Giant Bomb News

72 Comments

Ubi and Relic Believe in You

Ubisoft sets sail on DRM-free waters. The Internet steals their boat.

Ars Technica is reporting that the PC version of Prince of Persia will not contain any kind of DRM. For those not hip to the Digital Rights Management scene, it means that there will be no checking or authenticating to make sure you're running a legitimate version of the game. Of course this doesn't apply to your Steam purchase, which will still be married to the Steam interface.

Now this is some DRM I can get behind.
It's admittedly a weird move, but as the article points out, it's maybe not as benevolent as it may seem. It appears that the game's publisher, Ubisoft, is calling the bluff that people are using SecuROM and other DRM methods as an excuse to pirate games instead of purchasing them and will use this DRM-free exercise to show that the absence of security is not an answer. When folks complain about adding back ever-stringent forms of DRM they need only reply with "we tried to work with you and look what you did to us, you stole from us when we were being so nice!" It's guaranteed that this game is going to be pirated, regardless of any DRM, so why not paint yourself as a selfless martyr? It's a cynical view, to be sure, but we live in dark, DRM-laden times...

In related news, Dawn of War 2 will apparently not limit the number of PCs on which you can install it. In an interview with VideoGamer.com, associate producer Jeff Lydell had this to say:
We are looking at some form of DRM for Dawn of War II, but we're heavily concerned with the consumer end of that, and the consumer experience. We want people to be able to play their games on multiple PCs. We want them to be able to play it with their friends, and most importantly we want any authentication to not be annoying or a detriment to the experience.
I definitely feel for the publishers and developers who want to curtail PC piracy. I'm not sure how that's going to be accomplished, considering games are cracked and distributed with abandon, sometimes before they are even officially released. I'd definitely be interested in seeing if there is any difference in the pirating of games without any DRM versus with, if such a thing is even able to be tracked. Vinny Caravella on Google+
72 Comments
  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Vinny
Ars Technica is reporting that the PC version of Prince of Persia will not contain any kind of DRM. For those not hip to the Digital Rights Management scene, it means that there will be no checking or authenticating to make sure you're running a legitimate version of the game. Of course this doesn't apply to your Steam purchase, which will still be married to the Steam interface.

Now this is some DRM I can get behind.
It's admittedly a weird move, but as the article points out, it's maybe not as benevolent as it may seem. It appears that the game's publisher, Ubisoft, is calling the bluff that people are using SecuROM and other DRM methods as an excuse to pirate games instead of purchasing them and will use this DRM-free exercise to show that the absence of security is not an answer. When folks complain about adding back ever-stringent forms of DRM they need only reply with "we tried to work with you and look what you did to us, you stole from us when we were being so nice!" It's guaranteed that this game is going to be pirated, regardless of any DRM, so why not paint yourself as a selfless martyr? It's a cynical view, to be sure, but we live in dark, DRM-laden times...

In related news, Dawn of War 2 will apparently not limit the number of PCs on which you can install it. In an interview with VideoGamer.com, associate producer Jeff Lydell had this to say:
We are looking at some form of DRM for Dawn of War II, but we're heavily concerned with the consumer end of that, and the consumer experience. We want people to be able to play their games on multiple PCs. We want them to be able to play it with their friends, and most importantly we want any authentication to not be annoying or a detriment to the experience.
I definitely feel for the publishers and developers who want to curtail PC piracy. I'm not sure how that's going to be accomplished, considering games are cracked and distributed with abandon, sometimes before they are even officially released. I'd definitely be interested in seeing if there is any difference in the pirating of games without any DRM versus with, if such a thing is even able to be tracked.
Staff
Posted by Dryker

Can't... resist... first post. Though I care not what this article pertains to.

Posted by Captain_Fookup

Nice DRM is a pain when you buy a copy.

Posted by drifter13x

Huh, good on them. Doing a lot of gaming still on PC it's nice to know that some companies still have some sense to trust gamers (even when they really shouldn't). Now just announce all this coming to steam and I'll be perfectly happy.

Edited by Branthog

.

Edited by bshirk

One thing is for sure: pirates are assholes.  They obviously don't care about anyone, but themselves.  Pirates lack the foresight to see that if no one bought the games they play for free, we all wouldn't have any games.  The sad thing is, most people who pirate do have money for games, they just choose not to use it.  Some people who claim they don't have money actually could if they didn't spend ridiculous amounts of money on coffee at Starbucks and things like that.

Edited by Mawryk

I bought this the first day the PC version showed up in stock...

not because it is DRM-free, but because it had positive reviews (waves at Brad), fantastic looking art style, and I was able to pick it up brand new for $30.00 Canadian.   Fun + cheap == Mawryk buy. 

