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DRM Blues: Ubisoft PC Titles Rendered Useless Next Week

By - Source: Ubisoft | B 95 comments

Several PC titles from Ubisoft will go dark next week thanks to the company's strict DRM.

Yes, we agree that piracy sucks, unless you're Rovio of course who opens their arms wide to naughty "fans". But for the legitimate customer who must pay the price for the thievery of others, DRM sucks even more, especially when it's embedded in our systems or gives publishers the power to disable our favorite titles with a flick of a switch.

This latter scenario is apparently what will happen to a good number of Ubisoft titles next week according to the company itself. In a community letter released this week, Ubisoft said that it will be transitioning the hosting of many of its online services from a third-party data center to a new facility starting next Tuesday, February 7. This will have an impact on the online portion of a majority of its games for an undisclosed amount on time.

But here's the real kicker: there will also be a number of PC games that will be inaccessible online and offline including Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7. Mac gamers will lose access to Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction and The Settlers. That said, these games will be rendered useless for an undisclosed amount of time.

The downtime may be short, but the fact that Ubisoft customers shell out loads of cash for software they can't even use is disappointing. Unfortunately, Ubisoft isn't the only publisher practicing this type of software control, following the likes of Blizzard and a few others that require an online connection to play a single-player game. Piracy isn't the only thing killing the PC gaming sector -- it's the hoops legit customers have to jump through too, thus pushing them to play the same titles on consoles (if they're available, that is).

This week Ubisoft also said that Uplay on PC will go dark during the transition. However, PC games not previously listed will remain playable offline if already connected at least once via Uplay. But if they haven't been activated through Uplay, they too will be locked tight like a bank vault. So far there's no indication of when players will regain access once the Ubisoft "blackout" goes into effect. Anno 2070, Assassin's Creed Revelations, Driver San Francisco, Just Dance 3 and The Settlers Online will not be affected, remaining fully playable online and offline, Ubisoft said.

"We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience," the company said. "This move ultimately will help us improve the maintenance of our infrastructure and deliver better uptime and greatly improved services for our customers."

While DRM is understandable, has it gotten better over the years, or is it getting out of hand?

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Top Comments
  • 44 Hide
    fritters , February 3, 2012 7:05 AM
    good thing the people who are pirating those titles are totally unaffected by this.

    if drm doesn't stop piracy, then what is the point in it?
  • 42 Hide
    Djhg2000 , February 3, 2012 7:13 AM
    Ironically, piracy seems to be keeping gaming alive.
  • 36 Hide
    RoboTree , February 3, 2012 7:03 AM
    Built a new PC last year, and our internet went down straight afterwards for a week. So I eagerly went out and bought a couple of games (in boxes, just like the old days). When I got home, I gasped in horror, as both of them needed steam to play offline. I'd just spent 1.5K and couldn't even enjoy the spoils.

    Piracy might not be good, but sometimes DRM can be a pain in the ass. A smarter solution is needed that won't unintentionally screw with paying customers.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    James296 , February 3, 2012 6:41 AM
    it had to happen sometime, when DRM forces a company to shove it's own foot up it's own A**
  • 23 Hide
    DroKing , February 3, 2012 6:53 AM
    Lol @ Piracy killing PC gaming. Indie is more popular than ever along with free games. You are kidding me right?
  • 36 Hide
    RoboTree , February 3, 2012 7:03 AM
    Built a new PC last year, and our internet went down straight afterwards for a week. So I eagerly went out and bought a couple of games (in boxes, just like the old days). When I got home, I gasped in horror, as both of them needed steam to play offline. I'd just spent 1.5K and couldn't even enjoy the spoils.

    Piracy might not be good, but sometimes DRM can be a pain in the ass. A smarter solution is needed that won't unintentionally screw with paying customers.
  • 44 Hide
    fritters , February 3, 2012 7:05 AM
    good thing the people who are pirating those titles are totally unaffected by this.

    if drm doesn't stop piracy, then what is the point in it?
  • 42 Hide
    Djhg2000 , February 3, 2012 7:13 AM
    Ironically, piracy seems to be keeping gaming alive.
  • 26 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , February 3, 2012 7:20 AM
    So many times I bought a game just like RoboTree did, only to find out only part of the install is actually included in the box, I had to download the remaining 30% of the game. Piracy is what's keeping my PC gaming alive.

