Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

February 22, 2010 -

Ubisoft recently detailed the specifics of their new DRM scheme, which requires a constant internet connection to merely be able to play the games. Understandably, gamers are upset that a momentary internet connection hiccup can result in losing unsaved game progress mid-session -- even in single-player mode.

Instead of whining about it on the internet, however, game journalist Lewie Procter of SavyGamer is deciding to fight back in the form of a "reverse boycott". In essence, Procter wants people to buy the game en masse, then return the game unopened and untouched at the end of the valid refund period, explaining that they find the game's DRM to be unacceptably restrictive. In theory, the protesters will receive a full cash refund (at Tesco, a UK retailer) and Ubisoft will feel the burn from the retail outlet.

Negative Gamer has already signed on in support of the protest. However, it's unlikely to catch on as well in the US, where many retailers have significant restrictions on refunds for games.

GP: While the intentions are good, I fear that the reverse boycott will ultimately be ineffective. Even if there is an unusually large response, the dollar amount is simply not going to be enough to make Tesco or Ubisoft take notice. But the attempt is far from useless. Negative public backlash has proven helpful, perhaps instrumental, in changing restrictive DRM schemes in the past. Simply bringing attention to the issue could be Procter's greatest success.
 

Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.


Comments

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

RPS recently posted an article on this issue here.

For what it is worth, I hope Ubi gets its ass handed to it. I also hope people in the military stand up and contact their Congressmen and bitch about this bullshit. DRM needs to die.

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"The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Here I thought Ubisoft would have learned their lesson back when the Might and Magic fans revolted against Starforce on HoMM5...

Guess not. Oh well. Back then at least they had the good sense to delay the game and remove Starforce.
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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Ubi needs to get the hell out of the PC game market all together and be done with it. It is doing far more harm to PC gamers than any benefit it bring in published titles.

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"The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" - Herodotus

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

I'm seriously considering making sure I can get a working pirated version, buying the game, installing the pirated version, then sending them an email saying I bought it legally but will use the illegal version since that's the one that actually allows people to play and own the game, unlike their discriminating and rental-only legal version.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

 Not to mention that handling saves online isn't perfect. AVP uses steamcloud for saves and ONLY steamcloud, you literally cannot save your game offline (unless you stole the game, then you're fine) and many users have complained about their saves/multiplayer rank just disappearing. That's with Steamcloud, a service which has been around the block a few times, just imagine how unreliable Ubisoft's network will be in the first few months.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

 

This is the reason why privacy has exploded on the PC console this decade, when will developers get that through their head? It used to be the Warez or cracked version was the worst version, now you have pirates who have become the good guys cleaning up the game, removing the DRM and releasing it for all to play or to provide a hack or work around to get around the DRM.

I wouldn’t even buy the PC Version of Ubisoft games, just pirate the game make this the most pirated game ever. Seriously EA has learned there lesson and they have decided to include incentives to buy the original version as well with Project Ten Dollar

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

you know if you were serious in "teaching them a lesson", you just wouldn't buy the game.

Don't pirate it, don't buy it, don't play it, don't play the demo of it, do not in anyway interact with the game, go cold turkey on it.

pirating just shows you're too much of a pansy to sacrifice your ability to play a game for the greater good.

Honestly, open your eyes to the obvious trends, if your suggested method of making it the most pirated game actually was anything other than complete idiocy, don't you think strict DRM would have ended with games like Mass Effect, spore, or any other predecessors in draconian DRM?

there is no good or "noble" reason to steal a video game, an item that is not required for basic survival, if you pirate, you're a thief and deserve any associated fines and penalties associated with it.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

No, the noble thing to do is to pirate the game and then mail the creators of the game $40, cutting out the bullshit middleman that is Ubisoft.

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

no no, that really is the silly thing to do, when Ubisoft thinks that their game is being pirated to high heaven they will simply attempt to devise a new DRM scheme for the release of their next title and we'll all be back here again having the same argument

by your own signature the proper or 'noble' thing to do would be to forget about the game since you obviously do not want to purchase the game, and instead decide to invest your money into a company that does not use draconian DRM in its products and simply play those titles instead

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Whenever dealing with this situation, i find this the best:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/2/19/

Also i implore people to read tycho's thoughts on that and the next days post. He probably sums it all up way better than i could.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

What if I don't even have an internet connection? Ubisoft are not seriously suggesting that games with offline modes are going to need an online connection? That's stupid!

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

That is exactly what they are suggesting. If you have no internet connection at all or yours is unreliable and cuts out often, you're out of luck.

 

Some of the previous commentors were dead on about legit customers resorting to piracy tactics (as in finding and using a crack). It's the sole reason why the site gamecopyworld even exists. Personally, I may still buy the game but only after the persistant internet connection requirement has been cracked for at least the single player portion (obviously multiplayer is going to require internet access anyway).

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

If they go through with this im afraid it might back fire.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

I am starting to think DRM was made to create a fuss so they could ban DRM circumvention. Then they have more control over the market so they can lead people to the format of their choice....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

My take on this: crack the game or download it on torrent. Call over 9,000 of your friends to do the same. Then raid Ubisoft´s forums bragging how you didn´t expend a penny for their shitty DRM´d game. Profit.

