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Ubisoft’s ‘Always On’ DRM Hacked

by Kyle Lehtinen Apr 23, 2010 10:29 AM CST
filed under news

So who didn't see this coming? Ubisoft's digital rights management which requires the user to maintain a constant internet connection in order to play has now been hacked, essentially placing the DRM scheme at the apex of its uselessness. The hack was developed by a group called Skid Row and gives users the ability to play their games, namely Assassin's Creed II at this point, without the need for a connection to Ubi's authentication servers.

Hacks for this type of DRM have been around mere weeks after the Ubi initially started releasing games featuring the copy protection. What makes this hack different though is that it completely removes the games need to connect to an authentication server where as previous DRM circumvention techniques relied on allowing the game to authenticate with bogus servers. In a comment directed at Ubisoft Skid Row has said that Ubisoft should "next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes [sic] easier."

It's hard to argue that point. This is another case where a publisher's new fancy pants DRM scheme has been reduced to nothing more than a hinderance to the honest consumer.

[via Joystiq]

Ubisoft Giving Free Games to DRM Victims Affected by Server Outages

by Kyle Lehtinen Mar 26, 2010 2:09 PM CST
filed under news, pc

Ubisoft found the fast track lane to PC gamer's ire when they introduced a form of DRM that required a constant internet connection to play their games, and as a result the publisher had to endure the fruits of their new system that came by way of attacks against their authentication server by hackers and disgruntled gamers. Of course, when the authentication servers go down then nobody can play their game. At least Ubisoft is owning up to this fact by offering a free game from a select list of titles to those affected by the server attacks.

The games being offered aren't the best the publisher has to offer but a couple stand outs like Prince of Persia and HAWX are being offered. What is ironic however is that the games being given away will have no type of DRM. This is a nice gesture sure, but a better one would have been to remove the DRM altogether. Just my two cents.

The other two games being given away aside from Prince of Persia and HAWX are Heros Over Europe and Endwar.

C&C 4 Shackled by Internet Mandatory DRM

by Kyle Lehtinen Mar 18, 2010 11:10 AM CST
filed under news

Here we go again. We already have a notable example of why its a bad idea to  force paying consumers to be connected to the internet in order to play their games legitimately, but that hasn't stopped EA from getting in bed with Ubisoft's DRM philosophy. Command & Conquer 4 requires an internet connection to be played, and if you don't have one or it drops for more than a few seconds you're out of luck.

Offical word hit at EA's forums when a moderator addressed concerns regarding the game's "installation process." cleverly mentioning in a nonchalant  matter that the game requires an internet connection to be installed and played. Based off previous posts from the moderator, EA doesn't consider this a method of DRM, going so far as to say that C&C4 has no "DRM."

[via Kotaku]

Servers Go Down at Ubisoft Rendering DRM’d Games Useless

by Kyle Lehtinen Mar 8, 2010 9:46 AM CST
filed under news, pc

Ubisoft's draconian DRM, which requires legitimate PC gamers to have an internet connection at all times to play their games, has successfully displayed its ineptness by locking legitimate customers out of their games when the authentication servers went down over the weekend.  

There is currently a twelve page long thread at the Ubisoft forums full of gamers detailing their inability to play their games. As a result, gamers who took their chance with the DRM have had a rough time being able to log in and play the games packaged with the DRM, Assassin's Creed II and Silent Hunter V.  According to community managers from Ubisoft, the reason for the outage is a result of the over whelming demand the servers are currently facing. At this time it appears the servers are still experiencing issues.

In other news, piraters don't need to deal with this dilema because they already cracked the DRM measures the day after the games came out, rendering Ubisoft's whole point of shipping games with the DRM utterly pointless.

Ubisoft Defends Its Stupid DRM System

by Tyler Treat Feb 19, 2010 11:10 AM CST
filed under news, pc

Ubisoft's new DRM system hasn't exactly thrilled PC gamers. That's why they defended it while speaking with PC Gamer, saying it wouldn't have built the system "if we thought that it was really going to piss off our customers."

