UDon’tPlay: UbiDRM Servers Wobble During Steam Sale

By Alec Meer on July 16th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Biff! Right in the servers

The good thing about always online DRM is, well, nothing. The problem with always online DRM is, well, everything. Perhaps the silver lining to the cloud that is Ubisoft’s UPlay system – the infrastructure for its DRM, DLC and other faintly sinister words which begin with D – being offline for a large chunk of the weekend is that it might cause important people to worry, no matter what their paranoid personal philosophy of IP protection might be, that singleplayer games having a total dependency on remote servers is inescapably flawed in a practical sense.

The downtime, which has prevented folk from playing the likes of Might and Magic Heroes 6, Anno 2070 and assorted Assassin”s Creeds for much of the weekend just gone, was extra-horrible timing as it coincided with the Steam summer sale. So the excited rush of new players found themselves unable to actually play their purchases. You can browse their understandable dismay here.

Ubisoft has offered an apology on its forums, and the problem looked to have finally been resolved as of last night (though scattered claims to the contrary apparently persist), but it really didn’t help that the uPlay login error message claimed players had entered their passwords wrong rather than declaring a fault at the provider’s end.

Between this and Diablo III’s many, inevitable server woes, it’s been a bad year for bad DRM. Let’s hope publishers are taking note of the effect on their public image, even if they’re still incapable of understanding their paying customers’ frustration at being punished for the perceived sins of others.

The other desperate irony is that Uplay has ‘up’ in the title. If I’d drunk at least two more cups of coffee than I have I could probably make some sort of clever joke about that.

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143 Comments »

  1. SiHy_ says:

    Has it ever been a good year for bad DRM?

    • haowan says:

      It’s a good year for bad DRM every year another company implements it.

      • alundra says:

        It’s a good year for bad DRM every year another company implements it.

        That could be argued, this year so far has been a badass year for bad drm, 7 million people had the chance to test first hand if fascist drm measures work to their benefit or not.

        When UBI implemented their bad drm antics, they saw a huge drop in their percentage of PC sales without a corresponding rise to their console counter parts.

        In this sale going on at steam when Arkham City was on a flash sale the forums where filled with people letting others know that when you run out of activations for that game the company gives you the middle finger.

        Every time a company comes with crap like this it makes it easier for people to realize where the truth lies, within the community or within BSA reports.

        So, yes, it’s been a bad year for bad companies implementing bad drm.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      What I dont get is, Why does UPlay (something that’s never worked well for me without me devoting a significant amount of time to it) need to run as DRM when we have Steam on as well? I mean, Steam works just great, it’s DRM, it’s seamless and it doesnt ask me for a password I only use once evert 3 years.

      *Grumbles*

      • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

        I imagine the problem is, unless you intend to distribute exclusively via Steam, removing the DRM in order to run it on Steam gives the game crackers an example of how to remove your DRM, making it easier for them to crack the non-Steam version.

        Mind you, nothing to stop them pulling a Valve and having retail copies just work like a Steam backup of the game, requiring that you connect them to a Steam account. But I imagine that tends to piss people off, even if I love Steam personally.

      • mouton says:

        Online DRM is obviously, in the eyes of Ubi, good for them and totally unproblematic for users. Hence, from their perspective two online DRMs shouldn’t be a problem for anyone honest, should it?

        • KenTWOu says:

          Yeah, they f#$%ed it up this time, but Uplay has offline mode!

      • Lemming says:

        Yeah I got gazumped by Anno 2070 that way. Enjoying the game, but the uplay stuff after I launch the game through Steam (where I purchased it) is totally redundant. It’s got nothing to do with DRM and everything to do with them getting a slice of the digital market pie. Otherwise what’s all the uplay points to go towards DLC about? And the seriously overt uplay ‘community’ features all over the game’s main menu?

        At least it was a laugh creating my username ‘ihateuplay’ and finding out I needed to add at least two numbers because it’s already taken.

      • Archonsod says:

        I’d guess a) Ubi have no desire to hand control of their distribution entirely over to Valve, and B) UPlay is primarily aimed at those funny boxes that go under the telly, while Steam’s console presence is almost non-existent.

        Although given Steam’s servers are equally prone to falling over during sales (particularly when the daily deals rotate) it’s pretty much a moot point.

  2. AngryBadger says:

    Anyone know if this DRM is patched out of Driver San Francisco? Im tempted to pick this up if its comes up for 75% off again but cant be dealing with the DRM affecting my single player game.

