Saturday, January 21st 2012

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

Last week we brought you news of Ubisoft's hard three machine activation limit on Anno 2070 and how it scuppered a review by Guru3D when they swapped out graphics cards. Guru3D's post then went viral on the web and it appears that this has put sufficient pressure or 'heat' on Ubisoft to relax the restrictions just a tiny bit, since they weren't going to use any more Ubisoft games for benchmarks. So what have they done? Allowed an unlimited number of graphics card swaps. That's it, everything else stays the same, so if other components such as the CPU, motherboard etc are changed, then one will still run into this frustrating brick wall and have to get in touch with customer support to reset the activations.

Interestingly, before the restriction was lifted and after writing their initial article and vowing not to use Ubisoft titles any more over this issue, Guru3D changed their mind, because they feel that by continuing, they ensure that issues like this are kept in the public eye and can be addressed, with the hope that the company will see sense eventually:
In our opinion not writing about something is the most bad thing you can do and as such we decided to continue with that article. By excluding Ubisoft from the benchmarks we'll never be able to address issues like this DRM story, and they'll continue what they are doing. In fact if we'd have excluded Ubisoft titles we never would have been able to report about this issue.

By posting an article and explaining/mentioning DRM time after time, there will be more awareness about it and in the end that message will get across to Ubisoft and the producer. In the hope that one day they'll see the light.
Note that in an update to their original article, Guru3D explained that they were given unlimited activations after contacting support, to allow them to complete their review. Just after their review was finished however, Guru3D received the following email from the developer, BlueByte, which formally advised them of the policy change:
Hi Hilbert,

Just wanted to let you know, that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC.
That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants.

Cheers,
Note that it's not explained whether this change applies only to this one game, or all of Ubisoft's titles, which is quite important to know, really. Finally, whether this small change is really sufficient to satisfy customers of Anno 2070 rests with the individuals who purchase the game and is bound to vary from gamer to gamer. Presumably, one who changes their hardware more frequently may not feel that this improvement goes far enough. Still, however you look at it, it’s a step in the right direction.

We feel that if any DRM must be applied, that the account-based style used with Steam is the best way to go and punishes the honest customer the least. At the same time, it gives back quite a few benefits in that it allows use on an unlimited number of PCs (not all at once!) easy application management, social features and more.
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45 Comments on Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

#1
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Thanks to gorg_graggel for this news tip. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#2
imitation
I don't know what's worse: having to deal with this DRM or having to deal with a semi-working crack. I kinda favor the crack though...
Posted on Reply
#3
Vancha
I feel like a pet dog has just been trained to stop biting people in the balls. It still attacks peoples' arms, legs and asses, and it still pisses on people occasionally, but still it's progress...Sort of.
Posted on Reply
#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
And I don't really find the 3 graphics card swaps a problem, in fact after all the details came out and the dust settled, I have no problem with the DRM at all. 99% of all users won't be affected the DRM, and for the few that do Ubisoft has an acceptable system in place to deal with it.

by: qubit
So presumably, they must have bought extra copies of the game, or had the activations reset a couple of times to continue, but this isn't explained.
It is explained in the original article Guru3D posted, they contacted Tech Support and their key was unlocked to allow unlimited activations for benchmarking purposes. Remember, I pointed this out to you in the other thread?;)
Posted on Reply
#5
RejZoR
Still don't buy their garbage.
Posted on Reply
#6
Kaynar
I fail to understand how all theese draconian DRM measures, including the GPU switching limit, will actually stop hackers from creating cracks for this game. These DRMs have one aim only: shoot down the customers and encourage piracy.
Posted on Reply
#7
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: newtekie1
It is explained in the original article Guru3D posted, they contacted Tech Support and their key was unlocked to allow unlimited activations for benchmarking purposes. Remember, I pointed this out to you in the other thread?;)
Ok, thankyou smartypants. :laugh: I'd forgotten about it, lol. Dammit, I'm human and there's me thinking that I'm a perfect quantum cybernetic organism. :cry: Please, no more injections...
Posted on Reply
#8
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: qubit
Ok, thankyou smartypants. :laugh: I'd forgotten about it, lol. Dammit, I'm human and there's me thinking that I'm a perfect quantum cybernetic organism. :cry: Please, no more injections...
You mean you aren't an all-knowing-omnipotent being of pure energy?!:D
Posted on Reply
#9
OneCool
Sounds to me like someone may have been threaten by Ubisoft (Slander maybe? dont know) Guru3D sure changed their tune.If you boycott dont back peddle on it because they offer "YOU" a half ass fix for it.
Like the article said was the GFX fix for everyone or just Guru3D?

