Ubisoft vs. Ubisoft's Customers

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Wolfram01:
Ils sont Quebecois! What else do you expect?

UbiShit has several studios in Quebec, that's true. But, the company itself it French, as in France French. Major decisions like DRM are not made by the studio. It's the publisher's branch of UbiShit that makes that decision.

AFA UbiShit and their games, I've boycotted them right after Assassin's Creed I. At the point where they announced their stupid and draconian "always online" scheme I jumped off their boat. It made me a tiny bit sad because, let's face it, some of their games were promising to be fun and entertaining, but this is not something I can adhere to.

Last... UbiShit is doing things like EA. They are control freak companies that care about one and only one thing, money. Nothing else. If making 2$ more at the expense of their customers is what's needed, they'll do it. Despite all their PR stating they listen to their customers, which is a blatant lie, all they really do is damage control. But the irony is, they never learn. They're perpetrating the same mistakes at each and every release. They also know 99% of their decision will get a backlash of outcry, but it's been decided (I'm certain) in advance that when it happens, or when they get caught, they'll relax their stance and be seen in a better light.

But only fools ever believed them. And gawd knows there are many, many fools...

lotr rocks 0:

shintakie10:

Therumancer:
Yes well, this is exactly the kind of thing that has me all over the gaming industry, and Ubisoft has been one of the worst, most unrepentant culprits within the gaming industry, and to be honest what they have gotten away with has just made things worse as it's encouraged more and more companies to follow suit.

In Ubisoft's case I look at the horrible "always online DRM" that was started with "Assasin's Creed 2". Given that Ubisoft continued to make money, and has seen two sequels to that game series since then, has ultimatly shown that gamers will complain, but won't actually take their money elsewhere, and unless we do, nothing is accomplished. People are willing to complain about the DRM, activation limits, and other assorted things but won't actually go so far as to go without the newest "Assasin's Creed" game. The industry as a whole has doubtlessly noticed that.

As far as oblivious and incompetant goes, that's not really an issue with just Ubisoft. Right now I've got a serious gripe with EA (which hardly makes me unique) over their handling of "The Old Republic" and "Origin". What they did was send the wrong codes out to Gamestop so when I bought a Collector's Edition they gave me a code for a standard edition. I eventually got an appropriate code, but the EA/Origin system won't let you redeem more than one code for the same product. Tech support told me the only way to deal with this was to start a new account and put my code in there, and then later they would set up some way I could combine my accounts. I basically wound up with two accounts, one for ToR, and one having my other EA games. I more or less forgot about this until recently when I picked up "Kingdoms Of Amalur" and installed it, and found out it was installed under my ToR account, which is seperate from my other EA games, Bioware Social, etc... which of course raises some interesting questions if I decide to play ME3 despite my misgivings and want all the promotions I'm entitled to since my games are now scattered between two accounts... and yes, after months there is STILL no way to condense all my EA registrations into one account.

The point here is that the industry doesn't do the fixes to the infrastructure they promise, or own up to their mistakes, unless somehow forced into it... by say a popular website with a lot of community influance like just happened with Ubisoft, even if they never actually said they screwed up.

The bottom line here is that we need to see laws granting more protection and rights to customers by limiting what hoops a company can make someone jump through, and also clearly stating that if someone pays for something they own it, and have control of it, not the people who manufactured it... which includes the right to re-sell it. That would deep six a lot of this garbage right then and there.

Your first point is one I've been harpin to friends lately. People keep throwin money at them so they take it as some sort of confirmation from the players that they're doin the right thing with their DRM. Until they stop makin money, they wont stop usin the DRM. I remember when the always on DRM was announced and how many people used this line "Well I guess I'm getting the 360 version. Ubisoft can suck it." Like buyin the 360 version was somehow a snub to Ubisoft.

As for the rest, that...sounds awful. You seriously couldn't activate two different product keys for the same game twice on the same account? Like...what the hell is the point of that?

I bet if you didn't buy their game, they'd attribute all the losses to piracy anyway, so no matter what, unless you get a mass letter writing campaign or something to tell them THIS IS WHY IM NOT BUYING YOUR GAME, it's pretty much a lose-lose situation.

basically this is exactly what I've done. I wrote a long email expressing all of my concerns about the direction and attitudes expressed by the talking heads at Ubisoft and worte that I will no longer be buying any of their games until they clean up their act and start treating their legitimate, paying customers with an ounce of respect.

I got a machine-written "We are sorry that you are unhappy with our product... yadda yadda" from a noreply customer service rep, and a week later that artica=le came out about them calling out PC Gamers for their "Bitching."

Long story short, I've gone out of my way to avoid Ubisoft titles ever since... Actually, that's not true, I bought Assassin's Creed, the original for 360 from Gamestop, used.

I have to say, Ubisoft makes me wonder. I wish I could see what their actual in-house figures are for their PC games... are sales up? Down? Flat? If it's decreasing because of these insane DRM issues, do they see a rise in console as a migration of their consumers? Or do they not even consider the two groups as compatible, a possibility that seems more likely given their past comments?

What I would give to sit in on an executive meeting just to listen and learn what the actual top-level logic has been in these regards. As it stands, from what we know, their actions seem legitimately insane.

Ubisoft have said that they don't like P.C gaming, maybe they are purposefully generating all this bad publicity as an excuse to stop making P.C titles.

It's not a good plan, but then again, this is Ubisoft we are talking about.

"Plastic Box" just what kind of case are you using Shamus?

EDIT: Found it.

I would go so far to call the excessive "activation, registration & pray for service" routine that publishers force on their customers malware.
DRM is a simple check weither or not you own a license for a piece of software.
The industry has been trying for years to find a way to make this pipedream work out somehow, but the only thing they really managed is to make pirated versions even more desirable then the retail.
Somehow, the deciding intelectuals in those companies figure out how to shoot down new IPs for beeing not feasible if they fail to rake in the insane profits of carbon copied sequels, but can't pull the plug on project "Alienate our customers" years after it became abundandly clear it simply isn't working.