    • Premium User Badge Mungrul says:

      Nope.
      When my HOMM6 stopped working, I tried Driver to see if that had been affected too, and sure enough, it had.
      I sent an incredibly sweary support ticket to them as a result of this.

      And that “Apology” posted on the forums is about as disingenuous as I’d expect corporate marketing to be. It promises nothing and offers no explanation so that the customer can in no way hold Ubi to account legally.

      HOMM6 is the last Ubi title I’m buying until they strip this bullshit DRM from all future titles. The other annoying thing about this is, even though I bought Driver SF twice (couldn’t resist buying a Steam copy when it was on sale a while back), it would appear that to all intents and purposes, I only actually own one copy thanks to the game being registered through Uplay to my account.
      Gee, thanks Ubi. Games as a service.

      • AngryBadger says:

        Thanks for the reply, that’s pretty disappointing. I bought Rayman because of the lack of DRM but will be staying away from all the rest of the Ubisoft games with this Uplay nonsense.

      • Tatsuhoshi says:

        Actually, all you have to do for your second copy is make a second UPlay account with a different email. Most people have more than one email, nowadays, so it really shouldn’t be a problem. I bought two copies of Anno2070 so my friends wouldn’t need to buy one and couldn’t figure out why the other one wasn’t working.

        You can’t have two accounts logged in on the same computer at the same time (of course), so you’ll need a second computer for the other account to play on as well.

    • MeestaNob says:

      Fortunately, if you’re connection to Uplay drops out the game still works fine.

      I know this, because almost constantly I’d get a message saying that the connection had been lost whenever I tried to do something in the menu. Even after executing the game via the launcher which needs to log in to Uplay to begin. So in the in interim 14 seconds between running the game and seeing the Uplay launcher, to the game proper starting, it managed to lose its connection and needed multiple prompts to coax it into connecting again.

      It’s stupid and rediculous, I just wish Ubisoft would use Steam fully instead of persisting with their own ‘special’ brand of arse-backwards shit-fuckery.

    • akeso says:

      No, but if you buy the game it is technically legal to remove the DRM.
      I.E. if you buy the game you have already have right of entry and cannot be held liable for circumventing DRM via the DMCA.

      If you’re looking to do ANY multiplier however this isn’t an option as you will be server banned for sure and fighting such bans are often more trouble than they are worth.

      • Vander says:

        It depend where you live. In my country, Belgium, it is perfectly legal. In France, for example, it is illegal to crack a game, or make a copy of a protected cd.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          In Germany it is allowed to make an identical copy if the copy protection remains 100% intact(oh, the bloody irony), but any modification of the actual files or attempts to decompile, reverse-engineer etc pp and bypass the protection are criminal activities, whether you purchased a license or not, as per EULA and current legislation, to the best of my knowledge.

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      Actually I think it has. Online is required for registration and a patch, once that’s applied offline works perfectly. I was in the same position and mulled over buying it because of it. Gave it a shot disconnected the network cable and everything and worked – unless my memory is utterly deceiving me.

  3. Rich says:

    “it might cause important people to realise, no matter what their personal philosophy in terms of IP protection, that singleplayer games having a total dependency on remote servers is inescapably flawed in a practical sense.”

    Good joke there Alec. As if important people are capable of such rational thoughts.

    • mouton says:

      I don’t know, something eventually gets to them. If Ubi sales drop low enough, they will eventually notice there is a problem. Then, they will either remove/de-fang the DRM or decide it is because of teh piratos and quit the PC market altogether. Both solutions would be good for us.

      • djbriandamage says:

        Don’t hold your breath. If sales drop they’ll say it’s because of piracy and they’ll add even worse DRM. Ubisoft has done this 3 or 4 times now, scaling from manual page checks to Starforce to Uplay.

        • mouton says:

          I have no problems with even worse DRM either – it will murder their sales even more until they either change or quit. And it has been a while since Ubi made a game that I “must play”.

          • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Driver: San Francisco should be on that list. Only, given the UPlay nonsense, I can see why you’d not want to buy it. But it’s a very smart driving game—one that knows you’re there to drive cars, and makes the most of that.

  4. magnus says:

    It’s got nothing to do with stopping piracy and everything to do with stopping second-hand sales, they don’t want to admit that beacause that would upset retailers who deal in new and pre-owned. In terms downloads their reseasoning for it in this case is to extend monetisation of the product.

    • Rich says:

      …and would be in breach of EU law.