Lost a little respect for Guru3D :shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#10
RejZoR
I never had any respect for Guru3D...
Posted on Reply
#11
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
by: RejZoR
I never had any respect for Guru3D...
being an ex-member of guru3d - Yeah I did have some respect at one point, If i still did i wouldnt be here on TPU. (I know there are a few ex-guru3d members lurking around here)

Hilbert should have stuck with the boycott imo it would have been an even a much louder voice then the peoples as Guru3d being a major review site holds quite a lot of influence within the community.

everyone dislikes ubisoft anyway so its not as if Hilbert is going to get any bad press for it just because he decides to stop using any of their games for benchmarking.

if he stood by his decision, everyone would have supported him.
Posted on Reply
#12
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
The problem I have is that he jumped to critizing way to quickly. He started benching with the game some time on Thursday. Discovered the problem we assume some time on Thursday as well but we don't know how late and emailed tech support and that is it... When he hadn't receive a response by Friday he went off on a tirade instead of doing the more logical thing of actually calling the tech support number in the manual for the game. I'm guessing if he had called the tech support number the issue would have been sorted almost instantly. And even still, by the next Monday(the offices are closed on the weekends) his email had gone through and he had received a response and the problem had been resolved.

While that isn't the best possible response time, anyone that has dealt a great deal with email tech support services will tell you 2 business days for a response and solution from your original email is pretty decent. Just as an example, I have to RMA a pair of headphones to Corsair, and I put the request for the RMA in on Monday and didn't receive an RMA authorization until Wednesday, and Corsair is generally considered to have very good tech support. I'd personally thing the best solution to activation limits like this is a 24/7/365 automated phone service like Microsoft has, but I think the solution that Ubisoft has in place is good enough considering the small percentage of people that will ever have a problem.
Posted on Reply
#13
Black Panther
Senior Moderatorâ„¢
by: Kaynar
I fail to understand how all theese draconian DRM measures, including the GPU switching limit, will actually stop hackers from creating cracks for this game. These DRMs have one aim only: shoot down the customers and encourage piracy.
That's what I can't fathom.
No matter the type of DRM used, unfortunately the pirates always manage to crack the games.
The DRM doesn't inconvenience the hackers or the ones downloading illegaly, it inconveniences the legit buyers. And most "main-stream" legit buyers don't even have knowledge on how to download and install a cracked game. And many legit buyers know only how to switch their pc and game. If they get an entirely new pc and the game doesn't work many wouldn't know what happened let alone how to solve it. So at the end of the day the DRM will make the game unplayable for the legit buyers, and not affect the ones who pirate it because the game would be cracked just the same.
Posted on Reply
#14
James1o1o
by: Black Panther
That's what I can't fathom.
No matter the type of DRM used, unfortunately the pirates always manage to crack the games.
Tom Clancy HAWX 2 still hasn't been cracked. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#15
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: James1o1o
Tom Clancy HAWX 2 still hasn't been cracked. :toast:
And they've moved away from that DRM because of its overly invasive nature (always-on internet connection).
Posted on Reply
#16
gorg_graggel
by: newtekie1
The problem I have is that he jumped to critizing way to quickly. He started benching with the game some time on Thursday. Discovered the problem we assume some time on Thursday as well but we don't know how late and emailed tech support and that is it... When he hadn't receive a response by Friday he went off on a tirade instead of doing the more logical thing of actually calling the tech support number in the manual for the game. I'm guessing if he had called the tech support number the issue would have been sorted almost instantly. And even still, by the next Monday(the offices are closed on the weekends) his email had gone through and he had received a response and the problem had been resolved.

