Ubisoft's 'You Must Be Connected To This Server' Annoying DRM Servers Go Down – Techdirt

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(Mis)Uses of Technology
Sometimes you have to wonder if folks like Ubisoft, who keep insisting that it needs to use DRM, are just messing with everyone. As you certainly know, Ubisoft decided to go with some incredibly annoying DRM for some new games, requiring you to be online at all times, even for single-player games. So, what happens? The servers that you must be connected to crashed, making those games completely unplayable for many, while creating lengthy login delays for others. That basically makes the game useless for many. Well, unless you downloaded the cracked version. Once again, DRM is shown to harm buyers, but do nothing to stop unauthorized use.
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Companies: ubisoft
Thank god I bought Assassin’s Creed 2 for the PS3 and I haven’t had any problems playing—-oh.
I’ve been reading about the new Ubisoft DRM on a few other websites. I have no idea what the hell they’re thinking. Just yesterday I was playing Half Life 2 on Steam and my wireless died 3 times. If I was forced to use this new DRM I never would have been able to play the game.
I stumbled upon this video a few days ago. I think it illustrates the problem well.
I bought a shrink-wrapped copy of Half Life 2 a few years ago from PC World.
When I entered the key to play the game it came up with a message saying that the key had already been registered to someone else.
After several fairly fruitless emails to customer support I tossed the DVD and I’ve never bought a PC game using Steam again.
My small non-contribution to support DRM.
I don’t know where you got your copy, but I had the same exact problem with FFXI from GameStop. They took the key and then re-shrink wrapped it. I had to go back to GameStop to yell at them.
I didn’t know about the steam thing until after I got the Orange Box. I probably won’t be buying anything else on it ether. I know it can be easily cracked, I just never got around to doing it.
What? You say you bought a shrink-wrapped copy of HL2 and then talked about never buying a PC game using Steam again.
None of that makes any sense.
Regardless of whether you get it off the shelf or online, it uses Steam. Steam is itself a prerequisite to being able to play any of Valves games on PC.
True, but his problem wasn’t related to the Steam service. It was because he bought the game at a store. Had he done so on Steam, he wouldn’t have a key problem. His issue shouldn’t be with games that use Steam, but rather with retail employee thieves.
Except that the problem occurs when there’s a combination of Steam and Retail Employee Thieves (allegedly)
While you can try and avoid thieves by buying from reputable shops and getting shrink wrapped products, it seems that wasn’t sufficient in this case.
The alternative is to dodge the other side of the combination and avoid buying single player games where server activation is required.
I agree he can still buy from Steam, but that requires a good cheap internet connection to download the game. Something not everyone has.
Wake up people. It would take less than three large title releases, with absolutely no purchases,to make them stop this connect to play nonsense. The connection to the internet in my area frequently has connectivity issues. I guess I couldn’t even play my game to kill time in between. REVOLT!!!!
The problem is that most video game customers don’t even know what DRM is, much less which games have what kind of DRM. They just don’t care, until of course they can’t play the game because of the DRM, but by then it is too late and the publisher has already run off with the money.
Actually, they’d just blame the ‘no sales’ on “ZOMG PIRACY!!!!1111shiftone”, and keep on dumping money in the bermuda triangle of the DRM manufacturers.
Even MicroSoft isn’t this stupid.
Yes, they very specifically are, as they have done the same thing but with music.
They would be even more stupid if they named it something ironic, like “Will-Play-Right-Guaranteed” type DRM.
But they wouldn’t be THAT stupid.
Which then doesn’t play for sure on a Microsoft Zune device.
That is what gets me the most. People cry and complain about DRM, yet the titles keep selling like crazy.
It is funny, however, when I visit a game store like GameStop and ask the Clerk for the PC version of a game and I get asked why I want the PC version because PC gamers are a dying breed.
Anyway, all this talk about people boycotting and what not is almost always FUD. People talk about not buying while they are ordering the game in another tab.
I would guess that general news like this is not really noted by the majority of PC buyers. As long as the DRM doesn’t effect their playing of the game, they really don’t give a shit about what the DRM is doing. However, when you have an issue like this, where they can’t play the game they just went out and purchased, at this point they do notice and this is where real harm can be done to the company since more than the few who pay attention are affected.
