Legitimate Ubisoft Games Won’t Work Tues

By John Walker on February 2nd, 2012 at 1:11 pm.

Some forthcoming Ubi DRM.

With Ubisoft’s recent announcement that Rayman: Origin’s splendid arrival on PC will have the barest DRM for the download version (a single activation – a pointless waste of everyone’s time still, of course) and the retail version having none at all (although Ubi have yet to get back to me over whether it will work without the disc in the drive), it makes you wonder if the company is beginning to see the light. With other recent games having only required a single activation, there does seem to be a movement away from their moronic ‘always on’ system. A system that’s proving its idiocy next week, when Ubisoft take their servers down for an indefinite period, meaning any games using it will cease working.

As if a sampler for what would happen should Ubi ever go south, Eurogamer reports that HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6, The Settlers 7, and any other Ubi games infected with the malware will simply not run on your PC. We’re not talking about the multiplayer, or downtime for an online game here. We mean, the single-player versions of the game played locally on your own PC.

Great, eh?! What a brilliant thing for everyone involved. Those with pirated version can carry on enjoying the games throughout, and those who paid money for them will receive an error message. Woo-hoo! Put it on a PowerPoint slide and present it to your shareholders as another victory!

This all happens on Tuesday 7th, when the servers are all moving house. But Ubi haven’t said how long it will take, and for how long non-pirated versions of their games won’t work.

However, for those missing out, you could spend the downtime repeatedly punching yourself in the groin, while throwing money out of the window.

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206 Comments »

  1. db1331 says:

    It’s ok though, because the people who pirated those games won’t be able to play while the servers are down either, right? Right? Or do you mean to tell me that DRM only punishes people who paid for the game? What nonsense!

    • Baggypants says:

      So you’re expecting the pirated game not to work because an authentication server is missing?

    • TheApologist says:

      I’m assuming it was an ironic comment, based on the knowledge that it is only the pirated versions that will be working.

    • Berzee says:

      A radical interpretation, TheApologist, but nothing less than I would expect from one such as yourself.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      @ Baggypants

      WOOOSH!

    • Gundato says:

      Actually, it depends on what server.

      After grabbing SC: Conviction, I did a few tests with a cracked version. If I ran peerblock (and blocked Ubi), I couldn’t play. Because there actually was content it had to download (I think).

      So, theoretically, this downtime could affect pirates too. And everyone know that is all that actually matters…

    • dontnormally says:

      I implore any legitimate Ubi customer who then ALSO used a pirated crack to:

      Email them on that day and let them know you are a paying customer enjoying their product due to a crack despite their best efforts to deny you the pleasure.

    • Lowbrow says:

      Steam’s offline mode doesn’t work for me unless I activate it while online. This was particularly annoying when I had just moved, and couldn’t play any games if I forgot to log on to steam at school before I left it (until I got internet at home). For me,it means that when I most want my games (no internet to distract me) I can’t use it.

    • Lemming says:

      Well…that joke was in the article, so 0 points for effort, but you get a sticker for trying, I guess?

    • ChiefInspectorLee says:

      @mesofire:

      I’m glad to hear that people are making progress on it; I do believe that eventually it will be playable in some pirated form. But two things nevertheless: first, like Shuck said:

      “People create their own servers for MMOs now, but the thing is *you aren’t cracking the game*, you’re making your own version of the game that uses the same client and might be similar to the source (but will definitely be a simpler game in comparison).” Hence, uncrackable game.

      Second, like mikey lowell points out over at the-ghetto, Starcraft 2 multiplayer took *ages* to emulate at all. I’m not expert but I would think that seeing as Diablo hosts so much more content server-side it will take as long if not longer to make a playable emulation of the whole game. Let us also keep in mind the beta may actually contain more client-side data than the final product, which would make all those current emulators useless. Let’s bet 5 internet points on it, and come back in 6-18months when the game comes out and see? :)

      Edit: whoops, replied to wrong post.

    • miasfays says:

      Ainol Novo 7 Paladin First Android 4.0 Tablet PC http://c7r.de/Q354

  2. CKScientist says:

    The thing I hate most about these activation-based DRM systems is that they won’t work 10 years from now (after the activation servers are taken down).

    I still boot up old games like UFO and the Impressions city builder games that are from the 90s. Its terrible to think that this wont be possible for a lot of modern games without resorting to cracks (which may become hard to find).

    • SquareWheel says:

      Sounds like the only solution is to pirate now.

    • Orionche says:

      There’s always gonna be someone who cracks this stuff for the fun of it. ;)

    • CKScientist says:

      @Orionche contrary to popular belief, it is possible to make an effectively uncrackable game – you just have to move a lot of the content and systems to external servers. Games made like this will not be playable once those servers go down.

    • kalleguld says:

      Don’t worry, Ubisoft has taken care of that for you, by making sure that their games are not worth playing in 10 years.

    • Ironclad says:

      @CKScientist: Isn’t the pirate solution to add that data to the cracked files?

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      This isn’t true though. At least not for all games. Some developers release patches that remove the set limits if the servers are shut down, as it has been announced for Anno 1404 for example.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @squirrelfanatic, but that’s assuming you maintain a continuous install. Finding patches for old games can be a bit of work sometimes.

    • Eclipse says:

      sorry but you are wrong, there’s no uncrackable game. If it runs on your hardware, you can crack it.
      The only way is using a streaming service like OnLive

    • diebroken says:

      You might have to do some searching on The Patches Scrolls (if the game is ‘old’ and not in the Game Index list, like Terminator: SkyNET), but the patches for just about any game should be on there at some point…

      (Assuming of course that it is a downloadable patch… now applying update StarCraft II for patch 866672.223333333!11a1 from the Blizzard servers… *sigh*)

    • Suits says:

      Crack will be available, but not official ones if you know what i mean.. *wink wink*

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @InternetBatman: No, it doesn’t. You just install the game with an alternative install.exe provided by the developers or a kind of “master code”. In case of Anno 1404 the patch will be very easy to locate, as it will be available from the developers site and probably distributed to other hosts rather quickly.

    • Milky1985 says:

      [EDIT] After all that, reply fail!

    • enobayram says:

      It’s possible to make uncrackable games. All AI could be running on the server for instance, and you wouldn’t have to stream the entire screen, just a few bps of information representing the AI actions. Crackers would have to implement their own AI, which is probably much more than what they usually do, and it’s outside their field of expertise.
      Another far-distant solution could be, if game sales reach hundreds of millions, they could have USB dongles with specialized chips in them, running some of the critical game code. It would be almost impossible to clone that dongle, or replace its functionality (since your CPU will not be fast enough to emulate an ASIC)

    • Goomich says:

      @Squirrelfanatic
      Other example of Ubi removing their DRM was vegas 2. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080718/1117121722.shtml :D

    • MajorManiac says:

      @ enobayram:

      If you can think of a way to prevent piracy, someone smarter than us will think of a way to get around it.

      To quickly look at your two points for example:
      1. AI – Even if the code could not be copied (which I presume it could), there are many examples of modders making alternative AI for games. Often improving it.
      2. Dongle – If they can be mass produced by one group, they can be mass produced by another. Also it would be relatively easy to emulate a pretend dongle on your computer.

    • ChiefInspectorLee says:

      @Eclipse:

      I present to you: Diablo III, the uncrackable game:

      http://www.the-ghetto.org/content/diablo-iii-will-not-be-cracked-at-launch-stop-deluding-yourself-you-fools

      edit: @the wrong person

    • Shuck says:

      @ MajorManiac: But if you put functionality on a server (as in Diablo 3, or any MMO) as per @enobayram’s example, it’s a pretty bulletproof way of preventing cracking games. People create their own servers for MMOs now, but the thing is you aren’t cracking the game, you’re making your own version of the game that uses the same client and might be similar to the source (but will definitely be a simpler game in comparison).

