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Ubisoft: "We have an anti-piracy plan"

Ubisoft: "We have an anti-piracy plan"

Ubisoft has a new plan for tackling piracy on the PC, Nintendo DS and PSP - but won't say what it is.

Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot has declared that the publisher has formulated a workable plan to combat piracy on the PC platform - though it won't discuss what it is just yet.

Discussing the topic of piracy in a conference call with investors (via Kotaku) Guillemot said that the plan was one which would be put into action by the start of next year at least and would probably roll out with one PC game this year too.

Clearly aware that piracy is not just a PC related issue, Yves also said that he was confident that piracy on the Nintendo DS would continue to improve in the future.

"Nintendo has been able to slow down piracy a lot in Japan," he pointed out. "They are now putting pressure to make sure it decreases in many other countries. We think we will be able to solve this matter."

Regarding other consoles however, Yves claimed that the figure were low enough to not cause huge concern right now and that he was optimistic about the state of the PSP thanks to "new ways of controlling piracy" on that platform. He's probably talking about the PSPgo, which he hints is enough to make Ubisoft reconsider the PSP as a viable platform.

The overall feeling of the comments then is one of confidence - but we're going to be a bit wary until we know for sure that the PC piracy solution isn't just some awful DRM system. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

55 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
LeMaltor 28th July 2009, 11:26 Quote
Hurm, good luck with the plan :p
[PUNK] crompers 28th July 2009, 11:26 Quote
hmm this is an interesting one. i wonder if they are planning on starting another digital download/steam type service? i hope not. i dont want to have to install a new piece of software for every publisher
l3v1ck 28th July 2009, 11:28 Quote
As long as they don't use the same kind of Malware that EA has resorted to. Something along the lines of Steam would be much more like it.
azrael- 28th July 2009, 11:28 Quote
They'll move exclusively to consoles :)
LeMaltor 28th July 2009, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crompers
hmm this is an interesting one. i wonder if they are planning on starting another digital download/steam type service? i hope not. i dont want to have to install a new piece of software for every publisher

Steam isn't anti piracy though, you can still pirate singleplayer steam games. So far I think the only effective anti piracy measure is multiplayer/ subscription MMO's (I've had no experience of micro transactions). Sure you can play wow for free on a private server, but without masses of players to play with it's a bit crap :p
SNIPERMikeUK 28th July 2009, 11:34 Quote
I give it 3 days until its cracked, and some say thats generous lol :)
Ryu_ookami 28th July 2009, 11:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2009/07/28/ubisoft-we-have-an-anti-piracy-plan/1

Ubisoft has declared that it has a workable plan to combat PC piracy, but won't declare what it is.

:|

yep they intend to never release another game :) that would truly be the only way to beat pirates saying we have a way of beating the pirates is just another way of saying we dare you to try and crack this game.
Paradigm Shifter 28th July 2009, 11:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by azrael-
They'll move exclusively to consoles :)

Funny, that's the first thing that occurred to me, too.

Although I think it likely they'll switch to a 'not quite MMO' architecture a la EA with C&C4.
Mentai 28th July 2009, 11:49 Quote
I bet whatever they decide will be universally hated. I bought Prince of Persia cause it didn't have DRM and it wasn't fun at all, now they're going ahead with anti piracy methods anyway. Lame.
xaser04 28th July 2009, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot has declared that the publisher has formulated a workable plan to combat piracy on the PC platform

What, by making a game people actually want to buy instead of the same tired rehashed formula resprayed and with a new engine?
DXR_13KE 28th July 2009, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNIPERMikeUK
I give it 3 days until its cracked, and some say thats generous lol :)

put a minus before the 3.

The day they make a anti piracy system that works is the day that pigs will acquire wings and fly.
AshT 28th July 2009, 12:41 Quote
Out of interest guys does the DS need its firmware updating ... ever?