You have to provide a better service then the pirates. Loading even more BS onto your games that customers should accept in order to use your product that no pirate will ever bother about is just as pointless as trying to get that message into the head of an executive who hasn't got the foggiest clue about how his own market interacts with their competitors.

The hilarious thing about calling support for more activations is theres a much easier way to get the game running again - pirate it. If you have anything resembling a half decent internet connection its faster than waiting for them to reply.

All they have to do is release their games on Steam with some Team Fortress 2 items. That's all it fuckin' takes Ubisoft!

I miss 1995 piracy.

ph0b0s123:

BeerTent:

Shamus Young:
Ubisoft vs. Ubisoft's Customers

Ubisoft's DRM only works against an outdated mode of piracy.

Read Full Article

Your missing something.

This IS how piracy works before the game is released, sharing discs. What's more embarrassing? Having your creation stolen by the masses a week after it was released, cracked by... Err, a "Certain group", or a week before it was released when Carl's sister's buddy uploaded it for said group?

Still though, I agree... Ubisoft is a little more than draconian.

It would be a good point if it had anything to do with the discussion at hand. How is your point applicable to the discussion about the DRM in the final product? The games getting shared before release is a failure on the part if the game maker to control their product before release. It has nothing to do with DRM or the point the poster was making, that the DRM in the final product is only effective against a type of piracy that is very rare in products that have launched. This should have been obvious.

O/P: Perfect analysis of the situation, which will unfortunately fall on deaf ears. Ubisoft will see their products being pirated more and think the only choice is even worse DRM, completely missing the point that their existing DRM is creating the environment where piracy of their products are increasing, it becomes circular. I don't kno,w maybe they want to get the piracy on PC for their games up to 90% so it fits in with what they already believe. Then they can chuck in the towel.

You and your edits. No company can control every aspect of the people it employs. If it was up to the employer, then yes. It would hire only people they can trust. And they try, but after signing an NDA about, say, a certain line of products, what would stop you from saying "Oh, the new toys from Zeph-Tek have this, and that!" To your new friends? It's not like work would ever find out. Perhaps these material objects are small, and easy to sneak out, or digital, and easy to upload? You just want to be a good friend and give your buddies a slice of the cake beforehand.

DRM does help in this case. Because, what's the point of getting that shiny new toy to your buddies if it falls apart when connected to another computer? Or if you need a key to open it that are closely managed, and kept away from the general group of employees. You can't watch every single computer running at the same time, the monitoring team would be twice the size of your programming team. While it's a nice bonus to have your game protected after it's released, I have a very difficult time believing that even ubisoft believes that their DRM actually prevents piracy forever. It's just a nicer bonus to have your game protected and un-pirateable for a bit longer out of the gate. Again, obvious comparison time... Do you want your game un-pirateable for 3 days? or 2 weeks after release? Go on, think on this for a while.

draythefingerless:
[...]rarely do PC games get cracked before release. that is almost entirely a console problem. i see nowadays EVERY console game gets cracked into torrents a week beore it comes out. ALL OF THEM.

Xeorm:
[...]This type of "piracy" is solved by requiring a cd in the drive. That's about all you need, and isn't very limiting at all, and doesn't annoy the customer too much

And these two, one answered the other's question but I'll answer the other and recap anyway.
CD's are ungodly easy to steal. We use counterfeit discs in the cybercafe I worked in once, but kept the licenses and game discs in a safe out back so we knew that if the game got stolen, we'd still have the original copy. This was actually my idea, because I couldn't convince the store owner that as long as you had the license, you were OK. That, and having a source to copy from was nice. People would wait until the only clerk in the store was occupied selling coffee or smokes and quickly pocket the discs, regardless wither or not the game's art was on it, or "Shooter" was sharpie'd on it.

That was a long recap...

As for why it's not so bad to see Xbox360 games on the torrent sites? You actually need some skills to play them. Piracy groups out there make it as easy as "Install, use this key, copy this here, and run that bat." to pirate a PC game. But on an X-box? Shit, even the original Xbox required you to hot-swap a harddrive to really get some modifications on the go, other consoles require you to solder a fucking chip in there. And if you fuck up? $200, maybe $300 gone, plus the cost of the chip you tried to install. Have a manufacturer's defect soon? Too bad, your warranty died the second you cracked open that shell. Piracy on the consoles is restricted to a select few of dedicated people with money to burn and a diploma or degree in Information Technology.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Because they will pay for good games: Just ask Tim Schafer.

I wonder how much money they'd make with an "official removal of DRM" kickstarter.

-Dragmire-:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Because they will pay for good games: Just ask Tim Schafer.

I wonder how much money they'd make with an "official removal of DRM" kickstarter.

If there's going to be a move towards Kickstarter, I see that as the best possible consequence. Yeah, you'll still get jerkoffs who buy up the boob/bomb games, but they're gonna have to pay up front. The onus of value is put back onto the publishers, rather than on the customer.

No, it won't work for every game - but it'll breed a far greater need for a good consumer-developer dynamic.

Equally, if ActiBliz know that people want a level 70 Group Raid and people are willing to pay for it - there's your backing, your audience and your consumer in one set of emails. All you have to do is make them happy - which is gonna be a lot easier than trying to convince the Goldenshire CyberTaurens to part with their money. But that's an udder challenge.

BeerTent:
Piracy on the consoles is restricted to a select few of dedicated people with money to burn and a diploma or degree in Information Technology.

At least in Russia one can find and buy an already "patched" console by doing a simple google search. So all it takes is a single person with "a diploma or degree in Information Technology" willing to make some money.

BeerTent:

Shamus Young:
Ubisoft vs. Ubisoft's Customers

Ubisoft's DRM only works against an outdated mode of piracy.

Read Full Article

Your missing something.

This IS how piracy works before the game is released, sharing discs. What's more embarrassing? Having your creation stolen by the masses a week after it was released, cracked by... Err, a "Certain group", or a week before it was released when Carl's sister's buddy uploaded it for said group?

Still though, I agree... Ubisoft is a little more than draconian.

I can understand that, but if that's their reasoning, they should make like CDProjekt and get that drm out of the product post-release, or at least make the drm much less restrictive.