Well, it seems as though customers are pissed off already, and they haven't even got their hands on the games featuring the new system.

"We know that requiring a permanent online connection is not a happy point for a lot of PC gamers, but it is necessary for the system to work," a Ubisoft rep said yesterday.

[via CVG]

Ubisoft’s New DRM Punishes the Honest Consumer

by Kyle Lehtinen Feb 17, 2010 10:10 PM CST
filed under news, pc

DRM is a touchy subject. The purpose behind it is understandable. You want to keep people from stealing your games, movies, music, etc. Its a justifiable desire, but the way video game publishers often execute it is anything but. Case in point, Ubisoft's latest DRM software that requires an internet connection at all times to let you play your games. The idea is fundamentally ludicrous and you would think this new methodology would have been changed or limited in some way before released to the  unwitting masses. According to PC Gamer it has not. And its far worse than we imagined.

The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you're not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft's 'Master servers'. The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen - all my progress since it last autosaved was lost.

If there ever was a threshold in Digital Rights Management that should never be crossed, or a breaking point where enough was enough, I'd say this is it. The idea that a game publisher could even consider putting something so fundamentally broken in their games and sell it with a straight face is simply baffling. Ubisoft claims their DRM balances the need for constant internet connectivity by keeping your personal profile and save files stored in the cloud, but how can that really justify this kind of over the top piracy protection? Protection that will stop you from playing your game that you bought with your money at the slightest hiccup of your internet connection?

Heres hoping Ubisoft comes  to their senses and finds a better way to protect their software. Its not uncommon for video games that ship with DRM software to be swiftly pirated and widely distributed regardless the type of copy protection being used. In turn, the dishonest people will play their trouble free ripped off copy while the honest consumer is punished for their crimes.

[via CVG]

Ubisoft is Chaining Future Games to the Internet

by Tyler Treat Jan 27, 2010 11:41 AM CST
filed under industry, news, pc

Ubisoft is implementing what is conceivably the most idiotic anti-piracy system ever. Users of their future titles will be forced to connect to a Ubi.com account before each play session, meaning they have to be connected to the internet. However, there's a bright side, according to Ubisoft. Games can be run without a disc in the drive for authentication and can be installed on an unlimited number of computers while game saves are stored remotely on Ubisoft servers.

"If you own a hundred PCs, you can install your games on a hundred PCs," said Ubisoft's director of customer service and production, Brent Wilkinson.

Wilkinson also countered that "most people are always connected to an internet connection."

But what if your internet connection goes out? What if Ubisoft's service goes out? The questions go on, and the answers are the same: you're f*cked.

BioShock 2 DRM Reduced

by Tyler Treat Jan 23, 2010 4:42 PM CST
filed under news, pc

When 2K announced the DRM what would be implemented in BioShock 2, it was met with massive criticism from the gaming community. Initially, the game would have a limit of five machine activations. In response to the criticism, 2K is reducing the amount of DRM for the game.

"There will be no SecuROM install limits for either the retail or digital editions of BioShock 2, and SecuROM will be used only to verify the game’s executable and check the date," 2K community manager Elizabeth Tobey announced. "Beyond that, we are only using standard Games for Windows Live non-SSA guidelines, which, per Microsoft, comes with 15 activations (after that, you can reset them with a call to Microsoft)."

BioShock 2 DRM Explained, Specs Revealed

by Tyler Treat Jan 21, 2010 2:43 PM CST
filed under news, pc

2K updated its Cult of Rapture website explaining the DRM system used in BioShock 2 as well as the PC specs required for the game. Regarding DRM, they said:

"BioShock 2 is using a standard Games for Windows Live activation system, much like other games you have played in the past. That doesn't mean you always have to be online to play or save the game - you can create an offline profile for the Single Player portion of the game (you just won't earn achievements and you can't play Multiplayer, of course.)

"We are using SecuROM only as a disc check method for the retail copy of BioShock 2. That is its only use."

Check out the system specs after the jump.


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