Ubisoft's New DRM System Falls Down, Locks Out Paying Customers

Hey, Ubisoft: when you force users to maintain an internet connection even when playing a singleplayer game offline, you'd damn well better make sure you hold up your end of the bargain.

Having recently implemented a wildly unpopular new form of digital rights management for its PC titles, over the last few days Ubisoft released two key games for the platform, Assassin's Creed II and Silent Hunter V.

Thing is, over the weekend, Ubisoft's DRM servers went down. And at time of posting are still down. Meaning many users had trouble installing games, saving games and in some cases even playing those two titles.

In reaction to a thread on the company's forums, Ubisoft community managers have said "clearly the extended downtime and lengthy login issues are unacceptable", and that the downtime is due to "exceptional demand".

As a means of rewarding those remaining customers loyal enough to stick with the publisher despite the outrageous demands of the DRM, it's... hardly what you'd call a success. Especially when it only affects paying customers, with pirates bypassing the DRM enjoying the games all weekend long.



    I'd love to say something interesting or constructive, but I can't really get past the thought of posting 10 lines of "BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"...

      My thoughts exactly.

    Thank you Ubisoft, your incompetence has done more to dissuade people from accepting DRM than the cries of the anti-DRM crowd ever could. We salute you.

    exceptional demand my ass

      Exceptional demand of the removal of DRM maybe...

      No I can see that.

      As soon as they mentioned the DRM they were expecting everyone to pirate it.

    This is what I don't get. You put DRM on your software to stop piracy. Your DRM'd game gets pirated. You invent new, more inconvenient forms of DRM. You still get pirated.

    So apart from pissing off the people who actually PAY for the game and making no difference what-so-ever to the pirates, what is DRM out there to achieve?

    The only clear cut way to stop piracy is on a closed system, such as the PS3. Even then, it's not complelty out of the question, just makes it a whole lot more challenging.

      The rediculous thing is that the more inconvenient and frustrating the DRM gets, the more it pushes legitimate customers to piracy.

      I bought myself Sup Com 2 on Thursday from EB here in Australia, it required steam activation to install, which i couldn't do until 8am on Friday due to the 'rest of the world release date'. So for two days i couldn't do anything with the retail disk i had paid good money for and was holding in my hands. And when that release date finally arrived it required an EXTRA 2gb of files to be downloaded through steam before i could play the game i bought at retail.

      I could have just downloaded the game, saved my self the almost $100 i paid for it and saved myself two days of frustration.

        just return that piece of shit.

        On the side against piracy I'd say:
        "But you got the game you still paid for"

        but on the side against idiotic game issues I have to side with. I would say its a pretty safe assumption that mode dedicated gamers would tend to hype up a game and look forward to its release date and even pre-order so they get it first. Especially with alot of today's re-released gameplay mechanics, games can tend to be disappointing or just not worth buying. If you don't buy that game within the first 2 months, what's the likelihood of you buying it later? Not as high I'm sure.

        Although a bit convoluted, the point I'm trying to get to is: You are paying for having that game and all its rendered services at the point of sale. When I go out to eat, I don't say to myself "I could really go for chinese food today." Then put in an order for 2 days from now and go off and make myself a sandwich. Part of paying for a game means it is yours NOW. These B.S. DRM failures (amongst issues such as yours are just inhibiting products that you ALREADY paid for.

      "Stopping Piracy" is the strawman. It's not going to happen, and it's not the point.

      "Rewarding Effort and creativity" is the point - people work bloody hard on games, and both publishers and gamers want to make sure that this is true so that gamers can continue to enjoy great games, and publishers can continue to enjoy rolling around in their big piles of cash.

      What makes this drm so ridiculously bad is the way it effects the different groups:
      Pirates (people who will never pay): Can play just fine
      Customers (people who will always pay): Cannot play at all
      People on the fence: Will *much* prefer to pirate than pay.

      Publishers need to focus on DRM that screws pirates, and doesn't screw customers. I'd love to see some numbers - I bet this kind of system increases piracy.

      (I played AC2 on the xbox, so I'm just saddened. If I were a PC gamer, I'd be livid).

    Main Entry: in·ev·i·ta·ble
    Pronunciation: \i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl\
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable
    Date: 14th century

    : incapable of being avoided or evaded

    It's just one of those things that you always thought might happen, and you'll piss yourself if it does.

    And then it happens.

    My goodness what a screwup. I mean, aside from the downright stupidity of the entire DRM system, a company that makes about $300M AUD annually can't afford enough servers to cope with a near negligible level of information transfer to and from their customers? This isn't even online gaming... It's just a damn check, probably not much more than a ping to and fro.

    I love the smell of schadenfreude in the evening... The smell, you know that failure smell... Smells like "Told you so"

    this put a smile on my face like you wouldn't belive

    HAHAHAHAHAA,I just made a dota paper. molding.This page Free Download the latest dota paper model.

    Here's an idea - remove DRM completely, sell your games for half the price: you'll sell twice as many without upsetting paying customers, and make more money at them end of the day!

    I bought Mirror's Edge for $5 on steam - if a company can make money off selling a game for $5, then imagine how much they're making off a $90 new release!

      I totally agree with this comment, I could see myself purchasing more new release games if they weren't all $99-119 each.

