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Craigs

Ubisoft fucks up again

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Is there any particular reason why people hate DRMs so much? I'd like to hear a rational opinion on the matter.

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SeanWJF said:

Is there any particular reason why people hate DRMs so much? I'd like to hear a rational opinion on the matter.

1. The game you buy won't work forever. When Assassin's Creed II was released for PC, Ubisoft's DRM authenticator servers were DDoS'd, meaning for the first week of the game's release, nobody could play it. When Ubisoft eventually takes these servers down (whether that will be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years...leaves to be determined), the game will be completely unplayable in that form.

2. If you buy the game to play on a laptop computer, you are effectively tethered to internet access - if you're in a place where there is no internet and feel like playing From Dust, you can't, because the game doesn't work without first getting authorization. Fact is, Ubi initially stated that activiation was one time only, but has since retracted this to say that you need to activate every time the game is run.

3. Back in the day when "DRM" basically meant CD checks, the means of which these checks were perpetuated either didn't work or did some downright naughty things to the system. The really scary part here is that, in a few cases, said CD checks actually became a security risk, especially in the case of StarForce protection:

Moreover, the Starforce drivers, installed on your system, grant ring 0 (system level) privileges to any code under the ring 3 (user level) privileges. Thus, any virus or trojan can get OS privileges and totally control your system. Since Windows 2000, the Windows line security and stability got enhanced by separating those privileges, but with the Starforce drivers, the old system holes and instabilities are back and any program (or virus) can reach the core of your system by using the Starforce drivers as a backdoor.

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SeanWJF said:

Is there any particular reason why people hate DRMs so much? I'd like to hear a rational opinion on the matter.

I don't always have a stable internet connection, even at home. It's extremely irritating when people assume that everybody does. / Sometimes I want to play games on my laptop while I'm traveling. / I don't want my game to be held hostage to the company's authentication system. / I don't trust that authentication system to stay up all the time, anyway. / For that matter, I don't trust my ISP's reliablility very far, either. / What the hell am I expected to do if I want to play a game ten years later once the company has abandoned it and shut down their servers? / What if they go bankrupt or whatever? / I don't want to be monitored nor equated to a criminal every time I try to play a game that I paid for. / Planned obsolesence sickens me. / Mandatory connection to an external server just to play a single player game is ridiculous.

And that's without even touching any ethical reasons to oppose DRM.

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SeanWJF said:

Is there any particular reason why people hate DRMs so much? I'd like to hear a rational opinion on the matter.


Gee, what about reading the article?

Vocal concerns over this type of DRM, principle aside, stem from an incident where hackers brought Ubisoft's authentication servers down, stopping some users from playing Assassin's Creed II.


It's probably an irrational opinion to be able to play an offline (single player) game you have bought even if some random hackers somewhere are taking out the authentication servers.

It's also probably irrational to expect to be able to keep playing that game 15 years from now. I mean, I'm sure everybody here on Doomworld will agree that a game loses all replayability after a couple of years.

Certainly, the fact that some DRM methods have been known to damage computers, breaking components (e.g. Starforce is famous for disabling CD and DVD burners) and compromising entire systems by allowing malware exploiting their vulnerabilities to obtain admin elevation on system can only be objected by irrational people. Just as you have to be irrational to remember that it is illegal to install such programs on other peoples' computers without their assent, as has happened whenever the DRM bundled with the game was not publicized.

Finally, it is entirely irrational to wish that the publishers would treat their customers like customers, rather than like criminals. After all, the warez groups releasing cracked versions are treating the so-called pirates with a lot more respect than publishers do, what with removing all the crippling and annoying things that denature the game.

The rational consumer is happy to let his corporate lords and masters claim his computer's resources with spyware and crippling drivers so as to constantly monitor his activities. Just as rationally, the good consumer is happy to click on every single ad they see on the Internet, and dutifully execute every programs sent to him by anonymous well-wishers through e-mail. After all, "trust", "giving away control of his property" and "being all around a moron" are the marks of a rational person.

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WildWeasel said:

1. The game you buy won't work forever. When Assassin's Creed II was released for PC, Ubisoft's DRM authenticator servers were DDoS'd, meaning for the first week of the game's release, nobody could play it.

Nobody, except pirates. The very existence of DRM is giving pirates a better experience than legitimate customers.

