Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first time RPS have presented detailed instructions on how to build a concealable assassination tool. Given that I’m writing on a website that Kieron Gillen is a director of, I find that baffling. Anyway, how many fingers do you have? All of them? Would you like one less? You’ll need a drawer, a screen door, a throwing knife, and balls the size of a baby’s head.
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Posts Tagged ‘DRM’
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
There’s a bit, 1m40s in, into this new Assassin’s Creed Revelations trailer that I feel is a microcosm for how Ubisoft views the PC. A guard stands over a collapsed and bloodied man, who represents the PC gamers excited by the game but who have to wait for them to kick the console beta version out first. The guard then punches the downed man. The fist is Ubisoft’s DRM.
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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.
RPS Feature Why Blizzard Must Reconsider
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.
Like an angelic voice of reason amongst the grunting lunacy comes Christofer Sundberg, founder of Avalanche Studios. The Just Cause developer has told EDGE that “always-on DRM only says: ‘Thank you for buying our game, we trust you as far as we can throw you.'” Responding to the utterly unfounded and unevidenced defence of Driver SF’s always-on DRM from Martin Edmonson last week, Sundberg told the Edgeborg that treating customers with respect would be a far more effective means of dealing with piracy.
With peculiar timing, Valve seem to finally be offering refunds on From Dust. Customers who bought the game under the belief its DRM required a one-time only activation angrily responded to the revelations (as brought to the world by the fine eyebrows of RPS) that the game required a connection for every launch. Demands for refunds were being met with stony silences in every direction, with Ubisoft pointing customers to the retailers. And while there were rumours of Steam giving some money back, most were being met by their questionable stance that they don’t offer refunds for anything. Well, despite the recent announcement that the DRM would soon be patched out, that seems to be changing, as it appears (from the text of Valve’s emails) Ubisoft have specifically asked Valve to return the cash. (Let’s put in a disclaimer here – this is based on reports from a couple of readers, and Valve are notoriously fickle in these regards.)
Well blimey, here’s a thing. After Ubi’s frankly dreadful performance over From Dust, there appears to be a degree of capitulation afoot. On the From Dust forums (which now appear to be the only way to learn such news from the publisher) it has been revealed that the team are working on a patch that will remove online authentication DRM entirely. Which would be, well, brilliant!
Update: Lo-Ping are claiming that Steam is offering discounts to those who apply. Edit: A claim which is increasingly proven to be false.
Astonishing. Ubisoft have yet to respond to our questions today, when we asked why From Dust was requiring an internet connection to launch despite their making it very clear it would not. They also have yet to respond to our queries as to why it hasn’t been properly ported, despite the weeks of last-minute delay for the PC version. And now, incredibly, rather than apologising to the huge numbers of people who had been deceived by the previous untrue claims about the game’s DRM, they’ve instead just deleted the post, and put up a new one. From Dust requires an internet connection to launch, and tough shit if you bought it when they were saying otherwise. (Edit: They’ve now somewhat confusingly edited in the original post to the new post.)
Update: Ubisoft have deleted the forum post which was saying the DRM would not require an internet connection! Just removed it from history. Fortunately, we took a screenshot.
Update again!: Now the post is mysteriously back, with a disclaimer saying the details are being checked, and a statement should be coming shortly.
It’s hard to know what to say. After their insisting that From Dust, the delayed PC version from Ubisoft, would not require an internet connection to launch after the first time, of course it does. It’s impossible to launch From Dust, even from Steam in offline mode, without being online. Launching the game fires up their new Ubisoft Game Launcher, which refuses to work unless it can find a connection. And that’s ignoring the fact that the game is in no way properly ported.
Ubisoft have just got in touch with us to say that as a consequence of the extremely negative reaction to the news that Driver: San Francisco, on top of not supporting wheels and being a month late on PC, would have their disgraceful “always on” DRM, that they have changed their mind about the latter. Hooray! I exclaimed. Until I read it more carefully.
“We’ve heard your feedback regarding the permanent internet connection requirement for Driver and have made the decision to no longer include it. So this means that Driver PC gamers will only need to sign in at game launch but can subsequently choose to play the game offline.”
So, er, what has improved?
Ubisoft has told VG247 that the delayed From Dust won’t require their wretched “always online” DRM. What DRM it will require is as yet unknown, but we’ve contacted Ubisoft to find out. It’s pretty likely that it will require a connection for a first-time authentication, but whether it’s going to demand the internet be there to launch each time is what we want to know. And why does From Dust escape it, and Driver: San Francisco not? Not even God knows. You can read Alec’s impressions of the 360 version of From Dust here.
At a certain point you have to wonder if Ubisoft is in the midst of some spectacular version of a Producers-style attempt to treat PC customers as abysmally as possible for some unknown goal. In the last couple of weeks they’ve bumped PC release dates on their last two games (Call Of Juarez and From Dust) just days before release – rather spitting in the eye of pre-order customers. And now they’ve now ensured that those looking forward to playing Driver: San Francisco can distract themselves with the knowledge that it will carry Ubisoft’s loathed DRM that requires you always be online to play both single- and multiplayer.
UPDATE: Capcom appear to be reconsidering certain elements of their DRM plans, but removing GFWL is not on the table, and they say that removing the DRM completely is “not feasible”. They also discuss removing the DRM from legitimate copies of the game in the event of it being cracked.
Here’s a new one. The original Street Fighter 4 sold well on the PC by Capcom’s own admission, but apparently some folk found a way to acquire it without paying for it, so they didn’t bother releasing the PC version of Super Street Fighter 4 that they had already more or less developed. I hope no one tells them that piracy happens on consoles too, or they’ll maybe stop releasing any games, and just produce them for their own amusement. They’ve had a change of heart for the latest iteration though: they’ll be letting PC gamers give them their money if they so choose. Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition is coming to PC, and it’s learnt a few new DRM tricks too.
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So there have been some problems with EA’s DRM for Dragon Age. Ars Technica has a good, angry summary of what has been happening:
Thanks to a combination of DRM idiocy and technical and communications failures on the part of EA and Bioware, I (along with thousands of fellow EA/Bioware customers) spent my free time this past weekend needlessly trapped in troubleshooting hell, in a vain attempt to get my single-player game to load.
I know I’m flogging an offline horse here, but these kinds of stories are just starting to make me miserable. DRM is clearly a waste of our time and publisher’s money. I’m baffled as to why people should pour more resources into this, and still come up with half-arsed server-based solutions that require constant checks and are prone to failure. I know, I know. Empty ranting, pissing into the wind. But something has to change.