    • Mesofire says:

      @ChiefInspectorLee

      diablo 3 beta already has server emulators. You can actually run quite a fair bit of the game, its a start. If you’v ever played an mmo private server its the same concept. Wow for instance can be played flawlessly on private servers. Diablo 3 is definitely not uncrackable, good thing is it will take some time and wont affect day 1 sales which is really the point.

    • alseT says:

      The D3 beta also has all the server-client data unencrypted, which will definitely change come full release. It will then take months just to crack that+ whatever surprises Blizzard may have in store.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      This article I read expands on the issue of DRM potentially preventing us from playing the games of today in the future, and also about keeping stuff server-side.

      http://technologizer.com/2012/01/23/why-history-needs-software-piracy/

    • Archonsod says:

      “The thing I hate most about these activation-based DRM systems is that they won’t work 10 years from now (after the activation servers are taken down).”

      In ten years we could (in fact are likely to) move away from the old Intel architecture, at which point nothing coded for the good old x86 is likely to work. There’s a reason you don’t generally design a system for longer than a five year lifespan.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      It’s all well and good to say “if you want to use your game after activation servers go down, just use a crack”, but you forget that the people cracking those games for you risk jail. As well as the owners of the sites hosting the files.

      They’re forcing drastic DRM on us while at the same time taking away the alternatives that could make our game work when their servers fail.

      @Archonsod So, we can’t play games that ran on the abandoned NES architecture anymore? Or games designed for the DOS environment? Oh wait…
      Truth is, if the games can run locally without dependency on the internet, we’ll always be able to play them in some way through emulators.

  3. fuggles says:

    Bought rayman on the wii. It was a good choice.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s sad how often Nintendo’s absolute ignorance of how the internet could work for their console leads to a better product.

    • Suits says:

      Offtopic: Ubi has yet to give me a solution to my audio crash in R6V2 (and no subtitles) after few months, even though it meets all requirements. Their support tells you the most obvious stuff, but it’s broken and I probably won’t see any money back lol.

  4. hills says:

    I’m betting this will break my Anno 2070…

    Motherfucker.

  5. Novotny says:

    It just emphasises the utter foolishness involved in buying anything published by Ubisoft.

    • Bhazor says:

      It just emphasises the utter foolishness of buying anything on Steam.
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/

    • Optimaximal says:

      Steam has an offline mode.

      Yes, I went there!

    • Khemm says:

      Try (re)installing your games with Steam switched to offline mode. Good luck.
      Not to mention offline mode doesn’t work at all unless you go offline while still being connected to the internet, which is ridiculous.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      “Not to mention offline mode doesn’t work at all unless you go offline while still being connected to the internet, which is ridiculous. ”

      Not true. If I go home, switch off my router and power up my PC right now Steam will tell me there is no connection and start offline. If you are connected to a network but to the steam server it can get a bit iffy but just disconnect while you load steam.

    • Suits says:

      Learn to boot via .exe and it works without using Steam. ._.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Optimaximal
      Steam doesn’t have fully functional offline mode cause it doesn’t have offline install and offline patches. Ubisoft games at least have offline patches so you can play Ubisoft games with very slow internet connection if you get all patches somewhere else.

    • theleif says:

      @Khemm:
      You can make the offline mode to work every time. If you get the error when starting Steam offline, simply inactivate your network card (Network and connection centre/change properties for network card, right click on your network card and inactivate). Then it will work 100% of the times according to my and others experience.
      A bit of a hassle, maybe, but it works.
      From what I’ve read this bug, is thanks to windows not correctly reporting that you actually don’t have an internet connection.

    • Goomich says:

      Ubisoft’s offline mode: “you can play Ubisoft games with very slow internet connection”.

      OH
      MY
      GOD.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Jonhill

      Not true, at least not for me. Try to turn Steam on whilst travelling by train I get the absolute gem
      “Connection error: Can not connect to Steam Network (click start in offline mode) Steam cannot perform this operation whilst in offline mode”

      Thats what happened everyday for 3 months.

      My real point was that just like legit customers could lose access to Ubi games at the drop of a hat so too could Steam customers. But of course if you mention that you’re a Valve hater and should go live in the forbidden zone or something.

      @ Suits
      I have a couple hundred games in Steam (85% result of Publisher MegaDeals 5% retail Steamworks 10% indies) of all those about a half a dozen have run from the .exe alone without needing to load Steam first.

    • Unaco says:

      @Khemm,

      Absolute crap about having to go Offline while connected to the Internet. Please stop spreading malicious lies about Steam, just because you seem to have a bee in your bonnet about it.

      All you have to do to be able to start in Offline mode is, one time only, start in Online Mode, log in, and have Steam save your credentials (u’name/p’word). You can then start in Offline mode as many times as you wish.

    • NathanH says:

      Alas not true, Unaco. Steam will not always allow you to start in offline mode if you have no connexion. It sometimes works for me, but sometimes does not.

    • Caleb367 says:

      And the usual butthurt permavirgin Ubi fanboy making up all the same bullshit again and again… and again, and again, and again… you know, this Khemm guy, with his mindless fundamentalist ranting, is actually making Steam look good. A clever marketing ploy by Valve? Who knows!
      However, I’m gonna pretend he’s a Ubi game and the little block button is an Ubi server.
      *click*

    • Unaco says:

      As theleif says above, try making sure you have no web connection, turn off your network card, shut down wi-fi etc, just to let it Steam try (and fail) to connect, then it should ask to Retry or Restart in Offline mode. If you have Network protocols or whatnot going, it will try to connect online (even if no Net/web connection). I’ve never had Steam refuse to start in offline mode, unless I hadn’t stored/saved my credentials.

      Anyways… That’s maybe a discussion for somewhere else. My point still stands that Khemm is talking a load of hogwash when he says…

      offline mode doesn’t work at all unless you go offline while still being connected to the internet, which is ridiculous.

      It’s not ridiculous Khemm. You are.

    • Joshua says:

      Half the time (for me) steam offline mode actually does not work because steam is desperate to update its own client. It usually does this once I start steam. When I start steam,and I can not connect to the internet, and steam has an update scheduled, I am fucked.

      Which is unfortunate.

    • Bhazor says:

      Again for me Offline mode on my Netbook was broken and I tried daily for 3 months.

      Even with WiFi turned off. Even with my credentials saved. The only way I could get it to work was to logon at home before I went out.

      You’re defending Steam as if you need client based DRM. Gamersgate would say otherwise.

    • Resurgam says:

      Steam is just as ridiculous, the very time you need offline mode (when you have no internet) it ALWAYS needs to be in online mode before, for me it doesn’t matter if you save the credentials. It won’t work, simple as that.

      Whoever came up with that one is just … i don’t have a word to describe it.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I love Steam and use it regularly. The offline mode doesn’t usually work for me.

      It’s a problem.

    • alundra says:

      Been fortunate I guess, have never had a single problem with steam’s offline mode, a couple of years ago indeed if you’d set it on offline mode it would ask to go online every once in a while but now it’s no longer the case.

      Unaco is more or less on the money.

      Log into steam and let it download whatever it needs, then restart in offline mode and you should be good, it is also recommended to disable the network connection to the router, that way steam just fails to go online and shows the option to revert to offline mode, the latter works better.

      Just tried this while typing this message and it worked.

      One thing to note is that games that rely exclusively on online modes and saves won’t work at all.

    • dazman76 says:

      Yep, as one or two people mentioned – if Steam has downloaded an update and hasn’t applied it, restarting with no connection will not allow you to enter offline mode. You’re basically stuck like that, until you can get online again – at which point Steam installs the update you already downloaded, and continues to work as normal.

