Posts Tagged ‘DRM’

Ubisoft Asking DRM Questions – Here Are Some Answers

Don't stare too long into their eye.

It’s fair to say that RPS has taken Ubisoft to task over its DRM decisions. The company has made some extremely poor choices, that have overtly harmed people’s experiences legitimately playing their games, and no evidence of any reduction in piracy as a result has been shown. However, rather than backing down in the face of the enormous outcry, Ubisoft continued to push it, even telling PC Gamer that they viewed it as a “success”. The hubris, combined with the continuing downtime for single-player games, reached a point where things went from bad to ludicrous. But could things be about to change? Ubisoft’s digital boss, Chris Early, told Eurogamer that he’d like to see the need for DRM to go away. Blimey.

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Driver: San Francisco & Anno 2070 Affected By Ubi DRM

Scenes at Ubi HQ earlier today.

Ubisoft are issuing apologies after it seems their server migration isn’t only taking down the games they warned it would. Reports of both Driver: San Francisco and Anno 2070 also not working properly are coming from gamers (cheers EG), as Ubisoft acknowledges more games than they’d planned are being affected. Once again it’s impossible not to observe that if they hadn’t tied single-player games to such draconian, useless and self-defeating DRM, none of this would be happening. To find out the details of why the games are down, along with others, read our earlier coverage here.

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Legitimate Ubisoft Games Won’t Work Tues

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.

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Thought: Do We Own Our Steam Games?

I guess I don't own any of these.

What do you own? Looking through my possessions, I feel fairly comfortable that the food in my fridge belongs to me. And I have an odd confidence that the hardware in my PC is mine. But the books on my shelves? I seem to have very little rights over them. The CDs stacked up in a cupboard (remember CDs?) certainly aren’t my property. And the software on my computer may as well be tied to a long piece of elastic, just waiting for the publishers to give it a tug. You own a license. But a license for what? This lack of ownership becomes even more concerning when it comes to the digital space, at which point our rights to anything become extremely ambiguous. And that’s something that can bite you hard on the bum, when places like Steam seem to reserve the right to ban you from your account, and not even tell you why they did it. Below is the story of one RPS reader who says he lost access to his entire Steam collection, and thoughts from game lawyer Jas Purewal on whether we really own any game we buy.

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Fred Wester: “DRM Is A Waste Of Money”

He knows. He KNOWS.

The ever quotable Fred Wester CEO Of Paradox Interactive (as his mother calls him) has laid down some views on DRM, and extolled the virtues of PC, at Gamespy at the end of last week. And wouldn’t you know it, the man’s speaking some sense.

“It’s so much simpler to develop for the PC — you can decide everything for yourself… The PC is very rewarding because the audience is very knowledgeable about the games, they’re very hardcore, they’re very quick with their feedback, and we have a great relationship with our customers.”

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Ubisoft BlueByte Changes Anno 2070 DRM

Such liberty.

If making a fuss keeps working, it’s only going to encourage us. In the last week we’ve – among others – reported on the extremely peculiar choice in Ubisoft’s chosen DRM for Anno 2070, to have it use up an activation every time you do something so simple as change a graphics card in your PC. Assuming this was a mistake we contacted Ubi, who genuinely surprised us by coming back to say it was completely intentional, wasn’t a problem, and that was that.

Well, after attention was brought their way, co-developers BlueByte got in touch with Hilbert Hagedoorn at Guru3D – who first brought the issue into light – and gave him more activations for the game. And now it’s just been reported that they’ve changed the DRM such that the game will no longer spit up if you switch a PCIe slot.

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Ubisoft: Anno 2070 DRM Works As Intended

Oh come on Ubisoft, do SOMETHING not stupid.

On Monday we reported the strange discovery by Guru3D that something so simple as changing your graphics card could use up an activation on Ubisoft game, Anno 2070. At the time I suggested that this was perhaps a bug in the DRM Ubisoft uses, Tages, meaning it was overreacting to hardware changes. It seems I was wrong, and Ubisoft have confirmed to us that this is how they intend the DRM to work.

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Ubisoft Activations Monitor Hardware Change

Um, how do people get into this town?

Ubisoft have managed to go a month or so without anyone loudly throwing their hands in the air and despairing at their DRM ways. They’ll be relieved to know the drought is over, with tech wizards Guru3D discovering that Ubisoft’s limited activations of their games are not just limited to specific machines, but specific graphics cards.

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Serious Sam’s DRM Is A Giant Pink Scorpion

This is actually what Ubisoft's DRM developers look like.

Some companies’ DRM is stupidly cruel, punishing only those who have legitimately purchased the game, and not those who pirate it. Well, most companies’ DRM is that. Serious Sam 3’s DRM is brilliantly cruel, punishing only those who pirated it. By relentlessly pursuing them with a giant invincible armoured scorpion. As revealed by Dark Side Of Gaming, only those who unlawfully duplicate the game encounter this immortal enemy, who haunts them from the opening moments. You can see it in action below.

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Good… New Games? GoG Is Changing

What will that O stand for now?

Good Old Games have certainly built themselves a brand. Over the last few years the Polish project has leapt forward from offering a few provincial classics to a really impressive catalogue of games that made the 90s and early 00s interesting. Clearly they’ve been letting in many more recent games of late, with Fahrenheit appearing last week for example. And they used it to launch their own game, The Witcher 2, earlier this year. But it seems they want to expand even further, going directly into competition with the likes of Steam, Impulse, GamersGate or Origin. Which is always a bold step, but one made much more interesting when you consider their DRM-free requirement.

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Oh, But Some Good Ass Rev News: DRM

He just wants to hold hands.

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

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Darkspore DRM Shuts Out New Players?

Oh dear.
We’re receiving reports that new Darkspore players are unable to play the game, and haven’t been able to play for over nine days, due to an error with the online authentication system. There’s an ongoing thread about the issue here, dated from October 18th. There’s currently no word on a fix.

Of course EA’s position on Darkspore was that it was an online game, and that it wasn’t DRM so much as how you played with other players, if you wanted to play with them. That means solo play is online, even though (as a Diablo clone) there was no reason for it to be. Diablo III will be using a similar system. I do not understand why any company thinks it’s acceptable to fail to provide an offline option for a game that can (and will) be played offline and solo by the people who purchased it.

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How Diablo III’s DRM Will Affect You

Oh what a treat for everyone.

Diablo III‘s ‘always-on’ DRM is obviously a matter of much controversy, albeit a more nuanced one than that of Ubisoft. Where Ubisoft implemented the grotesque system purely as a claimed measure to fight piracy, Blizzard’s logic at least has some elements that offer benefits to the player. Battle.net, online ranking, drop-in-drop-out co-op, the auction house, and constant live monitoring of your progress, and monitoring to prevent cheating, can all be argued to be in the players’ favour, in a way that Settlers VII crashing its single player because the internet blipped does not. But it doesn’t make the problem go away, and I want to strongly argue that Blizzard reconsider their decision, in the face of its simply breaking their game. Because no matter how perfect your connection, it will affect you.

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