    • houldendub says:

      It’s time for them to meet our glorious EU’s latest ruling!

    • John Connor says:

      It has nothing to do with second hand sales. You don’t need always-online DRM to prevent second hand sales, you just need to tie a game to an account. If a person has more than one game per account, then they can only resell the entire account. Always-online DRM has no effect on this one way or the other.

    • StranaMente says:

      To be fair I’ve never seen second hand sales for pc games in my life.

      • roryok says:

        Ebay and Amazon sell them, so I guess you’ve never been to either of those obscure sites

        • Neurotic says:

          Or is not old enough to remember computer game shops. ;)

          • woodsey says:

            I have to agree with him, the second-hand PC games market simply isn’t, as far as I’ve ever been aware.

          • mondomau says:

            Yeah, it is.
            It might not be as prevalent as it once was (and it was once pretty popular) but you can still walk into somewhere like CEX on the highstreet and buy a second hand game.

          • woodsey says:

            I don’t even know what CEX is. (And I hope that’s pronounced CEE-EE-EX, or else that quote’s going to be taken out of context.)

      • Cytrom says:

        Steam singlehandedly destroyed second hand pc game sales,and the major publishers followed valve’s example (games forever tied to accounts) thus second hand sales of pc games ceased to exist at around the year of 2004-5 (Cant tell exact date as it was not an instant transition)

        I’m genuinely surprized that console players had the ‘priviledge’ to own their games for so long as opposed to renting a revokable license to play them… but that ‘error’ will be rectified in the next console generation.

        This dirty business practice would have been banned by law VERY quickly in any other industry, but politics are still blind to internet age issues, and customer rights dont exist in the gaming industry.

      • wodin says:

        You show your age…even the shops in town had a big second hand section may moons ago.

        • kirkbjerk says:

          I still kick myself for trading my massive collection of legos for the wing commander metal tin collection when I was a kid. Certainly one of my biggest regrets. Not because of the game, but because of the lost ‘heirloom’ I could be giving my kids in the form of a respectable lego collection.

          And curse the shop owner for taking advantage of my ignorance!

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Fleamarkets, it used to be.

  5. Swabbleflange says:

    Nobody actually seems to maintain the Ubisoft servers over the weekend. I gave up on Might and Magic Heroes VI because of the wonkiness of the DRM, and when I looked into it found plenty of anecdotal reports of the servers being offline over Saturday-Sundays, with someone popping up and fixing them the following Monday.

    • Tony M says:

      Same thing happened to HOMM in the Christmas sale, and again it was down all weekend. Shouldn’t a game with this type of DRM have 24-7 support?

    • Vorphalack says:

      Not sure if you are aware or not but you can play the HOMM6 campaign in offline mode. All you miss out on is the achievements and the dynasty fluff, and you can’t use your cloud save.

      • Tony M says:

        You can play, but you have to start the campaign all over again. You can’t load an ongoing game which is using the dynasty stuff (ie the mode you start in by default if the servers are up). So thats as good as not being able to play at all unless you are just starting.

    • Tei says:

      “Nobody actually seems to maintain the Ubisoft servers over the weekend.”

      Thats actually the more important point here. I think. Ubisoft don’t put enough resources to maintain and mirror these servers.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Either that or there are more people playing on the weekend than on a monday…

  6. Wahooney says:

    The irony is that pirates probably played all those games all weekend without any problems.

    • Noburu says:

      Yes and nothing will be learned from this. Good paying customers will continue to take it in the ass.

      • 7hink says:

        Alternatively, they might stop buying into games with DRM like this. It’s not likely I know, but if Ubisoft keeps this up it might just happen.

        • Goomich says:

          Which leads to:
          1. No ones buying our games?
          2. Piracy destroys PC gaming!
          3. Let’s move to consoles entirely.

          • Vorphalack says:

            At this point i’d find it difficult to care if Ubi went console only.

          • mouton says:

            Good riddance, I say. Better drop PC altogether if they don’t get it as much as they don’t.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’ve been playing Anno and Heroes all weekend without an issue too. Amazing what clicking the “start in offline mode” button does.

  7. Syra says:

    OH MAN I WAS TRYING TO GET SCC AND FROMDUST RUNNING ALL FUCKING DAY YESTERDAY AND THEIR THING KEPT TELLING ME *MY* PASSWORD WAS WRONG.

