PC Upgrades Trigger Ubisoft Activation Limits

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PC Upgrades Trigger Ubisoft Activation Limits

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PC hardware site Guru3D has discovered that component changes made to PCs count against videogame activation limits imposed by Ubisoft's DRM.

For a particular sub-species of PC gamer, there are few thing more exciting than testing a new lineup of video cards. The process of properly measuring and comparing voxellation and pixeltrons and tri-gigaboobs is stringent and time-consuming, but also incredibly informative and even entertaining, like a digital-era horse race. But when Guru3D tried to do a video card roundup with Ubisoft's relatively new Anno 2070, it ran into a bit of a snag. A snag called - surprise! - DRM.

Like many PC games these days, Anno 2070 can be activated a total of three times, which seemed perfectly fine to the reviewer: one for his personal system, one for the AMD test rig and one for the Nvidia setup. That was fine and dandy, until the reviewer pulled the GTX 580 from the Nvidia system and dropped in a GTX 590 for the next round. Suddenly the game demanded an activation, but when the activation key was entered a message popped up stating that the key had been used up and no more activations were available.

"Once we inserted that GeForce GTX 590 the hardware ID number hash changed rendering our activation invalid," the site explained. "This means that if we'd like to make a VGA performance review on Anno 2070 we'd need to purchase the game seven times. Ubisoft claims that you can send an email towards their support so that the activations are reset, we did so - yet are still awaiting ."

That conclusion was later confirmed by Ubisoft's marketing team in the Netherlands, where Guru3D is based. "Sorry to disappoint you - the game is indeed restricted to three hardware changes and there is simply no way to bypass that," it said in response to an inquiry. It also declined to give the site seven copies of the game to work with.

There's a reasonably happy ending to the story, at least for Guru3D: Ubisoft Blue Byte, which actually created the game, "unlocked" the key so the site could use the game in future tests without a lot of horsing around. The rest of us, however, remain pretty much hosed - a sadly common situation when it comes to Ubisoft DRM.

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Anyone who is still going to try and defend Ubisoft's draconian and downright ineffective-to-the-point-where-Willy-Coyote-wouldn't-touch-it joke of a "DRM"...

Please hand in your gamer card now so we may properly shred and disembowel it, as well as all your gaming systems (this goes towards PC AND Consoles).

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UBITHOFF!

Congratulations, dumbasses.

Hope he enjoyed his $60 rental.

Hey Ubisoft.. ya know why people pirate your stuff? This is why; $60 rentals. Maybe when you stops actively screwing over your paying customers, more people will be willing to pay.

Shame, I was considering trying the game out. A firm avoid until it gets removed, assuming they see sens- oh.

I had a similar problem a few years ago with music editing software. I'm surprised it took this long for it to be an issue with PC gaming.

I'm NOT surprised, however, the idea came from Ubisoft.

Does this explain why I haven't been able to play Splinter Cell: Conviction on Steam for the last three weeks?

See there's your first mistake: playing a Ubisoft game on PC.

Ah, Ubisoft. Haven't you run out of room in your mouth to stick more feet in?

Here is an honest question I have for PC enthusiasts. I built my PC 3 years ago and have been slowly upgrading it to meet my growing gaming needs. At what point does it become a new computer? (This specifically got me thinking when I downgraded from XP to Win7Pro64 with their activation nonsense). Obviously Ubisoft think's changing a mouse makes it a new system. I would probably reluctantly set my bar at the MoBo although I don't think there should be a bar)

drkchmst:
Here is an honest question I have for PC enthusiasts. I built my PC 3 years ago and have been slowly upgrading it to meet my growing gaming needs. At what point does it become a new computer? (This specifically got me thinking when I downgraded from XP to Win7Pro64 with their activation nonsense). Obviously Ubisoft think's changing a mouse makes it a new system. I would probably reluctantly set my bar at the MoBo although I don't think there should be a bar)

A modern version of the Ship of Theseus problem? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

Well game looked liked something I would buy but with that kind of DRM no thanks. Learned my lesson about not caring what drm game has I'm playing with Spore.

drkchmst:
Here is an honest question I have for PC enthusiasts. I built my PC 3 years ago and have been slowly upgrading it to meet my growing gaming needs. At what point does it become a new computer? (This specifically got me thinking when I downgraded from XP to Win7Pro64 with their activation nonsense). Obviously Ubisoft think's changing a mouse makes it a new system. I would probably reluctantly set my bar at the MoBo although I don't think there should be a bar)

for me it is when you get a new tower because something doesn't fit.
i have had my PC for 7 years
but i guess most people would say mobo or at the point where you have to get a new processor because your old one started burning.

