Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Piracy Works

Posted by Stropp on March 8, 2010

That’s probably what an awful lot of Ubisoft’s customers will be thinking right now, at least those who loaded up Silent Hunter over the last day or so hoping to enjoy some quality gaming time.

It turns out that Ubisoft’s incredibly stupid DRM scheme has completely shafted all their legitimate customers according to reports from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The DRM servers that each customer has to be connected to, all the time, just to be able to play the game have been down for an entire day.

No gaming for you!

What’s even more precious is that the claims that Ubisoft made concerning the inability of pirates to crack the DRM code in a way that allows players to play while these servers were down seem to be false too, according to the Rampant Coyote. It turns out that those who pirated the game were able to play it when the servers hit the deck.

I’m going to admit something bad. No, not pirating games, I don’t believe in doing that. But I have enjoyed a bit of the old schadenfreude in reading these reports. This situation reinforces the whole concept that treating your customers like criminals is a bad thing, and that it will backfire. In this case it backfired sooner rather than later. And that’s absolutely wonderful because it reinforces this position. Will it affect sales of other Ubisoft games infected with this customer hating crap? I hope so, since that’s the only way these companies will stop pushing this nonsense on their customers.

I also noticed over the last week or so that a couple of bloggers made the assertion that there’s no difference between an always connected DRM and the need to be connected to play a MMORPG. I just want to spend a moment to say that assertion is not entirely true for the following reasons.

First of all, nearly every modern MMORPG is meticulously designed to cope with random disconnects in such a way as to prevent the loss of progress as much as possible. That’s not the case with this DRM. Disconnect or get line lag and expect to restart from the last checkpoint. Ubisoft’s DRM is designed to interrupt the game experience. MMORPGs are designed to prevent interruptions even in the case of individual server crashes.

Secondly, the fundamental expectation of playing a solo single player game is to be able to do it anywhere. Some people just don’t have good internet. They may not be able to play a MMORPG, they shouldn’t be able to play single player games either?

And as we’ve seen today, server downtime can affect legitimate customers. Should a single player game be unplayable if the publisher has a bad server day?

PS. Don’t pirate games. It’s wrong, and it’s part of the reason these companies are doing this.

Ubisoft Clarifies DRM. Oh Yeah. That’s Better.

Posted by Stropp on February 21, 2010

The folks over at Ars Technica managed to get an official explanation of Ubisoft’s new customer screwing DRM scheme. (Not just for Assassins Creed 2, but for all new Ubisoft PC games it seems.)

It seems that Ubisoft doesn’t kick a customer out of the game that they legally purchased, just dumps them back to their last checkpoint (in the case of AC2) and pauses the game until they get a connection again.

Oh yeah. That’s better. They still treat their customers like criminals, but at least they don’t have to reload the game.

My suggestion is that anyone who doesn’t want to be treated like a criminal, heads over to Amazon or any other supplier that allows customer reviews, and make your opinion count. Don’t lie about the game or the company, just let potential buyers know that Ubisoft is treating them like criminals and that a game like this isn’t worth buying. This tactic worked when EA tried the same crap over Spore (I think) with the DRM that limited activations. Ubisofts DRM is worse.

Make yourself heard.

Just Incredible. And Stupid.

Posted by Stropp on February 19, 2010

The big news item in the gaming world this weeks, aside from the various expansions and stats related to MMORPGS, is the completely dumbarse move by Ubisoft to add a form of DRM to Assassins Creed 2 that is so evil, it kicks you out of the game if you suffer even a momentary disconnection to your internet connection.

In other words, if you’ve ever suffered lag, ISP disconnects, interference to your wireless connection, or a cat suddenly choosing to sit on the router and unplugging it, then Ubisoft will stop you playing Assassins Creed 2. In fact, it the disconnection won’t even give you time to save your progress.

Given this, I won’t be buying AC2. I wasn’t too impressed with Assassins Creed 1 since it crashed my XBox 360 every five minutes or so it seemed. But even if AC1 ran flawlessly I wouldn’t be buying Assassins Creed 2. My internet connection often has little pauses that give a touch of lag in the MMORPGs I play. But AC2 will disconnect me.

The way I see it, companies like Ubisoft are now forcing players who have gone out an bought  legitimate copies of games into acts of piracy.

If I buy Assassins Creed 2 and at the first kick out, I reckon I’d have two options, depending on how much I like the game.

  1. Stop playing. I can be a little temperamental with games sometimes. It doesn’t take much to sour the experience. If Ubisoft kicked me out, I’d likely stop playing completely. I’d possibly then avoid Ubisoft games in the future.
  2. Find a cracked version. If I really liked the game and wanted to keep playing with interuption I might be inclined to find a way to beat the DRM by downloading a cracked version of the game. (Although this sort of software is inheritantly risky. I’d probably just stop playing.)

The fact is that companies like Ubisoft are not preventing piracy by pulling crap like this on their customers. It’s not the pirates being affected. They’ll avoid the DRM in the first place and just download the game. No. It’s Ubisoft’s customers who suffer. It’s Ubisoft’s customers who will then go out and find a cracked version of the game. And it’s Ubisoft’s customers who have then discovered how much else is out there that can be downloaded free.

Congratulations Ubisoft. By screwing your customers you’ve increased the ranks of the people who will happily pirate your games.

Well done. Dumbarse.