I update my PSP but I've never thought about updating the DS before today.
Grimloon 28th July 2009, 12:50 Quote
I'd imagine that it'll be the same old story - DRM implemented in an appalling way, FUD and spin doctoring saying "It's all for your own good! Piracy is bad!" and everyone ends up bypassing it whether they own a legal copy or not because it's too much of a PITA to run with it included.
lewchenko 28th July 2009, 13:51 Quote
I personally dont care about DRM.

It has never bothered me in the slightest on any games Ive bought, nor has it been an inconvenience at all (I may be lucky in that respect, but the end result is still the same).

I say load it to the hilt with DRM and have the game register a key with the publisher that is then tied to that copy and that owner. The game will check itself at level load points, and if the machine isnt online... tough.

Yes they will lose some business but I believe that the thieves steal much more from them. (You can probably tell that I do not believe that a Pirate has any reasonable argument other than to admit they are stealing)



99% of people buy games to play and base their decision on whether the actual game is any good... they dont care about DRM. People on forums like this care though... (well some do anyway!)
wuyanxu 28th July 2009, 14:03 Quote
if they said "We have an anti-piracy plan without using DRM" it'd be big news.

now it's just another attempt at getting attention
Kúsař 28th July 2009, 14:37 Quote
I hope he isn't talking about new draconian DRM technology and that they're not going to explore EA's idea of "guessing the last letter of CD key"... :)

But if they're going to fight piracy the way CD projekt does(good prices, plenty of bonuses etc.) then go ahead, I love you ubisoft :D .
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
99% of people buy games to play and base their decision on whether the actual game is any good... they dont care about DRM. People on forums like this care though... (well some do anyway!)

100% of pirates don't care about DRM, only honest customers are affected by DRM :P
But perhaps you're right, most of the people don't care about DRM. But most of the people also don't care about crapware that gets installed on their PC(without their consent or knowledge).
Jenny_Y8S 28th July 2009, 15:00 Quote
One sure fire way to beat piracy is to only release games which are so pants they get no publicity. No genuine sales either but it's a sure fire "winner"
logan'srun 28th July 2009, 15:24 Quote
Best plan is to effectively price the games so that people will pay for it instead of pirate it. Right? Oh, and make it good of course.
knuck 28th July 2009, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
what's next ? They will be "going green" like every other damn company trying to seduce new customers ?

I just hope they're intelligent enough to have learned from the mistakes of other publishers
ChaosDefinesOrder 28th July 2009, 16:16 Quote
Bring back the cardboard sliding circle thingies that used to be in Amiga games like Zool. You HAVE to have a copy of the game in order to have one of those! Plus, I found them kinda fun to use when I was younger... Of course this presents a problem if you're digi only...

and someone could probably list all the combinations...

ok maybe it won't work...
Ross1 28th July 2009, 17:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
Out of interest guys does the DS need its firmware updating ... ever?

I update my PSP but I've never thought about updating the DS before today.

i dont believe so. you can get firmware updates for your flashcart though.
wiak 28th July 2009, 17:49 Quote
ea = lame
ubisoft = lame
valve software = epic win
Aracos 28th July 2009, 19:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
Out of interest guys does the DS need its firmware updating ... ever?

I update my PSP but I've never thought about updating the DS before today.

The original DS and DS lite's don't update and there's no reason too either, I've never seen a reason to want a DS with higher firmware.

BTW THAT PICTURE IS EPIC WIN!!!!!! I'm gonna use that whenever people complain about my piracy :D
greensabbath 28th July 2009, 19:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosDefinesOrder
Bring back the cardboard sliding circle thingies that used to be in Amiga games like Zool. You HAVE to have a copy of the game in order to have one of those! Plus, I found them kinda fun to use when I was younger... Of course this presents a problem if you're digi only...

and someone could probably list all the combinations...

ok maybe it won't work...

I remember that too when I used to play some sort of dinosaur game and I thing Terminator has some sort of book where you looked up a code each time. The only bad part (especially when you are a little kid) is when you lose the cardboard thing or the book and you're screwed.