Seems like Ubisoft and EA are in a competition to see who can dick over PC gamers the hardest. Looks like a tie so far.

Its almost like Ubisoft is afraid of making money. Why continue to make games on a platform where your actions continue to anger customers and lower the likelihood of them buying their products. If where an investor in Ubisoft I would be asking some stern questions to the bosses as to why they are determined to spend vast amounts of money and resources on making a large section of their target demographic hate the company.

The saddest thing about this is I cannot even get annoyed about ubisoft's antics anymore. They already given me ample reason not to buy their games on pc and make seriously think twice about the console versions too.

Haven't you guys heard the news? PC-gamers are all pirates, so this behavior is completely justified!

Whaaaa? Are you trying to tell me that no one in the history of this limited install bullshit tested to see if hardware changes count towards that limit? Seriously? On PCs? I'm not the smartest guy around but that was the first thing I asked when I heard Mass Effect will have limited number of installs. In 2008! It took 3 years for this to become an issue? Fucking mind-blowing.

When ever I hear about this BS I 'm surprised more people don't pirate out of spite...

And people wonder why folks go to consoles/crack their games?

Ubisoft is retarded, like full on...

drkchmst:
Here is an honest question I have for PC enthusiasts. I built my PC 3 years ago and have been slowly upgrading it to meet my growing gaming needs. At what point does it become a new computer? (This specifically got me thinking when I downgraded from XP to Win7Pro64 with their activation nonsense). Obviously Ubisoft think's changing a mouse makes it a new system. I would probably reluctantly set my bar at the MoBo although I don't think there should be a bar)

Nobody knows. The publishers won't say. It seems changing the video card counts, but I don't know if changing the RAM, processor, motherboard, or anything else counts.

They won't say. They either don't know or don't care. Or maybe a bit of both.

I just hope nobody turns away from trying this game just because of the DRM because Anno 2070 is a great game.

All it needed was a way of de-activating an activation. It achieves the same result, making sure the a copy of the game is not playable on more than 3 PC's at once. But no they had to make it that you can only activate 3 times total. You know what I hate more than DRM, badly implemented DRM. Later this year when Win 8 comes out I am going to be installing it repeatedly to get it just the way I like it. Those will also count as activations.

Not that I condone it, but now there is another excuse to pirate. To actually be able to play the game you brought in the first place. This is why for me Ubisoft games only get a chance at being purchased, once they hit the bargain bins.

You know, if I had bought that game when I first put my PC together, I wouldn't be able to play it now? Dead mobo swap, new GPU added, sound card added, new gpu added, more ram added, new ssd added, another new ssd added... not to mention all the Windows installs... yeah. Pretty sure that won't work for me.

On the other hand, I'm sure there's ways around it. You know, if you paid for it...

Gotta to applaud Ubisoft, just when you think they've run out of ways to piss pc gamers they go the extra mile and find another.

It shame I used to love blue byte games since I had the settlers on the amiga.

*sigh* I wish I could be shocked by this, I really do.

I hate piracy. Putting that out there to start with. I think there is no valid excuse for it; pony up to the bar if you wanna play, wait for a sale or a price drop if you think launch price is excessive, and if you dislike a company, rather than pirate, ignore them. Tell your friends to ignore them. Do your part and move on to the companies you want to do business with, buy their games when they hit a price point you are comfortable with, and support the industry.

That said, ye gods, Ubisoft, you're not making the job of people who want to be anti-piracy easy. How many DRM-related snafus will it take before you look at the bottom line and ask yourself why people are deserting you on the PC in droves? How many more half-hearted excuses are you going to make for why your PC game sales lag so far behind your console sales? How many times do you intend to viciously screw over your legitimate customers, thus making the cracked copies a legitimately superior product?

What stings the most in this, what sticks in my craw the most violently, is one single element of their reply; '...there is simply no way to bypass that.'

Bull.

Pirates do it. Pirates who do not have the support of the company that made the damn game and have the source code RIGHT THERE. You do NOT get to play the 'It is impossible to change this' card when you made the game, own the studio, contract the programmers, and could look right the hell now at the code that says how it works.

Again, I preface; I am not supporting pirates here. This is not an excuse to pirate this game. It is, however, a legitimate reason to _avoid_ this game like the plague, as I already do with all of Ubisoft's PC ventures, and indeed, their console versions as well. Guess I took being called a pirate since I game on my PC a bit personally.

