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Ubisoft DRM servers go down, stopping play [Update]

Posted at 08 March 2010 21:00 CEST by Jared Newman

The burden of constant online authentication proved too much for Ubisoft’s DRM servers, which crumbled and left games unplayable over the weekend.

According to the PC gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun, Ubisoft’s servers went down on Sunday, and I’ve yet to see any reports that they’re back online. A thread on Ubisoft’s official forums appears to be inaccessible at the moment.

A Ubisoft moderator on that thread said “exceptional demand” was to blame for the DRM failure. “This does not affect customers who are currently playing, but customers attempting to start a game may experience difficulty in accessing our servers. We are currently working to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience,” the moderator said.

Ubisoft’s new DRM scheme requires a constant connection to Ubisoft’s servers in order to play. Games that use the new DRM, including Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter 5, will pause if the connection drops for any reason. There is no way to play these games offline.

There’s really no excuse for Ubisoft fouling up the launch of these new games, especially with so much negative press coverage of the DRM. But it’s even worse that Ubisoft has made this kind of mistake before. In 2008, a PC port of Assassin’s Creed was unable to phone in to Ubisoft for some gamers, leaving them unable to play without authentication. Ubisoft stumbled again later that year, temporarily offering a hacker-made crack as a solution to problems with Rainbow Six Vegas 2′s DRM.

I hope the demand on Ubisoft’s servers doesn’t suggest that these games were an overwhelming commercial success. The only way these DRM methods will cease to be more ridiculous is if people vote with their wallets. Incidentally, the DRM doesn’t seem to be that hard to crack.

Update: Ubisoft now claims that the downtime was due to a denial-of-service attack. That takes some of the blame off Ubisoft for failing to anticipate demand, but it’s of little consolation to PC gamers who couldn’t play what they paid for.

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There are 6 comments

robetler
New Member
Posted on: 08 Mar 10 23:37
    Glad to see I have to suffer for not having been a thief. Makes me want to advocate piracy just to spite Ubisoft.
    ivid
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 08 Mar 10 23:38
      How predictable. Anyone surprised ?

      At least those who pirated the game can still play it, so its only the paying customers who are getting screwed by Ubisoft. So everything's just normal and its business as usual in the Ubisoft universe. Nothing new there.

      What a company of A$$holz.
      Seán
      Senior Administrator & Reviewer
      Posted on: 09 Mar 10 10:08
        For those affected who heard that this game was going to use nasty DRM before they bought it, this is the consequence they have to face of not voting with their wallet!

        I also wonder how long into the future these games will be playable for before they figure it's not worth keeping their activation servers running. Even though music/video DRM is bad enough, at least authenticated music & movies will continue to play on existing equipment once the DRM server goes down.
        Blu-rayFreak
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 09 Mar 10 16:08
          People really need to stop buying these DRM infected games.
          olyteddy
          Senior Moderator
          Posted on: 09 Mar 10 16:19
            Quote:
            I also wonder how long into the future these games will be playable for before they figure it's not worth keeping their activation servers running. Even though music/video DRM is bad enough, at least authenticated music & movies will continue to play on existing equipment once the DRM server goes down.
            Didn't Sony once have a music service...
            debro
            Blown to smitherines
            Posted on: 10 Mar 10 07:01
              Ninja's -> 0
              Pirates -> Infinity

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