(if you choose to do exactly what I said, it´s your fault and I´m not responsible of any criminal charge or fines you surely will get, lol)

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My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

So long as pirating is a substantial problem, developer's first priority will be "how do we recoup losses caused by piracy?" rather than "how do we make this game better for the consumer?"  Piracy is a problem, it's the root of this problem, and encouraging more of it is just adding fuel to the fire.

 

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Piracy ISN'T a 'substantial' problem. It's a tiny problem thet they're blowing way out of proportion and forcing the customers to accept DRM junk that gets in the way of customer enjoyment - junk which doesn't even stop piracy anyway.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

DRM is more about trying to cripple the second hand market.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

So they feed the problem to justify doing this.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Except that that is exactly what Ubisoft, and DRM in general, is leading even legal owners to do.

Even people who have legally purchased such games are resorted to Piracy tactics (as opposed to piracy acts) to be able to play the game which they have legally purchased.

This, in fact, ends up leaving a DEMAND for hackers and crackers, rather than leading the general game community to ostricize and condemn them.

It's not far off from Industry types in book publishing retaliating against even fan fiction writers in an effort to protect their Copyright and Intellectual Proptery.

And not far off from those who have actually opposed even mechanical reading devices from translating text to speech. 

Such acts are driving even innocent individuals to react similar to illegal individuals, even if, really, their actions do nothing more than provide them with access to the product or allow seperate expansion of the product without actually harming the original product or publisher/creators.

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

The retailers might also be less inclined to order/order less from ubisoft in the future.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

I'm confused about this boycott, the way i see this playing out is that the retailer buys the game from Ubisoft, then the public buys out the retailers stock.  The next step would be for the retailer to send an order to Ubisoft for presumably a large quantity of games since the first batch sold out so quickly.  Then when everyone returns the game to the retailer, the retailer gets screwed.  They're left with the new order of games they just paid Ubisoft for, plus the initial stock they had sold before. Are retailers able to return game orders too?  Am I missing something here?

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Yeah, I can't see how this is going to hurt Ubisoft. All that's gonna happen is the retailer is going to get stuck with the copies and Ubisoft has already got their money. The idea is to punish Ubisoft, not the retailer. Clearly the person who thought up this idea has little to no knowledge of how retail distribution works.

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

I would imagine the retailers would be reportign to Ubisoft sounding rather pissed at all the sudden overstock they're stuck with, and won't order any new copies until they get rid of the old ones

Re: Ubisoft DRM Scheme Prompts Protest

Heh, sadly, I do charte the sentiment that the numbers of people genuinely buying the game to keep it will outweigh this.

Too many have been conditioned to just accept creap like this.

 
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MechaTama31I buy stuff off the eshop because it gives me the convenience of a flashcart without the guilt.09/23/2014 - 5:03pm
Montewell thanks for the info Eisen; try that the next time i need something off the eshop09/23/2014 - 3:54pm
james_fudgere: MP, i've sent tech support a note - thank you :)09/23/2014 - 3:14pm
IanCNah that wasnt directed at you Andrew :)09/23/2014 - 3:00pm
Papa MidnightRe: SIEGE 2014 Keynote: oh dear...09/23/2014 - 2:44pm
MaskedPixelanteDear GP, something called "doubleverify" is causing some nasty browser issues on my end. Probably one of your ads.09/23/2014 - 2:36pm
Andrew EisenOh hell no. No, it took Nintendo a dog's age just to get to the point its competitors have been at for a while! (And it's still not there yet, in a lot of respects.)09/23/2014 - 2:26pm
IanCSame as PSN handles it, fi you are trying to say only nintendo do that.09/23/2014 - 2:23pm
Andrew EisenYou have to try to purchase something first. Pick a game, hit purchase and if your wallet doesn't have enough to cover it, you'll be given an option to "add exact funds" or something like that.09/23/2014 - 2:05pm
MonteI have seen no option for that on my 3DS; anytime i want to add funds it only gives me the option to add in denominations of $10, 20, 50 or 10009/23/2014 - 2:03pm
IanCWhat Andrew Wilson said. PSN is the same when you make a purchase over a certain price (£5 in the UK)09/23/2014 - 2:02pm
Andrew EisenNeither eShop charges sales tax either. At least in California.09/23/2014 - 2:00pm
Andrew EisenBoth Wii U and 3DS eShops allow you to add funds in the exact amount of whatever's in your shopping cart. If your game is $39.99, you can add exactly $39.99.09/23/2014 - 1:57pm
Infophile@Matthew Wilson: As I understand it, any regulations to force tax online would also set up an easy database for these stores to use, minimizing overhead.09/23/2014 - 1:30pm
MonteReally, the eshop just does next to nothing to make buying digitally advantagous for the customer. Its nice to have the game on my 3DS, but i can get more for less buying a physical copy at retail. And that's not even counting buying used09/23/2014 - 1:18pm
MonteIanC, The Eshop wallet system only lets you add funds in set denominations and the tax makes sure you no longer have round numbers so you ALWAYS loose money. A $39.99 game for instance requires you to add $50 instead of just $4009/23/2014 - 1:13pm
Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
NeenekoI doubt it would be the retailer that handles the tax in the first place. If it goes through it would probably be folded in as a service on the processor end or via 'turbotax' style applications.09/23/2014 - 11:05am
Matthew Wilsonsimple there are over 10k tax areas in the us for sales tax. it would be impossible for small online retailers to handle that.09/23/2014 - 10:55am
 

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