Personally, DRM hasn't effected me so much but I wish every game would have a demo. I think this way, we could see if the game was good enough to buy (and if it is, I usually do) or if it really is crap. This way, we wouldn't have the excuse of stealing a game "just to see if its any good."

Also, lower prices would be nice... but just wait a few months.
ChainsawBunny 28th July 2009, 21:29 Quote
I 100% know the answer what they will be using.

It has been coming for a long time and will kill PC gaming forever.

The answer is ..... <wait for it>

MICROPAYMENTS

What companies will do is release a game for absolutely free, then charge for levels, characters, weapons along with an MMO type login.
knuck 28th July 2009, 21:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
and what exactly will stop those updates from being shared on the web ?
DXR_13KE 28th July 2009, 22:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghys
and what exactly will stop those updates from being shared on the web ?

Absolutely nothing.
Kiytan 28th July 2009, 23:15 Quote
yeah, another person here who absolutly hates some DRM that is used. I've had real problems with grid and GTAIV (ignoring completely the crap that is the social club) I went and bought GTA IV and grid with a voucher i had from my birthday, install, click play "please insert correct cd, rather than a backup", tried again, tried another drive, same problems, reinstalled, same again. So in the end, I just used a no-cd crack for them.
That's not a problem with pirate software, i mean honestly, in some cases you're making it even easier for pirates.
dr-strangelove 29th July 2009, 01:16 Quote
You want the game but you don't want the annoying DRM - answer: buy the game then dowload it illegally you get the game but not the DRM and the company stays in business.

Or just get it on steam.
bridgesentry 29th July 2009, 02:53 Quote
There are 2 levels for them to go:
-Genuine check: only checks legality when updating or playing online, like Windows
-Or checks (online) whenever the game loading
The higher the level, the sexier the game will need to be:D, I think it should be 10/10 to have enough confidence
leslie 29th July 2009, 03:59 Quote
I can only giggle at this.
There is no way to stop piracy unless you give it away. Even a system like EA's Battlefield Heroes can be messed with. Just ask how many people have been ripped off through Pay Pal.

It's like making something idiot proof. The moment you do, along comes a better idiot.

With this it's a matter of numbers. For every software engineer working on their anti-piracy, there is 500 people working for the mere bragging rights of having hacked it. There is also the simple fact that if it can be connected to a computer it can be hacked.
cheeriokilla 29th July 2009, 06:42 Quote
most of my xbox360 owning friends have all their games pirated, and me, the PC gamer, all legit copies... Take that consoles!
AstralWanderer 29th July 2009, 07:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
I personally dont care about DRM.

It has never bothered me in the slightest on any games Ive bought, nor has it been an inconvenience at all (I may be lucky in that respect, but the end result is still the same).
I find this a very odd comment indeed - how long have you been buying games for? Have you never, ever scratched a CD/DVD, encountered DRM-imposed software restrictions or noticed any FPS loss due to disc checks? For that matter, if you've never been inconvenienced, have you actually bought any discs at all?
Quote:
Originally Posted by lewchenko
99% of people buy games to play and base their decision on whether the actual game is any good... they dont care about DRM.
While its fair to say the majority aren't DRM-aware, 99% is rather stretching it. It only takes one incident of a damaged disc to bring home to people that their installation media is fragile and needs to be protected, at which point they start learning about no-cd patches and disc emulators (in my case, I now check for no-CD patches before any game purchase).

Online activation systems are far worse though - you lose the game(s) if the company shuts down (a pretty frequent occurrence in this industry) and, less obviously, are subject to the company's whim in terms of future authentication measures. These can be loosened (as has been done with some SecuROM online games) but can similarly be tightened, even to the extent of forcing people to pay again (Stardock being one example of a publisher levying surcharges).