    I've bought dozens of games off Steam, Direct2Drive(formerly), amazon, etc, but I don't use their services. After I bought them, I found a way to download them else where. I want to have the entire game at my disposal without the need for online downloading, verification, etc. I don't always have the internet, and a couple times a year I do a fresh Windows install. Without certain torr sites, I would have stopped buying games long ago.

    I know people will disagree with my approach, and they have their right to their opinion just like I have a right to mine.
  • 23 Hide
    alhanelem , February 3, 2012 7:22 AM
    if they know that DRM's dont stop piracy then why waste time, money and paying customer's patience in this fail of an anti piracy method?
  • 26 Hide
    molo9000 , February 3, 2012 7:25 AM
    Companies like Ubisoft and EA have yet to understand that making customers happy and earning money are not exclusive alternatives.

    Happy customers=more money
  • 22 Hide
    kettu , February 3, 2012 7:38 AM
    Imagine the day when publishers start to disable older games (or some features like multiplayer) to make room for new ones.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 7:39 AM
    And this is why AC1 was my last Ubisoft game...
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 7:49 AM
    Actually, the first thing I am going to do after buying a new copy of Diablo 3 is to search for a no-DRM patch so that I can play while offline.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 7:51 AM
    "..., thus pushing them to play the same titles on consoles." or using pirated software

    really can't understand these baboons at the publishers...
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 7:51 AM
    Actually, the first thing I am going to do after buying a new copy of Diablo 3 is to search for a no-DRM patch so that I can play while offline.
  • 21 Hide
    razor512 , February 3, 2012 8:16 AM
    What some people fail to consider is what happens when the company finds it to no longer be profitable to keep the DRM servers running, or if they go out of business, taking their DRM servers with them. All of the people who purchased the game end up with a non working game while the pirated copies continue to work with no problem.

    DRM only hurts the paying customer and restricts the paying market.

    Many cracked games will run faster than the paid game. generally a game that is a little laggy will run smooth when cracked/ pirated. that is because many current DRM's will run continuous checking of the memory and other integrity checks to make sure you are not bypassing any of the DRM. Though for the check to be done, the DRM tool has to be included with the game. DRM free copies have none of this and thus more stability and faster performance when the CPU is the bottleneck on performance.
  • 7 Hide
    alidan , February 3, 2012 8:25 AM
    PGActually, the first thing I am going to do after buying a new copy of Diablo 3 is to search for a no-DRM patch so that I can play while offline.


    it will happen at some point, i mean there are private wow servers, but you will have to wait quite a few months before it will be possible.

    im waiting on that too, but thats more me not wanting my gameplay effected by the auction house, or the fact that instead of just a few farmers, the whole player base will practice farming at some point, and they have said they will limit item drop rates based on the auction house.
  • 12 Hide
    zhihong0321 , February 3, 2012 8:28 AM
    i brought Anno 2070 last december.

    I meet total Not less than 15 times server down since Dec 15. ( average ~24hours each downtime )
    Check the anno2070 facebook page. See how many time the "Apologize for server downtime "
    Uplay down lah, Server down lah, Harddisk problem.....

    The offline play you mention? Sorry, no such thing. The is a button - offline access - but never worked for Anno 2070, they even now close the Anno 2070 forum to stop people complain....

    DRM is ok. Company like UBISOFT is Pirate, took our money, and dont give us the access to "SINGLE PLAYER GAME" we purchased.

    I think someone in UBISOFT is trying to kill themself.
    I would never spent a single cent on this bs company.
  • 22 Hide
    billybobser , February 3, 2012 9:18 AM
    Making restrictions on single player will make people want to pirate it.

    If I owned any of these games and would suffer this outage, when the alternative is to download a cracked copy and suffer no such thing, it raises the question, should I have just gone the pirate route in the first place?
  • 6 Hide
    kreed_uk , February 3, 2012 9:52 AM
    I think that this applies:

    http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/02/19
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2012 9:55 AM
    I stopped buying any game that required internet connection a long time ago. I've been deliberately
    ignoring UBISOFT for just this reason.
    Its about time others boycotted companies doing this DRM this stupidity.
    Once upn a time internet users had a backbone.
  • 2 Hide
    jecho , February 3, 2012 10:25 AM
    I don't believe there was ever any fine print buying these games that said they will not be able to be played after a certain point. I see this as a corporation unlawfully prepossessing property. There were no purchase agreements. I don't own any of these games but if i did i would be really angry.
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