BeerTent:
-snip-
You and your edits. No company can control every aspect of the people it employs. If it was up to the employer, then yes. It would hire only people they can trust. And they try, but after signing an NDA about, say, a certain line of products, what would stop you from saying "Oh, the new toys from Zeph-Tek have this, and that!" To your new friends? It's not like work would ever find out. Perhaps these material objects are small, and easy to sneak out, or digital, and easy to upload? You just want to be a good friend and give your buddies a slice of the cake beforehand.

DRM does help in this case. Because, what's the point of getting that shiny new toy to your buddies if it falls apart when connected to another computer? Or if you need a key to open it that are closely managed, and kept away from the general group of employees. You can't watch every single computer running at the same time, the monitoring team would be twice the size of your programming team. While it's a nice bonus to have your game protected after it's released, I have a very difficult time believing that even ubisoft believes that their DRM actually prevents piracy forever. It's just a nicer bonus to have your game protected and un-pirateable for a bit longer out of the gate. Again, obvious comparison time... Do you want your game un-pirateable for 3 days? or 2 weeks after release? Go on, think on this for a while.
-snip-

Sorry if it annoys you, but I do certainly make use of the edit function. Blame the Escapist who put in the first response in the quote notification rather than just a link.

To you point. I agree that companies should put in place measures to try and make the first few weeks of a games release piracy free. I have no problem with that. The problem comes when those measures are left in place after the game is cracked and the piracy starts. Any company with half a brain cell should remove the DRM from the game at that point, or should put in DRM that times out after a month. There is no defence for Ubisoft's DRM implantations.

To your original point, it is not the sharing that causes the problem, but when the shared copy gets put on-line. Publishers should not care if a couple of people get copies of the game before release. Like piracy after release it is the spread across the internet that causes the issue (the article writer's point), not the sharing by a couple of people. If the DRM is a delaying tactic to stop the spread across the internet for a few, then fine, but it serves no purpose, but to hurt your legitimate customers and your sales, after the game is available internet.

Will now try to resist editing....

I miss FADE...yes, I am actually advocating DRM here (the lesser of two evils)

FADE is probably the biggest success in DRM history as it has NEVER been successfully in its entire 11 year history. Yes, 11 YEARS! And, contrary to popular belief, Bohemia Interactive, NOT Codemasters, created this ingenious system. Yes, the original FADE was invented by Macrovision, but BIS has since modified it so much that you can hardly call it Macrovision's product.

The DRM system works in three parts, a CD-KEY checker, a Hash Checker, and the executable itself where the two merge and that also works as a disk checker.

The CD-KEY checker checks the CD-KEY(shut-up!) for accuracy. It runs it against CD-KEY check algorithm for the given region creating two forms defense. First, you must be using a valid CD-KEY and second, it has to be for the appropriate region. So, no running off to Serials(no, I will not include the whole domain name) and grabbing yourself a set of German CD-KEYs if you live in the States...

Now, the CD-KEY checker CAN be spoofed...but that is what the Hash Checker is for. The Hash Checker hashes all relevant DRM bits of the game code and creates a hash table, and then compares it against the known-good hash table. If it's off, even slightly, it triggers FADE. And, if one attempts to modify the hash checker, you run the risk of breaking it, or tripping the FADE trigger in the .EXE

So, if you modify any one or two parts, the 3rd will get you. This system has proven so successful, that no crack group, has ever managed to crack it.

11 years, one full decade of uncompromised protection, and it's one of the least intrusive DRM schemes ever made! Just type in your CD-KEY and you are good to go. No online activation, no spyware, just a God damned CD-KEY check and disk check just like 15 years ago!

For more reading on FADE....

Whoops, can link ya there....

Hmm, and DRMwatch seems to have gone the way of the dodo....

And of course the wiki article is crap....

Elementlmage:
I miss FADE...yes, I am actually advocating DRM here (the lesser of two evils)

FADE is probably the biggest success in DRM history as it has NEVER been successfully in its entire 11 year history. Yes, 11 YEARS! And, contrary to popular belief, Bohemia Interactive, NOT Codemasters, created this ingenious system. Yes, the original FADE was invented by Macrovision, but BIS has since modified it so much that you can hardly call it Macrovision's product.

The DRM system works in three parts, a CD-KEY checker, a Hash Checker, and the executable itself where the two merge and that also works as a disk checker.

The CD-KEY checker checks the CD-KEY(shut-up!) for accuracy. It runs it against CD-KEY check algorithm for the given region creating two forms defense. First, you must be using a valid CD-KEY and second, it has to be for the appropriate region. So, no running off to Serials(no, I will not include the whole domain name) and grabbing yourself a set of German CD-KEYs if you live in the States...

Now, the CD-KEY checker CAN be spoofed...but that is what the Hash Checker is for. The Hash Checker hashes all relevant DRM bits of the game code and creates a hash table, and then compares it against the known-good hash table. If it's off, even slightly, it triggers FADE. And, if one attempts to modify the hash checker, you run the risk of breaking it, or tripping the FADE trigger in the .EXE

So, if you modify any one or two parts, the 3rd will get you. This system has proven so successful, that no crack group, has ever managed to crack it.

11 years, one full decade of uncompromised protection, and it's one of the least intrusive DRM schemes ever made! Just type in your CD-KEY and you are good to go. No online activation, no spyware, just a God damned CD-KEY check and disk check just like 15 years ago!

For more reading on FADE....

Whoops, can link ya there....

Hmm, and DRMwatch seems to have gone the way of the dodo....

And of course the wiki article is crap....

uhm...sory to bust your balls, but FADE has been surpassed. Ive seen the Overlord games cracked, as well as Operation Flashpoint. both of wich used FADE...so...sorry?

BeerTent:

ph0b0s123:

BeerTent:

Your missing something.

This IS how piracy works before the game is released, sharing discs. What's more embarrassing? Having your creation stolen by the masses a week after it was released, cracked by... Err, a "Certain group", or a week before it was released when Carl's sister's buddy uploaded it for said group?