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WildWeasel said:

When Ubisoft eventually takes these servers down (whether that will be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years...leaves to be determined), the game will be completely unplayable in that form.


Of course a simple patch at the end of the games life cycle would solve this problem..should they care enough to do so.

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Use3D said:

..should they care enough to do so.

Exactly.




Also, something that doesn't get mentioned too often - game companies can go bust. Just look at how many "abandonware" games have got that status because the original developer/publisher/whatever has vanished off the face of the earth. What would happen to an always-connected-DRM game if its parent company went bust?

In fact, just look at how many games are "abandoned" regardless of the reason.

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WildWeasel said:

3. Back in the day when "DRM" basically meant CD checks, the means of which these checks were perpetuated either didn't work or did some downright naughty things to the system. The really scary part here is that, in a few cases, said CD checks actually became a security risk, especially in the case of StarForce protection:

Moreover, the Starforce drivers, installed on your system, grant ring 0 (system level) privileges to any code under the ring 3 (user level) privileges. Thus, any virus or trojan can get OS privileges and totally control your system. Since Windows 2000, the Windows line security and stability got enhanced by separating those privileges, but with the Starforce drivers, the old system holes and instabilities are back and any program (or virus) can reach the core of your system by using the Starforce drivers as a backdoor.

http://www.tweakguides.com/Piracy_9.html

Interestingly enough, there's very little in the way of actual evidence that StarForce does anything harmful. The Boycott StarForce Site tries to clumsily summarize the case against StarForce, the most damning indictment apparently being that it installs a 'hidden device driver'. This is supposed to prove the sinister nature of StarForce, however it neglects to mention that commonly-installed third party tools like SpeedFan also install such device drivers (Speedfan.sys) without the user's explicit consent or knowledge. In fact the Speedfan device driver is known to have security vulnerabilities. However as some people will quickly point out, StarForce's drivers have Ring 0 access, but as StarForce themselves point out a large range of other software also installs drivers at Ring 0. StarForce has made the reason for requiring Ring 0 access quite clear, it's a necessity in providing protection against emulation software used to run pirated games:

The matter is that all of known emulators install ring 0 drivers. Obviously, the only way to prevent emulation is to work on the same level and that is the reason our copy protection installs drivers.

Other evidence against StarForce includes a few unverified stories which state that StarForce slowed down their systems, caused crashes, or even damaged their optical drives; the Boycott StarForce site shows a picture of a shattered CD for example to emphasize this last point, despite there never being evidence that it does this. To cap off this wave of negative publicity, in 2006 a $5m Class Action Lawsuit was launched against UbiSoft, based on the allegations above. What is not so publicized is the outcome of the lawsuit; two years on it appears the case was dropped. UbiSoft insiders reveal that when the plaintiff in the StarForce case brought the example of his system being infected and ruined by StarForce, UbiSoft's first submission was a 12,000 end-user survey which it had carried out showing none of the sampled users had any such issues.

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I'm tempted to spoof the usual "replies" of DRM proponents (hey, they often are usually nothing more than corporate shills, but whatever)

Mithran Denizen said:

I don't always have a stable internet connection, even at home. It's extremely irritating when people assume that everybody does.


The corporate shills would say that 99.999% of their target group does, and that you are probably a minority/a weirdo/a beatnik/a subversive/just some poor-ass clown not worth considering as a customer anyway. Get on with the times etc.

Mithran Denizen said:

Sometimes I want to play games on my laptop while I'm traveling.


See above. Get a mobile connection like every good, happy consumer. Get on with the times you commie etc. etc.

Mithran Denizen said:

I don't want my game to be held hostage to the company's authentication system.


Everybody else (aka less fussy customers) does not mind. Get on with the times you commie etc. etc.

Mithran Denizen said:

I don't trust that authentication system to stay up all the time, anyway.


Everybody else (aka less fussy customers) does not mind. Get on with the times you commie etc. etc.

Mithran Denizen said:

For that matter, I don't trust my ISP's reliablility very far, either.


We're living in a Free Country with a Free Market and Unbound Competition. Get a Better ISP like everybody else does instead of whining.

Mithran Denizen said:

What the hell am I expected to do if I want to play a game ten years later once the company has abandoned it and shut down their servers?


Times will have changed, and most customers of the intended target group will not care at all. You will be a dying breed not worth the marketing and support effort.

