Hackers crack Ubisoft always-online DRM controls
Hackers have overcome Ubisoft's controversial DRM system that relied on constant connection to the internet for games to function.
A crack for Ubisoft’s anti-piracy system published by a group called Skid Row allows gamers to circumvent the controls for games such as Assassin's Creed II. A message from the group on a gamers' forum sets out the group's agenda: allowing legitimate copies of PC games to be played without an internet connection, rather than facilitating piracy. Skid Row cheekily thanks Ubisoft for posing an interesting intellectual challenge.
Thank you Ubisoft, this was quiete a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes easier.
This release is an accomplishment of weeks of investigating, experimenting, testing and lots of hard work. We know that there is a server emulator out in the open, which makes the game playable, but when you look at our cracked content, you will know that it can't be compared to that. Our work does not construct any program deviation or any kind of host file paradox solutions. Install game and copy the cracked content, it's that simple.
Chris Boyd (AKA PaperGhost), a security researcher at Sunbelt Software and a long-time gamer, Told The Register that Ubisoft's controls were fundamentally misconceived.
“In general, it seems DRM restrictions in gaming are becoming more intrusive and creating problems for genuine customers, rather than the pirates who happily bypass these measures every time," Boyd said. "PC gaming should be about portability - what use are games you can't play at the airport or on a train if you can't get online?
"We already see layered DRM in gaming - for example, the Ubisoft DRM is used if you buy certain titles on Steam, the PC content delivery system which also ties games to user accounts. Eventually we could see games with so many restrictions and requirements needed to play that they would be all but unusable to everybody but the pirates. This would clearly not be a good situation for either the consumer or the games publisher.” ®
And you think Ubisoft will give a shit about whether or not you had to suffer their DRM, once you've given them your money?
How about making an actual stand against something you claim to oppose and not buying it AT ALL?
Mindless consumer sheep are the reason that companies continue to pull this crap and get away with it.
Tip of the hat to them for showing that game DRM, nomatter how extensive, is fundamentally flawed in its implementation, and at the end of the day the 'pirates' win regardless.
I pay for my games, but on more than one occasion have not bought one I would have bought otherwise due to reports of OTT DRM. Atleast not after getting GTA IV and having it refuse to run on my system, after installing all the mal<cough>software that came bundled with it. Was it Securom or something that did the DRM on that? Ended up having to enter into a long and extremely frustrating exchange with them to basically circumvent their own system using their own workarounds so I could play my bought and paid for game.
Finally did so, and got it to run, only to discover that the game was pretty shit anyway.
Just another case of DRM making a game unplayable for the people that buy it.
copy protection is a mixed bag
My Dad was an amateur into slow-scan TV and he bought an Amiga product which was a decoder board and some cunningly copy-protected software. He wanted to make a backup but the disk was unreadable by every amiga copying program around. I took up the challenge out of curiosity, I'd never tried to break copy protection before. It took a while but I was very pleased with myself when I cracked it - it was a fascinating challenge, and I received no commercial gain, but I did learn a lot about tricks with the 68000 CPU.
Roll on to a recent event where my wife bought some CAD software. The program generates a code when installed and you then get an activation key from the suppliers. She upgraded her computer and they reluctantly issued another key, and then that new computer was stolen, and they warned her that she would have only one new activation chance again! Rather than waste a future activation, I worked out how the program stored its activation details in the registry so I could clone it. In the meantime I am actively looking for a crack, because if something goes wrong and we need to do a fresh install and the company are not cooperative, a crack is the only way we can use software we bought legitimately.
My wife also had a Sony CD which refused to play because it had some copy protection. I'd never P2P'd music before, but the copy protection drove me to try shareaza and piratebay to download music we we'd bought^Wlicensed legitimately. Once I discovered how trivial it was, I downloaded other stuff too. I don't make a habit of it, but having felt ripped off by the music industry, my qualms were much more easily overcome!
My point is that copy protection can cause sufficient pain to legitimate users that they are driven into the arms of the "pirates", and any amount of DRM will be cracked sooner or later.
Gaming industry slow on the uptake
The games industry is soooo slow on the uptake here. Any IP can be copied and made to work without paying for it, be it a game, app, film, song etc. Tech isn;t the key - changing ppls minds is.
Example - have you noticed how they'd stopped showing those despicable "you look like a thief" ads at the cinema now (well, that's what they feel like to me). I go to the cinema almost every week (sometimes we';ve seen everything except Alvin and the Chipmunks and we have *some* limits). I pay to do that obviously. To then be told that "copying films is naughty - don't do it" having made that payment is bloody galling.
I turned to my lass once and told her it made me want to d/l the thing just because of that ad.
They don't do that anymore 'cause (1) it pisses off ppl that pay, and (2) the pirates just delete that bit from the file before uploading it so the ppl that don't pay don't see it!!!!! Huzzah! They caught on! Now they give you a little "awww, thanks for paying - we lubs joo" which makes me feel fuzzy inside (that could be the blue slush tho)
Games houses need to catch up - telling me they don't trust me and think I'm prolly a thief MAKES ME WANT TO TORRENT IT. Out of spite. Giving me a small benefit (even one that costs them nowt) is going to be far more effective.
PC gaming dieing
Been gaming on the PC since 1989. But I think games creators more and more don't want to develop for the PC. I understand why, with the extra difficulty of make the games work on all the different hardware configurations, for less sales than on a consoles.
It is just not an attractive platform. There will still be smaller or start-up companies that will develop for the PC to show off their new game engines, without having to pay Microsoft or Sony console royalties. But once they have a successful engine or franchise the PC will then get dumped for more lucrative console opportunities.
The increased amount of 360 games ported have helped, but the trend is obvious.
What annoys my is the companies that blame piracy for them stopping PC development (eg epic for Gears of War II and III). That is not the real reason but what I mentioned above and games publishers should be honest about not wanting to put in the extra effort to make a good PC game. The conspiracy theorist in me also thinks that it is part of the games makers plans to put huge amounts of DRM on PC games saying if you don't like play the game on a console. I do think some games makers would be happy to not have to develop for the PC anymore.
Dice got a lot of praise for their support of the PC gaming recently with Battlefield Bad Company. But I have all the previous versions of Battlfield and like to try a demo before deciding if I want to buy. And guess what, this time, no demo for the PC, but there is for the 360.
As for me, when gaming on the PC dies so will my playing computer games, as I have never had much fun on consoles and I refuse to use a joypad to play an FPS. PC snob? Yes.....