While that isn't the best possible response time, anyone that has dealt a great deal with email tech support services will tell you 2 business days for a response and solution from your original email is pretty decent. Just as an example, I have to RMA a pair of headphones to Corsair, and I put the request for the RMA in on Monday and didn't receive an RMA authorization until Wednesday, and Corsair is generally considered to have very good tech support. I'd personally thing the best solution to activation limits like this is a 24/7/365 automated phone service like Microsoft has, but I think the solution that Ubisoft has in place is good enough considering the small percentage of people that will ever have a problem.
at least somebody has a clear view of things here...


reading comments about people being threatened or that changing your mind is wrong just made me smash my had on the table...what the heck is wrong with you guys?
what's next? drm has been established by the cia to gain control over peoples brains?
it's video games we're talking here not freakin' national security or nuclear warheads...
Posted on Reply
#17
Mussels
Moderprator
by: newtekie1
And I don't really find the 3 graphics card swaps a problem, in fact after all the details came out and the dust settled, I have no problem with the DRM at all. 99% of all users won't be affected the DRM, and for the few that do Ubisoft has an acceptable system in place to deal with it.



It is explained in the original article Guru3D posted, they contacted Tech Support and their key was unlocked to allow unlimited activations for benchmarking purposes. Remember, I pointed this out to you in the other thread?;)
my laptop has two video cards in crossfire, but it shows up as three in some apps. imagine how this DRM would have gone for me when the primary card swaps back and forth all the time.
Posted on Reply
#18
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: Mussels
my laptop has two video cards in crossfire, but it shows up as three in some apps. imagine how this DRM would have gone for me when the primary card swaps back and forth all the time.
Your hardware hash wouldn't change, so it wouldn't have affected you at all.
Posted on Reply
#19
Mussels
Moderprator
by: newtekie1
Your hardware hash wouldn't change, so it wouldn't have affected you at all.
so having GPU's where the primary changes wont affect it?
Posted on Reply
#20
gorg_graggel
by: Mussels
so having GPU's where the primary changes wont affect it?
1. any gfx changes won't affect it

2. the activations do reset completely after 30 days

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://ubisoft-de.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/15875/~/%2522fehler-%282002%29%253A-das-aktivierungslimit-f%25E3%25BCr-diese-seriennummer-wurde&ei=ZGobT8DQKcSr-Qad7pn1CQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522Fehler%2B%282002%29:%2BDas%2BAktivierungslimit%2Bf%25C3%25BCr%2Bdiese%2BSeriennummer%2Bwurde%2B%25C3%25BCberschritten!%2522%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3Duan%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:de:official%26prmd%3Dimvns

i can't find the proper english version so i let google do the translating...
maybe it will even show the original english version, when you navigate there through ubisoft's support portal...i'm just to lazy now to figure out how to circumvent the location detection...

3. http://anno.uk.ubi.com/pc/faq-tages.php (it's the anno 1404 faq, but it's also valid for 2070)

"Question: What changes to my PC require a new activation?
Answer: With regards to the activation system, a PC configuration consists of the most important hard- and software components of your computer, including the operating system, the CPU, the motherboard and the system hard drive. Small changes such as exchanging the graphics card or adding RAM are not considered changes to the PC configuration and therefore do not require a new activation. "

the whole story boils down to the gfx card even being included in the hash has been a bug from the beginning (you have to trust me on that, as i won't disclose my source)
Posted on Reply
#21
entropy13
by: James1o1o
Tom Clancy HAWX 2 still hasn't been cracked. :toast:
"Hasn't" assumes there have been attempts. There have been none. :laugh:

Even the harder to crack Assassin's Creed 2 got cracked, even had their own mirror servers for the "always-on" DRM. :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#22
RejZoR
by: qubit
And they've moved away from that DRM because of its overly invasive nature (always-on internet connection).
Well, on the other hand i also don't know anyone who bought HAWX2. Including myself. I've bought HAWX 1 because it doesn't have this always-connected nonsense. And i could buy HAWX2 for fairly cheap price on Steam but i decided to completely ignore it because of the retarded protection. And i don't regret the decision at all. I've bought few Ubi games in the few last Steam deals, but all games were without this stupid DRM (mostly older games). If they have decided not to release any game without their stupid always-connected DRM, then tough luck, i won't buy any game from them anymore. It's as simple as that.

EDIT:
Why doesn't quoting capture all the quotes!? It just skips the others and then the message looks out of context... grrr
Posted on Reply
#23
truehighroller1
by: gorg_graggel
1. any gfx changes won't affect it

2. the activations do reset completely after 30 days

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://ubisoft-de.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/15875/~/%2522fehler-%282002%29%253A-das-aktivierungslimit-f%25E3%25BCr-diese-seriennummer-wurde&ei=ZGobT8DQKcSr-Qad7pn1CQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCQQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522Fehler%2B%282002%29:%2BDas%2BAktivierungslimit%2Bf%25C3%25BCr%2Bdiese%2BSeriennummer%2Bwurde%2B%25C3%25BCberschritten!%2522%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3Duan%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:de:official%26prmd%3Dimvns

i can't find the proper english version so i let google do the translating...
maybe it will even show the original english version, when you navigate there through ubisoft's support portal...i'm just to lazy now to figure out how to circumvent the location detection...

3. http://anno.uk.ubi.com/pc/faq-tages.php (it's the anno 1404 faq, but it's also valid for 2070)

"Question: What changes to my PC require a new activation?
Answer: With regards to the activation system, a PC configuration consists of the most important hard- and software components of your computer, including the operating system, the CPU, the motherboard and the system hard drive. Small changes such as exchanging the graphics card or adding RAM are not considered changes to the PC configuration and therefore do not require a new activation. "

the whole story boils down to the gfx card even being included in the hash has been a bug from the beginning (you have to trust me on that, as i won't disclose my source)
I will help them get through to you, or try to I can assume..

We don't like it period.

Was that clear enough or?

I want to be able to change my shit in my,,, pc when ever I feel like it and not run out of activations period.

I want to be able to play my game for ever and ever for eternity if I feel a need to.

I would like you to get the f, out of my life, after I buy, the title.

I think that sums it up in a couple more ways for you sir.



Also, stop charging us for garbage add-ons if that's what you want to call them and let the community mod again like it used to be. Just make the game run correctly which is why I pay you at the beginning.
Posted on Reply
#24
pr0n Inspector
by: truehighroller1
I will help them get through to you, or try to I can assume..

We don't like it period.

Was that clear enough or?

I want to be able to change my shit in my,,, pc when ever I feel like it and not run out of activations period.

I want to be able to play my game for ever and ever for eternity if I feel a need to.

I would like you to get the f, out of my life, after I buy, the title.

I think that sums it up in a couple more ways for you sir.



Also, stop charging us for garbage add-ons if that's what you want to call them and let the community mod again like it used to be. Just make the game run correctly which is why I pay you at the beginning.
Then make your own stuff and don't rely on anyone.
A customer is nothing more than a wallet with legs. and I'm quite confident that you are not one.

but whatever, everyone is the center of the universe and they can complain about anything and everything.
Posted on Reply
#25
MikeMurphy
Most of you are missing the point.

People shouldn't have to contact Ubisoft to be permitted to use the software they purchased. The DRM is needlessly restrictive which tells me that Ubisoft is completely out of touch with consumers.
Posted on Reply
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