      Steam is, it has to be said – an awful mess in several ways. Valve have admitted as much in replies to forum complaint threads – I raised the problem of Steam’s UI going unresponsive, when several games start updating on a low bandwidth connection. All browsers can handle saturation of a connection without issue – even if they can only transfer 5kbps, and you’re trying to load 10 tabs, the general interface will be fully responsive. If this happens to Steam – it flips the “not responding” card, and stays like that until at least one update is complete – could be hours if Steam has also decided an entire game needs downloading, when only a few meg of the cache is dirty :)

      When I mentioned this on the Steam forums, a Valve ‘representative’ said “the code for the download manager is somewhat old and complex, and changes can be problematic”. When that’s translated from Developer into Layman, it’s basically “that code is a massive steaming pile, and we dare not poke it” :)

    • El_Emmental says:

      “Not to mention offline mode doesn’t work at all unless you go offline while still being connected to the internet, which is ridiculous.”

      Misleading answer, you do not provided enough informations.

      Activating the offline mode ONCE creates login data files that aren’t deleted until you change user or update the Steam client iirc (I’ll verify this on Saturday).

      I activated the Offline mode once, then started-shutdown my computer several times and used Steam (online mode) several times. Then, 2 days later, when I was Internet-less at my appartment, even without “Remember my password” checked, I could launch Steam in Offline Mode (since I still had the login data files on this Steam install) when Steam “failed” to connect to the Steam servers (since I had no Internet access).

    • jrodman says:

      I have found that offline mode does not work reliably unless it is activated when online. Specifically I have had several experiences where my internet link flaked out DURING the attempted login. This caused steam to be unwilling to use offline mode until a successful login occurred. I don’t know if it’s a bug or by design, but it happens either way.

      This is less likely to affect you, probably, but I play games on my laptop on the way home from work on trains/busses sometimes, who have internet that comes and goes… so I try to set steam to offline mode.

      Still, I believe were my internet to flake out when starting up steam (which does happen at home, just less often) that I would be unable to play any games until the internet comes back.

    • Shortwave says:

      I’ve had 40 person LAN parties use steam in offline mode without issues in a hall without 0% connectivity. Just thought I should toss that out there.

      Of course we warned everyone to make sure everything was up to date before coming.

  6. UnravThreads says:

    For God’s sake, it’s not “malware”. It’s an incredibly dumbass choice by Ubisoft, yes, but it’s not malware.

    You’re a news site, stop spreading malicious bullshit.

    • SF Legend says:

      malware (uncountable)

      (computing) Software which has been designed to operate in a malicious, undesirable manner.

    • UnravThreads says:

      It doesn’t act in either of those manners.

      It’s a dick move by Ubisoft, yes. One I agree with? No, but one I see the logic behind. Would I like it gone? Yes, of course. Would I like them to stop dicking around with servers? Again, yes.

      But it’s NOT malware, no more than Steam, Origin, Impulse et al.

    • andytt66 says:

      “Malware… The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software.[2]”

      Do see your point, however. malware is usually understood to have connotations of illegality.

      Maybe we could call it “fuckedware”?

    • fippmeister says:

      Quoth unreliable research sites: “The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software.”

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

    • adonf says:

      We could also call this a hyperbole…

    • Crane says:

      “Software which has been designed to operate in a malicious, undesirable manner.”

      “It doesn’t act in either of those manners.”

      So, you’re saying that stopping your legitimately purchased product from functioning completely arbitrarily is desirable, then?

    • Unaco says:

      It’s OK Unrav… take a deep, calming breath. And just start calling John a Hack, a Churnalist, or ‘journalist’ (remembering the air quotes if you’re actually talking). He’s like the Peter Hitchens of Video Games.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      mal = evil

      malware = evilware

      evil = Ubisoft

      malware = ???

    • rocketman71 says:

      @UnravThreads: It IS malware. So is Origin.

      You could additionally consider Origin a virus.

    • UnravThreads says:

      As Andy said above, malware tends to refer to software with some sort of illegal use behind it, but also that it installs without your consent.

      If you don’t want to use UbiDRM, or aren’t prepared to accept it for what it is, then don’t bloody install anything with it on.

      @rocketman; Get with the times. Origin hate is old-hat, and the malware claims have been disproven.

    • AlexV says:

      “malware tends to refer to software with some sort of illegal use behind it, but also that it installs without your consent.”

      Not necessarily illegal, but unwanted, undesirable, irritating, or otherwise intended to be imposed upon you rather than installed by choice. Absolutely, that it installs without your consent, typically by being bundled with something that you do want to install (unwanted stuff that installs itself independently would usually be termed a worm or virus instead).

      UbiDRM still sounds like it fits that profile. It’s software that’s deliberately behaving in ways detrimental to you, the user, and it has been bundled with the install of software that you did want.

    • Aatch says:

      Malware does not necessarily do anything illegal, even if it falls under what we generally class as malware, adware for example is not “illegal” in any meaningful sense of the word, but it is malicous and very annoying. On the other side, Google Chrome can be considered malware, why? because without asking, and with no way of disabling it, it installs software in the background, if you remove this software, Chrome will re-install it. The software is Google Autoupdater, but that is besides the point.

      Malware is not a specific thing, even viruses are poorly defined pieces of software, since it is almost always subjective as to what constitutes malicious behaviour. If people think that Ubisoft DRM is malware, then it could well be malware.

    • Boozebeard says:

      Wow, who cares. I don’t think he was trying to be technically accurate. Just like when I say something is a piece of shit, I don’t actually mean it’s passed through someone digestive system, I mean it in the spirit of the word. As in: it’s bad/gross/no one wants it.

    • Suits says:

      Let’s leave it at Ubiware, which is the worst ;)

    • Milky1985 says:

      Well i had a proper descriptive reply but the RPS server screwed up and “timed out” and my comment got lost even by hitting refresh.

      So here goes again, just a bit shorter

      “@rocketman; Get with the times. Origin hate is old-hat, and the malware claims have been disproven. ”

      The malware claim has nto been disrpoven anywhere i have seen.

      Only thing i have seen is a claim that its not reading files/folder but changing permissions. Anyone who knows computers knows this is rubbish as you do not need to change permissions on that many folders to change permissions on your own. Also the scanning evidence showed 0 permissions change commands from what i can remember (so if they are trying to change permissions they are incompetent).

      So currently i have not seen anythign disproving that its malware, just people saying “its not” hopeing that people will listen.

      Also if it is changing permissions,and changing permissions on other folders other than its own, then it IS malware again as it shouldn’t be doing that.

      Saying the ubisoft stuff is malware is pushing to extreme but considering malware doesn’t mean computer full infected , but simply means one bit being malcious and doing 1 thing it shouldn’t it can be claimed that the ubi games are infected.

      Malware doesn’t have to be computer wide, starforce was computer wide malware (due to basically breaking into the drivers of your system)

    • Unaco says:

      @ Milky1985

      CT Magazine (well respected German Tech magazine) investigated the Origin as Spyware claims, and found them to be absolute nonsense. Link Here. It is in German though. Essentially, it came down to amateurs misinterpeting Process Monitor and not understanding Windows.

      The burden of proof though, surely, should be on those who accuse Origin of being Spy/Mal-ware. They’ve made the accusations, they need to back them up with evidence.

    • Aemony says:

      That’s not to say that Origin still doesn’t scan and store information about your computer which EA can then send to third-party services if they so desire. It says so right in the EULA,, that Origin gathers a lot of anonymous/unidentifiable information regarding your computer (EA deems the IP to be among these, so that’s gathered as well), then that EA’s Privacy Policy takes priority in how they handle this gathered data. And low and behold, in EA’s Privacy Policy it says that they might share your unidentifiable data with third-parties. Which just happend to include things such as your (un)installed software, your IP, computer usage, other stuff and etc.

      Regarding Origin and the file system: Origin ‘only’ reads the names of every single files in the Program Files folder, to find and add games. Though it might sometimes open a file to read the actual content of the file, such as reading the XFire config file to find all installed games.

