Oh, But Some Good Ass Rev News: DRM

By John Walker on November 10th, 2011 at 11:00 am.

He just wants to hold hands.

While we may be suffering a delay on Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, there’s some good news. Ubisoft have just confirmed for me that the game will not be coming with their hideous “always-on” DRM – a sign that perhaps, since it’s absent from such a big title, that they’re finally recognising it shouldn’t be anywhere near any of their products. Instead you’ll need to be online the very first time you play the game for an activation, and then it’s yours to play offline at your leisure. Goodness gracious, that’s bordering on reasonable! Hooray!

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80 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    Holy entirely workable drm batman!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    Sounds like exactly the DRM that people got very, and entirely reasonably, upset about not so very long ago.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      DRM kept getting worse and worse so that when they decide to lower their DRM we’re thinking: that’s fair.

      To the extreme: they change the activations from 3 activations to 5 activations and suddenly some people are happy.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      You would be surprised at how unwilling companies are to knowingly scupper sales of their biggest game

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Haven’t they been willingly doing just that with the harsher brands of DRM?

    • alundra says:

      I agree, how easily people fall victim to having their freedom taken away and then selling their souls to have just a little of freedom back.

    • Frosty840 says:

      I’m actually okay with a “DRM-like” system which requires you to be online while you play if you want your interaction with the game to be logged with a central server, but which won’t force you to do that.

      I haven’t bought Ubisoft games at release for a couple of years now because of their DRM, but I’ve never had an issue with the non-DRM aspects of their “Uplay” software. It registers my gameplay interactions, gives me cloud-saves and gives me points to unlock some of their crappy semi-free DLC, all without tying me down to a particular download/purchase service.

      I just don’t like the fact that when I’m downloading a game from Steam my crappy connection is so clogged up that I can’t play any Ubisoft games because of the shitty DRM that is the other side of the Uplay coin.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Ubisoft have just released a new form of DRM. With every legal copy of the game, they will kill one of your beloved family members (this is not compatible with family members you don’t like).

      Due to feedback, they have decided to only chop one of the legs off instead.

  3. sneetch says:

    Wait… reasonable DRM? From Ubisoft? This has to be a trap… watch the rooftops! We’re getting out of here, calmly and quietly.

    • siegarettes says:

      Oh you mean like that “one time activation” that they set up with From Dust as well….

  4. Nemon says:

    “It’s a trap”

    Very reasonable copy protection actually.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Sounds fair enough. Activate it once and then you can play it on a plane or wherever you want to play it.

    Still, for a singleplayer game it makes no sense to have any DRM, the pirated version will still work without activations.

    • noxxit says:

      To get the pirated version you will still have to download the crack – so you have to go online once either way.

    • Avish says:

      The pirated version is also much cheaper, so there is no point in comparing it to the legal, DRMd, version.

      But I agree with you that there is sense in applying DRM for a single player. On-line activation should be there for people who are interested in the on-line features of the game.

  6. WMain00 says:

    I’m sure it’s just a horrible press printing error and what they really meant to say is “Oh yeah it’s definitely got horribad DRM”

  7. DanPryce says:

    So what’s the delay for then, if not for shoehorning DRM in?

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      Prising it out, obviously.

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      Hang on, haven’t Ubisoft declared their policy is always to include ludicrous DRM on PC versions whenever they release simultaneously with console versions?
      If so, then doesn’t this boil down to that they are releasing late so they don’t include the DRM (and avoid all the negative reviews in the process)?

      I don’t know how I feel about this. On one hand I hate DRM, and on the other I hate having to wait to play something on a PC until everyone else has already played it.

  8. Squishpoke says:

    They said the same exact thing for From Dust.

    They lied.

    I will never purchase another Ubisoft game as long as I breathe.

    • John Walker says:

      What happens if you hold your breath?

    • Squishpoke says:

      Then, yes, maybe. But I will have to hold my breath when I play the game, too.

      On principle.

    • TNG says:

      Really? Is it still required to be always-on in order to play From Dust?