Aside from those that just don’t know, think further, or care about DRM and how it can effect them, there’s also a sympathy thing that goes on: I must buy this because I want the devs to be compensated for their work – it’s not their fault that the publisher *insert pointless anti-customer type action undertaken to prey on fears that not doing such will preclude more game making or outright kill PC gaming here*.
Or they think they have reached the happy medium through buying and cracking. ‘Cause it always gets cracked, right?
the reason is that most people are whining little pansies that can’t bring themselves to make any sacrifice (not playing Assasins Creed 2) for a greater reward (not having this always online DRM in the future). Here’s my plan, if you bought Assassins Creed 2 and complained about the DRM, and complain about the DRM on the next Ubisoft game you buy, then I get to come over to your house and punch you in the face. Deal?
Your method of behavior-modification strikes me as rather extreme.
Instead, for people who encourages companies to make products with known flaws such as DRM, I’ll start asking if they are Michael Bay fans.
Strike that, we may have to check if they’re Uwe Boll fans.
That’s not extreme. Extreme would be coming over to their house and cutting off their wasd fingers.
Randomly not being able to play the game you pay for is surely an incentive to buy. What’s the fun if whenever you start your game, you don’t actually know if it will work. Randomly it will throw a surprise and have not work, which is clearly more enjoyable than the other boring method of always having it work with no anticipation of surprise that pirates must suffer.
I don’t know what are they thinking. I think it is really annoying!
It really is astonishing that any single person could have thought that this was a good idea — much less an entire team. My best honest guess is that they are deafening themselves with anti-piracy rhetoric. I’m thinking they have so thoroughly instilled upon themselves a “piracy will kill everything” mindset that they genuinely believe it has to be fought at all costs — even the cost of their game’s playability.
And now they’re saying to themselves, “Hmm, I guess playability is maybe a little more important than counter-piracy measures.”
Keep in mind that this is just a guess, but I imagine that DRM was thought up at a higher (read: Executive) level than the game design team.
Every gamer in the world knows that DRM doesn’t even slow down piracy; Most gamers even know that DRM usually makes pirated copies more valuable!
When you’re told “It needs connect to the server at all times to stop piracy or it doesn’t get made,” well, what would *you* do? Quit? No, you suck it up and do as they say.
“I imagine that DRM was thought up at a higher (read: Executive) level than the game design team.”
…By people whose home internet connections are the best that money can buy and who therefore aren’t accustomed to connection failures. Yeah, it fits.
More likely people who’ve never actually bought what they’re expecting their customers to buy.
Worse still, By people who don’t play video games….
for what it’s worth, I _would_ quit.
I’m sure your wife and kids that depend on your pay check would love you for sticking to your guns. Or husband and kids if you are female… or interchange depending on the specifics of your civil union.
Yeah, because he could never find another job in any other industry. This is the only job he could ever hold, and quitting it would instantly devastate his family.
For what it’s worth… I would not quit.
I’ve got to eat you know. I’m already underweight. Food costs money, money needs a job, game design is a good job that lets me live the lifestyle that I want to live (Like a pauper, but at least I have a roof and food, and internet)
DRM is NEVER implemented by the developers. Once the game has gone gold the DRM is added at the time of the copying process and is done at the behest of the publisher.
I never met a developer who thought digital rights management was a good idea.
I have. The maker of the adult game Onyx is all for DRM (having met him before). I tried to explain to him how this is not a valid viewpoint in todays economy, but was not budging from his stance, claiming that piracy is destroying the game makers.
Hrm… I talked to him a year ago and perhaps he changed his mind as it now appears to be free. Go figure.
Yarr, I not be knowin about any problems. I be playin me shiny new Assassins Creed 2 just fine.
DRM=Digital RENTAL Media
Or DRM = Digitally RESTRICTED Media
Pest Management.
DRM uses “management” in the same way…
I just submitted a story about this. Checked the posts and didn’t see it was already up. Anyway this is what I posted:
So I got my copy of AC2 for PC in the mail today. Pre-ordered the damn thing last year. Popped it in, installed to the hard drive. First thing that happens is it installs a patch, after that’s done it asks me to create an account, which I try and then it hangs while trying to download the TOS from the Ubisoft servers. So I look around to find out what the hell is going on and sure enough:
The servers are down, more than a day now. Seriously wtf. I’m returning my copy today, its faulty in my opinion. If I had known about the crap Ubi was going to pull I would never have pre-ordered the damn thing.