      A new release BluRay movie costs around $40, I dont see why games have to carry a higher price...

      If the higher price is because of DRM licensing - THEN LEAVE IT OUT. Make the games reasonably priced and you will see your games sell.

    Dear Ubisoft,

    When you realise how anti-consumer, and ultimately fruitless this idea was, please post the names of the people who came up with, and those who agreed with this scheme (i.e, every one of their bosses that this passed through), and fire them. Try to ensure that they can never work in the entertainment industry again.

    Option number 2 (ie, reality):

    Pull out of the PC market due to further failing sales, give the aforementioned staff members a rise, fire development staff and close studios.
    4 years in the future, when Personal computer-Gaming Console interop has improved greatly, and piracy levels on the consoles are soaring, do the same thing all over again.

    I've been playing AC2 on PC all weekend, no log in trouble or connection troubles of any kind. Also, the DRM on AC2 hasn't been cracked yet. And if it has been, the crack hasn't been released. Don't know if Silent Hunter has been cracked though.

    Sucked in Ubisoft, hope it happens more and more and more till you have no choice but to abandon this crap.

    Haha, I smiled about this too. I didn't buy their game, neither. I did buy AC1.

    In the annuals of history will be written. The last 2 games ever published by Ubisoft were: Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter V.

    Stop treating your customers like criminals.

    Well it seems the ubi forums have crashed too!
    (or ubi has taken them off)

    I do hope Ubisoft sees the light and drops the DRM completely. Instead they should offer some special incentives for people who do buy the games (not punish).

    I guess we will see.

      There's no such thing. Any incentive which can be offered to paying customers can just as easily be pirated as the game itself.

    Perhaps an object lesson will prove to Ubisoft why their DRM is so stupid, since apparently common sense has failed to do so.

    Simplest way to combat piracy IMO is to actually make games that are good, so that people WANT to buy them. These types of ways to "defeat pirates" only hurts the legit customers who want to buy them. People will always find a way to crack/share/download games and such so you aren't losing a sale from them anyway. They wouldn't of bought the game anyway.

    In fact i'd wager that these types of excessive methods of protection only serve as a challange to the groups that do these types of things. Like you are throwing down the gauntlet saying "Here try beat this. Bet you can't". Blizzard is good at making games so awesome that pirates will buy the games to play online. So are Valve.

    And if you can't make a good game then adding a high quality special edition pack to the mix will get some sales. I'm a sucker for this myself. Before I heard about the GoW3 Ultimate edition I had no intention of ever buying that game for my PS3. Now I see what the bonus is for paying extra and I want it bad.

    It's like when I buy a DVD, and they make me sit through those anti-piracy ads. Do the pirates sit through the ads? God no, they strip them straight out of their DVD rip.

    But me, the guy who spends 2 hours wage on a season of your latest tv show? Why consider what I'm watching?

      I agree, I've always thought those adds stupid and they really annoy me because when DVD first came out I’m sure one of the selling points was you just put it in, press play and you're into the movie.

      Forcing someone to watch those anti piracy ads just because they had the audacity to actually PAY for their product just seams mean spirited. I'm tempted to rip all my movies to my computer just so I don't have to bother with them.

      I'm not sure on this but I’m pretty sure even that counts as making an illegal copy as well (though I seriously doubt they've ever tried to charge anyone just for that).

      Atleast they havn't started forcing you to connect to the internet to play a dvd/blu-ray.... yet.

    The only way to prevent pirating of games is to make them cheap. People won't be bothered downloading or buying pirated copy when the legitimate one is only a little bit different in price. This is why music and movie pirating has gone down, its not because they try and make all these fancy software/hardware to prevent people from pirating it but just to make it cheaper. By doing so the gaming companies may even bring people towards gaming.

      The average age of gamers is around 30 year old, this is simply because they are just about the only people who can afford games. What person between the age 15-25 would actually spend ~$100 on a game?

        I do. :) Quite Frequently :)

        As one other guy mentioned out the whole lot of you guys on here, I was one of the MAJORITY (95%) that didn't have problems. It was a select few that couldn't connect. I was playing AC2 all weekend :)

      Here is something odd that *might* go against that argument

      In China, a pirated DVD of a movie costs about 7RMB, or the equivalent of $1.20AU. My partner, who is currently in China now, said she is having a hard time finding pirated DVDs and when she does they are worth closer to 20RMB.


      Because people have stopped buying and are now downloading the movies.

      I know its a dumb example (pirates killing other pirates) but it shows if people can get something for cheaper or the same thing for nothing, they'll still choose to get it for nothing.

    You PC gamers disgust me. You spend years conducting illegal piracy and then become angry when a company is forced to impliment such measures. Don't bitch and moan about how games are too expensive. Have a played a recent game? Have you seen how much stuff there is in Arkham Asylum and Assassin's Creed 2? Don't you think that deserves money? But still you fools are intent on breaking copyright laws because the sun shines out of the PC's rear end and you're all so much better than poor legal console owners.

    You days are at an end PC gamers. It's the legal way or the highway.

      Wow, Trent. You seem like the most obnoxious and self-righteous dick I've seen in a very long time. Go and spend your money on DRM related content and be fucked over once you realize that your internet isn't working.

      Please, take your bullshit somewhere else and leave this discussion to the people who actually know something about gaming.

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