Ubisoft Focusing On 'Good Services' And 'Quality', Not DRM

Digital rights management (known by its more villainous acronym "DRM") isn't quite the same topic it used to be when most of our games came on CDs and DVDs. Instead, they've been replaced with always-online requirements or the need to run titles through clients such as EA's Origin or Uplay from Ubisoft if you want to enjoy features such as multiplayer. The latter killed its DRM "solution" a few years back after "listening to feedback" and now maintains the stance that DRM is not the answer to piracy.

Speaking with GameSpot's Eddie Makuch, Ubisoft's vice president of digital publishing Chris Early echoed what we've all known for a long time: DRM is an annoyance for owners of legitimate copies and a minor speed hump for warez distributors. Rather than engage in a futile arms race with the cracking scene, Early says it's better to focus on "services" and "quality":

"I don't want us in a position where we're punishing a paying player for what a pirate can get around. Anything is going to be able to be pirated given enough time and enough effort to get in there. So the question becomes, what do we create as services, or as benefits, and the quality of the game, that will just have people want to pay for it?" ... "The reality is, the more service there is in a game, pirates don't get that."

While this direction seems obvious to you and I, it can take time for this logic to gain momentum in a large, multi-headed organisation such as Ubisoft. I think it'll be a long time before everyone adopts GOG's "DRM is evil" philosophy. In the meantime, we'll have to make do with incremental victories.

Ubisoft: DRM Can't Stop Piracy [GameSpot]


    If you really want to get rid of People pirating Ubisoft games, (Im sure this has been said a million times) Fix Uplay! Half of the time it doesn't even work! I have had numerous friends complain that they couldn't play because of Uplay and the only way around that is, you guessed it, Piracy! I admire the effort EA put into fixing origin and further more, rewarding players for using it. Ubisoft could learn a thing or two.

      And by fix, we mean get rid of! There's no reason for it to bloody well exist!

        There use to be some decent wallpapers/in-game items etc unlocked via achievements which I thought was pretty neat way to the put points to some use, can't say I've ever had a problem with Uplay either.

        EDIT: prob should have read the article first, never used it on PC only through console games.

        Last edited 23/06/14 9:48 am

          Indeed, on console I have zero issue with it. On PC though its a nightmare. I've gotten some good stuff on console. On PC though it's killed my enjoyment of many games.

    Honestly, I would accept DRM features such as online passes and all that other bullshit if it meant getting a fair price in Australia. Region locking and region specific pricing to me is more annoying then most of the DRM services these companies use. If I have to play some exclusive on Origin or Link to Uplay it usually doesn't bother me, just the outrageous price gouging.

      here here I too could not give a rats about DRM when there are far more important things to worry about. give me decent games that have real content and not just regurgitated rubbish and unreasonably high prices" hey Australians are rich lets charge them 100% more" yeah that's fair isn't it. DRM is nothing more than a distraction to the real issues of Australian games pricing. Hey UBISOFT want to stop piracy of your games? then stop charging aussies double the price you price gouging pirates, we are not the pirates YOU ARE!!!!!!

    Its about time that game publishers began to act on what Gamers have known for since day one.
    DRM does not effectively work and now all that remains to be see is, will it be too little too late?

    Publishers have a long uphill road ahead as I personally I will not touch Origin/Uplay/DRM games if I can at all help it and I know the majority of my buddies feel the same way.

    Let me give you an example of why Uplay is despised among PC gamers.

    Last week I bought the Assassin's Creed III Season Pass on Green Man. I had already played through AC3 last year but never got around to the DLC cause I didn't like the main game much, but the Pass was cheap enough that I thought, "Eh, why not". It took me 3 attempts to download AC3 again through Uplay because the first 2 times it got corrupted mid-download. To put that in perspective, I have a 4.3mbit download speed and AC3 is a 15gb download. Do you know how many times Steam has corrupted a download on me in the last 10 years? Zip. Zero. Not once. To add insult to injury, it took 5 days to actually get the Season Pass working. First off, you have to redeem the key through AC3 itself, not through Uplay. Uplay gives an error that the code is invalid. Fine. I redeemed the code in AC3 and it told me to restart the game, so I did. Then when I tried to start the Tyranny of George Washington it said the DLC cannot be found. I then had to wait 2 days before Ubisoft would tell me that the DLC has to be downloaded from the retailer you bought the Pass from (ie. Green Man), not from Uplay nor AC3.

    Almost an entire week to play DLC that's over a year old now. If it had been Steam I would've just entered the code, started the download and been playing within hours. Add to that things like the fact that Uplay can't be minimised to the system tray and doesn't even have a god damn web browser in its overlay and you can start to see why everyone regards it as a pile of dog sh*t.

      Yeah, basically uplay is as far from 'quality' and 'good service' as it gets with these sorts of distribution platforms. Even origin is better.

      Uplay sucks but Steam is a clunky piece of shit too. GOG are the only ones who have it right. My main issue with Ubi is 21:9 "support" means pillar boxing.

        Clunky piece of shit? Please elaborate how? I've yet to experience any clunkiness?

          To me the client just feels really bloated and slow. The region locking etc is another issue but not one to go into here.

            All fair points but I believe minor ones (except region locking) that can easily be remedied.

            The interface I think is highly manageable but could be better. It's still far better than Uplay which is a confusing piece of junk that changes game to game, platform to platform.
            Region locking needs to die, the world has no real use for it at this point, it's ridiculous.