The biggest danger lies with systems that tie all purchases to a single account (like Stardock's Impulse or Valve's Steam) since there is little to stop such companies from imposing an annual (or even monthly) fee on users, in order to retain access to their software.

Another DRM option is hardware-based authentication (where the program is tied to your system using criteria like disk volume ID, CPU-ID or network MAC address) which is probably what Ubisoft is considering. This doesn't affect users until they make one hardware change too many, or have to migrate software to a new PC. In those cases, at best they face significant hassle having to contact each publisher involved for new program versions - at worst, the publisher has gone out of business meaning having to find a replacement elsewhere.

All such systems have one thing in common - they need customer acceptance. If users do accept without protest, then history indicates that these measures will escalate (much as media check software escalated with the likes of Starforce and SecuROM) until they cause significant problems.
Ape 29th July 2009, 08:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
I find this a very odd comment indeed

Well I agree with him, it doesn't affect me either and before you start with the patronising BS you gave him in your response - yes, I have been gaming for over 20 years and bought hundreds of games. Have I ever scratched a disc? No. Does CD/DVD seek times affect me? No. Does online checks affect me? No.

So maybe you need to look closer to home and quit with your mightier than thou comments.

These forums crack me up.

OH, and name one company that has closed its doors and the customers have lost access to their games that were activated with online protection. Cheers.
AstralWanderer 29th July 2009, 09:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ape
OH, and name one company that has closed its doors and the customers have lost access to their games that were activated with online protection. Cheers.
Online activation for games is recent enough that such a disaster has yet to happen - though it doesn't rule it out. Similar events have occurred with DRMed music services, in particular Virgin Digital and Yahoo Music.

As for not being affected, didn't you encounter this, courtesy of SecuROM?

Aside from that, good to see you're so easily amused...
DraigUK 29th July 2009, 12:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ape
Well I agree with him, it doesn't affect me either and before you start with the patronising BS you gave him in your response - yes, I have been gaming for over 20 years and bought hundreds of games. Have I ever scratched a disc? No. Does CD/DVD seek times affect me? No. Does online checks affect me? No.

So maybe you need to look closer to home and quit with your mightier than thou comments.

These forums crack me up.

OH, and name one company that has closed its doors and the customers have lost access to their games that were activated with online protection. Cheers.

This applies to me in exactly the same way as Ape. Never had or expect to have any issues.

And no, never had that Securom problem either. Been gaming and buying computer games for about 27 years.
[USRF]Obiwan 29th July 2009, 13:24 Quote
After the "going to consoles only, don't make games anymore, micro credits and online selling"

My logical conclusion is, that they are going to sell upcoming games for 5 bucks a piece...
DXR_13KE 29th July 2009, 15:03 Quote
After breed forced me to format my hard drive i have been relatively cautious.... if it has invasive DRM then it stays on the shelf at the store.
Lepermessiah 29th July 2009, 19:10 Quote
It amazes me the lengths people take to defend, justify, and minmiize piracy it boggles my mind, and the effort people go to demonize DRM, which 99% of people would not even notice. Cue the bashing.
Lepermessiah 29th July 2009, 19:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ape
OH, and name one company that has closed its doors and the customers have lost access to their games that were activated with online protection. Cheers.
Online activation for games is recent enough that such a disaster has yet to happen - though it doesn't rule it out. Similar events have occurred with DRMed music services, in particular Virgin Digital and Yahoo Music.

As for not being affected, didn't you encounter this, courtesy of SecuROM?

Aside from that, good to see you're so easily amused...


LOL, you need a tinfoil hat. Please, a quick workaround would quickly be found, if that happened a revoke tool, or community fix would be just around the corner. Revoke tools are common now, even just after a game gets older. People are so paranoid. Plus, back up your games.
ZERO <ibis> 30th July 2009, 01:42 Quote
We here have a great system. Every time you buy one of our amazing products my own cousin Vinny will come over and give you a free chair! Now you can not get out of the chair but it is very comfortable. Every Friday he will be buy to collect and if you are out of the chair somehow we will just give you a little wack. So see everything is bon, kapesh...
Elton 30th July 2009, 03:37 Quote
I'm just not fond of DRM if only because it installs thing I don't know about..Just imagine, if someone was smart enough to figure a way to steal data that way....