    SO MUCH RAGE RIGHT NOW>

    • Rich says:

      Ouch. Not so loud :P

    • RaveTurned says:

      Bonus douchebag points to Ubi for writing auth code that assumes that if the game can’t authenticate, *of course* it must be the user’s fault. :/

    • futage says:

      There is an offline mode (settings>always start in offline mode). You have to log in once to authenticate your serial though.

      Bizarrely it doesn’t remember my control settings unless I login. Why the hell it’s storing control settings online and not locally I have no fucking clue.

    • dE says:

      This. Without the caps and the extreme amounts of rage. But I’m quite pissed that the idiotic DRM System with its downright wrong error messages send me on a bloody goosechase. For crying out loud, what’s “server offline” got to do with “wrong password”? I wasted 4 hours (!) on this goosechase before I found the posts about how it’s actually not some hacked account or worse but rather overcrowded login servers. Posts by players of course.
      Ubisoft was pretty much “what problem?” for most of the weekend.

  8. Deano2099 says:

    See I have no objection to always-on DRM in principle, but I do feel that when things like this happens, users should be legally entitled to partial refunds. If people like Ubisoft want to run games as a service like enterprise software rather than consumer goods, that’s fine. But they also need to be held to service-level agreements with penalties for failing to deliver.

    It really does seem, given the timing, that the problem could have been resolved quickly but no-one was working over the weekend and Ubisoft weren’t going to pay to have someone come in and fix it. And why should they? There’s nothing compelling them to get things working. Even if penalties only kicked in after 12 hours in a week of downtime (7%) they’d at least have to try.

    • Kdansky says:

      I’d love that. Every time the Ubisoft servers go down, they have to give everyone 2$ per day for every game affected. They can even give me store-credit, because at some point, I can play all their games for free.

      Not that I would want to play any Ubisoft game… But I like the idea.

    • D3xter says:

      How can you not be against “always-online DRM” in principle, despite it not having any PRACTICAL use and its only and main use being taking away your rights as a consumer?

      Just, how?

      • Deano2099 says:

        Because Diablo 3 still hasn’t been cracked.

        • D3xter says:

          Not entirely true, since there is an Emulator. But how does that benefit you?
          Are you working for Activision or are you getting provisions for every game sold? Why do you want to live with all the negatives from such a system so that doesn’t happen?

    • Kadayi says:

      How would you measure the out exactly? I own a few UBi titles, but given I wasn’t playing or attempting to play any of them this weekend I was completely oblivious to the Uplay problems. Do I therefore qualify for compensation? If it was a subscription MMO then sure they could throw you some stuff/extra days credit, but in this case I kind of feel it’s a case of having to roll with it. I guess they could dish out Uplay points, but giving people cashback (especially after a massive discount sale) seems a tad nonsensical tbh.

      • MMMMMONTYKILL says:

        “…Do I therefore qualify for compensation?”

        Yes. If Ubisoft introduced an SLA it should be clear that their obligation is to make the game available to their customers. If they fail in this and there is a period when the game is unavailable, the customers should be compensated whether the customer wanted to play that game during the period or not.

      • Deano2099 says:

        It might be nonsensical but it’s no more nonsensical than always-on DRM in a single player game. Fighting idiocy with idiocy!

    • mouton says:

      Well, this will never happen. The principle of online-DRM is neither fairness nor your well-being.

  9. MSJ says:

    You can play most Ubisoft PC games in offline mod now. Sometimes it’s automatic, but you may want to check you Uplay options.

    It’s really unfortunate this happens during the sale. Ubisoft games are among the more popular ones, as you can see from AssCreed Revelations winning the the poll several voting sessions ago. Even right now, the Prince of Persia collection (of which only one game has Uplay DRM, so it’s not as affected) is somewhere in the top 5, failing only to match the juggernauts of Skyrim and New Vegas as well as The Walking Dead and Bastion. All 4 modern PoP games are also in the Top 20 for under $5 games.

  10. Alexandros says:

    “Let’s hope publishers are taking note of the effect on their public image”

    EA shrugged indifferently after being named The Worst Company In America 2012, so I wouldn’t count on it.

    • MSJ says:

      Yeah, that has about as much legitimacy as the time 4chan founder Moot was ‘mysteriously’ voted the most influential man or Man of The Year or something in a TIMES magazine poll. May sound like a cliche, but when there are actual companies violating actual human rights (not tumblr ‘human rights’) and contributing to economic problems some video game problem seems downright minor in comparison. Chalk it up to another case of nerds will always be nerds in this case. Just another typical, non-consequential thing on the internet.