    • Squishpoke says:

      No, they removed it two weeks after. I am still FURIOUS and DISPLEASED about the entire affair, however.

    • AshEnke says:

      I have to agree with this man here.
      It’s not as if Ubisoft had always been honest with us (although for the From Dust thing it looked more like internal miscommunication than genuine mischief).

    • TWeaK says:

      IIRC they’ve had exactly the same tactic for every major release recently:

      A few weeks before its release, state it won’t have DRM (or at least only a one-time activation).
      Release the game with always on DRM.
      A couple weeks/months later, reduce the severity of DRM to not always on, but with a connection required to start.

      It’s the same bullshit from the most disingenuous publisher in the games industry.

  9. mondomau says:

    Squishpoke: Yes, I was about to say the same thing – I’m a bit surprised John didn’t display even the tiniest bit of cynicism about the announcement, given Ubisoft’s track record of lying about this very thing.

    But maybe, like me, he doesn’t believe they would risk another shitstorm by pulling such arse-wizardry twice in a row.

    • Ondrej says:

      Thought he did: “bordering on reasonable” sounds a bit cynical to me. Or skeptical, I forgot how these things work.

  10. BaronWR says:

    It says a lot about my faith in Ubisoft that, despite really liking the AssCreed games, I’m not prepared to take their word on their DRM statements any more.

    It is a big step forward for them if they do release it with only a modicum of DRMinconvenience.

  11. Caleb367 says:

    Well pardon me if I’m skeptical, Ubisoft likes to fling about a lot of bullshit regarding DRM. I wonder why they’re keeping with that despite the bad rep they got.

    However, for me, I’d reconsider buying another Ubisoft game when they patch the every-single-time activation away from their existing products, namely Assassin’s Creed 2 and Silent Hunter 5, as a very cheap and late “gosh I’m so sorry”.

  12. Iron_Maniac says:

    To be fair Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood didn’t contain the always online DRM. Definitely one of the reasons I bought that game (So glad I did its an amazing game). They also semi-removed the DRM from AC2 now you only need to be online when you start up the game (Which is still annoying but much better than the always online stuff).

    Maybe they have learned their lesson that people hate this kinda stuff.

  13. Vexing Vision says:

    Well, I dislike online-activation, but since I’ve been a grudging Steam-user by now, I might as well accept it.

    5 limits activation – is that per PC? A total? What happens when I want to reinstall the game?

    Also, let’s see if they really go for it.

  14. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Cool.

    Still not buying it at full price as long as it has *spit* activations.

    Then again, I didn’t buy any of the others either so I doubt Ubi are crying into their milk.

  15. Shazbut says:

    When Ubi’s always-on DRM was announced, I’m pretty sure it provoked one of the longest, if not the longest thread on RPS to date.

    It was always going to be so, but just how impotent do you want all that rage to have been? Can you imagine if that system had become the standard? They tried to do this. Just ignore Ubisoft games. You don’t need them in your life, whatever your life is. For every one that comes out, there are ten better games that you haven’t tried.

  16. Nallen says:

    “Games journalist John Walker from gaming site Rock Paper Shotgun said WoW had weathered similar dips in the past when there were other strong titles gamers wanted to play. ”

    On the BBC! Our John Walker from gaming site Rock Paper Shotgun!

    “People tend to only want to give their monthly tithe to one game, and so they’ll often slip away to see what’s new, before slinking back to Warcraft,” he said.

    He said slinking, on the BBC!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15672416

    • Squishpoke says:

      It is as I have feared. The hivemind is asserting its control over other sectors, and soon we will all choke underneath its corrupt tendrils.

      I urge you all to stand up and HNKRGH

    • sneetch says:

      Of course, what Node#23711865(Formerly Designated “Squishpoke”) means is that we are one and in accordance with the Hivemind.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Resistance is futile.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      There is no fear – only cordial conformity.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      He used words like “tithe” and “faux”. I felt a shiver of pleasure reading those words.

  17. lunarplasma says:

    Is it Steamworks, btw?