Mithran Denizen said:

What if they go bankrupt or whatever?


At most you will get a discount coupon or a telemarking offer.

Mithran Denizen said:

I don't want to be monitored nor equated to a criminal every time I try to play a game that I paid for.


What are you afraid of if you have nothing to hide?

Mithran Denizen said:

Planned obsolesence sickens me. / Mandatory connection to an external server just to play a single player game is ridiculous.


Planned Obsolescense is what keeps the Economy of this Great Country rolling. If things were built to last, then nobody would buy more stuff, and less business opportunities and less jobs would be created! How could you ever want that, you towelhead-loving, commie Obama voter ?! Next thing you'll tell me you want social security and more taxes for the rich, too!

Mithran Denizen said:

And that's without even touching any ethical reasons to oppose DRM.


Dear commie terrorist subversive,

our Great Country is based on the principles of Free Trade, Free Competition and Protection of Intellectual (and otherwise) Property. If you don't like how these principles are enfored, you are Free to leave the country. Next thing, you'll be telling me you don't even own an iPod or iPhone! How very dare you, scumbag!



So, Oh Great Uber American Free Trade DRM Overlords, am I a good pupil or what?

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Belial said:

Certainly an interesting read; he does go into how there's no proof that StarForce actively harms computers (which honestly I see where he's coming from there), but the fact does remain that I can't play my copy of Splinter Cell because I'm on a 64-bit Windows 7 machine, and Ubisoft hasn't cared enough to patch the game for folks like me - in fact the only way I've heard of to get around it is to repurchase the game from Direct2Drive instead, which is dealing with a whole different set of pains in the ass.

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I couldn't re-install Runaway after migrating to a dual-core CPU, it kept falling over after entering the Starforce identification code. Simplest solution was to repurchase the game (DRM-free) from GOG. Haven't decided if I'll use the CDs as drinks coasters or turn them into novelty clocks.

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BUT, if people buy the game, Ubisoft will continue to think that they are absolutely right, and the "few" who complain are just not important, like Maes said... Just take look at the steam store page, which game is number two top seller? Yep, From Dust. "We are right, we know what our customers want. Look at the numbers!"

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cbronson said:

BUT, if people buy the game, Ubisoft will continue to think that they are absolutely right, and the "few" who complain are just not important, like Maes said... Just take look at the steam store page, which game is number two top seller? Yep, From Dust. "We are right, we know what our customers want. Look at the numbers!"


No, if people boycott the game they will blame it on "pirates". Grow a brain

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The last PC Ubisoft game I bought was Rayman Raving Rabbids.
All my other ones were for PS3, or PS1.

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I haven't bought a Ubisoft game since P.O.D.

Oh wait, I never had a chance to buy it--I only had the demo from an old PCGamer disk. Right.

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Used copies of the Prince of Persia series aaaaaand... nothing else. I'm okay with that. I don't look much into new games these days so DRM has't affected me that much. That being said, this sort of thing almost cements my state of disinterest and, frankly, I don't know when the next game I buy will be. Even Doom 4 looks unlikely should Willits get enough say (it seems).

That'd be the ol' coat hanger in the back alley that has become the video game world for me.

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I think Splinter Cell is one of their best games they have made. I just got Conviction after playing the poop covered Double Agent,but I also own Chaos Theory for my Xbox (same with the other two) I'm getting Splinter Cell and Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox via amazon too (would rather play these on Xbox than PC-way more cheaper and the Xbox controllers feel like they were designed for the games really well)

Can't wait for Retribution.

Sorry for you DRM guys though,they should be putting in a completely in new system if it fucks you guys up ridiculously.

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Technician said:

I don't think I've even purchased an Ubisoft game.


This. None of their games have ever made me care enough to buy them. It always had me wondering if their stance on DRM was just because they suck and sell less than all my favourite companies.

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Technician said:

I don't think I've even purchased an Ubisoft game.

Strictly speaking, my most recent Ubisoft games are some of the Might & Magic titles on GOG - which I still think of as New World Computing games. Next most recent is the Myst 10th Anniversary DVD Edition from 2001 (another already successful franchise), go back any further and we're probably talking Amiga games. I'm not exactly one of their regular customers.

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The first FarCry was pretty good, although the second was radically different, one would say it was a Far Cry from the original

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