      • Alexandros says:

        This is the same line of reasoning that Ubisoft will use in order to dismiss DRM complaints, hence my original point.

        • Kadayi says:

          What point? Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and a life beyond their bedroom computer screen knows EA aren’t the worst company in the world by a country mile.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Their response to it was, if I remember correctly, pretty great. Annoyingly can’t find the RPS article for it.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/04/05/erm-ea-voted-worst-company-in-america/
          This one?

          When asked about how they felt about the award, a spokesperson for EA told Kotaku,
          “We’re sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren’t nominated this year.”

          (Google nr 1 hit for: rps ea replies worst)

          • Milky1985 says:

            Yeah , unfortantly this defence worked in a lot of peoples eyes judging by the replies i saw.

            Company says nothing about imporiving their own customer service or no comment on how good or bad it was, but managed to redirect the ire towards other companies and people jumped on that :/

          • RegisteredUser says:

            Spin to win.

          • woodsey says:

            Their ‘great’ reply rather missed the point. If you have a concerted effort to put you in first place on a ‘Worst Company’ list, then you have a problem – yes, of course, those other companies are worse, but it’s an internet poll that’s going to be seen by people who are actually on the internet regularly, which is going to be their customers, which is still indicative of the fact that they have an absolutely appalling image with their customers and within the gaming ‘community’.

            If they were fine no one would have bothered.

          • LionsPhil says:

            That’s the reply, but I thought RPS had a follow-up article about it (I did kind of find that most obvious one). Guess not.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Holy shit, what is so hard to understand about the WCIA poll being a competition between companies for worst END-USER CUSTOMER SERVICE?

        Unless you can think of a company that kills a child each time they put you on hold or reject a legitimate customer request, I don’t see how anything other than THE SERVICE THEY PROVIDE TO THEIR CUSTOMERS has anything to do with it.

      • D3xter says:

        Yep, that’s what they said too “at least we’re not oil barons/warmongers/trying to sell tobacco to children”… if you haven’t got another defense xD

  11. caddyB says:

    See, this is why always-on is bad. Sure, I have a perfect internet connection that didn’t drop once in the last 2 years so technically it’s not even a big deal for me. But what happens when the dimwits at whatever company can’t manage to have their servers up?

    You should be eligible for refunds if their failures make the games you’ve paid for unplayable. Then again I didn’t buy anything from Ubisoft since the Settlers 7 drm debate.

  12. Everyone says:

    Seriously? People are still buying Ubisoft stuff?

    • roryok says:

      I know right? Great name BTW

    • Milky1985 says:

      I did, i got rayman origins, great game, no uplay rubbish.

      Hopefully they get the message that stuff like that is a good thing and stop with the rest of the crap.

  13. roryok says:

    The other desperate irony is that Uplay has ‘up’ in the title. If I’d drunk at least two more cups of coffee than I have I could probably make some sort of clever joke about that.

    DOWNPlay. LOLs.

    Or I guess it would be DOWNlay actually

  14. Monkey says:

    Up Yours?

    And why when DRM servers go down does it default to no-one being able to play. SURELY the better way would be to let EVERYONE play regardless of checks.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Then bypassing it would be as simple as blocking Ubi’s servers in your firewall.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Not necessarily, there should be some middle-ground where if the login-servers fail, they re-direct to another far simpler server that just authorizes any request.

        There would still be occasions where both servers are inaccessible for the same reason, or the fail-over fails, but there should be some way to make it work for 90% of down-times.

        • RegisteredUser says:

          That’d mean something like a one-time “amen to that” passcode on the simple server?

          Block the original auth, create local proxy exe for the simple passcode, and you’re past that again, too.

          That’s the thing with this idiotic dance: The minute you make it less than infuriatingly nigh-impossible even for legit customers to play, you make it easy to circumvent.
          So it becomes a dumb thing regardless how you turn it.

          The way I see it, the best DRM is having forums, patches, releases, ongoing support etc all for paying customers(but public forums, too, obviously, since community and awareness and communication is everything).
          But since that would mean actual customer care, development and support, rather than one-off shoddyport(tm) I guess it seems more attractive to invest into huge authentication infrastructure.
          Or, something.

          I have no idea how their illogic works, to be honest.

