back to article Ubisoft undone by anti-DRM DDoS storm

Ubisoft has confirmed its rights management servers were hit by a fierce DDoS attack over the weekend that left some customers unable to play its games for much of Sunday. The attack is an apparent protest at controversial new DRM controls by the video game publisher which mean customers have to be online in order to play its …


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  1. john 212

    valid issues

    People always bang on about Piracy and the effects. What Ubisoft has managed to do wonderfully here is push to the front of the debate one of the most valid and real issues on this whole subject. Which of the two, Big publishers or Bittorrent/P2P has actually delivered the game or product or content in a way that the consumer wants it and can enjoy it better?

    Another important issue is one of consumer rights. In the U.K at least you have the right to own a backup of something your legitimately own. Now since they insist on adding these odd DRM schemes you’d actually be at fault for trying to bypass them yourselves, so you’re quite entitled download a version where someone else has done this for you. Murky waters would come from then sharing this with people you can’t confirm own the game or not or as it should often be described but isn’t, illegal uploading instead of the over used and mostly false term of iIlegal downloading. But that is another story for another time.

    So the point here is now that paying and legit customers actually have the right to choose between the hard copy they paid for or downloading a, well fixed .exe or whatever it they need for this particular game, since they often having the full game means you don’t need to download it from the net, you just need the part that fixes it.

    Throw in a few words like Pirate, freetards, thief’s et al and you have a confused and unsure consumer who doesn’t understand what they are entitled to and that this P2P thing can benefit them. As well they should be benefited for supporting a game that they like. This is not much different from when Ubisoft support used a cracked .exe from Reloaded I think for customers who were having problems with the game. People who are genuinely having issues with this DRM should be made aware that they can legitimately benefit from these online backups. And why shouldn’t they get to enjoy what they paid for as they see fit? It’s hardly fair that these apparent Pirates should only be the ones to reap the rewards of a network heavily geared towards delivering content based on the demands and deisres of the users.

    I don’t agree with the servers being DDOS’d. The DRM scheme if it would fail should have done so one its own merits and no one should have taken it upon themselves to force the issue. Perhaps it could be viewed as a catalyst of the debate but in this case it wouldn’t be proper to use it against Ubisoft as it wasn’t a naturally occurring result of their DRM but a forced one outside of their control.

  2. cosmogoblin


    People are whining a lot about these DRM things, but there's one fundamental point they don't seem to realise, and that is this:

    PC game publishers have almost entirely eliminated piracy!

    That's a fact. We're not quite there yet, but when nobody in the world is able to play a game, piracy rates will drop to zero. And in the end, isn't that what we all want?

    Addendum: There are two sorts of copy protection I like. First, Steam, which turned out to be a hell of a lot better than I expected. Secondly, the method employed by Darwinia (something along the lines of "We hate copy protection, so we're going to trust you not to be a bastard.")

  3. Michael Tripper

    so Ubisoft will pay broadband fees?

    it's so ridiculous it's almost beyond imagination but there it is.

    You must pay for broadband in order to play a single player game?

    This has got to be anti-competitive and illegal someway.

    Is it not too onerous? Are there no limits?

  4. ZenCoder

    I'm voiting with my wallet.

    I am not going to buy their games .. I won't even pirate their games because they might actually be good and then I might be tempted to buy them or sequel or tell a friend how fun they are.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another thing about DRM is that not only does it not stop pirates, and it causes a nuisance in practical terms (finding disks, swapping things, having to be connected to a server, etc) but often the DRM software causes odd bugs in games.

    A number of games I've played in the past will work perfect;y fine in one region where DRM type a is used, but be completly buggy in another region where another kind of DRM is used. Well to be honest you often just get two sets of different kinds of bugs. Then you end up with a different set of bugs if you get them from an online store.

    Then you have patch incompatibility between versions, and nowdays you have to patch becouse the games industry is run by marketing instead of game developers.

    DRM has never been any good, the best I saw was a grid that couldn't be photocopied on the Amiga, but my brother just drew the thing when he copied it.

  6. A B 3

    Decoder wheel/sheet with red cellophane

    The decoder wheel must be just as good at slowing down pirates.

