Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right to Use DRM

September 1, 2011 -

Just when you thought Ubisoft couldn't possibly take any more heat from players angry about its DRM policies, Ubisoft Reflections founder Martin Edmonson opens up a new can of worms for the company to deal with. Speaking to Eurogamer, the head of the studio responsible for Driver: San Francisco says that his parent company has "every right" to use DRM to protect the PC games it publishes from "utterly unbelievable" levels of piracy.

"You have to do something," Edmonson said. "It's just, simply, PC piracy is at the most incredible rates. This game cost a huge amount of money to develop, and it has to be, quite rightly - quite morally correctly - protected. If there was very little trouble with piracy then we wouldn't need it."

The DRM in Driver: San Francisco came under fire for requiring consumers to be online while playing it . Ubisoft later tweaked the DRM so that users only had to sign in once at game launch and then could be played offline.

The PC version of Driver: San Francisco is developed by Ubisoft Reflections. While Edmonson told Eurogamer that he had no say whether DRM was used, he still thinks it's a good idea.

"The publisher has every right to protect their investment," he said. "DRM is not a decision taken by us as a developer at all," he explained. "It's a purely a publisher decision. The publisher has every right to protect their investment. It's difficult to get away from the fact that as a developer, as somebody who puts their blood, sweat and tears into this thing... And from the publisher's point of view, which invests tens and tens and tens of millions into a product - by the time you've got marketing, a hundred million - that piracy on the PC is utterly unbelievable."

Edmonson also told Eurogamer that the decision to use Uplay Passport for the game was also out of his hands. The Uplay Passport is a free code that comes in the retail game allowing users to access the 11 multiplayer modes and a Film Director mode. Anyone that buys the game used will have to pay an extra fee for access to those features.

"If people don't buy the game when it first comes out and wait and pay for rental or for second-hand usage, then the publisher sees absolutely nothing of that," Edmonson said. "I see how much work, effort, money and risk goes into the creation of these games. I think it's entirely right that everybody who's involved - the people who take the risk - should have a reasonable chance at a financial recouping from that."

Source: Eurogamer by way of No High Scores

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Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

"If people don't buy the game when it first comes out and wait and pay for rental or for second-hand usage"... then you did something wrong.  It's not a justification for trying to extract even more money for something you've already sold to someone and made your money on.

I always love how these kinds of people act as though it's a failing on the customer's part that they didn't rush out and buy a product at full price.  What nerve, that people are deciding that your product isn't so wonderful that they can't stand to wait a while and get it second-hand!

That's also completely setting aside the fact that the availability of your product on the second-hand market is pretty proportional to how many people bought it originally... unless you made an absolute bomb that no one wants to keep for any length of time.

And as far as "it's entirely right that everybody who's involved - the people who take the risk - should have a reasonable chance at a financial recouping from that"... well, that's why they call it a risk.  If you were able to rig it so you get lots of money whether you succeed or fail, then you'd no longer be able to act all noble by calling it a risk.  I don't have any sympathy for someone who talks about taking such a risk while they simultaneously try to manipulate things into a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose situation.

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

Martin Edmonson,

Point to any article or website where any DRM you have implemented or assisted in the creation of has hindered pirates in any way? You can't. Pirates have never been hindered by DRM. I can go download any one of your games with the DRM totally stripped out any night I choose to.

Have I actually done this? No. I don't pirate games, but my point is, DRM is a nuisance at best and the only people it is truly annoying are your paying customers.

Get off your friggin' high horse and remember who pays the bills buck-o. I want to support your developers, but I'm not willing to be your DRM beta test focus group with my well earned cash either. We are at an impass and I might point out, you need me, I don't need you.

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

"The publisher has every right to protect their investment."

And I as a consumer have every right to not buy a heavy DRM laden game.

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

Well said. People forget about this sometimes (mind you, so do the publishers)

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

Yes... Look at what's happening to SAAB, they are dying because their cars lasts too long. They did not get any part of 2nd & 3rd hand sales.

If cars were only rented instead of sold... There is a way that SAAB may have been saved. To make sure noone tried to circumvent this cars could be fitted with a clamp on the fuel-line, which it was illegal to remove, but which required a constant connection and If the connection was ever lost, it would have to be towed back to the point of origin.