        • trjp says:

          You don’t and have never (and hopefully will never) work in professional IT do you? :)

          You make it sound so easy but you have absolutely no idea of the practicalities of running a system like this – within the bounds of a company which makes decisions based on zero technical knowledge and zero respect for customers…

          Your world is shiny and filled with puppies – it’s so alien to reality, there are no maps between them.

  15. Tiguh says:

    Like all these systems, utterly unacceptable. I have stopped buying Ubisoft games and anything with GFWL after losing too many products I’d paid for.

    PLEASE boycott these stupid companies or, really, nothing will be done to fix this.

    • trjp says:

      Name a boycott of a company which EVER worked (and I mean turned the tide, not added a straw to a camel’s back).

  16. RegisteredUser says:

    Now if only the people who wrote negative articles about DRM also boycotted the DRM as consumers themselves(if you get free review copies that’s fine by me, but hating on it in the articles, then saying boy we loves us some free time Diablo 3 singleplayer..), that’d be cool.
    Maybe even directly wielded their considerable power to encourage others to boycott on grounds of DRM?
    Petition email actions towards sales and marketing department inboxes?
    Etc?

    (Example: “RPS sale spikes” are a thing for indie sales. Just by mentioning a game they can help make an indie team leap towards break-even)

    Nothing will change until you pull out the financing from these assholes like a rug from underneath their feet.

    • RaveTurned says:

      While these spikes are a big thing for sales of indie titles, I suspect they’re not a big thing for large publishers like Ubi and EA who have well-established franchises and huge marketing budgets.

      Boycotting on the grounds of DRM is a consumer choice. While RPS is right to point out the disadvantages of this kind of approach and allow people to make their own purchasing decisions, I suspect they’d come under fire from publishers if they started organising such a boycott themselves.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        You’re right of course.
        I imagine a scene akin to Seinfeld’s soup nazi: No press preview copy for you! And interviews, screenies, etc? Fuggedaboudit.

        I know this(as well as the relative undersized proportions), but its just so exhausting to get the feeling that all you can do is sit on the roadside with 3-4 other anti-DRM bums while the main culprits continue to drive home multi-million $$$ sales in the first release week, then whine about piracy causing them not to sell thrice that and having swathes of players staring at “Error xyz, can’t log in” at various points in time. Or simply lose all their progress due to bad profile management. Or other such stuff.

        I just want this all to end and have locally contained functioning games be the standard.
        Without rootkit / ring0 driver media checks, phonehomes or what have you.

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I just don’t buy Ubisoft or EA games cause I can’t be bothered trying to remember which ones are riddled with gfwl, ubiplay or activation limits.

  18. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Wish valve would force them to make it clear which if any of these systems they employ.

    • MeestaNob says:

      Sadly, Valve are as much to blame for customers ignorance in these systems as the companies themselves. The games Steam store page entries aren’t always 1000% clear as to what DRM/online service is being employed, and aren’t always updated to reflect changes in said systems.

      • woodsey says:

        They certainly could be a little more explicit, but at the same time, I’m always confused by what game has what anyway. Doesn’t help that Ubisoft lie half the time either.

    • alundra says:

      I have a simple rule, if in the product page there is no direct link of valve’s own forum to the game, some thing is up.

      Most of the time you even find a link to the product official forum, but you can still find an steam forum for the game listed through the front page main forums link , often filled with drm complaints, or poor port reports, or lack of support from the dev.

      As much as I like Valve and Steam, some times it’s evident they downplay any factor that can affect the game sales.

      Make that your routine before purchasing anything on steam, check the forums first.

  19. D-e-f- says:

    this mess is why I’m not buying any newer Ubi titles on PC … just pisses me off to no end.

  20. D3xter says:

    By the way, I found this big and rather useful list of 3rd Party DRM on Steam e.g. games that have additional DRM to Steam: http://steamdrm.flibitijibibo.com/index.php?page=DRM_Lists/The_Big_DRM_List

    It is rather handy, it has an “Account-based” section (EA/GFWL/Uplay/GameSpy/Rockstar Social), and a “Hardware based” Section with mostly Activation Limit shenanigans I usually boycott but can’t always take notice of and have bought by mistake (SecuROM/StarForce/TAGES or SolidShield).

    The UPlay section is also split between games that only require Activation and ones that require an Always-Online connection (for instance Silent Hill 5, Settlers 7, H.A.W.X. 2, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands)

    It also has a section with DRM that has been REMOVED from the Retail section of games (which is likely the preffered alternative) and games that still have the DRM files on them but are Inert in the Online/Steam version.