Yeah.....
binary101 30th July 2009, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraigUK
And no, never had that Securom problem either. Been gaming and buying computer games for about 27 years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ape
yes, I have been gaming for over 20 years and bought hundreds of games

DRM software didn't really exist until 2002-2003, just because my cars been running fine for the last 5 years doesn't mean that it wont ever breakdown.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepermessiah
People are so paranoid. Plus, back up your games.

What kind of backup did you have in mind?
Burning the DVD?, Making an image? cause that stopped working about 5 years ago...
leslie 30th July 2009, 20:27 Quote
To those who say DRM isn't evil...

Remember that next time the manufacturer of that game or music"cd" you "bought" goes out of business and it no longer works. DRM means you are renting, you don't own whatever it is you bought. They can take it away from you at any moment. If you crack it to defeat this, you are just as guilty as a pirate in the eyes of the law. Funny since pirates don't have that issue. They don't pay for it and have MORE rights than you do for having paid for it.

I'm not justifying piracy, just stating the facts.
You pay more for a system that revokes your rights. There is no benefit of DRM to a legitimate consumer. None. It also does nothing to stop pirates. And if you read the quote below, you will see that it will not even stop legitimate users when they use said DRM for it's intended purpose.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepermessiah
LOL, you need a tinfoil hat. Please, a quick workaround would quickly be found, if that happened a revoke tool, or community fix would be just around the corner. Revoke tools are common now, even just after a game gets older. People are so paranoid. Plus, back up your games.
If your game needs online activation, backing it up is irrelevant. It's done. Period. Same with music that has drm.

"The community?" Give me a break. Yes, you can crack it, and make it work again, which is what "the community" will do, but there is one problem, you are now a pirate and a criminal. It is illegal to circumvent that system so you just became the very thing you fought against.

As mentioned this has happened in the past. The government should pass a law that forces companies using drm to sell you a lease agreement. not ownership rights. That would at least differentiate the fact that you are buying something with DRM as opposed to without.
AshT 31st July 2009, 08:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leslie
To those who say DRM isn't evil...

Remember that next time the manufacturer of that game or music"cd" you "bought" goes out of business and it no longer works.

I'm guessing you've bought music from a business that has gone out of business?

They need to find a way to stop second hand sales and piracy and give us the much anticipated knock-on effect of reduced prices. THEN if the publishers don't reduce prices, we can fire bomb their offices and cry about DRM restricting our human rights.
leslie 31st July 2009, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
I'm guessing you've bought music from a business that has gone out of business?

They need to find a way to stop second hand sales and piracy and give us the much anticipated knock-on effect of reduced prices. THEN if the publishers don't reduce prices, we can fire bomb their offices and cry about DRM restricting our human rights.

My father had Napster (the legal one) for a while, and watched DRM rights revoked quite often. One week a song was available, the next it wasn't. He "bought" a song, then the artist revoked the license. He felt as many here do, "it won't happen to me"... Well, it did. He didn't make that mistake again.


Yep.. DRM never happens...
Amazon did it the other day to thousands of books. Which ironically, "1984" was one of them.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/technology/companies/27amazon.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss



Even if they do drop it and reduce prices, they wouldn't drop. They would come up with something else to claim is inflating the cost. You are used to the cost, so why should they change it,. In fact, odds are they would INCREASE it, calling no DRM a feature.

Oh wait, they already did this...
AshT 31st July 2009, 10:26 Quote
I've got Steam and iTunes and they won't be going anywhere.