  18. alundra says:

    Good thing their are backpedaling, and people say that all gamers and mindless creatures and that it’s no use to vote with our wallets. It’s one for the bargain bucket then, among all the different, incomplete, versions of the game to choose from and the fact that I will have to “activate” the game, the perceived return on investment is too small, perhaps at 50% the asking price.

  19. UnravThreads says:

    They haven’t used Always On for a short while, now. Brotherhood doesn’t have it as someone mentioned above, I believe MMH VI doesn’t, Anno 2070 won’t, Tintin didn’t (I believe). It looks like roughly after The Settlers 7, they largely dropped it.

  20. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    Bah, due to DRM-purchase-refusaling, I’m too far behind on the story now, so I won’t be bothering with this.

    • UnravThreads says:

      The DRM was dropped for AC2, I believe. Either way, GamersGate has the AssCreed complete pack for £20 – AC, AC2, AC:B.

    • sneetch says:

      I don’t think it was removed. I believe they just changed it so you only need to be online when you start-up the game rather than all the time.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Thanks for the info, but my problem now is primarily time, not money. I’ve only played 54 of my 202 games on Steam, and I will be getting Space Marine, B:AC, SR3, Rage, Skyrim, Dead Island, DX:HR DLC and TOR in the next six weeks, so AssCree will have to join the ranks of the big games I’ve never played.

      I’m starting to hope there IS an afterlife, otherwise I will never get these games finished.

  21. Unaco says:

    You believe them? Fools. This is the same as they said for From Dust.

  22. bill says:

    Is there a reason RPS hasn’t mentioned the Steam Forum situation? Other than not knowing what’s going on?

    Been offline for 3-4 days and now i want to know if i have to change all my passwords…. again. Sigh.

    • sneetch says:

      Oh good Grud! I hope not.

    • Avish says:

      I read somwhere that the forum was hacked (the Escapist, I think), but we shouldn’t worry about our accounts information.

      I also wonder why it wasn’t mentioned on RPS yet…

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      I panicked for a second when I heard, as my password is the same for Store, Forums and Community, but then I remembered about Steamguard. Phew!

  23. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    They said from dust wouldn’t have the always on drm and it did. I wouldn’t, personally, believe anything ubisoft say with regards to drm again.

  24. neolith says:

    1. I don’t believe anything Ubisoft says.
    2. One-time-activation is still not good enough. It is still a shitty kind of DRM.

  25. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Not good enough ofc. They might’ve been able to get away with shit like this with interesting one of a kind games like the settlers, anno, SH, homm but i’ve already played this game 2x & could play this years version too if i was half way interested.

  26. MichaelPalin says:

    Just to amuse myself with the anger of others, my Spanish copy of AssBro had zero DRM, as in not even an initial authentification, nor nothing, :P

    • pedrovay2003 says:

      @MichaelPalin

      That’s how the North American version is, too. There’s an Offline Mode right out of the gate. I installed and started the game without an Internet connection just to try it out, and it worked like a charm.

  27. malkav11 says:

    1) I don’t believe them, as they’ve made similar claims before and lied.
    2) Even if it’s not always on, the current DRM on both AC2 and Brotherhood has it check in with uPlay every time at launch. I’d be very surprised if Revelations did less.
    3) Even one time online activation is an unnecessary and damaging thing.

  28. Shooop says:

    In this day and age, can you really afford to take any major publisher’s word at face value? After the fuckups that were From Dust and EA’s Origin?

    I’ll won’t believe a word any major studio says about their DRM plans until the games are on the shelves.

  29. ananachaphobiac says:

    I miss Sim City”s antiquated version of DRM. At least it was creative.

  30. Iskariot says:

    Well, I am happy about the one time activation. I think that is workable.

    But, In AC Brotherhood certain parts of the game were disabled when playing off line. Certain levels could not be accessed, bonus content could not be used, and you could not invest in shops.

    I would like to know if this is still going on in AC Rev.