The fucked up thing is I actually predicted this would happen in the comments section here on techdirt.
I didn’t buy this game, but if I had and it stopped working because the company “remotely turned it off”, I’d be back at the point of purchase (aka my local game store) to complain. If they won’t give me another game of equal value or a full credit-card refund, I’d contact the credit card company and request a charge back. I’d tell that to the owner of the store and all my friends. This might possibly result in the owner’s credit card processor putting their account on hold, thereby limiting their ability to take credit cards. If I bought it from an on-line store, same thing. If enough people return the game as defective (it’s got DRM that doesn’t work), maybe Ubisoft might take notice. The game store owners surely will.
When I first saw an article about the servers going down over the weekend I thought for sure it was a ddos attack or something like that but no. The irony is thick in this story.
There are already a couple of other companies that make games that I will never buy from, now Ubisoft is on that list. Before long I won’t be able to buy any game out of principal (that includes no downloading/cracking).
According to The Register, it IS a DDoS attack.
DDoS attack or not, it just goes to prove a point that needs proving to the masses of uninformed, uncaring consumers.
Technicaly it was a DDoS, but don’t let anyone think it was hackers. They just didn’t make their servers to handle the load.
Found the link, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/08/ubisoft_anti_drm_hack_attack/
The Register is reporting a ddos attack. Even still, it shows why this type of DRM is anti-customer and will never work in the long (or short) run.
Technicaly it was a DDoS, but don’t let anyone think it was hackers. They just didn’t make their servers to handle the load.
General server overload is NOT the same thing as a DDoS attack.
A distributed denial of service attack is just a crap ton of pings until the server dies. That’s exactly what happened here, just not malicious. Not what DDoS is suppose to mean but mostly true and entirely a joke.
I really think this story gets funnier and funnier. It really is like a policy from a bizarro world where Ubisoft is following Mike’s advice to Piss Off Fans + Reason To Pirate (‘PoF + RtP’ for short).
I already thought this new DRM was extremely dumb since any internet connection issue would cause me to not be able to play a single player game, I hadn’t even thought of connection issues on their side at the time.
Also, it makes the game a timebomb to go off. What happens when ubisoft decides they don’t want to upkeep their servers anymore now no one can play their legitimate copy again. Or even worse what happens when AC3 comes out and they decide that you are done with AC2 you should buy AC3 and they shut off the servers on purpose?
To be fair, who could have predicted that a server might crash?
Anybody with half a brain who deals with IT.
Oh… Oh, riiiiiiiight…..
I’ve been told I have half a brain but know nothing about IT and I saw it coming. I have an internet connection that craps out whenever it likes, and visit websites that sometimes have server problems.
So…anyone with a quarter of a brain who deals with IT…or has internet…sorry, I don’t have the brainhalf that does math.
It was predicted before it happened right here on Techdirt (I don’t have the time to dig up the specific comments) but I remember reading them, and agreeing with the post.
Its bastille day my friends and I say off with thier heads!
Well…I know I for one was glad when EA let up with the ME games DRA requirements…and I also know that it would take only a couple of incidents like this where I can’t play my game I legitimately bought before I seriously considered finding an alternative source to my game where I could bypass such rediculous requirements. Which again goes to show that they are only hurting their legitimate customers by doing this…
I think Ubisoft was emboldened by the lack of negative response from the casual gamers to recent forms of DRM in computer games. The hue and cry and calls for boycotts from the hard core gamers were easilly ignored as “fringe” opinions. What most companies were doing was increasing the heat by a little bit over time so the frog didn’t know it was being boiled. But what Ubisoft did was crank up the heat all the way in one step. So, instead of adding a restriction (install limits) that most casual gamers wouldn’t become aware of for years, if ever, Ubisoft added a restriction that even the casual gamers would notice immediately.
When casual gamers are affected, they’ll put pressure on the retailers. When the retailers are affected, they’ll put pressure on the publishers. Only when the pressure on the publishers gets high enough will there start to be change around the attitudes on DRM.
Good news actualy… Since I only buy used games, and with these news it will be at a all times low in a few days. And if it doesn’t work, well, the crack will be probably very easy to find.
So, rejoyce. It’s GREAT news. 😉
Better hope the crack will be easy to find. If you’re planning on buying the game at the point that it’s becoming less popular, you’re probably going to find that Ubisoft is shutting the server down.