Still though, I agree... Ubisoft is a little more than draconian.

It would be a good point if it had anything to do with the discussion at hand. How is your point applicable to the discussion about the DRM in the final product? The games getting shared before release is a failure on the part if the game maker to control their product before release. It has nothing to do with DRM or the point the poster was making, that the DRM in the final product is only effective against a type of piracy that is very rare in products that have launched. This should have been obvious.

O/P: Perfect analysis of the situation, which will unfortunately fall on deaf ears. Ubisoft will see their products being pirated more and think the only choice is even worse DRM, completely missing the point that their existing DRM is creating the environment where piracy of their products are increasing, it becomes circular. I don't kno,w maybe they want to get the piracy on PC for their games up to 90% so it fits in with what they already believe. Then they can chuck in the towel.

You and your edits. No company can control every aspect of the people it employs. If it was up to the employer, then yes. It would hire only people they can trust. And they try, but after signing an NDA about, say, a certain line of products, what would stop you from saying "Oh, the new toys from Zeph-Tek have this, and that!" To your new friends? It's not like work would ever find out. Perhaps these material objects are small, and easy to sneak out, or digital, and easy to upload? You just want to be a good friend and give your buddies a slice of the cake beforehand.

DRM does help in this case. Because, what's the point of getting that shiny new toy to your buddies if it falls apart when connected to another computer? Or if you need a key to open it that are closely managed, and kept away from the general group of employees. You can't watch every single computer running at the same time, the monitoring team would be twice the size of your programming team. While it's a nice bonus to have your game protected after it's released, I have a very difficult time believing that even ubisoft believes that their DRM actually prevents piracy forever. It's just a nicer bonus to have your game protected and un-pirateable for a bit longer out of the gate. Again, obvious comparison time... Do you want your game un-pirateable for 3 days? or 2 weeks after release? Go on, think on this for a while.

draythefingerless:
[...]rarely do PC games get cracked before release. that is almost entirely a console problem. i see nowadays EVERY console game gets cracked into torrents a week beore it comes out. ALL OF THEM.

Xeorm:
[...]This type of "piracy" is solved by requiring a cd in the drive. That's about all you need, and isn't very limiting at all, and doesn't annoy the customer too much

And these two, one answered the other's question but I'll answer the other and recap anyway.
CD's are ungodly easy to steal. We use counterfeit discs in the cybercafe I worked in once, but kept the licenses and game discs in a safe out back so we knew that if the game got stolen, we'd still have the original copy. This was actually my idea, because I couldn't convince the store owner that as long as you had the license, you were OK. That, and having a source to copy from was nice. People would wait until the only clerk in the store was occupied selling coffee or smokes and quickly pocket the discs, regardless wither or not the game's art was on it, or "Shooter" was sharpie'd on it.

That was a long recap...

As for why it's not so bad to see Xbox360 games on the torrent sites? You actually need some skills to play them. Piracy groups out there make it as easy as "Install, use this key, copy this here, and run that bat." to pirate a PC game. But on an X-box? Shit, even the original Xbox required you to hot-swap a harddrive to really get some modifications on the go, other consoles require you to solder a fucking chip in there. And if you fuck up? $200, maybe $300 gone, plus the cost of the chip you tried to install. Have a manufacturer's defect soon? Too bad, your warranty died the second you cracked open that shell. Piracy on the consoles is restricted to a select few of dedicated people with money to burn and a diploma or degree in Information Technology.

HAHAH. A SELECT FEW? BOY DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA...you do realize that not everyone chips their own console right? there are thru out the world many people who will offer their chipping services to chip other peoples consoles. In fact, thats how the vast majority people get their consoles chipped. consoles sell a lot of games, but in proportion, they also get pirated a LOT. as i recall a few months(or year) back i saw a stat for some games pirated in each of the platforms. 360 had around 1 million numbers of pirated copies per game in their top, but the 360 legitimate copies are selled more, so thats why people dont pay as much attention to piracy on console, since theyre making a huge profit with or without it. lol, i cant believe you think everyone chips their own console...i know soooo many people who just go to a guy and pay him 30 bucks to chip their consoles. so. many. people. chipping is practically a business. then they just torrent the game, burn it to a dvd and play it. wich btw, is much easier than the process you have with a torent in the pc, with cracks, sometimes second software to disable securities, then DLLs you need to copy around...

Valanthe:

lotr rocks 0:

shintakie10:

Your first point is one I've been harpin to friends lately. People keep throwin money at them so they take it as some sort of confirmation from the players that they're doin the right thing with their DRM. Until they stop makin money, they wont stop usin the DRM. I remember when the always on DRM was announced and how many people used this line "Well I guess I'm getting the 360 version. Ubisoft can suck it." Like buyin the 360 version was somehow a snub to Ubisoft.

As for the rest, that...sounds awful. You seriously couldn't activate two different product keys for the same game twice on the same account? Like...what the hell is the point of that?

I bet if you didn't buy their game, they'd attribute all the losses to piracy anyway, so no matter what, unless you get a mass letter writing campaign or something to tell them THIS IS WHY IM NOT BUYING YOUR GAME, it's pretty much a lose-lose situation.

basically this is exactly what I've done. I wrote a long email expressing all of my concerns about the direction and attitudes expressed by the talking heads at Ubisoft and worte that I will no longer be buying any of their games until they clean up their act and start treating their legitimate, paying customers with an ounce of respect.

I got a machine-written "We are sorry that you are unhappy with our product... yadda yadda" from a noreply customer service rep, and a week later that artica=le came out about them calling out PC Gamers for their "Bitching."

Long story short, I've gone out of my way to avoid Ubisoft titles ever since... Actually, that's not true, I bought Assassin's Creed, the original for 360 from Gamestop, used.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, but if you really want them to realize the real problem, you need more than just one person to vocally express their discontent and back it up with their wallets. That's the only way they'll learn.

Some people say that this DRM isn't really there to stop piracy, but used game sales. That's possible, but also pointless. The used-game PC market has been dead for years. I don't know of any chain stores that still accept used PC games. So again, this DRM is useless. It's costing them money and generating bad PR for no reason.

