Comic: “Different Time, Just as Bad”

March 18, 2010
Comic:  “Different Time, Just as Bad”

About this comic

I still can’t quite get my head around what Ubisoft was thinking with this. It is totally ridiculous, and makes me never want to play their games on a PC again. Thoughts?

42 Responses to Comic: “Different Time, Just as Bad”

  1. Zorbane says:

    Haha that’s a advanced looking gun for the time. Poor ubisoft guy.

    Also the register is one of my favourite sites!

  2. Chris says:

    Yeah… I’m just not going to buy anymore of their software. I hate the hassle.

  3. Flávio Neto says:

    I my mind the first text bubble was read in Scott’s 50 radio voice. So cool 😛

  4. Icesnake says:

    Scott Johnson is my new Greatest American Hero! Even if he is an old pharte of 40+!

  5. ScytheNoire says:

    Ubisoft made a mess of things. It didn’t stop piracy, only increased it on these games. It hurt legit customers who did buy the games. It hurt their company image and drove down profits and sales. People who protest by not buying it but pirating it are idiots who just add to the problem and make dumb companies like Ubisoft think they need to do even dumber things like these DRM schemes. It’s just a vicious circle of stupidity.

  6. berfarah says:

    Well, I think Ubisoft is basically trying to get an excuse not to make games for PCs anymore. And as a gamer who doesn’t own any consoles aside from my PSP, this saddens me. I like having everything on two devices, and I generally can’t justify another device in my life. I’m going to wait to buy anything from Ubisoft until maybe they at least partner with Steam or something. I don’t always have internet on my gaming rig – and honestly, as much as I think the internet is a right, it hasn’t gotten to the point of stability where Ubisoft should expect it from their users.

    tldr; Dick move, Ubisoft, dick move.

  7. Banori says:

    This DRM crap is exactly why I started law school this year. The stretching of copyright laws in games is getting out of control. Every new DRM story seems worse than the last.

  8. Brian Duff says:

    Ubisoft is just continuing to make copy-protection on the PC a sad and futile attempt. Despite the fact that most PC gamers have fast internet connections, it’s not something they should be permanently tethered to just to play a game. The only way to protest such a stupid thing is to not buy their games. So they can justify not making PC versions anymore. But I’m pretty sure their games are still getting pirated to consoles, which don’t need an internet connection all the time.

  9. Biff says:

    When will they learn that it’s only a matter of time before pirates learn how to break new DRM?
    It’s getting old, and with each step it gradually makes piracy a better experience than a legal copy. They’re shooting themselves in the foot.

    • Chris says:

      …yeah, and the AMOUNT of that “matter of time” was about 24 hours. It’s already been cracked before this comic posted.

  10. JaFO says:

    I really wish people responded to the usual software issues like in the comic.
    I mean seriously … what kind of industry can sell broken products, make a profit and still blame any losses on ‘thieves’ instead of crappy product ?

    Just look at the trouble Toyota is in for a minor feature in their cars.
    // —
    Oh … and yes that DRM scheme is bad.
    Even without people trying to crash the servers there’s no way in heck this will be foolproof.
    I’m so not buying & playing anything made by Ubisoft until it gets removed.
    Considering I was planning to buy 4-5 games from them that’s quite a bit.

  11. jrl3030 says:

    I just made the mistake of buying Silent Hunter 5 from ubisoft, love the series but when i had a day off yesterday and wanted to play some single player missions i couldnt because the server was down, WTH. total BS.

  12. Foxlore says:

    My guess is they are looking at WoW or other MMORPGs as a model. But instead of for game play they are thinking for security (theirs) For example, many players (though certainly not a majority) play WoW as a single player experience mostly (or for me the Star Trek MMO is an even better example). Yet you still have to be ‘online’ the entire time. So perhaps Ubisoft is thinking that players won’t mind having to always be online for single player games. Also, if you look at STEAM, don’t you have to be online to start a game bought through steam? (I have only purchased one so far, that being ST:Online and I always had to start STEAM to play it).