      Still classified as malware in my book, and I still hate every time I need to use it.

      Regarding Steam. The primarily difference between Steam and Origin is that Steam never gathers this without the user’s expressive consent. Every month a huge number of users are randomly selected and asked if they want to participate in Steam’s monthly survey. YES / NO is the choices. Only if YES is selected does the client gather data of various kinds regarding the user’s computer. After this the user is shown the gathered data and asked if he wants to submit it. YES / NO is the choices. Only if YES is selected the client sends the data to Steam’s servers. If NO is selected at any point, the servers randomly selects another user to be asked to participate in the survey.

      ^- Doesn’t discuss how Steamworks games works and how they gather data.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Unaco

      “When Origin scans other things, such as programdata and the registery, this is not actually Origin at work. It is Windows working trough Origin, who always does scans like that when a program makes an HTTPS connection.”

      Again, this is not what windows would do, yes to access a https connection it would make sense to access the registry to check for settings (note check, not scan), but what the hell has the contentsof a programfiles/data folder got to do with making a https connection.

      It may be yt more mistranslation and not understanding here but again theres issues here.

      Burden of proof is kinda a get out clause here saying “they don’t have to prove they are not”, there is evidence to say that they are (point of eveidence, there own sodding eula) so they need to defend themselves, which they have not done that well.

      Yes it may be windows working through origins (well, its more likely to be origin working though windows, i doubt ms have patched windows to do anythign special when it detects origin), but thats kisda how the program works, its asking windows to do something using the API and windows goes and does it.

      It STILL doesn’t explain EA’s insistance that it was only setting permissions.

      It still doesn’t say its behaving itself and not doing anything bad.

      Besides, this is “according to a magazine”, its not from EA

      Oh and in that very same thread linked it shows evidence from peoelp that it is scannig people, even if its only for adding games that you already have installed, which kinda puts the magazines “no scanning, you have to add games manually” into question….

      Getting a new computer shortly tho, so will run some tests on a nice clean computer (so theres nothing to scan) and see how it acts, to get some evidence for or against myself to add to this debacal.

    • Unaco says:

      Sigh…

      Milky… That quote was from the person that linked the article, and is their interpretation of it. Not from the article itself.

      Burden of proof is on the accusers and is not a get out clause. You state ” there is evidence to say that they are (point of eveidence, there own sodding eula) so they need to defend themselves”.

      The EULA states that you agree to things, but not that they actually take place. Like a EULA stating they can change the EULA at any time and apply things retroactively… They can do that, but companies very rarely do. Or a EULA that states they can close your account with no notification or explanation… again, they can do that, but it doesn’t mean that they do. Having it in the EULA is NOT evidence that it occurs.

      So, again… I have not been shown evidence that Origin is this horrible spy/mal-ware thing.

      You say “It still doesn’t say its behaving itself and not doing anything bad” As far as I’m concerned, nothing has shown that it IS misbehaving itself and doing bad things… so why does it have to say it’s not?

      You also say “Besides, this is “according to a magazine”, its not from EA”. And the ‘evidence’ of Origins nefarious activities have come from random/anonymous internet people. I think I’ll take the words of a respected Tech magazine, with at least a minimum of editorial oversight and probably some competence, over a Reddit thread with a screenshot of Process Manager and poor understanding.

    • SiHy_ says:

      TIL: Ubisoft is a duck.

    • alundra says:

      Let’s a find a politically correct word that satisfies Unrav, me first:

      Hyperbolistic ubiware fucksoft.

      sounds good, eh?

    • jrodman says:

      Malware is an extremely broad term, and primarily a descriptor, not a first class exclusive category. Typical properties include: you don’t want to install it, it installs itself; it performs actions that the user does not want it to perform; it finds ways to make it hard for itself to be removed.

      Most DRM satisifies tests 1 and 2, and many satisfies 3.

      Malware is accurate.

  7. Hodge says:

    Oh dear.

  8. sonofsanta says:

    How incompetent do their IT team have to be to not be able to bring up the new replacement servers at the new location before turning off the old ones? Particularly in these days of virtual servers and quick migrations, it’s like they’re actively trying their hardest to be as shit as possible.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I was thinking this. Clearly some downtime is unavoidable either way, but surely any additional cost in getting the new server up and ready before switching off the old is worth it over the bad PR or an indeterminate downtime.

    • Blackcompany says:

      This. One thousand times this.
      ….
      Reminds me of Verizon, who implements changes and puts them into production, then tests to ‘make sure they work.’ (And yes, I do know this from experience.) If ever Verizon advertises a new service, and you wonder why it isn’t working, it is because you are the Beta tester.

      Its kinda like buying Bethesda games, only without the entertainment value.

    • ItalianPodge says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing, and the only explanation for this that I can think of is that they just don’t give a damn!

      I don’t think there is actually any excuse for downtime here, if you have say 20 physical servers running Virtual servers it would make sense to be able to support a loss of say 5 of them. So move those five bring them backup on the other side then at a low request moment switch the VLAN to the new data center and fail over to the 5 servers you already brought across. Then bring the others across asap. Even if they don’t have these servers on VM I presume they have more than one so they can just move them one at a time. Gah

    • adonf says:

      I don’t think there are replacement servers. According to the article they are moving the existing servers to a new place.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @adonf: Probably because it is cheaper to do that short term, of course long term it makes you loose a lot of goodwill.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      How cheeky is it that they demand that you be online to play and then are too cheap to hire servers for one day to shore the gap.

      Image the instances, install to the temp servers, test them to see that they will work. On moving day, backup the auth databases, move the data to the temp servers. When all the servers have been moved, tested, and ready to go the databases can be copied back in. Total time offline, the time it takes to backup, move, and restore the auth data twice. A DNS redirect from the old servers until the new entries get propogated.

      Even the meerkat on those adverts could do that!

    • Wang Tang says:

      Well, this is not exactly new for Ubisoft.
      Beginning of January, they migrated their forums to a new software.
      Took them more than a week.
      In which the old forums were not accessible…

    • Torgen says:

      Why doesn’t Ubisoft, a company with many millions of dollars in sales annually, simply rent some space on a cloud service, clone the authentication servers there until the new servers are up in order to provide for their legitimate customers?

    • Brun says:

      Why doesn’t Ubisoft, a company with many millions of dollars in sales annually, simply rent some space on a cloud service, clone the authentication servers there until the new servers are up in order to provide for their legitimate customers?

      Because Ubisoft doesn’t consider PC customers to be legitimate.

  9. dark-gio says:

    Eehhmmm guys… Ubisoft’s DRM doesn’t require permanent connection anymore on many games like AC2 or SCC.

    I’m playing them offline at my new home cause I don’t have Internet yet. They only require a one time activation like EA DRM

  10. bigolslabomeat says:

    I’ll just go take Settlers 7 off my wishlist then, presumably Ubi will just come out with another “that’s totally how we wanted it to work” line instead of what they should be saying: “We got this horribly wrong but have been too proud to admit it”.

  11. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Looks like HAWX is being grounded.

  12. Zyper says:

    Alternatively, I would just get a crack from some torrent site and play, why should you have to miss out on those games, especially when it’s Ubisoft’s fault?

  13. frenz0rz says:

    I wonder how many sales ‘losses’ they’ll report when thousands of people decide to pirate a game that they already own just so that they can play it.

    • carn1x says:

      I’m sure all this “blaming piracy” is actually people not hitting their sales targets making shit up to a board of directors. The board of directors then demand and end to piracy and more stringent DRM and thus a self-fulfilling prophecy is born.

  14. Blackcompany says:

    This would bother me if I had not long ago resolved to never purchase a Ubi game on PC. I don’t pirate them, either – I just play other games, period. No Ubi games for me. Which would matter, if they had something other than AC clones and Anno to play. Sure Anno might be a great game but it isn’t worth, well…this.
    ….
    My sympathies to those who tried to support Ubi by paying for the game. I would never endorse pirating PC games – unless they are Ubi games. That, I actually recommend, now.