You forgot the current push for permanent rental states in games.

Having watched Xboxlive and Steam (plus others) grow, I am convinced that a lot of the current DRM systems are designed primarily to allow publishers to end a game's lifespan when they choose, as opposed to when you choose.

The willingness of XBL/PSN users to simply accept that when a game has it's 'support' removed it is essentially dead baffles me. What on earth in a peer to peer based system requires support on the publisher's part? Yet every year dozens of games get the can and nobody seems to question it, all marching along to happily buy the full price sequel (especially in sports games).

I think Ubisoft's DRM system is a concious effort to apply that model to all games all the time. When the right moment arrives (usually the next sequel or two down the road) they can declare a lack of demand and render millions upon millions of paid for games moot. No doubt by that point there will be some kind of download store to allow you to re-buy the game, which millions more will do, because people are stupid like that.

"It could link itself to a particular install of Windows, but that's nothing more than a simple registry key than can be easily spoofed."

See, now that's something only a small fraction of the audience knows how to do, and obscuring that entry by making it some random number is not difficult. I can use Regedit, but what percentage of the gaming population (a also can use Regedit, b)could track down that key to copy it and hand it out?

And if it were randomized for each install and then reported to Ubisoft along with the license key via some kind of inter-network technology (I know I'm taking a flyer there), how could the average consumer ever break it?

In short, just as unlicensed consumption has evolved, so have the methods of combatting it. DRM is not an evolution of such methods, it's a horribly wrong answer, about as correct as putting the burden on posters to prove they're not spambots via Captcha.

However, just as in most other things, technology adoption is not about the best answer, it's about the most popular one. Captcha is popular with webmasters because it's easy and publicly shows that someone is Doing Something, and DRM is popular with software business leadership for the exact same reasons.

lotr rocks 0:
[

This is definitely a step in the right direction, but if you really want them to realize the real problem, you need more than just one person to vocally express their discontent and back it up with their wallets. That's the only way they'll learn.

In a perfect world, eh? I posted a similar thing in another thread, but basically, I know my one letter isn't going to change a damn thing, but it makes me feel better to know I have the stones to stick to my guns, and hopefully if I can convince enough people (While trying hard not to sound like a pretentious douchebag, much harder than it seems) someday these companies might get the hint.

draythefingerless:

Elementlmage:
I miss FADE...yes, I am actually advocating DRM here (the lesser of two evils)

FADE is probably the biggest success in DRM history as it has NEVER been successfully in its entire 11 year history. Yes, 11 YEARS! And, contrary to popular belief, Bohemia Interactive, NOT Codemasters, created this ingenious system. Yes, the original FADE was invented by Macrovision, but BIS has since modified it so much that you can hardly call it Macrovision's product.

The DRM system works in three parts, a CD-KEY checker, a Hash Checker, and the executable itself where the two merge and that also works as a disk checker.

The CD-KEY checker checks the CD-KEY(shut-up!) for accuracy. It runs it against CD-KEY check algorithm for the given region creating two forms defense. First, you must be using a valid CD-KEY and second, it has to be for the appropriate region. So, no running off to Serials(no, I will not include the whole domain name) and grabbing yourself a set of German CD-KEYs if you live in the States...

Now, the CD-KEY checker CAN be spoofed...but that is what the Hash Checker is for. The Hash Checker hashes all relevant DRM bits of the game code and creates a hash table, and then compares it against the known-good hash table. If it's off, even slightly, it triggers FADE. And, if one attempts to modify the hash checker, you run the risk of breaking it, or tripping the FADE trigger in the .EXE

So, if you modify any one or two parts, the 3rd will get you. This system has proven so successful, that no crack group, has ever managed to crack it.

11 years, one full decade of uncompromised protection, and it's one of the least intrusive DRM schemes ever made! Just type in your CD-KEY and you are good to go. No online activation, no spyware, just a God damned CD-KEY check and disk check just like 15 years ago!

For more reading on FADE....

Whoops, can link ya there....

Hmm, and DRMwatch seems to have gone the way of the dodo....

And of course the wiki article is crap....

uhm...sorry to bust your balls, but FADE has been surpassed. Ive seen the Overlord games cracked, as well as Operation Flashpoint. both of which used FADE...so...sorry?

No, I'm sorry to be busting your balls...

Overlord uses just the disk check system that Macrovision pioneered and shares little in common with the BIS version of FADE.

There is not a single crack for OFP, Arma or Arma 2 that does NOT trigger fade. They deactivate the disk check sure. But, they leave the hash check and CD-KEY check intact. What's more, the game actually knows you are using a cracked .EXE and will taunt you for it, even going so far as to turn you into a seagull during the middle of gameplay!

The ONLY reason why pirated versions of Arma and Arma 2 are playable now is because BIS decided to remove the disk check, which removes the necessity of using a crack to get the game started.

It's kind of scary when you think about it. More and more publishers are treating us consumers like we're renting the game instead of buying it. You don't rent movies, books, and cd's for full price, do you?

draythefingerless:
[...]
HAHAH. A SELECT FEW? BOY DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA...you do realize that not everyone chips their own console right? there are thru out the world many people who will offer their chipping services to chip other peoples consoles. In fact, thats how the vast majority people get their consoles chipped. consoles sell a lot of games, but in proportion, they also get pirated a LOT. as i recall a few months(or year) back i saw a stat for some games pirated in each of the platforms. 360 had around 1 million numbers of pirated copies per game in their top, but the 360 legitimate copies are selled more, so thats why people dont pay as much attention to piracy on console, since theyre making a huge profit with or without it. lol, i cant believe you think everyone chips their own console...i know soooo many people who just go to a guy and pay him 30 bucks to chip their consoles. so. many. people. chipping is practically a business. then they just torrent the game, burn it to a dvd and play it. wich btw, is much easier than the process you have with a torent in the pc, with cracks, sometimes second software to disable securities, then DLLs you need to copy around...

You've dodged my point.