    I am not saying their logic is well grounded, but maybe they are hoping to change single player gaming culture. I am not sure if they have the clout to do it, but that may be their aim.

    • Chris says:

      You have to be online to purchase/activate a steam game, but then you can play it in offline mode w/o internets.

  13. Molly says:

    I can see Scott using his Pepperidge Farm voice in this comic!

  14. Remolay says:

    It wont work, people will find a way around it and not buy their games. Then Ubisoft will either be forced to remove it or go out of business, I hope it is the first, I loves the PoP games

    • Chinedum says:

      Third Flower My spouse and i have been now delghited that Albert could execute his scientific studies due to the ideas he had through your web content. It really is every so often perplexing to simply always be making a gift of techniques which a number of people c

  15. Lord Zeon says:

    I really think this is an excellent point about what happens when businesses operate like idiots. If you own a monopoly on the rights to produce something you have to do it right, or people will get pissed and eventually end your business through one means or another.

  16. Bookend says:

    The real problem, as I see it, is that there is absolutely no future in this system. I still play old games like Sid Meier’s PIRATES, Morrowind, Theme Hospital, Myst… In five, six, ten years, when I want to play Assassin’s Creed II, what do I do, then? The servers will probably be taken down in a few years, which means that Ubisoft actually wants to control how long we are capable of playing a game!

  17. Michael Chandra says:

    @Bookend: Ubisoft has said two things about that.
    1: Assassin’s Creed 3/4/5 will use the same servers, so as long as the franchise lives, so do the servers.
    2: If it ever goes down, a patch will be released to make the game offline. Since I heard claims about some game content being server-only in Silent Hunter 5, such a patch may include not just a hotwire fix but also part of the game.

    I disagree with the DRM, of course. I ALSO disagree with those who decides attacking the servers, disallowing some of the paying customers (5% or so) to play the game. Twice.
    My brother knew what he was getting into. He really wanted to play this game, more than enough to overrule his disgust. He also doesn’t have a console, so just had to get this for the PC. He risked problems with his own connection and Ubisoft keeping their servers running normally. Attacks from the outside he did not expect, he didn’t expect people to screw not the company, but the paying customers. Ubisoft does that. Gamers shouldn’t.
    He then was told by gamers this was Ubisoft’s fault (yes, pissing off Anonymous and suffering from cyberterrorism is your own fault people!) and that he should be grateful that these people disallowed him to play the game, since they were fighting for his right to play the game.

    It’s bad enough people pirate with protest as excuse. I’d only pirate this game if I owned it. (Since my brother does, well, I got myself a crack to throw over the game after legally installing his copy, and only playing while he doesn’t. I’m legal yet illegal!) But when gamers ruin their fellow gamers their gaming experience, and put the blame on the victims (victims being both those gamers and Ubisoft), ignoring the fact they’re committing cyberterrorism which is a crime, then that goes way out of line, even moreso than Ubisoft’s draconic DRM.

    • Gabi says:

      Save File Transfer:Mass Effect 2 allows the paeylr to import their characters from any completed Mass Effect playthrough. This means that all decisions made by the paeylr in Mass Effect will carry over into Mass Effect 2 and have the potential to impact the story. Events that particularly influence the storyline in Mass Effect 2 include which character was left behind during the Virmire mission, whether Wrex survived, and the fate of the Council during the battle with Sovereign. However, due to changes made to the game’s leveling system, your character’s level and abilities will not transfer over to Mass Effect 2 and you will start out with basic abilities, explained in-game as being a result of the Lazarus Project.[4][5][6] However, the game will acknowledge your character’s level and morality and adapt it in ways that map across to the new system[7] as well as grant bonus credits and minerals depending on actions the paeylr took in Mass Effect.[8] The higher the level of the imported character, the greater the bonuses granted upon importing into Mass Effect 2. Additionally, if the imported character had a large supply of credits, an additional monetary bonus will be supplied. For example, when importing a level 60 character, the following bonuses are granted: 4,000 XP (the paeylr starts at level 5), 50,000 Credits, 10,000 Element Zero, 10,000 Iridium, 10,000 Palladium, and 10,000 Platinum. If desired, the paeylr will be able to modify their appearance, or choose a new class.[9][10] To import save games on the Xbox 360, the game must be being played on the console the saved game was completed on, since it is not possible to transfer the file that Mass Effect 2 imports using the Xbox 360 s file management tools (although it is possible when transferring the entire contents of the drive using a transfer cable). As it is possible to transfer regular save files using the Xbox 360 s file management tools it is possible to create the file Mass Effect 2 needs to import by loading the last automatic save before the final battle and completing the game again. This will need to be repeated for every playthrough the paeylr wishes to import. For the PC version, paeylrs will use the Mass Effect Configuration Tool to select the .MassEffectSave files they wish to import