I am starting to wonder what kind of effect On Demand gaming will have on Steam, but fingers crossed Steam has that covered.
leslie 31st July 2009, 20:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
I've got Steam and iTunes and they won't be going anywhere.

I am starting to wonder what kind of effect On Demand gaming will have on Steam, but fingers crossed Steam has that covered.

And the Titanic was unsinkable, AIG, GM, and Chrysler were too big to fail.

If music companies decide to pull their interests in Itunes, it's dead, and they could force Apple to kill all songs from them.

Same can happen to Steam. EA and others could say"we are done" and yank all of their stuff. Leaving only Valve, which is fine, except that Valve is just as vulnerable as anyone else.
DXR_13KE 31st July 2009, 20:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leslie
And the Titanic was unsinkable, AIG, GM, and Chrysler were too big to fail.

If music companies decide to pull their interests in Itunes, it's dead, and they could force Apple to kill all songs from them.

Same can happen to Steam. EA and others could say"we are done" and yank all of their stuff. Leaving only Valve, which is fine, except that Valve is just as vulnerable as anyone else.

If that happened then they would have a s*it storm in their hands...
AstralWanderer 3rd August 2009, 14:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
I've got Steam and iTunes and they won't be going anywhere....
If you mean the chances of Valve or Apple going bust in the next 5 years are low, then you're probably right.

However both systems are very much under the thumb of the companies running them and that includes being able to force new features or changes on users. Apple can (and has) altered the number of permitted copies, so they could (if they wanted more revenue) add a system of forced rental. Or add "purchase by default" (like book/film clubs, where you automatically receive and are charged for the "xxx of the Month" unless you specifically decline it). Or use "in-your-face" advertising (like Gator and similar adware), etc.

Those who've been careful to purchase only DRM-free MP3s (at extra cost) from iTunes could ditch it if any such stunt was pulled but anyone else would have to grin and bear it (unless their collection was small enough to make workarounds feasible).

Current DRM systems are not (and probably never have been) about stopping piracy (online activation is not intrinsically any harder to disable than a media check) but about controlling usage and users. It would be naive not to expect a publisher to use this to extract money directly at some point (as opposed to just indirectly by killing off second-hand sales).
AshT 3rd August 2009, 16:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
...

But you can record your purchases to CD ... ? And always re-rip them if need be ... ? Should Apple fail.
DragunovHUN 3rd August 2009, 16:23 Quote
I don't mind DRM as long as it doesn't limit me to a certain number of installs.

However i dont see its point. Even the strongest DRM they can throw at the pirates gets cracked on the release day, if not sooner so why not quit bugging the legit customer and just release the goddamn game? gog.com is a good example. Steam is a good example.

Okay so Steam has DRM, but the service, the games and the deals (on Valve games at least) are so good that even some of my hardcore pirate friends buy stuff there.

And what do they think they'd achieve with stopping pirating ANYWAYS? If they didn't buy games before they won't start now.
AstralWanderer 3rd August 2009, 16:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
But you can record your purchases to CD ... ? And always re-rip them if need be ... ? Should Apple fail.
When you do that, you lose the metadata (track name, artist details, etc) and have to enter it manually when ripping the CDs back to MP3s/OGGs. Not a huge problem with a small collection - but impractical for those with hundreds of tracks.
AshT 3rd August 2009, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
But you can record your purchases to CD ... ? And always re-rip them if need be ... ? Should Apple fail.
When you do that, you lose the metadata (track name, artist details, etc) and have to enter it manually when ripping the CDs back to MP3s/OGGs. Not a huge problem with a small collection - but impractical for those with hundreds of tracks.

There is an option to record an MP3 CD, is that no good?
AstralWanderer 3rd August 2009, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
There is an option to record an MP3 CD, is that no good?
Does iTunes let you do that with its DRM-protected content? (not just MP3 purchases). If so, and the MP3s created have all the correct data, then it would be a valid workaround - just as limiting purchases to MP3s only would be (though not possible until fairly recently).
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