It's a shame, because the game looks pretty cool. But the sad fact, Ubisoft, is you're not the only game in town. Especially not in the PC market. And the more times I see things like this crop up, the more reason the PC market has to turn its back on you. Wise up or drop out, Ubisoft, before you pollute your name any further.

And yet when I don't want to install a game because of DRM, I'm told to just deal with it, it's not that bad...

I'm glad Ubisoft's games are generally trash or else this might be a problem for me.

Good old Ubisoft. You can always trust them to do what they think is best for them, even if that thing is shooting themselves in the foot. This is why I don't buy their games. I almost bought this, only to notice it was published by Ubisoft. Then I didn't. No regrets now.

Limited numbers of installs are bullshit anyway, but this is just absurd.

poiuppx:
How many times do you intend to viciously screw over your legitimate customers, thus making the cracked copies a legitimately superior product?

If I bought this game and found out about it afterwards I'd be bloody fuming. I'd also crack it with no moral qualms at all, and I'm not fond of piracy either.
I'd almost want to be sued over it, just so I could walk into a court and present the copy of the game that I legitimately fucking bought!

I'm amazed that this is even legal.

Even by the minimal chance that it is, surely Ubisoft are required by law to state it in clear packaging BEFORE there's a purchase made?

FFS, you can't even buy peanuts without them saying "May Contain Nuts", but not "Will Stop Working When We Denote It".

I prescribe a simple test to Ubisoft's entire department.

It starts with a Boot to the Head.

It then continues with a Boot to the Head.

And then repeats until the consumer is satisfied.

Hasn't Ubisoft's DRM been around for like two years now? How are people just now discovering how it works? Are... are they literally the first people to legitimately b

poiuppx:
I hate piracy. Putting that out there to start with. I think there is no valid excuse for it; pony up to the bar if you wanna play, wait for a sale or a price drop if you think launch price is excessive, and if you dislike a company, rather than pirate, ignore them. Tell your friends to ignore them. Do your part and move on to the companies you want to do business with, buy their games when they hit a price point you are comfortable with, and support the industry.

THANK YOU. What is it about media in particular that people refuse to just boycott it? Are we so entitled that the idea of going without entertainment is just going too far? My favorite thing is when people say "piracy is a good thing because it's free publicity" and then turn around and say "I'm pirating this thing in protest because I hate the company". Um, if you hate the company then why are you doing the very thing that you claim is good for them? Either you're lying or you're stupid, dude.

For my own part, I've boycotted Ubisoft entirely until they get their heads on straight. They've made some games that have come highly recommended and are even available on Good Old Games DRM-free, but I'm not fucking buying them until they ditch their DRM system and patch it out of every last game they've ever made. So basically forever. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Oh, and don't get me started on people who say "Welp, I guess I'm getting the console version." Great. So not only are you not willing to keep your hands off the game, you're even still going to give the company your money and send the message that the PC gaming market is dead, thus helping to make it so when they use that as an excuse to stop making PC ports at all. I don't have a lot of respect for pirates, but I have far, faaaar less respect for that crowd.

Actually, I should qualify that previous statement about boycotting. Because I don't think people in general have the balls to boycott anything else either. The Internet is generally full of the most anger-prone people out there, and I still can't remember the last time anyone admitted they were actually boycotting a company they thought was evil. And keep in mind, many of those companies are guilty of a hell of a lot worse than just making it inconvenient to play a video game. Those entitlement issues apply to pretty much everything; it's just that media is easy to get and still abstain from paying for.

DVS BSTrD:
See there's your first mistake: playing a Ubisoft game on PC.

No, the first mistake was playing an Ubisoft game at all. It just doesn't make sense to support these thieves.

drkchmst:
Here is an honest question I have for PC enthusiasts. I built my PC 3 years ago and have been slowly upgrading it to meet my growing gaming needs. At what point does it become a new computer? (This specifically got me thinking when I downgraded from XP to Win7Pro64 with their activation nonsense). Obviously Ubisoft think's changing a mouse makes it a new system. I would probably reluctantly set my bar at the MoBo although I don't think there should be a bar)

Normal consensus is that it is a new PC if the motherboard is changed.

"No really, don't pirate our games. Yes, we understand that our games are, in essence, temporary unless you pirate them. Yes, we understand that only the people that actually paid money are at the whim of our less-than-functional equipment. Yes, we understand that our invasive programming is easier to manage if you rip us off. But... c'mon, I'm sure all of you will do the right thing."

"...well, for us... not... not for you."

I call shotgun when they do the same for consoles!

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