  18. Rovanion says:

    It is indeed a Tommy Tomphson!
    Mafia was a great game btw.

  19. xWolf says:

    love the comic. reminded me of what Blizzard intends for Starcraft 2 (lack of LAN support).

    In other words, a roomful of avid ‘craft’ gamers will be required to connect to an external location just to play the same game with each other in the same room. I understand the necessity behind trying to protect IP and perhaps even other customers, or even to offer the veil of ‘enhanced support’ with direct patch or client downloads. These are good things which software companies have tended to offer for simply registering your PC games. Now… the development model is constant access to my PC even though I have already paid and registered. It does not sit right with me, and it sounds like lazy programming justified in the name of security.

  20. darkanders says:

    After reading Molly’s comment I started thinking of him doing his Lucas impression for the Ubisoft guy. 😀 Also I will never buy an Ubisoft PC game for this reason, no matter if it is the best game ever. I don’t understand the “lets screw over our good customers to try and thwart the bad ones” mentality.

  21. Orror says:

    A Scott Johnson Comic with a punch line! Hilarious man. The BOL crew would get a huge laugh at this, they’ve been going off all molly rant style on ubisoft.

  22. Danarchist says:

    Simply a case of thinking their games are so good that people will buy them regardless. What these companies dont seem to realize is that gamers are more than happy to declare crusade against ANYONE that dares to confront us in this manner. Pirating ends up the least of your problems as your company reputation will be so heavily saturated in virtual urine that owning any of your products soon becomes anathema in the gaming community.

    • JaFO says:

      Gamers may be happy to declare crusades, but when it comes down to playing or not playing most will still play … even if this means using a crack.
      There are far too many naive people in this world that don’t think about the implications of systems like this.

      The fact that we’re still using MS Windows is pretty much proof of this.
      Mark my words : People will buy and play these games. Especially if it is a popular franchise like Splintercell.

  23. Twiggy says:

    I totally thought the strip was going to poke fun at Starcraft 2 in the first frame. anyone else?

  24. unbound says:

    I had pre-ordered C&C4 and canceled last weekend when I found out the game would use this DRM. My primary games are online (WoW for many years until Wrath made it uber-easy mode, City of Heroes, Aion, Champions Online, LOTRO), but I wanted a nice RTS to play around with. One of my criteria was to be able to fire it up on my laptop when I’m not on my main PC…for things like travel, at the in-laws, etc…exactly the time when I don’t have access to a good connection.

    Even when I am home, internet connectivity *does* go down from time to time. Those are *exactly* the times when I want to fire up an RTS.

    And, to break the assumption, I’m not going to pirate the game either. I’ll just wait for StarCraft 2 and hope that Blizzard doesn’t go any further than a one-time registration. Ubisoft just loses a sale.

    The reality will come down to two simple paths for Ubisoft: a) the majority of customers buy the product anyways (meeting predictions)…in which case, Ubisoft wins (doesn’t matter if a vocal minority doesn’t like it) or b) enough people are educated to not buy the product (hopefully not pirate it either) and let Ubisoft *know* that is exactly why they didn’t buy it…in which case, Ubisoft *will* have to rethink their strategy. If people don’t let Ubisoft know that they aren’t buying *solely* because of the DRM, it won’t matter. So go out, don’t buy, and write Ubisoft.