Yeah... I think I'm on to something here... The driver would of course have to sign a EULA stating that he would never sell, or lend the car to anyone... That way we would get rid of all car-thefts... (nice argument for lobbyists to sway public opinion) We would also strike a huge blow to bank robbers who tend to use cars to get away after a heist... (another good argument since anyone objecting would 'de facto' be supporting bank-robbery and could thus be ridiculed)... It would have saved SAAB, but instead we have all these greedy used car salesmen who killed SAAB. :/

 

You may think this is ridiculous... and I do too, just as ridiculous requiring a constant online-connection for a single-player game, (being thrown out without save if the network takes a quick dip)... ironically, something only paying customers suffer from, as the hack sets up a fake UBI-server locally which the game "talks" to...  UBIsoft knew this would happen and chose to implement it anyway.

Even King George "got it" in the end, so UBI soft will learn eventually. Because I am one of many that will not touch a UBIsoft product, not even a pirated version... becuse I don't want them to be able to whine. May UBI go where SAAB is going...

 

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

[foolish pro-DRM rant] says the dancing clown.

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

"The publisher has every right to protect their investment,"

Of course there's an implied mandate to protect one's investment, but that's not what they're trying to do. They're trying to maintain control so they can remain the one and only source for their games, which is why they added Uplay to screw over people who buy it used.

"If people don't buy the game when it first comes out and wait and pay for rental or for second-hand usage, then the publisher sees absolutely nothing of that,"

So what makes you special compared to every other company that sells a product? I have the right to resell any other product I own or buy it used (furniture, cars, clothes, real estate).  These publishers argued quite fiercely to convince us that they sell a "product", yet when people buy, sell, and trade them as such, they decry it as immoral and wrong to do it because they get nothing from the transaction. Wake up fools! Either it's a product and we have the right to resell it or it's not a product which points out that your whole business model is wrong. You don't get to have it both ways.

"I see how much work, effort, money and risk goes into the creation of these games. I think it's entirely right that everybody who's involved - the people who take the risk - should have a reasonable chance at a financial recouping from that."

As much as it probably pains you to hear this, you are not entitled to get paid because you worked hard. You came into this from a weak position (copying games is easy) and that's your fault for relying on a business model that is dependent on it not being easy to copy. That's about as stupid as trying to sell ice to Eskimos. So why don't you try building your business around something that doesn't rely on restricting communication to coerce sales? Your walled garden is protected by a harshly worded sign warning away trespassers and charging an entrance fee at a gate with no surrounding fence. And it will always be that insecure so long as you want it to be playable. What did you expect to happen?

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

You're absolutely right.  Ubisoft does have every right try to prevent piracy however it sees fit.

That doesn't mean how it's going about it is any less stupid and ineffectual, however.

"You have to do something," Edmonson said.

But doing something that pisses off your customers and does absolutely nothing to combat piracy isn't exactly a smart business move, is it?

"The publisher has every right to protect their investment."

Yes indeedy do.  But again, what Ubisoft's doing is not working.  At all.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

I've been saying this for years. I still say publishers should go back to the Blizzard / Battle.net method of Starcraft, Warcraft II: BNE, Diablo II, and Warcraft III product-key activations. Sure you could generate all the keys you wanted to play offline, but the real fun to be had was online - where your key was checked against a master server. It works, it's proven to work, and it has yet to fail over a decade later.

But hey, its okay Ubisoft: They can continue to produce poor ports of their Xbox 360 titles while delaying them at least 2-4 months post the release of their console counter-parts - bugs included et. al. so much to the point that gamers have given up and moved on to the next title - then when PC gamers (whom are generally more conscientious about their purchases) refuse to buy a bug-riddled, drm-laden title, you can just blame piracy and include more DRM. Meanwhile, those who actually DID pirate your bug-riddled game are missing that one key component that the publisher was insistent upon inclusion of: DRM.

"Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony."

----
Papa Midnight

Re: Driver: San Francisco Developer: Ubisoft Has Every Right ...

They don't seem to care a whole lot whether it works, just as long as they can say that they're doing something (to piss off the customers who are actually paying for the game).

 
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