    • wccrawford says:

      There are more and more people taking the high road like you and I. Sadly, it’s really hard for us to get heard because lack of action is hard to see. At least with piracy, they can have some kind of count of how much interest there was.

      So I’ve taken to making comments where appropriate to let everyone know of my inaction, and it’s reason. (Unreasonable DRM. It is simply not acceptable to make my experience worse than a pirate’s experience.)

    • John Walker says:

      I don’t understand this logic. Refusing to buy a game that has this DRM on it makes perfect sense, and I think is the most effective way to communicate to Ubisoft.

      But then to refuse to buy a game that doesn’t, for instance Rayman which has no DRM at all they say, completely contradicts any motivation you’ve stated. If you don’t buy their products when they do things RIGHT, how are you sending any useful message at all?

    • Jumwa says:

      Same. Plenty of great games out there to fill my time, I don’t need to resort to self-flagellation.

      Edit to add:

      John, I can’t be arsed to figure out what exactly Ubisoft is doing with all their games. They are running so many different DRM schemes, you folks at RPS don’t even know what to report on each game. And even when they state what’s happening, like with Rayman, how do we even know it’s the truth?

      It’s not like companies aren’t known to lie and mislead, especially on this particular issue.

      I currently have two hundred and something games on my Steam list to play through, most I haven’t even touched. I’ll spare myself the misery of deciphering what Ubisoft is doing with any singular title.

    • Novotny says:

      From my point of view, I will not buy from any company that considers its customer base as untrustworthy, in much the same way that I would not visit a nightclub that looks down on my clothing or a restaurant where the staff sneered at me.

      Ubisoft treats their customer base as an inconvenient bunch of thieves who, unless corralled via DRM, will simply steal their products.

      For this utter lack of respect I cannot bring myself to give them money.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      The main problem is that the few games Ubisoft don’t break with DRM are ones I have little interest in.

    • Jumwa says:

      I’m also not so financially well off that I feel comfortable rewarding bad companies for doing something moderately-okay, even if I trust them on their word for it.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @John: I did that once. I bought Prince of Persia (the bland one) BECAUSE it didn’t have any copy protection. Not only they didn’t listen, they haven’t released any kind of numbers, but they claim that it was more pirated that anything else (which I’m guessing it’s total bullshit, since pirates don’t care about the protection, they just copy the crack and voilá).

      Now I consider Ubi in its entirety (assuming that’s an English word). Either they drop their idiotic DRM completely, for all their games, or me and my friends won’t buy them a single game. Ok, Trackmania Canyon, but that was a moment of weakness. And it’s Trackmania, for fuck’s sake, why did the bastards have to buy Nadeo of all companies?.

      Things like what’s happening next Tuesday only make us happier we did that. Until someone at Ubi grows a brain, even a tiny one, they can forget about our money. Even if they release Rayman with no DRM whatsoever.

      Edit: also, they’ve blatantly lied to us before (see From Dust, for example). They SAY that Rayman will have no DRM, but for me they just have no credibility at all. They’re doing their best to be a worse company than Activision and EA, and by god, they’re getting really close.

    • Mattressi says:

      John, I don’t mean to be rude, but have you forgotten about From Dust? The game Ubi said would have a one-time activation and instead had a constant internet connection DRM when it was released? As others have said – I don’t trust Ubi to not suddenly backstab me and I don’t care to navigate the minefield of which DRM they’re ACTUALLY using for each of their games.

    • mr.ioes says:

      @Jumwa: “And even when they state what’s happening, like with Rayman, how do we even know it’s the truth?”

      Indeed!

      Just look at what Ubisoft did with From Dust.
      First they released it saying you need one time activation. When it was released people found out that it was a simple lie.

      No. Just no. No Ubisoft games whatsoever until they get some sense into their head and drop DRM completely (or get it on a consistent and userfriendly level…).

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Until these companies learn to communicate the absence of DRM when it’s not there they STILL aren’t doing things right & so wont get my money, I’m afraid From Dust did more damage to Ubisoft than the initial DRM Drive because with From Dust they showed that they will tell us a game is DRM free and then swindle us & we’ve absolutely no recourse, I’m afraid they can never have my money again, fool me once etc.

    • Cooper says:

      I really want to agree with you John. But as a consumer I’m just fed up and confused.

      I would like to play Anno 2070 and Driver SF and Rayman. All by Ubisoft. All have differing amounts and types of DRM. Rayman apparently on where you buy it. Sometimes, on odler games I want they have removed the DRM. Sometimes they haven’t.

      In anycase, it’s really bloody confusing for consumers to know what their desired game is saddled with or not. Or if it’s been removed.

      By woefully inconsistent attitudes to their DRM, I just find it easier to ignore Ubi games than to go through the effort of working out exactly if it’s activation, install limits, online only, offline mode but with reduced in game features, no loonger has online only, still has online only, different at retail… etc…

      Ubisoft suggest their UPlay features are good for the consumers. Great. Advertise them as such then. What I want on Ubisoft games in retail and online stores are big labels that read “This game features the wonderful Always Online Ubisoft Uplay that does loads of things for the Consumer!” So I can know which ones to avoid.

    • fippmeister says:

      I pirate ubisoft games simply because I’m polite.
      Ubisoft treats me as a common thief. It’d be rude of me to make it a false accusation. ;-)

    • Goomich says:

      Posting to add another ‘no moniez from me’.

    • ShatteredStone says:

      @John: it’s quite simple. I don’t buy Ubisoft. At this point I could care less about whether any particular game they publish uses DRM scheme A, B, or C of theirs — unless they remove DRM from their catalog and believably promise not to be such douchenozzles in the future, I simply am not interested. Chances are pretty good that if it has “Ubisoft” written on it, it will have liquid crap DRM in it.

      I’m not trying to send them a message, they got it loud and clear and have made it well known they do not want my money. My message is intended for other publishers. It is akin to “Don’t be like Ubisoft, or suffer the same fate vis-a-vis my money.” I hope they crash and burn, bitching and moaning about piracy being their downfall until it is very plain to every one out there that they’re just little spoiled brats crying to mommy about them evil pirates.

      Look at it differently: I wouldn’t give Ubisoft money even for their non-DRM stuff the same way I wouldn’t buy perfectly nice and innocuous items from the “churches” that picket funerals with various homophobic hatespeech.

    • diamondmx says:

      Just posting to add that I would dearly like to play R6: Patriots, which is looking to be a really interesting game. And if it wasn’t for the DRM crap, especially the From Dust debacle, it would have been a certain purchase.

      Not going to be buying it, because I do not trust Ubisoft with PC releases. Not going to be buying it on console, as I’m not simply going to be herded away from my preferred FPS platform because it’s *easier for them*.

      Not going to be pirating it either, not because I think it would make me a hideously evil person, but because I think it muddies the discussion.

      So that’s my $60 of genuine loss in their sales figures, purely because of their DRM bullshit.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Cooper says:
      By woefully inconsistent attitudes to their DRM, I just find it easier to ignore Ubi games than to go through the effort of working out exactly if it’s activation, install limits, online only, offline mode but with reduced in game features, no loonger has online only, still has online only, different at retail… etc…

      That’s a very good point!

  15. Novotny says:

    The thing is, there are so many good games out there that one can’t possibly play them all to their fullest; so one has to decide which games, and indeed companies, to bless with one’s hard-earned shekels.

    As Ubisoft is the very last company from which I would wish to purchase, their games are now in the unfortunate position of never being considered by me.

    It’s just logic.

  16. scorcher24 says:

    How am I not suprised? If Steam’s Servers would go down I could at least go to offline mode and play then… this is so pathetic and shows me that I was right with avoiding *all* games with UPlay.