    In the past I rarely pirated games because of the risk of viruses and malware, but now that a legal version is going to be crippled there is no reason for me not to pirate

  7. Flybert

    You think this is bad ?

    flight simmers have been waiting for a WWI combat sim with decent gameplay SinglePlay and MultiPlay since Red Baron 3D introduced free server-client software in October 1998, not to mention Red Baron II/3D is still considered the best SinglePlayer Campaign devised, all designed for a Pentium 200MMX with about 4MB minimum video memory

    So comes along last Spring, is this Rise of Flight alpha out of Russia where not only do you need to be connected to play *SinglePlay*, but the base game ( about $40 ) has only 2 aircraft

    and you need to buy others at about $7.50 apiece .. so now, to have all the planes to fly, it's a $150 deal ! .. and it's got no historical prespective of SP campaign .. no dogfight servers, only co-op and I've yet to hear of a successful 50 player game were RedBaron3d servers have done 76 player stable .. in 1999 !

    It's a graphicly beautiful game, great flight and damage models .. but the customers are beta testers paying alot out for the priviledge, and have to worry that if they DON'T support noeqb at this point, the sim will fail and they'll have nothing to fly.

    I remember a well designed MotorCityOnline by EA, online only, was great except the netcode and it's security sucked, and cheaters quickly ruined the races .. I think the servers stayed up for about a year .. $40 down the tubes ..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @john 212

    "In the U.K at least you have the right to own a backup of something your legitimately own."

    No. There is no right of "fair-use" in the UK and there never has been.

    If you make a "backup" of a film, music, game whatever you have in fact broken the law unless the film, music, game etc specifically allows you to copy the media.

    Its civil rather than criminal law but you have broken the law. For now its civil, but NuLab are in the process of changing the burden of proof such that it would be down to you to prove you didn't "backup" for commercial gain rather than the CPS having to prove you did now. Commercial gain makes it a criminal offence rather than a civil offence.

  9. pitagora

    i would pay for a crack

    considering that I don't have always have an internet connection and the only thing I can do on the PC to amuze me when I don't, is play single player games, this is going to be a problem for me. The only reason why I would buy a single player game is to play it offline. Multiplayer games are a lot more fun, but since I don't always have an internet connection I can settle for single player. Well apparently not in this case :(

    I'll be very honest here: I will probably play the regardless if I pay the money to some guy that found a smart way to crack it, instead of UbiSoft. YES, I'm not willing to buy the game if can't use it offline, but I would be willing to pay the full amount for a cracked version, as I am sure others would too. So a message to anybody out there trying to crack it: you have at least one customer if you succeed.

  10. davefb

    ubisoft lose nothing thru piracy?


    apart from the millions spent developing the game of course. Let alone duplication costs, let alone setting this DRM up.I'm sorry, but whenever one of my friends prattles on like this, I ask them about coming round my house and doing some work, I mean, doesn't cost them anything does it?

    What a childish attitude, if you can't afford something, you don't steal it.

    Ubisoft know damm well this will annoy people, but the scale of piracy is making it utterly impossible to do pc dev without losing millions. Short of mmorpg the pc will die as a games platform as will any console that gets cracked properly. Which is insanely stupid because the pc format is generally a cheaper format to buy games on since you don't have to pay the Sony/m$/nintendo monies.

    As for 'its not good enough' err well DONT BUY THE APP, I suppose the similar would be pirating a copy of a song you dont actually like, then bleating to forums 'that cheryl cole, its a horrid song, why doesnt she do decent songs, hardly worth my time pirating her latest single'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      all the money they wasted on drm was busted in 24 hours by crackers and a large number of people who would have bought the games didn't becouse of the online crap.

      Think before you speak, it'll help you not look like a salivating idiot.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      You sir are a tit.

      so heres a few scenarios for you what I want you to do is tell me how much ubi makes from each of them?

      1) 12 yo kid has no pocket money so goes out to play in the street.

      2) 12 yo kid has no pocket money so d/l pirated game...enjoys game tells friends.. enjoys gaming considers it to be a hobby, many years later he has a job and actually buys a game.

      Point 2, OF 'the millions spent developing a game' how much is recovered per sale from the following:

      1) multimillion selling blockbuster.

      2) non charting flop.

      Point 3, how long will it take for pirates to empty ubi's warehouse under the following conditions:

      1) if a game is sold once and pirated once.