  31. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    I remember settlers 1 drm – that was evil and required… a BOOK!
    3 random pages and you had to choose one of >20 glyphs from each page. Book was over 100 pages long if memory serves. anyway
    does ass creed 2 have always on or not? Given I’m online most of the time if I have to activate and then patch via steam its not a biggie.

  32. Eclipse says:

    so it’s confirmed or is “confirmed like it was for From Dust”?

  33. mmalove says:

    I’m convinced the game industry’s best defense against piracy is to simply make the pirate versions not auto-update, then release the game horribly buggy and slowly patch it into playability. When you look at how most of the AAA games are released these days from that point of view, it suddenly all makes sense. Force the pirates to wade through 12+ versions of the game, any of which could be bad loads/viruses, and suddenly the legit copy is for once more convenient.

  34. diamondmx says:

    Don’t forget that this is exactly what they said before they released From Dust.
    Don’t preorder this, give it a day or two before you leap in on an unreturnable game.

  35. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah. I heard they say that about From Dust.

    Also, “may be suffering a delay”. Make that “will”.

    And while this is not as bad as always-on, is still bad as you won’t be able to play while offline. And it will surely come without LAN support.

    So: not good enough, Ubi.

  36. SuperNashwan says:

    I don’t think there’s anything Ubi could do now to convince me to buy one of their games, they’ve dug themselves a very deep hole in PC Land.

    • Premium User Badge

      SealedSun says:

      Errr… 2 months without piracy would actually be a 99.998% success for DRM, since the vast majority of sales happen in the first couple of weeks. Afterwards, it’s irrelevant.
      That’s why the really cool publishers (CD Projekt Red) remove DRM after launch. It simple doesn’t matter anymore.

  37. Ultra-Humanite says:

    You have to give them credit for being so stubborn as to stick to their guns with a DRM that was obsolete (i.e., crackable) less than 2 months after debut.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Rikard Peterson says:

    Good Ass Rev News? Not badass news then.

  39. elfbarf says:

    Isn’t this exactly what they promised for From Dust?

  40. Premium User Badge

    SealedSun says:

    Hmm… I have the feeling I have heard this before… There was this big publisher, I mean really big, EA-big, Activision-big, I believe. I think they had announced something similar for one of their titles. Well, it turned out to be a lie. Now if I could just remember who that was…

  41. archimandrite says:

    This new DRM sounds perfectly reasonable. There is terrible DRM out there, but I swear most of the anti-DRM fervor is just a way for people to justify pirating games they would have pirated anyway.

  42. MellowKrogoth says:

    Not good enough. They’re eventually gonna shut down the auth server (or go bankrupt) and the game won’t be installable anymore. At least with Steam the “authentification” is hosted at the same place as the game download, so there’s only one direction the troubles could be coming from. And the authentification comes with convenience.

    The way I see it, the more online checks from different providers you add (one of them failing being sufficient to shut the game down), the more value you take away from the game. Too bad for those Steam+UbiDRM or Steam+Securom+GFWL games… haven’t bought any of them yet even for 5$.

  43. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    My immediate reaction is to flick the safety off on my wallet…. But eeeasy does it, easy does it.

    Have they formally announced this anywhere? As soon as I get that I’m preordering.

    • Vinraith says:

      Even a formal announcement wouldn’t be trustworthy. With “From Dust” they announced no always-on DRM, then reneged, deleted the relevant statements from their website, and claimed everyone had “misunderstood.”

      Frankly, you’d be a fool to preorder. Wait until the game is released and it’s actually clear what the situation is, then decided about your purchase.

  44. Etherealsteel says:

    I don’t know why Ubisoft didn’t do this earlier. If you put hideous always on DRM restrictions people will be more inclined to pirate or crack it, plus it hurts gameplay and then people won’t play it.

  45. Warskull says:

    It is very much worth pointing out that they made this same claim about “From Dust” and it was a lie.

    PC Gamer rule #317: Do not trust Ubisoft, they lie and have a general disdain for PC gamers.

  46. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    ‘the game will not be coming with their[our] hideous “always-on” DRM’

    So, I’m wondering, is that how Ubisoft put it – we can only hope I guess.