    • Archonsod says:

      Because the offline mode button on U-Play is so hard to click ?!?

    • PodX140 says:

      No, the offline mode in U-play is broken, that’s what. And I don’t mean mechanically, it does allow you to play in offline fine. BUT. Enjoy having to start all over again unless you’ve been playing in offline mode this entire time. Also, enjoy not having your Ark/Dynasty/Settlers7items/whatever because those only work in online mode. And yeah, the saves thing.

      So it works, but it’s broken.

    • Archonsod says:

      Wait, so I can’t use the online features offline? Whodathunkit?!?

      Call me old fashioned, but unless I’m playing multiplayer I’m playing it offline anyway. But then I really fail to see how having +5 wood gathering is such a game changing ability in the first place.

  17. baladec says:

    Does this mean Assassins Creed 2 as well?

  18. sneetch says:

    “HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6, The Settlers 7, and any other Ubi games infected with the malware will simply not run on your PC.”

    Are we sure about this? I thought that MMHVI, for example, only requires a one time activation? It has features that Ubisoft (unnecessarily) moved onto a server somewhere but the game itself should work right?

    • Khemm says:

      Considering I can play HoMM VI right now on my laptop without any internet access whatsoever, that is correct.
      I think there’s a misunderstanding – HoMMVI allows you to use two profiles – online and offline, which aren’t compatibile for obvious reasons. If you stick to offline profile, you’re totally fine.

    • sneetch says:

      Ah thanks, Khemm, that’s good to hear.

    • satoru says:

      Khemm you are giving severely misleading information to the poster. It’s only ‘technically’ correct but ‘effectively useless’

      First to clarify, yes HOMM6 does have an offline mode. However there is a GIGANTIC problem with this

      1) You do not have access to Dynasty items
      2) If you started your game in online mode to get said Dynasty items, then when you go offline YOUR SAVES ARE NOT AVAILABLE

      So yes ‘offline mode’ works. But only if you want to play the ENTIRE GAME in offline mode and planned to do so from the beginning, and don’t want the Dynasty Items.

      For most people, who are playing in online mode via uplay, they will be totally and absolutely screwed.

    • Neurotic says:

      Of course, if you just say ‘Screw the Dynasty Items’, you’re fine too.

    • sneetch says:

      @satoru

      Well, no, I know that – as with Anno 2070 – there are some “online only” features, I’m not thrilled about those because there is no reason they could not cache the unlocked items and features client side (little signed files, tied to my account like little bits of free DLC), but I can at least play the game when the servers are offline, that’s what I was asking.

    • Khemm says:

      @satoru
      What I said isn’t misleading in the slightest.
      - I don’t give a you-know-what about the Dynasty Items, they’re nice to have, but the game is 100% playable without them, their absence in offline mode is not a big deal – at least for me
      - I explicitly stated sneetch would be totally fine if he chose the offline profile and offline only, also mentioned that online and offline profiles aren’t compatibile for obvious reasons

      My statement is 100% accurate.

    • Brun says:

      My statement is 100% accurate.

      It does, however, gloss over some important complications that he would have to deal with.

    • PodX140 says:

      You will be forced to restart essentially the entire game with a new profile, so IMO, no, you will not be able to play.

      Khemm: We told you this would happen, despite whatever internet connection you have. Yet now you still think it’s completely fine? Wow. Impressive.

    • satoru says:

      @Sneech the problem is that I’m going to assume like most people you are playing in ‘online’ mode with the Dynasty Items. When the servers go down you don’t just lose those items, you lose all your save games as well. These saves are not ‘cached’ locally so you can’t load them.

      So yes you can ‘play’ the game, but are you really going to start an entirely new campaign from scratch in offline mode just for the time period while the servers are down? And once the servers are up, you can’t ‘convert’ those offline saves to online to get your Dynasty items so those save games are pretty much useless anyway once the servers come online.

      @Kheem
      Like I said it was ‘technically’ correct to say you can play the game. But the effect of the outage for most users is that the game is ‘playable’ but ‘useless’. Yes the Dynasty items are not ‘required’ but obviously most users will use the online mode to get them since the bonuses can be quite substantial. Also switching to ‘offline’ mode in essence means you cannot restart any save games from your online mode. Again since most users would have invested hours and hours into such saves, the inablity to load them makes the game effectively worthless.

  19. TheApologist says:

    For me, this kind of thing isn’t a matter of principle really, but rather a matter of value. I’m not going to boycott Ubisoft, but I also won’t now buy Heroes VI unless and until it is very cheap. A product on a disk that doesn’t require authentication is worth more than a product that might only be available to me for a short time / intermittently.

  20. jaxlewis says:

    Looks like people who bought the games that will be effected have until tuesday to go download the cracks for them. Problem solved… Not that this is a problem that has any reason to exist in the first place though

    • PodX140 says:

      the only issue is is that the items that are only for online mode, and that they legitimately earned/purchased, no longer work. That’s a pretty big thing.

    • Archonsod says:

      Except the Dynasty items aren’t actually that impressive to begin with, even if you get them to maximum level. In fact, it’s utterly pointless using them in anything but multiplayer (and then only to fuel an early rush strategy) since even the lesser of the item sets tends to give you greater bonuses with a mere three pieces (and considerably better bonuses with the full set).

  21. woodsey says:

    Why is no one in the press bringing this up to their faces? I know you guys have tried and you don’t get anywhere, but its not like no one’s had an interview with anyone over on the publisher side of things since their DRM’s been around.

    And if someone does happen to get the chance, they always pussy-foot around the subject and never press them on the matter.

  22. Bhazor says:

    I wonder how many people condemning this are also defending Blizzard’s always on DRM?

    • Khemm says:

      A lot. Blizzard, Valve = awesum. EA, Ubi = EVIL.
      Double standards the PC gaming community is well known for.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      For what it’s worth: not me. I won’t buy from Ubi and I won’t be buying Diablo 3. It’s the same reason.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Like Steam (see what I did there?), StarCraft 2 has an offline mode.

      World of WarCraft is online for a reason and I don’t think *ANYONE* has come out in support of Diablo’s clusterfuck of RWT and Online enforcement for single player.

    • Bhazor says:

      @Optimaximal

      You obviously haven’t read the comment threads for Diablo 3 on here.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “You obviously haven’t read the comment threads for Diablo 3 on here. ”

      Not seen masses of condemnation but not seen much support for the idea either.

      Mostly its people asking “why is this needed?”

      Which is what I keep asking as well tbh

    • satoru says:

      I’ve got no issue with an always-on service if the service is actually ALWAYS ON. Ubisoft’s authentication servers go down more often than a Las Vegas prostitute onto a drunken tourist. And that’s beyond the usual ‘day 1′ surges.

      Considering the forum switch took over a week, I’m really really concerned how long the authentication server migration is going to take.

  23. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    I must say that last sentence had me laughing like a retarded seal.

  24. terry says:

    Oh no! I will be unable to play my ubisoft games, all none of them!

  25. nootpingu86 says:

    I wonder what people will be more likely to do to acquire Ubisoft’s titles in the future? Do they honestly think curtailing the DRM now is going to ingratiate themselves to the few gamers who begged and pleaded for a release of Rayman Origins when it sold horrendously on console? I don’t think they deserve the trust or the dollars of consumers until they make good faith steps to fix what’s broken with this awful scheme.

    Especially after one of their devs came out and said PC gamers had no respect for creators and don’t deserve one of their upcoming games. I mean, alright buddy, sorry you feel that way but on what planet are you on where the average Steam account (probably skewed downward a great deal by F2P TF2 and its ilk) doesn’t have a retail value of $894?

    • Brun says:

      Especially after one of their devs came out and said PC gamers had no respect for creators and don’t deserve one of their upcoming games

      This. Ubisoft needs to heed Iceman’s words – “it’s not your flying, it’s your attitude.”