While yes, you can pay someone to do it, what happens if the person who chips the console makes a mistake? Now your sitting on an additional 30-50 (I'd charge 50) lost. My point still stands. Piracy on a console is a lot of work, and it's still an investment. Pirating on a PC? Hell, even you could do it, and I had a 7 year old machine that could still play today's games.

ph0b0s123:
[...]Sorry if it annoys you, but I do certainly make use of the edit function. Blame the Escapist who put in the first response in the quote notification rather than just a link.

Don't worry, it didn't bother me.

ph0b0s123:
To you point. I agree that companies should put in place measures to try and make the first few weeks of a games release piracy free. I have no problem with that. The problem comes when those measures are left in place after the game is cracked and the piracy starts. Any company with half a brain cell should remove the DRM from the game at that point, or should put in DRM that times out after a month. There is no defence for Ubisoft's DRM implantations.

Except that the DRM probably isn't made by Ubisoft, and Ubisoft has put a lot of time and money into implementing DRM. Why would you dump that much money, and that much work into something, just to toss it post release? Furthermore, the other company making the software had probably forced Ubi into a cozy contract, keeping the software in place. And while I have stated that just about anyone with an understanding of the standard USB or PS/2 mouse an pirate, not everyone can do it. Making something DRM free would put people like my roommate, who would go insane if he had to try circumvent some security measures, able to pirate the game. Which will bring me to my next point...

ph0b0s123:
To your original point, it is not the sharing that causes the problem, but when the shared copy gets put on-line. Publishers should not care if a couple of people get copies of the game before release. Like piracy-

Hold the fuck up, what was that?

ph0b0s123:
Publishers should not care if a couple of people get copies of the game before release.

Yes, yes they should. If a couple of people get copies of the game, that's lost revenue. Unaccounted for. There's a reason why they bash it in your head on your first job that SHRINK IS BAD! It's lost money, and you don't go into business, or invest in a business to lose money. That's retarded. I'm sorry.

If we look in the past, I believe that it was Crysis that had quite a considerable amount of people gnawing to play it. Thanks to media hype(God forbid they invest in anything other than that and graphics), it was the topic on quite a few people's mind, so when it became available on torrent sites a few weeks before release, people stole the shit out of it. Every single estimated pirated copy is a very good chance that someone won't buy the game. They're having a chance at a possibly untested version of the game, and over half of them think it's what's going to hit store shelves. Not only do you have people who stile your AAA title, but half of them are badmouthing it because they found a bug your QA hasn't yet.

Looking in the past again, can we also keep in mind that over half of the people complaining about DRM are pirates as well? I've seen threads on the Overheat bug, and bashing DRM at the same time back when I had Mass Effect. There were some bugs left in the game that only pirates had, the Savegame bug, and the Overheat bug were the ones, and they'd come to the official forums ripping at BioWare. (Take note, with this, I'm not saying you, or anyone else here, pirated the game.)

I've come to a realisation after reading this that I don't like.

Ubisoft's argument is roughly this "We put a lot of work into this product, we deserve paying for our hard work" which in essence I agree with.

However, it occurs to me that I also work damn hard 8-4 5 days a week. I work very hard to get paid. I then spend this pay on games.

My realisation is this: I work hard to buy a computer game, then they take away my hard work and give me nothing. When their activation limit hits or their activation servers fail, how are they ANY better than the pirates?

Elementlmage:

draythefingerless:

Elementlmage:
I miss FADE...yes, I am actually advocating DRM here (the lesser of two evils)

FADE is probably the biggest success in DRM history as it has NEVER been successfully in its entire 11 year history. Yes, 11 YEARS! And, contrary to popular belief, Bohemia Interactive, NOT Codemasters, created this ingenious system. Yes, the original FADE was invented by Macrovision, but BIS has since modified it so much that you can hardly call it Macrovision's product.

The DRM system works in three parts, a CD-KEY checker, a Hash Checker, and the executable itself where the two merge and that also works as a disk checker.

The CD-KEY checker checks the CD-KEY(shut-up!) for accuracy. It runs it against CD-KEY check algorithm for the given region creating two forms defense. First, you must be using a valid CD-KEY and second, it has to be for the appropriate region. So, no running off to Serials(no, I will not include the whole domain name) and grabbing yourself a set of German CD-KEYs if you live in the States...

Now, the CD-KEY checker CAN be spoofed...but that is what the Hash Checker is for. The Hash Checker hashes all relevant DRM bits of the game code and creates a hash table, and then compares it against the known-good hash table. If it's off, even slightly, it triggers FADE. And, if one attempts to modify the hash checker, you run the risk of breaking it, or tripping the FADE trigger in the .EXE

So, if you modify any one or two parts, the 3rd will get you. This system has proven so successful, that no crack group, has ever managed to crack it.

11 years, one full decade of uncompromised protection, and it's one of the least intrusive DRM schemes ever made! Just type in your CD-KEY and you are good to go. No online activation, no spyware, just a God damned CD-KEY check and disk check just like 15 years ago!

For more reading on FADE....

Whoops, can link ya there....

Hmm, and DRMwatch seems to have gone the way of the dodo....

And of course the wiki article is crap....

uhm...sorry to bust your balls, but FADE has been surpassed. Ive seen the Overlord games cracked, as well as Operation Flashpoint. both of which used FADE...so...sorry?

No, I'm sorry to be busting your balls...

Overlord uses just the disk check system that Macrovision pioneered and shares little in common with the BIS version of FADE.

There is not a single crack for OFP, Arma or Arma 2 that does NOT trigger fade. They deactivate the disk check sure. But, they leave the hash check and CD-KEY check intact. What's more, the game actually knows you are using a cracked .EXE and will taunt you for it, even going so far as to turn you into a seagull during the middle of gameplay!

The ONLY reason why pirated versions of Arma and Arma 2 are playable now is because BIS decided to remove the disk check, which removes the necessity of using a crack to get the game started.

hmmm, ive never played Arma Arma 2, and i certainly wouldnt have played it pirated, so i dont know how that shit went down... remains to be seen if they removed it cause it got cracked or vice versa. still, in the end,there are Arma and Arma 2(these are the most recentgames) pirated copies floating around that work just fine so...still a fail in my book.

