of RAM when open in the store page – get back to 24 MB when minimized – haven’t tested with Steam Community being offline, could be 20 MB or less)

      “blah blah installation sucks”
      => without Steamworks, you still need to install the disk version (1.0) to later patch it to the last version
      “if your connection drop, installation fails”
      => lol, you ever installed a game on Steam ? it downloads the file (just like installing is simply saving files and regedit keys in the right places), you can pause/resume it, it can restore deleted files (if you made a mistake and deleted a map or a model). If your Internet connection is cut, it will resume right where it stopped (downloaded 45% of a game at home, finished the remaining 55% at my friend’s place 2 days later).

      “bwa I can’t offline”
      => you modified files ? hu ho, Steam reset it to default (by redownloading missing/modified files) if you delete/modify a file, else it’s a crack (Steam cracks do exist)

      => I’ve been using Steam Offline mode for several years now, all you need to do is selecting “Save your password” and going in Offline mode ONCE in your entire Steam-install lifetime.

      => I’ve been on SPUF on these “Offline Mode doesn’t work” threads, it’s just people not understanding you have to activate the Offline mode ONCE, then you can go offline whenever you want (even when the connection drop – happened to me quite often 2 years ago before I moved in, offline mode works perfectly) – Give me the name of a industry-trusted DRM allowing such easy offline mode ?

      “Plus, there’s no bloatware that needs to launch in the background”
      => again, 24 MB / 34 MB open / 70 MB store open, goes back to 24 MB when minimized.

      Maybe you’re getting too old for these “complex” programs such as Steam.

  37. Jimbo says:

    The difference is obvious and pretty significant, but yeah it’s still shit.

    I suppose you could just alt-tab out and leave the game running forever…

  38. BathroomCitizen says:

    Why do I have tears on my cheeks?

  39. Lagwolf says:

    Ultimately what Ubisoft wants to do is sell you access to their games. Since you don’t have constant access on or off-line to one of their games they should charge you less for the game. IE AAA title with no restrictions $50, but one with access restrictions (like you can’t play unless you are online) $25?

    • Luckz says:

      There “always” are cheaper ways to get a game than $50-60 full price stuff. And I don’t even mean “direct” piracy.

  40. StuffedCabbage says:

    Well said sir.

  41. Zelnick says:

    Now it’s the near equivalent of Steam DRM-wise.

    Also, this is Ubisofts new marketing strategy:

    Announce game.
    Wait.
    Mention game will have terrible copy protection.
    Wait longer.
    Announce the game will have slightly less terrible copy protection.

    They do this so their games get more attention. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually planned this all out.

    • Luckz says:

      New Coke style? That’d be borderline clever!11
      Then again I think all Evil Corporations do it that way. Threatening your customers with doom improves your BATNA leverage stuff.

  42. Shortwave says:

    Hi Ubisoft, I won’t ever buy any of your games that have this type of DRM.

  43. Stochastic says:

    I just hope Ubisoft is being genuine about “listening ” to their playerbase. If there’s anything I hate more than flagrant disregard for consumer rights it’s disingenuous sympathy.

  44. Daiv says:

    Hey Kids, lets do UBIMATHS!

    Lets find out how many eeevil pirates have been defeated by our lovely DRM!

    First we find out how many despicable pirates there are:

    Where:
    y = The number of pirates
    a = The number of people who we think should buy our game
    b = The number of people who buy the game

    y = a – b

    Now we find out how many eeevil pirates we defeated.

    Where:
    x = The number of pirates defeated.

    (Our DRM is perfect, so all those pirates must have been defeated!)

    x = y

    So you see, kids, the worse the game sells the more pirates have been defeated, and it becomes even more important to make the next game have even stricter DRM!

    • R10T says:

      proof by “Theorem of imaginary pirate friend”

      If the game is not released, then:

      y = The number of pirates
      a = The number of people who we think would buy our game (if released)
      b = The number of people who buy the game (0)

      y = a – b

      x = The number of pirates defeated.

      x = y = a

      therefore

      f + u + c + k : U*B*I = 1

  45. LostViking says:

    I haven’t pirated games in ages, but now I might do it just out of spite!

    A message to Ubisoft: Games are still cracked, even if you include DRM! Is that really so hard to understand?
    Not only that, but when a crack is released the pirated game is more user friendly than the one you pay for!

    I can understand games like Witcher 2 which has DRM initially, to stop the game from being pirated before release. But they removed the DRM from the game soon after release when the crack was out anyway.

  46. Navagon says:

    Fuck Ubisoft.

  47. Luckz says:

    Dis iz da websyte wear wi haz EA-h8 rite? O w8 UBI-h8 hear, sorray mateys.

    But no really, I had zero problems with AC2 & ACB.
    My financial investment in them was also 10€ for half a ACB key, but that’s another matter.
    (And Ubi afaik haven’t region-limited their shit yet. Nor have EA. Activision, Sqenix and Valve + friends however…. yeah, those can go die.)

  48. The Army of None says:

    Someone give John a knighthood for his continued service in the name of us gamers without steady access to internets.

  49. Javier-de-Ass says:

    Sounds like they changed it to steam?

  50. Reikon says:

    It’s pretty depressing how little respect paying customers of PC games get nowadays.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>