  26. Khemm says:

    HAWX2 and S7 are the only relics of the “always-online” DRM, so yes, they unfortunately won’t work. Just like you can’t install your freaking games from the disc if Steam has a “server maintenance” yet for some reason, none complaints about it.
    I’m obviously mad, because I love S7.

    As for Heroes 6, that can’t be right, it’s fully playable offline, I can imagine its online components not working – Uplay, Conflux or if you’re using an online profile. So I say the information in this article is not correct.

    • satoru says:

      Who isn’t playing HOMM6 online since you don’t get the Dynasty weapons otherwise. A lot of people are playing in online mode because of that. And when you go offline, those saves are not available.

      So yes if you’re perhaps the small minority of people who planned from the beginning to play offline constantly then sure the outage has zero impact. But for MOST people who are using uplay to get online saves and Dynasty items, they will be unable to play the game since their save games will not work, at which point who’s going to restart an entire offline campaign?

    • Belsameth says:

      See posts about that earlier in the comments.
      It’s playable off-line, but severly hampered if you started online.
      Muich the same as Anno2070.

    • Brun says:

      Just like you can’t install your freaking games from the disc if Steam has a “server maintenance” yet for some reason, none complaints about it.

      Probably because most people using Steam download the game and don’t even buy the disks.

      You have to realize, Khemm, that your situation – which might make UbiDRM attractive over Steam – is not the situation of everyone else, nor (it would seem) that of the majority. From what I’ve gathered from your posts, your internet is slow or unreliable, which makes the ability to install from disk and one-time activations an attractive option FOR YOU. For most people the kind of things UbiDRM does are a nuisance because they do not have the same problems you do.

    • diamondmx says:

      And From Dust – which still has DRM despite Ubisoft’s promise to remove it within a month of release.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I love how you gloss over several games being completely taken away due to shitty DRM servers being shut down, yet resort to the most contrived and ill-conceived arguments to make Steam look horrible.

      At this moment, Khemm, all you can do is STFU. For all the wild flailing of arms you’ve been doing in every Ubi-DRM related article, none of that will help you now because the truth of the matter is Steam, as “horrible” as your delusional mind thinks it is, has never universally “shut down” an entire game solely out of its incompetent DRM. And Ubisoft has.

      That’s it. There’s absolutely no way that you can rationalize or downplay this. With this little stunt Ubi is pulling it is a completely indisputable fact their DRM is worse than Steam’s. It’s over, stop trolling the damn comments.

  27. Jimbo says:

    Balls! I was looking forward to playing HAWX 2 next Tuesday.

  28. Durkonkell says:

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

    It’s as if they thought “We haven’t demonstrated to our paying customers how much we hate them, recently. Let’s stop their games working for an indefinite period.”

  29. Drew says:

    Loudly and clearly: It’s stuff like this that is stopping me from pre-ordering Rayman Origins. I could not be more excited to play that game on my PC, but I’ll believe that the DRM isn’t horrific when I see that the DRM is not, in fact, horrific.

  30. MajorManiac says:

    This situation does make me sad. I really want to play Settlers, but feel I can’t afford to risk piracy or buying a game that potentially won’t work.

    So I’m left missing out. Thank goodness there are a great number of alternative games that have come out since, that are probably better anyway. Still I do feel a slight pang every time I’m reminded it exists.

  31. Brun says:

    Reply fail.

    Also, lolUbi.

  32. netizensmith says:

    Bottom line is that every single game you buy that requires an online activation, even just once, you are renting – not buying. It isn’t yours. Ever. One day that activation server will be taken down and at some point after that you’ll format your PC or get a new one or upgrade your hard drive and you won’t be able to install your game. Steam’s pretty convenient most of the time but its existence is part of the problem.

    I never buy Ubi games on any platform anyway though, for no other reason than I’ve never enjoyed a single one of their games.

    • Brun says:

      Yep. Software as a service isn’t going to go away, the forces behind it are too strong.

    • Archonsod says:

      Given all games will eventually be rendered obsolete as the underlying technology changes anyway you’d only be fooling yourself if you thought a game didn’t have a finite lifespan.

    • alundra says:

      @Archonsod

      The legions purchasing games from GOG and still enjoying console games all the way down to the original VCS would like to have a word with you.

      Now, who is trying to fool who?

  33. Cim says:

    I just want to know what goes on at the meetings where they decided to incorporate the DRM in the first place.

    Did they really think they could eradicate piracy through it? Or maybe it was just to stop day one piracy… in which case, why not promise to remove the DRM through a patch from the outset.

    I’m sure people would accept DRM much better if they knew that it would be in place only so long as it actually did something. I know I would anyway. As soon as there’s a pirated version out there, the DRM should be removed… it makes no sense at all for the pirated version to be the “better” of the two.

    • Brun says:

      Piracy protection is, shall we say, a beneficial side effect. All of this DRM, launcher clients, etc. is really about market control. It’s something that the content industry as a whole (including movies and music) is pursuing, as we saw with SOPA/PIPA.

    • ShatteredStone says:

      The most cogent explanation of this clusterscrew I heard was that they wanted to prevent non-savvy consumers lending their game to their neighbor, or quickly burn a copy with minimum fuss (something even non-savvy users can do with CDs and DVDs nowadays). Casual Piracy, if you will. This may well be how it started, and then some boneheads made it an arms race, rationalizing it every step of the way.

      You’ll notice that 99.998% of DRM schemes do nothing to prevent day 1 infringement (by virtue of leaking days before release often enough). Some schemes last a few days, but eventually get broken. People can, and do, wait for a couple of days.

      It’s a bit of a walled garden at the publishers, a “us” vs. “them”, and “them” is includes infringers, customers who speak too much, customers who use customer support, non-customers who talk too much — basically anyone who does not buy the game and ideally never even uses it, never to be heard from again. And there DRM makes perfect sense, let’s you screw “them” a little.

  34. yrro says:

    This beggars belief. Ubisoft are “moving” their most mission-critical servers, resulting in an unknown amount of downtime, rather than simply setting up new servers before de-activating the old ones? Are these people complete morons? Surely I have misunderstood what’s going on here. Is an official statement forthcoming?

    • Unaco says:

      Maybe when they say they are “moving their servers”, that’s actually what they are doing… physically moving the server hardware from one place to another.

      I think it’s fairly ridiculous what they’re doing (although indefinite down time could mean it’s an hour, or access is just spotty for a day or two), but they might not be able to turn on the new ones before turning the old ones off.

    • yrro says:

      Unaco, it sounds precisely as if they are physically moving servers. It is utterly amazing to me that they have not build in any redundancy into their DRM system so that they can move their servers without interrupting the service they provide to their captive audience. This is the kind of behaviour that I would tolerate from a two-bit indie developer, but companies of Ubisoft’s size are rightly held to a higher standard in these matters.

    • Brun says:

      Are they? They’ve basically said that they don’t give a damn about their PC audience, and that we’re a bunch of dirty criminals that don’t deserve their games so we should be damn grateful for even this level of service.

      It’s obvious that the PC is a second-class market to Ubisoft. Why would they invest the additional time and money to make redundant systems for a market that they clearly don’t care about?

    • satoru says:

      I can believe that the ‘move’ might require the servers to go offline. I get that sometimes the application just cant handle it or you didn’t design it in, or something really catastrophic is happening so you need to do it. I’ve seen it and done it myself so I get that part.