    I’d rather like it if Steam would make these DRM-Notices more prominent similar to their “Low Violence” Notices: http://www.abload.de/img/lowviolencerodu3.png and if they could generally just take a stance against 3rd Party DRM or offer benefits if games don’t have any (GoG manages it… and they also have new games now, including the first Assassin’s Creed, they even have a UbiSoft sale this weekend with largely older titles…)

  21. sonofsanta says:

    And here was me thinking that Amazon ran some kind of elastic cloud service to let your service cope with sudden influxes of demand, and that we lived in some sort of utopian future where virtual servers could be provisioned in a matter of minutes into rented data centre space.

    OH WAIT

    Just makes it easier to keep this Steam sale cheap for me, I suppose

  22. kleptonin says:

    Ubiquitous softheadedness.

  23. wu wei says:

    I am extremely sorry for even mildly recommending Anno 2070 in the last Bargain Bucket comments.

  24. JoeGuy says:

    A bit poetic that this makes me nervous of the quality of DRM attached to Watch Dogs.

  25. DeanLearner says:

    Thank heavens only those who bought it legally are affected by this.

    Can’t have the DRM being wasted on illegal pirates!

  26. Laurens says:

    The summer sales persuaded me to buy Heroes 6, but UPlay had me ragequit before I even got into the game. And I only very rarely ragequit.

  27. Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

    Where is Khemm?

    • caddyB says:

      In the steam store of course.

      hahahahahaha.

    • Fierce says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing while reading through Page 1. He’s like the Pirks of RPS and this article has Khemm Katnip™ smeared all over it.

  28. MiKHEILL says:

    Ubisoft doesn’t seem to realise that they are competing with pirates for customer’s willingness to pay and stay on the side of the law vs their desire for convenience. Ubisoft also doesn’t seem to realise that theirs is the inferior product.

  29. JToTheDog says:

    I’ve wanted Anno 2070 for a long time and was extremely close to buying it yesterday… But my principals took over and I didn’t.

    It was the right choice I see.

    • Premium User Badge Stellar Duck says:

      You should commend you principals for that. Good guys all round it seems. :P

  30. ColonelClaw says:

    Please everyone, don’t buy ANYTHING at any price from Ubisoft, especially now during the Steam Sale.

  31. wodin says:

    We all know now that always online drm is shit. So if you still go and buy the game knowing damn well what it’s about and what can happen then more fool you if you get in a rage when it doesn’t work and you can’t play the game. If everyone stopped buying it then it would be dropped. But oh no millions rush out to buy D3 eyes unfocused and drooling at the mouth…

    Finally if you play offline only and this happens, there are many websites you can goto where after a quick download you will be able to play when you like.

  32. lofaesofa says:

    A friend and I tried to play Splinter Cell: Conviction together in co-op mode on Saturday night after buying it in the Steam Summer sale.

    I had login problems with UPlay following by a series of disconnections in Splinter Cell co-op to the point where we decided to give up.

    The co-op gameplay seemed pretty good in the short 5-10 minutes that we could play. Sadly the service seems so dodgy (historically, not just over this Steam sale weekend) that I’m not sure we will ever be able to play.

    I will certainly think twice and read plenty of reviews before I consider a UPlay title.

    • Fierce says:

      Just think twice and read plenty of reviews before you buy anything, and your life -not just your gaming- will be much happier.

      You can’t have buyers remorse if you don’t buy something that makes you feel regret.

  33. Ministry says:

    I really want to play Anno 2070 but I won’t buy it due to the DRM they strangled the game with. Anno devs deserve better than ubisoft and I hope they made enough money off the game to continue making great games. Hopefully their next game does not have the same DRM so people can play their game hassle free.

  34. Tolkfan says:

    Yeah, that darn always online DRM. I wanted to finally try out League of Legends with some offline bots, but it turns out they don’t allow that, everything has to go through their DRM-ridden servers. They can’t risk me not seeing their cash shop i guess. Disgusting monetization.

  35. Hoaxfish says:

    I picked up the most recent Prince of Persia (the one where he’s wearing all the sashes) which is apparently free of non-Steam DRM, for £2.50…for that price I’ll be less pissed if it’s unplayable.

  36. HardcoreGamer12 says:

    Yesterday i was trying to play future soldier and it said my password is incorrect and i’m 100% sure it was correct but i changed my password like 5 times till i actually was able to login, probably by the time it took me to change 5 times they fixed their servers not the changing of passwords that fixed it.