      2) if a game is sold once and pirated one hundred times.

      Piracy is not theft. it is copyright infringement - its a very different thing. now go do your own work you lazy tit.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


        Unfortunately, you seem to be one of the people confused by the rights owner's propaganda about DRMs being used to "fight piracy".

        You need to understand that DRMs have nothing to do with piracy and are meant solely to increase the degree of control exercised by the rights owner over the final use of the product.

        The targets for DRMs are not pirates who use illegal copies of the games but the law-abiding consumers like yourself.

        By restricting what you can do inside your own house with the product you just have paid for the publishers want to be able to charge you more than once for the same thing over and over again.

        The publishers do not give a bent penny for all the pirates over there - they have already made all the necessary provisions for any leakage through "pirate" copying etc in their accounts before launching the game.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Piracy isn't stealing. Piracy doesn't cost developers/publishers millions.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @ davefb -There are no lost millions, that is a fabrication

      If these people were not going to pay for the software anyway how have you lost any money? This is simply the vendor's pique due to the thought of all the money you could have made had the freetards purchased their unfinished products.

  11. green_giant
    Thumb Down


    Had Assasins creed 2 giving to me a gift from the fiancee. Been looking forward to it for a while.

    This new DRM madness is driving me mad. Im in the process of s purchasing a new router as my current one is flakey. Which means constant game drop outs and lack of playing the game.

    If I was still doing my old job which involved a lot of travelling. I wouldnt be purchasing any of their games. As id want something I could play in a hotel room with no internet access.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      A suggestion

      Instead of buying a new router how about sending the game back to Ubisoft and demanding a refund?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Rant enclosed

    I pay for all my games and usually talk about how much pirating of games annoys me. But I'm starting to lose faith. When even I am thinking, I would rather pirate this, you know something is wrong. You're losing a core customer.

    I've had some bad experiences lately where I bought a game, and the copy protection prevented it from working correctly, and it took me two weeks to get the game to start up. My friends were all playing the game from day one. I'm left thinking: why did I pay for it? The pirates are providing a better service.

    Let's look at the facts here. The pirates will crack whatever protection you put in within a day. It takes little technical acumen for someone to use the cracked version. Is adding DRM going to convince anyone not to use the cracked version? No.

    So the DRM you are forcing on people hurts ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO PAID. It barely affects the pirates, except to give them an argument in favour of piracy, as we've seen in these comments.

    To compare to the music industry, at one point you had two options: buy a physical CD for quite a lot of money, or download an MP3 in seconds without paying for it. No wonder people were scared. However now there are other options: pay 69p and download a DRM-free MP3 in seconds, or use a free ad-funded service like Spotify to listen to.

    I'm sure services like those do far more to combat piracy than prosecuting individuals or adding restrictive DRM ever did.

    Make it easy for people to pay and play your game, and the majority of people will do it. Those that won't, wouldn't have anyway! Make it harder for people, and you lose the people that would have. I think Steam are more along the right lines.

  13. Mark Eaton-Park
    Thumb Down

    What about Valve / Steam have you read their contract?

    All these internet based anti piracy attempts are useless, if enough people want the software then a hacked version will appear.

    Software piracy loss is a calculated percentage of the cost of all software and even when the software hasn't been ripped we all still end up pay it.

    All my software is legitemate however most of the stuff I have paid for it has bugs and vunerabilities that are continueously patched at my expense.

    I personally do not sell buggy code so to me anything with bugs is still beta and hence they shouldn't be charging for it.

    If these developers want my sympathy then they shouldn't release thier software until it works properly, there is no excuse. Anyone who says complex software must come with bugs knows nothing about developement. The vendors know that they can simply release unfinished products as they can con their customer into repatching over and over again. The likes of microsoft have done this for years, when they get close to a working version they release it as a brand new product.

    So cry me a river we all know you still make your money regardless of how many pirates are out there not to mention the free support knowledge base and sales recommendations these pirates provide.

  14. Sadie

    Not a new problem

    I had to crack a game because there was a faulty batch that wouldn't pass CDLCKSPL (IIRC) - Retailer swapped 3 of them without complaint, then advised to crack. Complained to Publisher who basically said "Not our problem, you must be using a pirate copy"


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