      What I don’t get is the lack of notification as to HOW LONG the outage is going to be. They should be able, with high confidence, say how long the outage should be. There should be a 1-2 hour window they can carve out, and have a high certaintly that within that window the migration will be complete. The fact that they’re not willing to do this, and in light of the WEEK LONG migration of the forums last time, makes me wonder if I could actually finish an entire HOMM6 campaign offline while the authentication servers are down for a week.

      http://static2.cdn.ubi.com/transition/details/index.html

      Official announcement makes it sound like a physical move to a new location. So they’re probably moving the front end authentication servers, plus I’m guessing the database servers that host all your uPlay achievements or whatever. So you do the SAN migration first, then connect up all your hosts. Depending on your link speed you’re probably looking at 2-3 hours at least to migrate data, bring up the new servers and test them to ensure they haven’t melted. Fallback plan is to bring up the old servers. So my assessment would be that the outage will be from 8pm EST to around 12pm EST. If it goes far beyond that, something really really bad has happened and you could be looking at a week long outage.

  35. Johnny Lizard says:

    Unless they’re “moving their servers” to the bin. That would be pretty indefinite.

  36. Chucrute says:

    I don’t get the tone of this post. Yes, you won’t be able to play some games of your library, but i can only assume it’s to upgrade their servers, meaning more reliable connections in the future. But it’s Ubisoft, which means it’s preposterous and we should embargo all of their games, because we deserve better treatment, and Valve is awesome. Well, you probably weren’t there when TF2 item servers went down, meaning i couldn’t use my hats and weapons, or when i had to wait 3 hours just to start downloading Red Orchestra 2, because Valve servers where getting hammered.

    Ubi deserves better. Posts like that only contribute to the short-sightness of our community, prepared to ditch a perfectly good game out of simple server migration and one time activation DRM (which is analogous to what Steam has). In the end, it’s not a big deal. As far as i’m concerned, it could last 1-2 hours, and the meaning of this post would be further diminished.

    While i don’t support always-on DRM, i don’t condemn it either. I can’t imagine gaming without an internet connection now. While some people can’t afford the luxury of a constant connection, they are the ones who should be pushing for offline mode, the rest is just silly, and should ponderate what they are missing with what the really get.

    • ShatteredStone says:

      Ok, by your logic:

      Always-on DRM gives me nothing and has the potential to cause grief. As such it is a net negative for me, even if I never see it because my internet connection is perfect. (until the day that it isn’t, or their servers aren’t). Now if there was an actually decent reason for there to be a network component necessary to play (such as it being an MMORPG), the pro may outweigh the con. But in a single player Settlers 7, for instance, you have no pros. You have only cons. In HOMM6, you have no pros, you have only cons (dynasty items are not in the pro-column — their implementation is part of the DRM and they would work perfectly well without said DRM if Ubisoft wasn’t hell-bent on sticking it to their customers in whatever way they can).

      So yeah, while I also rarely play games without having an internet connection at the house, I remain opposed to schemes like that — and hardly think it silly. You go vote with your dollars, I’ll go vote with mine.

  37. Vinraith says:

    “go south” nothing, this is a preview of that fateful day in the near future when Ubi decides to “stop supporting” any older game they please. Legit copies of these games have a short expiration date, don’t kid yourself otherwise.

    • diamondmx says:

      (I tried really hard to make this comment balanced and see both sides of this in spite of the fact that I dislike Ubi)

      There is no proof that this will happen, but it is a fact that it could happen, and there are analogous situations in EA’s discontinuation of the entire multiplayer component of games only 2 years old.

      It could also happen to any other online only game, such as Battle.net requiring games, everything Steam, Origin games (although I keep hearing that some/most Origin games can be run Origin-free – can someone elaborate on this?), etc.

      The thing is, as far as I know, SC1 is still running it’s multiplayer component, Valve still supports and lets people download new copies of HL1 via steam. Neither Blizzard nor Valve have cut access to games or portions of games that I’m aware of (There may have been something during EA’s move to Origin, but I do not believe that was Valve’s choice).

      Neither have Ubisoft yet, so far the only company who has demonstrated they intend to cripple old games to push customers towards new ones is EA. But it does seem like there’s a valid concern here.

  38. PodX140 says:

    And my decision to never buy ubi games again pays off. I thankfully stopped before they started this crazy online only / activation on game entry / additional content if online business, so I’ll just be over here enjoying games created by slightly worse developers (I can’t argue that ubi has some of the best dev’s out there under their wing, such as blue byte), but much superiorly published.

    Everyone else who purchased the ubi games: You put yourself in this situation knowing full well it could happen. Enjoy.

  39. MythArcana says:

    Too little, too late, and not enough interest for me. It’s really a shame because Ubi used to really have a sweet thing going on…until some psycho bean counter got in control and power boinked the entire company. Such a shame.

  40. ericks says:

    Good thing Ubi doesn’t make any games worth playing in the first place.

    But seriously, then can’t rent a couple a VPS’ for the downtime? For something as drastic as legitimate customers not being able to play their purchased games for an undetermined amount of time? Ubisoft really, really needs to die already. They’re a cancer on the entire industry.

    • Shooop says:

      When you ignore the story, the later Assassin’s Creed games aren’t bad. But not anything spectacular either.

    • satoru says:

      I’d love to be playing Anno. But the Tages crap ON TOP of the uPlay requirements make it intolerable. I mean you got Steam/Tages/uPlay. How much more DRM can you fit down a game?

      Considering the fiasco of their authentication infrastructure that’s killing Settlers7 and HOMM6, I’m reluctant to even install Anno

  41. El_Emmental says:

    oh, the Angry Man is angry.

    Behold publishers, you’re in the reach-zone of our pun-silos !

    Alt-alt-text: The volcano is a methaphor for John’s anger-management synapses when his brain is computing an “always-on DRM” information.

  42. captain nemo says:

    Vote with your wallet – do not buy Ubisoft

    • Zarunil says:

      If only I had the money to buy Ubisoft, the first thing I’d do is fire whoever thought this type of DRM was a good idea.

      Then I’d sell Ubisoft and move to Switzerland.

  43. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Good on them I say! It’s like that SOPA protest, except games, and the protest is against the loyal and faithful customers that keep them supplied with money!

    Keep fighting the Good Fight, Ubisoft! Top hole!

  44. Shortwave says:

    Well Ubisoft, glad I’ve never bought one of your titles that have this.
    Great attempt at fighting piracy though!

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  46. El_Emmental says:

    I wonder if someone mentionned that if UbiDRM servers are down forever, they’ll _probably_ release a crack (they did that in the past when they patched out CD/DVD checks from older games) or include the UbiDRM servers when selling the IPs to another publisher, or some kind of cd-key protection.

    Like, you try to play the game, it connects to the UbiDRM servers (which is now a small server simply handing over cd-keys), the server identify your unique ID (UbiAccount or the unique ID of your end-user license), display on the screen a cd-key (with a big red warning sign telling you to write it down) and let you enter an email address to have it sent to you (for backup sake).

    A cd-key masterserver is much easier to maintain : one check during the installation (cd key = valid / not valid), and some periodic checks (to limit people installing the game with the same key) requiring you to confirm you’re the real owner (with name, date of birth) in an automatic https form if the system detect too much installations with the same key.

    Of course keygens will be all over the place, but since it will be old games anyway (so not much sales are “lost”), and there’s the periodic checks annoying pirates (unless someone take the time to make a cracked .exe), publishers will probably tolerate it. Since they’ll never accept a no-drm system…

  47. FluffDaSheep says:

    So I finally went and bought Anno 2070 last week, because I thought the game was pretty good. So good, in fact, that I decided to risk getting kicked in the balls by playing it legitimately instead of cracked.

    I also bought it because I wanted the tech stuff. The tech stuff, which one spends hours (literally, as in not figuratively) to research, and is then stored on the servers. Why on the servers? Ummm.

    The one thing that was holding me back from buying, the one thing I was hoping wouldn’t happen, or at least not within the coming months… This is that thing.

    Fuck you, Ubisoft.

  48. funtard says:

    Never buying a ubisoft game again. They only list a postal address or a phone number on their website. Is there any email way to contact them to let them know what cunts they are?

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