Why Ubisoft deliberately design a fragile single point of failure into their products that has zero upside for their customers is beyond me
..when I had come up with the same basic idea in 2000 while working for a company making apps. The idea was to tie each app to an account that must be registered AND connected to work. We werent going to have it be 100% connection, just every few times it ran it would ping the server and verify itself. The idea was to track if multiple IPs used the same account, etc. We discarded the idea as being too intrusive and unfair.
People shouldnt be REQUIRED to stay connected 100% of the time just to use the thing AT ALL. It different for things like online games of course, since that IS the reason for them, but for anything else, you shouldnt have to be connected all the time.
Funny that now this is somehow a viable method. It was just unworkable in any way that seemed like anyone would accept it as reasonable.
Funny that now this is somehow a viable method.
Looks to me like it’s *not* a viable method. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, even in theory, it wasn’t a viable method and therefore should have never been implemented in the first place.
Does this same functionality exist with the Xbox 360? I own the XBox version and never had a problem playing, but my connection is pretty solid. Maybe I’ll go home and see if it will let me play it with the wifi off.
Hm. It just occurred to me that I wasn’t wearing my tin foil hat when I typed that last post.
What if this is a push to move PC gamers to consoles by making the console version more consumer friendly?
Okay, tin foil hat off.
Don’t you guys get it?
The whole idea is to kill the PC gaming market so they don’t have to support all the different hardware. In this day and age of the $300 PC, no one has the hardware to run current games anyway. They want everyone to move to consoles made by Microsoft and Sony. Coincidence? I think not.
Once again, DRM is shown to harm buyers, but do nothing to stop unauthorized use.
Once again, DRM is shown to harm buyers, WHILE ENCOURAGING USE OF PIRATED COPIES.
When I hear about these DRM schemes, I have to wonder if they’ve made provisions for maintenance of the servers in case they go under. How many game companies have folded in the last couple of years? What if someone buys them out and decides they can’t be bothered to maintain servers for a game that is a year or two old (or however long)?
This is a brain dead idea for DRM, and I hope UbiSoft realizes that this is not the way to make people buy their games.
The irony in all this is that when sales drop off due to this stupid scheme, management will simply end developing games for the PC rather than attempt to address the issue with something resembling intelligence.
It also boggles my mind that the shareholders in this company don’t call out management on this whole situation seeing its been making news for several weeks now.
“The irony in all this is that when sales drop off due to this stupid scheme, management will simply end developing games for the PC rather than attempt to address the issue with something resembling intelligence.”
And they will blame the dimise of PC games on Piracy, NOT thier F*ed up DRM practices
My life on the computer revoloves around the internet, I hardly play games anymore… that being said, the last time I fired up a game was when I was without internet because a drunk driver hit a telephone pole that was feeding my cable internet. I had no connection to the internet for 3 days, so I played single player games while I waited for my connection to be restored.
More details on the story have Ubisoft reporting that it was a DDoS attach that took down their servers. They also claim that no one has hacked the DRM at this point
This DRM issue reminds me of a saying I heard long ago; “Locks only keep out the honest people”. And it’s true. Most everyone locks their doors and houses still get robbed.
My point is, DRM will never achieve the desired effect without harming the legitimate end user. And it will only get worse until we stop paying them to treat us like criminals.
I agree with an earlier post here. Buy these games with your credit card. The first time you get denied through DRM, return the game or call your credit card company and tell them you got ripped off. Then email the game publisher and tell them you got your money back. “Money talks” is the only language that will get their attention, and outside of boycott (which won’t happen), this is the only other way. IMHO
I’m starting to think we need a “crippled” software disclosure law. If your saw will not function or has limited-functionality for any reason it needs to be properly stated so the buyer can make an informed choice.
They love DRM so much? Let ’em broadcast it on the box!
Well, as if the irony didn’t add to my prior comment above, my internet connection just came back up at 6:45. Was off almost all day so I didn’t get to play this damn new game. Oh wait, I won’t anyway ’cause I would never buy it. However, as old as it makes me sound, I did manage to kill some time playing Star Craft this afternoon.
On a side note, I’m all for killing the stupid people by chopping off heads, if necessary. Oh, did I just say that out loud? Anyway, REVOLT!!!!
Dear stupid people who run Ubisoft,
Thank you so much for providing the demonstration we’ll be using for the next 10 years as to why people should reject any form of DRM.
A gamer who will *never* buy any of your products
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