Ubisoft Defends, Then Changes Anno DRM

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Ubisoft Defends, Then Changes Anno DRM


Ubisoft says the activation-limiting DRM in Anno 2070 works exactly like it's supposed to, and has also changed it so now it works differently.

Ubisoft's latest Anno 2070 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115298-PC-Upgrades-Trigger-Ubisoft-Activation-Limits] activation limit counter. With only three activations to play with, it meant that a PC upgrade or two could render the game useless without intervention from Ubi's customer support department.

It was a ridiculous misapplication of the system, but Ubisoft told Rock, Paper, Shotgun [http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/01/19/ubisoft-anno-2070-drm-works-as-intended/] that the DRM was actually working exactly as it was intended. "While it's correct that copies of Anno include three activations and that changing hardware may trigger the need for reactivation, the vast majority of Anno customers never encounter this scenario," the company said "On the rare occasion when a customer does need additional activations, Ubisoft customer service is available to quickly resolve the situation, and we encourage those customers to contact us directly so that we can ensure they are able to continue to enjoy their game."

As RPS points out, the Anno 2070 DRM, called "Tages," doesn't offer the deactivation option that's common in similar system used by other companies. Instead, uninstalling the game leaves behind a config file that future installs will use to recognize the game as legit, which is fine as long as you don't reformat your PC, suffer a major drive crash or do anything else that results in the loss or corruption of data - or, of course, make any sort of significant upgrades to your rig.

Today, however, the team from Ubisoft Blue Byte, the studio that created the game, dropped a line to Guru3D [http://www.guru3d.com/article/anno-2070-vga-graphics-performance-review/2] saying that video cards have been removed from the DRM equation. "Just wanted to let you know that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC," it wrote. "That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants."

That's all very well and good, and props to Blue Byte for quickly correcting a pretty egregious flaw in the machinery, but let's be honest here. This isn't Ubisoft changing its ways, this is Ubisoft doing a little spot cleaning in reaction to another PR debacle. It's good news for Anno fans, but as far as Ubisoft's overall [and still terrible] DRM policies go, it doesn't mean a thing.


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Carnagath

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Why do people keep buying Ubisoft games for the PC? I thought that through their infantile verbal shit-swinging and their "HAHAHA, YOU BOUGHT OUR GAME, WELL FUCK YOU" approach to DRM, pc gamers would have gotten the message by now.
 

Sabrestar

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If Ubisoft accidentally blew up someone's house, they'd say everything was fine, then later offer to buy the victim a new front door.
 

Andy Chalk

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Sabrestar said:
If Ubisoft accidentally blew up someone's house, they'd say everything was fine, then later offer to buy the victim a new front door.
Brilliantly put.
 

Spy_Guy

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Well, the fact that you still only get three non-reclaimable activations is a fairly huge flaw, in my opinion... especially with Steam, considering that it really doesn't help anyone lending games to their friends.
So, Tages is pointless anyway.

DRM is like those unskippable blurbs on the DVDs you buy going
"Piracy is bad, bad, BAD!" in a manly voice.
"We knew, that's why we bought your game / video."

The pirates get away with non-gimped (i.e. better) versions by pirating.
Makes sense, doesn't it?

UBISOFT, Y U NO CATCH ON?

*hrm*
 

RA92

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Carnagath said:
Why do people keep buying Ubisoft games for the PC? I thought that through their infantile verbal shit-swinging and their "HAHAHA, YOU BOUGHT OUR GAME, WELL FUCK YOU" approach to DRM, pc gamers would have gotten the message by now.
Well, in spite of their stance of "all-PC-gamers-are-pirates," Ubisoft actually has been publishing a great raft of successful PC exclusives - Anno, Trackmania, Heroes of Might and Magic, Silent Hunter, The Settlers... Anno 2070, for example, is actually pretty awesome. And once in a while, they don't implement their DRM - Trackmania Canyon doesn't have Starforce, and I think AssCreed's Revelations had its always-online DRM patched out as well...

Shame about their policies when it comes to PC gaming. They've some good developers under them.
 
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Sabrestar said:
If Ubisoft accidentally blew up someone's house, they'd say everything was fine, then later offer to buy the victim a new front door.
They'd also say the explosives worked as intended.
 

Something Amyss

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DVS BSTrD said:
Well at least it seems they're open to suggestion.
Would be nice if they didn't fuck it up to begin with, but this is Ubisoft we're talking about so... baby steps.
Baby steps: screwing customers incrementally less. XD
 

Baresark

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Why wouldn't just only register your current OS install. Hardware changes that do not require an OS install shouldn't be part of the equation. That means that the only thing that will require an activation is a new MOBO.

Haha, I just answered my own question: They wouldn't because that would be way too easy for their paying customers. The funny part, you pirate the game....... infinite installs. Nice job Ubisoft, that is why I don't give you my money... which isn't explicitly true. If your games are like $5 on Steam, I buy them. If I pay $5 for a game and then don't get any more installs or your servers go down or whatever, I didn't lose anything really. The downside for you is that you didn't really gain anything. So, this equation is still not working for you.
 

Plumerou

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i dont understand why they keep doing this, their games still get cracked no more than 5 days after they are released, the only ones that get hurt by their DRM are the ones that buy the game.
 

ph0b0s123

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Andy Chalk said:
"Just wanted to let you know that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC," it wrote. "That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants."
Oh, that's it, problem solved then becuase it is only ever GFX cards that people change in their PC's....

Just face it this DRM scheme is the worst kind of DRM, badly implemented. It's focus should be making sure that at most only run on 3 different PC's. Instead it means you can only it run it on 3 different hardware configurations ever. Put in a de-actvation scheme FFS. It still means that at most only 3 activators can be playing each copy of the game. You could even move it down to 2 if those two activations can be transferred.

So let's just be clear about this, UBisoft. In this case it is not DRM we are complaining about. We are complaining about shoddy DRM.
 

aPod

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Jan 14, 2010
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In Ubisofts eyes we are all guilty until proven innocent, but of you try they'll just stick their fingers in their ears and sing lalala.

I wanted to play anno 2070, i was about to buy it, then i read about the DRM and promptly gave a WTF and moved on to another game.

Good going Ubi
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
Now they just need to remove the rest of the drm from it and I will buy the fuck out of it.
 

ShaneGunWolf

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DVS BSTrD said:
Well at least it seems they're open to suggestion.
Would be nice if they didn't fuck it up to begin with, but this is Ubisoft we're talking about so... baby steps.
Yeah... Pretty much this.

*Shakes fist*
 

Richardplex

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Irridium said:
Sabrestar said:
If Ubisoft accidentally blew up someone's house, they'd say everything was fine, then later offer to buy the victim a new front door.
They'd also say the explosives worked as intended.
Is ubisoft a removed cousin of Blizzard then?
 

grigjd3

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I tried putting Assassin's Creed on my PC a couple of years back and the game not only forced me to call their customer support every time I wanted to play the game, but it also crashed to desktop about every twenty minutes. If that's the PC port of one of their flagship games, well, I can't imagine what kind of waste they put on lesser titles like the anno series.
 

OneCatch

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Irridium said:
Sabrestar said:
If Ubisoft accidentally blew up someone's house, they'd say everything was fine, then later offer to buy the victim a new front door.
They'd also say the explosives worked as intended.
And that they were well within their rights to do it because, I dunno, some houses down the street had been broken into? (The metaphor is beginning to break I admit)