  25. Beaverius says:

    Ok I’ll confess to downloading a lot of TV shows (I still pay for cable though) and music, but I’m just not a big fan of pirating games. The short version is that the risk of malware and often lack of working multiplayer (since I basically only would buy a multiplayer game which has endless replay value in my mind) ruins it, and if it’s the kind of thing I’m going to play for a while, I’d be more than happy to pay.

    I guess the point I was trying to make is that for the games I’d buy, it’s nearly always worth it to buy it. In a situation like this though, I’d be hard pressed to pay for any single player game that had such debilitating DRM like this, and more importantly, requires you to be online FOR A SINGLE PLAYER GAME?????

    If I absolutely had to play this on PC, i’d buy it and crack the crap outta it as soon as I could get the box open. This kind of DRM basically says, if you want the game to play like it should, i.e. not requiring an internet connection for a SINGLE PLAYER GAME, you should either steal it or break the law and crack your legit copy. Frankly though, I’d have no moral qualms about cracking a copy of the game I purchased.

    FWIW, I did buy AC2 for Xbox 360, albeit a used copy which means the devs didnt’ get a single penny for it ironically.

  26. PurrNaK says:

    Um… ebay and pawn shops and and craigs list. Who the hell buys new anymore?

    I’m glad ubisoft got hit hard. The only way to stop piracy is to stop putting out games. You just have to realize copy protection only forces people who would normally buy the game to break terms of service.

    Anyone that would normally pirate wouldn’t have bought the game anyway.

    Ubisoft.. try this next time. Release the game to the public.. Then release a messed up version on the internet. Different story, full of bugs.. People will then go buy the full copy cause they want to finish the game. And no I don’t mean a demo. I mean something that lets you think it’s real then at some random points in the game have the character just die for no reason.

    Now you can not only track things like who played the broken version illegally cause they posted it in a review… but you can stick it to the pirates.

  27. Stone Dog says:

    I’ve always found UbiSoft to be one of the most arrogant companies out there. I have already been living the “Never going to purchase another of their games” lifestyle and am much better off for it.

    I wish them nothing but the worst in the days, weeks and *shudder* (hopefully not) years to come.

    • Dulcine says:

      Assassins creed 1 was a mixed bag it was good but it had problems but not enugoh to break the game the first two worlds and when AC2 came out i couldn’t believe the awesomeness of the game then brotherhood revelations came out while good not the levels of epic ness i guess thats because it didn’t have that much to improve on and in the end it left a bitter sweat taste but seeing a numbered sequel i hope that new life into the series and take to new heights Nothing is true everything is permitted

  28. Jaramide says:

    This type of DRM is exactly the thing that makes me pirate games. It’s just more user friendly in the end which is hillarious when you think about it. This is exactly the wrong way to go about making people buy your game. Pissing on your customer base is not a way to build a good rep. And rightly or wrongly gamers will pirate the game if they feel that the developer is trying to punish them for buying the game instead of the other way around.

  29. velt says:

    They are loosing sales on good games because of their own DRM, thats it. They will come around, the system sucks, and it wont work, pirates will get around the problem.

  30. JaFO says:

    Lost sales = pirates.
    Lost sales != crappy product
    These are the definitions the entire games- and media-industry have used and will continue to use.
    That is why anti-piracy measures continue to be the #1 reason for the use of Digital Restriction Management. DRM software never managed my rights and it never will.

    They never ever mention the real reason for DRM : total and absolute control.
    The goal ? Being able to make software obsolete whenever they want.
    Just look at how EA managed to kill old software by simply deactivating a few servers (in order to ‘improve service’).
    Without DRM and an on-line requirement such things would not have been possible.

  31. Legolla says:

    imho the problem is layed in human itself. If no one would illegaly copy stuff no DRM or any other copy protection would be needed. So the main problem is “human stupidity”.
    And for all those who want no copyprotection at alll … just look at the great game Demigod (no copyprotection) from Stardock and read what happened on the launchday.

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