  37. faillord_adam says:

    I was confused by this, until I found out how to enable offline mode, and Anno 2070 multiplayer worked fine

  38. KenTWOu says:

    Ok, I should say this here. Recent Uplay 2.0 update fixed Splinter Cell:Conviction offline mode. Conviction’s offline mode doesn’t rewrite your progress anymore. So all unlockables are available in offline mode.

  39. Tei says:

    Probably not be best idea to gift “From dust” to a friend this week-end.

  40. Yar says:

    How many comments was it before someone called video game companies “fascists”?

  41. alsoran says:

    “the likes of Might and Magic Heroes 6, Anno 2070 and assorted Assassin”s Creeds” For some reason these games don’t appear in my collection.

  42. Sithis says:

    Well, that’s less money I’ll be spending at the Summer Sale.

  43. ichigo2862 says:

    Wonder how many people raged at Ubisoft’s DRM RARRGGHH then went to play Diablo III instead.

  44. Highstorm says:

    I’ve never been for always-online DRM (or DRM of any kind), but as I’ve always managed to maintain a steady connection, my protest has just been a sympathetic nod to those affected by it. Well after being unable to continue an Anno game that I was playing just fine the night before, because an unwanted outside service was down, I’m going to be putting a lot more thought into what my money is actually supporting in the future.

  45. Baresark says:

    This is why I give people this advice on Ubisoft games. If you like and play their games, and you aren’t playing MP, you buy it then pirate it so they can’t stop you from playing it by being retarded.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      ..so you are encouraging and financing bad DRM despite thinking its the worst, thus ensuring it will continue to plague the games you want to play?

      This approach is always so mindnumbingly shortsighted and dumb. Don’t tell them you like something financially when you clearly don’t and wish it wouldn’t exist.
      You’re the gasoline in the DRM fire.

  46. rojimboo says:

    This article is up to the usual standard of journalism exhibited on this website.

    Full of misinformation and propaganda.

    For example, as anyone knows who has a legit copy, of say, Anno 2070, there is an offline option. As in, if you rip out your LAN cable/ disable your wifi, and try launching the game see what happens.

    It is silly to think you couldn’t do this during a server outage (which I personally did, as others observed in the Ubi and Steam forums for instance).

    The only people actually affected, and having no offline option, are people who never activated the game in the first place. Unfortunately there seemed be quite a few during the weekend because of the Steam summer sales. Sure this sucks, but once activated you can play it anytime you want, and if online you get a vastly superior experience to the one pirates get.

    If you are so anti-PC-gaming, that you want to not event contribute the discounted price to the amazing gem of a PC game that is Anno for example, you are just shooting yourself in the foot. Welcoming the horde of consolitis, and awful hitboxes and auto-aiming, horrific resolution and texture quality.

    Grow up and realise that the evidence shows, DRM is a necessary evil in the face of 90% piracy rates.

  47. RavenGlenn says:

    My solution to this DRM problem was simple: I did not buy a single game that had DRM outside of the STEAM client itself. Period. No exceptions. If I saw a game I was highly interested, I researched the forums. If there was even the slightest mention of additional DRM, I scratched it off of my list and moved on to the next game.

    They lost my sale and any sales that would have resulted in me telling others about the sales that were going on. Meanwhile, any great deals I got and any games I enjoyed in the process, I told others about and got others to buy them. Conversely, if anyone mentioned they were thinking about buying a game with additional DRM, I warned them off of it.

    • rojimboo says:

      That is a great sadistic approach to PC gaming.

      First, miss out on ever experiencing some of the best games in recent years, only because they require a login with GFWL or Origin or Uplay (yikes, a username and password, what I am going to do). Second, perpetuating the endless cycles of increased DRM, as the publishers will just count your lost sale as piracy (usually correctly, seeing as piracy rates are in the 90% for PC gaming).

      People like you are the cause of consolitis, that is, horrible resolution and texture quality, awful hitboxes and auto-aiming.

      The death of PC gaming – brought to you by the misguided, skewed ideology as the one demonstrated by RavenGlenn. What’s worse, he actually influences other simpleminded fools regarding his gospel.

      • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

        I don’t think sadistic means what you think it means.

        Also, I don’t buy GFWL games because they won’t let me play them.

        • rojimboo says:

          Meaning, you are mostly just hurting yourself by missing out on great DRM games with GFWL or Uplay, and you seem to take pleasure in it.

          Hence, sadistic.