Oh and another thing. dont say that FADE has been around for 11 years if youre gona use its triple check system as the defense. thats a new edition of it, and that has definitly not been around for 11 years. the gameplay degradation has(wich is hilarious DRM). To my knowledge, the hash and disck check were only added when the ARMA gmes came out.
in another note, another security measure(althou not for DRM) that i like that lately came out is Steam Guard.

BeerTent:
-snip-

Too much to respond to completely, so I will try and respond to the main points in your post.

"Why would you dump that much money, and that much work into something, just to toss it post release?"

Because it makes the actual game less desirable than a pirate copy, once pirate copies are available. Is it right that people get the pirate copy, no. That does not change the fact that people would prefer to get a free copy that they can use without being booted off if their Internet connection is rubbish.

"Yes, yes they should. If a couple of people get copies of the game, that's lost revenue."

You are a crazy company if you cannot take even one person having a free copy of your game. You cannot 100% stop piracy, never have in the past, never will in the future. If you are poring resources into stopping just this level of piracy while the game is being copied around the Internet when cracked you are idiots.

"It's lost money, and you don't go into business, or invest in a business to lose money."

No, but you build in the fact that you will have losses in production, transport etc and theft of your product. And to my knowledge none of the most pirated games have resulted in games companies losing money, they just have not made as much profit as they think / hope they can make.

I am not going to get into a debate on how much piracy is equal to an actual lost sale, as you look to have already made up your mind. Since there is hardly any evidence out there on this it is pretty much a 'matter of faith' for most people and until there is actual evidence, it is pointless debating it. Even all the industry can say is that piracy cost them sales, but even they cannot workout how many sales it has lost them and therefore the damage it has done to them (apart from the crazy figures that pull out of their butt all the time). Saying piracy cost sales is just as true if you lost 1% of your sales to piracy, as it is for if you lost 90%. You can argue that even 1% is too much, but every game ever released has had at least this much piracy without the games companies falling into the toilet, or making a song and dance about it until the Internet came along.

Your point about Crysis which I believe was actually Crysis 2 with the leak before launch, was not good as the reality was that everyone knew the leak was an alpha. Also the reports were that people showed a lot of self control and did not pirate the leak as much as feared (http://torrentfreak.com/crysis-2-leak-fails-to-result-in-massive-download-fest-110213/). That it was pirated after the release or did not having as many sales as expected, has not much to do with the leak, but to do with it only having DX 9 at launch (and no options). I certainly did not buy it until the DX 11 patch came out (which meant I paid less than the release price) and I was a big Crysis fan, buying a new PC mainly for the requirements second game might need...

And the idea that most of the people who complain about DRM are pirates is stupid. Pirates don't have to deal with DRM, that's the point. Your anecdote about Mass Effect does not change this fact, just that the people who cracked Mass effect did a bad job of it, it was a one off. For every other cracked game the pirates don;t care about DRM as they don't see it. Hence why it is counter productive.

I complain about Ubisoft's DRM because I am a legitimate customer who has had to go through their DRM. I don't pirate and don't support it. I am fed up of being punished for something I am not doing. The best / worst case was HAWX 2 where I finally got to the end of a very difficult mission for the first time, in many attempts, and just before saving that I had finished, the game stops and tells me it cannot connect to the server. After about 10 seconds it sees the server again, but instead of putting my back where I was, it starts the mission again. In amongst the expletives going through my head, I did ask myself at that point 'why did I buy rather than pirate this again?'. This was 9 month after the game had come out when everyone who was going to pirate had already done so, but my game was still stuck in 'must stop piracy' mode rather 'thanks for purchasing' mode....

ph0b0s123:
[...]Because it makes the actual game less desirable than a pirate copy, once pirate copies are available. Is it right that people get the pirate copy, no. That does not change the fact that people would prefer to get a free copy that they can use without being booted off if their Internet connection is rubbish.[...]

From their perspective though, it's the many vs the few situation. Piss off one Cx for every 10,000 that's happy? Or make everyone happy, and just put your game out on a string for anyone to take?

The latter is not very appealing.

ph0b0s123:
[...]You are a crazy company if you cannot take even one person having a free copy of your game. You cannot 100% stop piracy, never have in the past, never will in the future. If you are poring resources into stopping just this level of piracy while the game is being copied around the Internet when cracked you are idiots.[...]

And all companies are clinically insane. Even out of the gate, DRM still works. Case in point, my roommate, who couldn't get around the simplest of security measures to save his life. They'll never get to stop it 100%, but again, which sounds nicer? Stopping it 90%? or spending money to drop that number back down to 0%?

ph0b0s123:
[...]No, but you build in the fact that you will have losses in production, transport etc and theft of your product. And to my knowledge none of the most pirated games have resulted in games companies losing money, they just have not made as much profit as they think / hope they can make.[...]

This is what I mean in lost money.You have 5 products selling at $10 each? And one gets stolen. If that didn't get stolen, you'd have been $10 richer if they all got sold. That's $10 lost. Gone, never to be seen again. Ignore the cost to make, or purchase the product from the Manuf. You still lost $10 from your tiny business. If we look at more expensive product's, or a torrent link for a cheaper product, again, it's lost money. I agree that Piracy will never drop someone in the red, but they won't go as far up in the black.

Aside, it's not something you'd ever want to admit, that you lost money after coming out of the production stage. We're both going on speculation on this one.

As for the other tidbits, as I also think you got a good idea with going point by point, and it's a bit of a pain to cut out and point at different parts with quote tags.

"I am not going to get into a debate on how much piracy is equal to an actual lost sale, as you look to have already made up your mind."

It kind of is, and keep in mind, I'm skittering around Escapist's rules by admitting this, but for someone like me, who has a few friends who ask "What games are good?" ETC. My opinion, and my EXHDD speak for roughly 20 people. If your game is below par, that's 20 people lost back then. If the game had an easily accessed Multiplayer, again, potential 20 sales lost.

Now, not every single pirated copy speaks for 20 people. I could say it's from 1 to 20 people who may or may not have bought the game. Again though, speculation.