      My story's not as bad as yours, but still annoying: I reinstalled AC3 from disc a while back after getting some new hard drives in my PC. Uplay then had to patch the game to the newest version. Fair enough, except unlike Steam, Uplay can't just update you to the latest version, it instead had to download and install nine patches one after the other. Even when it's not broken it's an unnecessary layer of extra hassle.

    This is all largely a chocolate covered piece of shit for us to swallow (-> PR speak). Every game they create will have a focus on mandatory online features requiring 100% connectivity even if playing single player.

    They are getting wise to disguising DRM in "new amazing online features that open up gameplay to unlimited possibilities!11!!" which in reality are more of a hindrance if you are just after a solid single player experience.

    I would love to be wrong and would eat humble pie if these new features can be disabled via an option menu and I can play said game with out requiring an internet connection (looking at new ass creed and farcry 4).

    Time will tell.

    Last edited 22/06/14 3:01 pm

      See: Diablo 3 Online Only.
      "We did it so that the AH and such would be usable!"
      No mention of the fact that D2 had both online and offline options, whereas D3 had no options, just online. All of the penalties of offline, enjoyed by people who were only ever going to play it offline/single-player. Penalties like: lag-affected gameplay, server outages, no mods or cheats for single-player entertianment.

      No good reason other than protecting the publisher's interest - online 'features' as the new DRM.

        Yup blizzard were the first to the party - now everyone is getting in on it. Its more re-branding than it is anything else. To marketing DRM = BAD, everyone hates DRM. Co-op or network features are easy to spin yet provide the exact same result as DRM and are just as invasive.

        People will fall for it tho - it's part of the shift to games as a service rather than a product.

          The absolute hypocrisy of this was shown when d3 was released for consoles and featured, you guessed it: offline mode.

    One of the big issues with Ubi is that they keep backfilpping. Sure Steam isn't always perfect, but Valve's vision tends to hold consistency after the wonky initial start. Ubi however have a history of never sticking to anything - they dropped Starforce for Tages, then went DRM-free to fix their image, but lasted all of one or two games before online authentication... then they introduced Uplay as a means of rewarding customers with bonus content for achievements or extra games... then they accused PC gamers of all being dirty pirates and turned it into the dysfunctional mess we now know it to be... and then another DRM-free one-off... then Uplay again (despite it pretty much killing off the long-term audiences of otherwise good PC-centric games like Settlers and Anno) - and that's not counting instances of actual fraud regarding games like From Dust where they explicitly bait-and-switched DRM after being repeatedly asked about it in advance!
    So I expect this to be another case of one step forward on their current project, then three steps back for everything after that until their stock drops again.

    My first and last game with U-bad was anno2070 never ever again. Also if i get the game from steam then i should not have to use u-play in the first place. Valve need too grow a pair and stop being so greedy and stop this shit

      Everytime Anno 2070 goes on sale I think man I really loved Anno 1404 I will pick it up, then I remember it has Uplay and all this other online crap built into it as DRM and I just don't bother.

    Goddamn. Just give us the ability to choose for ourselves.

    I know that I Steam isn't the shining light that everyone makes it out to be but if me and other want to use that and NOT Uplay and NOT Origin then that should be our choice, locking the games that people are more than happy to pay for, and indeed HAVE paid for behind additional and often times useless software is asinine. I don't have any music files that can only play on itunes, I don't have any movies that will only play in WMP.

    Games can be sold completely DRM free, both individually and through digital distributors - at no negative financial impact to anybody that matters.

    Last edited 22/06/14 5:41 pm

    Ubisoft Focusing On 'Good Services' And 'Quality', Not DRM

    Or good games that make me want their services...

    I hear so many people complain about Origin and/or Uplay being shit and never working properly or messing up their computers.
    Fix your shit people, I even run the (so called) dreaded Windows 8.1, but still on it or Win 7 & Win 8 I have never had issues with any of them.
    Origin maybe but that was with BF3 and it was found to actually be punkbuster messing with Origin, they updated it and it was fixed, quickly.

    @stendec - I have bought "genuine" game keys online (15-20+)from the likes of GOG, G2play and GMG and whether it be Steam, Origin or Uplay I have redeemed them all without issue, including AC3 with all DLC within Uplay. Also if you got the game from GOG and the key or game they sold you won't work then you go straight back to them, they would have told you how to DL it right there and then and you would have had little to no wait. The week long delay sounds entirely your fault.

    I also find the clients themselves for accessing your libraries and the shops within them to work without issue, bought games within them fine. Both Uplay and Origin have even picked up on their own games within my Steam Library and added them to my Uplay or Origin libraries as well.

    When I start the game from either Uplay/Origin or Steam, if it requires the other in order to load or even install the game then they work happily together and do what is needed, no hassle.

    Yes it would be nice to have just the one client for all our games, one place with all your games, nice and simple but its not a reality. The clients we have are all light weight, don't have or cause issues in my experience
    If you have issues, maybe look at your computer itself, maybe do a fresh rebuild of your OS or something, don't just go the easy route and blame others for your misfortune.

    Rant over, lol.

    The reality is, the more service there is in a game, pirates don’t get that.
    Is this just PR bullshit for "we're chopping off more and more of the game as 'DLC' to provide as a service"?

    I was under the impression that uplay was drm. Either way I don't buy ubisoft games these days.

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