"You can argue that even 1% is too much, but every game ever released has had at least this much piracy without the games companies falling into the toilet, or making a song and dance about it until the Internet came along."

Back when I was a kid, it was actually pretty tough to come across games that were copied. A copied Floppy went around to 4 elementary school tech savvy kids. 15 teenagers, and if you were older, you probably didn't give a fuck because you have disposable income. (And you had to buy one copy yourself.) A torrent? There's a good reason why we're screechin' about them when it reads "35,000 seeds." And that's 1 or 2 bought copies.

"Your point about Crysis which I believe was actually Crysis 2 with the leak before launch[...] [TENT IS WRONG!]"

Perhaps I was thinking of another game. Thanks for your time for looking into this better than me.

"And the idea that most of the people who complain about DRM are pirates is stupid. Pirates don't have to deal with DRM, that's the point."

Oh, no... They still have to get around it. Assassin's Creed 2 for example. (I liked it, so I bought it.) Requires you to host your own auth server and modify your Hosts file, which is a bit of a security risk. Trust me when I say that's a lot of work and resources. Especially on a 7yr. old machine.

I know I'm bouncing back and forth, saying that any idiot could get their cracked copy, but then saying that piracy aint easy. I should have said that it depends on the game. Some games, which just use CD-Key auth, and mostly single-player experiences, or just require a CD in my non-existant Disk Drive are easy as fuck. Some games though, like AC2, ANNO, mostly Ubisoft titles and VALVe titles (Because of their multiplay only game design) are just downright impossible to effectively pirate. Wheras games like, or, Bastion and Minecraft(own both as Xmas presents.) are sort of a joke when it comes to the cracker's table.

I will state that your experience with HAWX is not unjustified though, and while I can't say either or, I'm willing to bet poor server management is to blame. If you are going to run an auth server, it needs to be up 24/7. And it can't take a second downtime, no matter the cost. I can't say anything for UK internet connections, but if it's as atrocious as the US's net, or even as bad as ours in Canada. I agree that Ubi should return to the drawing table for it's DRM.

My core point in all of this though, is that there is a reason why software companies look to these people and say "Hey, there's a reason why we're paying you to include this in our software." If DRM is as big of a problem to legitimate customers as you say it is, if it's so pointless and aggressive, and really does piss off more than just PC gamers with entitlement issues and would-be-pirates. (Again, not directed as you, this IS a problem for PC gaming.) then they wouldn't have put the money into it. This isn't cheap. You don't staple a note to the side of your box and call it DRM. This is a serious fucking investment. It works, and it doesn't work. Make sense?

ph0b0s123:

I complain about Ubisoft's DRM because I am a legitimate customer who has had to go through their DRM. I don't pirate and don't support it. I am fed up of being punished for something I am not doing. The best / worst case was HAWX 2 where I finally got to the end of a very difficult mission for the first time, in many attempts, and just before saving that I had finished, the game stops and tells me it cannot connect to the server. After about 10 seconds it sees the server again, but instead of putting my back where I was, it starts the mission again. In amongst the expletives going through my head, I did ask myself at that point 'why did I buy rather than pirate this again?'. This was 9 month after the game had come out when everyone who was going to pirate had already done so, but my game was still stuck in 'must stop piracy' mode rather 'thanks for purchasing' mode....

this entirely and completely rounds up every stray objection i have to heavy levels of DRM (i do use steam a lot and am mostly comfortable with it) and why i missed out on some games from ubi i was looking forward too and part of it is even though i have a high speed connection every once in a while i have to reset the modem after i lose connection thus making the games distasteful on other than principle

Adam Jensen:
All they have to do is release their games on Steam with some Team Fortress 2 items. That's all it fuckin' takes Ubisoft!

They did that with Assassins Creed: R. The fact that the game itself was a boring reskin of AC:B, which itself was a reskin of AC:2 didn't really help.

http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Sharp_Dresser

http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Dashin%27_Hashshashin

CymTyr:
It's kind of scary when you think about it. More and more publishers are treating us consumers like we're renting the game instead of buying it. You don't rent movies, books, and cd's for full price, do you?

You're aware that you don't actually own any games you may have on Steam right? You've essentially leased a CD-Key from valve.

I'm still baffled that people buy Ubisoft games on PC.. or anywhere at all. Their "Hey paying customer, screw you!" position has been cemented for a long time.

Beyond that, the company just seems bitchy. They're always complaining about how someone is screwing them over.

they are french, of course they are incompetent.

BeerTent:

Shamus Young:
Ubisoft vs. Ubisoft's Customers

Ubisoft's DRM only works against an outdated mode of piracy.

Read Full Article

Your missing something.

This IS how piracy works before the game is released, sharing discs. What's more embarrassing? Having your creation stolen by the masses a week after it was released, cracked by... Err, a "Certain group", or a week before it was released when Carl's sister's buddy uploaded it for said group?

Still though, I agree... Ubisoft is a little more than draconian.

the thing is, that only applies before a game is released.

You dont take into account the people who get the game at launch and break, crack, patch, re-break, re-patch, and make available to the pirating masses.

And yes, when you get a better customer service from a cracking group like Razor1911 or G4TW than the developer or publisher's customer service, you have failed as a game publisher/developer.

Really though, until Ubisoft figures out who customers are and why they should be treated as customers and not theives, Im not going to be purchasing any of their games.

which is a good thing, been wanting to try out Xyson for a while now.

This is exactly why the last Ubisoft game I bought was Assassin's Creed. The first one. Once I heard about their new always-online DRM plan, when it was still new, I decided then and there I was never going to buy another Ubisoft game until they stopped this bullshit. I'm proud to say I have stuck to this decision. Ubisoft will not receive another cent from me, on any platform, until they abandon their shitty DRM.

draythefingerless:
i know soooo many people who just go to a guy and pay him 30 bucks to chip their consoles. so. many. people. chipping is practically a business.

Some computer stores here in Australia advertise this service on banners out the front of the store. The legality of such a service has been challenged in the courts here and been declared legal.

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