I do think the point that Ubisoft is trying to make is probably valid - this game will likely end up being pirated just as much as a DRM-ed game.  Most people who pirate games to play them will do so regardless.  There is probably just a very small minority of uber-assholes who will download a pirated copy of a game that is "riddled" with DRM but without actually playing the game. 

Posted by TabooTongue

bshirk [needs citation]. And the only way I can see it effecting 'piracy' is that The Scene won't release it. Unless they do it before it hits stores, I could see them doing that. It will still float around in the torrents though from some P2P-Scene group.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Ah, Starflight.  I guess that sort of thing doesn't work anymore, but it's a lot more pleasant...  Could you have a fractal codewheel that only works for a single CD, and you download the one that corresponds to your code from the official website, print it out and use it?  Then it would be single copy, trackable and shut-downable...

I don't know what I'm talking about.  Damn you, red delicious Washington apples!  I blame you!

I don't know how PoP rates on the scale of games, but a little piracy may be good advertising.  Even by doing this little thing, they're getting their game in the news again.

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

Obviously now, this will sell millions.  No, wait, it won't.  Millions will pirate, hundreds of thousands will buy. Or thousands.  And Ubi will say, "Myth Busted!"

I know lots 'o pirates, none do it because of DRM, they do it because they can.  People bitching about DRM are pirates who are pissed that DRM means it sometimes takes longer for their cracked copy to makes its way onto the internet.  Anything else is bullshit doublespeak, Ubi knows this and is using Prince to make a point.

Point will be made.

Posted by floodiastus

Yaay finally a developer who is sane!

Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY

Of course this is forgetting the point that a game has to be GOOD for people to buy it. It remains to be seen if this game will be any good on the PC. If a game is GREAT and costs 50 dollars, people will buy it. Fallout 3 is good evidence of this. If the game is sub par, not worth 50 bucks, but maybe worth a 3 hour download and 2 hours of play, people will pirate it. It's not that people won't pirate if there isn't DRM, its that people feel good about pirating if there is no DRM. If the company has a face and the game is worth the 50 bucks it costs, people will buy it, even many pirates. I have a friend who stole Fallout 3 just a few days after launch, and he loves it so much that he now intends to buy it. Good developers deserve to be supported; no one debates that. The trick is to let people know that the devs care, they aren't just in it for the money, and they have families too.

Posted by Lifestrike

Relic thinks like people. Relic is people. Be friends of people. Be friends with Relic.

Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY

Quote: Relic thinks like people. Relic is people. Be friends of people. Be friends with Relic.

For the record, Relic blows. I couldn't play my steam bought copy of Company of Heroes for a month or more because their DRM authentication system wouldn't allow me to log in to my own account. They blamed the problem on steam for weeks and I eventually had to spend 5 or more hours looking up the problem myself and trying to fool the system into letting me log in. It worked, and it was Relic's fault. I won't be buying any more relic products. They don't care about consumers post-purchase.

Posted by RawShark

This is fair enough. Spore was the more pirated PC game this year. And we all felt the DRM furore over that.
However, next on that list was Sims 2. Which probably just points out that piracy is piracy, people like to get free stuff.

Posted by JoelTGM

Good for them.  They're right, hundreds of thousands of pirates will still continue to steal from them.  I want to hear the statistics a month or two down the road about how many downloaded it anyway.

Posted by brainwins

Great news! It´s a great way to disarm easy excuses as to why somebody would pirate their game. Now, if somebody does it, it will be simply because they stole it.
I hope other publishers follow this path.

Posted by ShadowDoGG

Good plan - then pirates can't say otherwise.

How about if a game has ingame advertising its only about £25 RRP?

Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY

Quote: "Great news! It´s a great way to disarm easy excuses as to why somebody would pirate their game. Now, if somebody does it, it will be simply because they stole it.
I hope other publishers follow this path."

It's always "just stealing". It's just a matter of convincing as many pirates as possible to buy by not crippling the game with DRM and by not charging more than the game is worth. DRM does absolutely nothing to prevent pirates, so even if this game does get stolen a ton it is not evidence for DRM, just evidence against one particular reason pirates use to justify that stealing.

Posted by DukeTogo

DRM is the last thing to worry about for PC gaming.

If the PC version of console games played just as well, if not marginally better than, the console versions without needing several patches and thousands of dollars worth of components people would buy the damn games.  As it is, it's fucking tossup if the game will even function when you install it.  GTAIV is a prime example of that.  When the devs care so little about the PC experience, expecting the consumer to give a shit is pretty damn ballsy.

I will add that the whole DRM thing is much ado about nothing, and just fodder for internet complaining.  Are people really concerned if they'll be able to play a PC game 10 years from now when currently these games are so broken you aren't playing them 10 days after you bought it, let alone 10 years.  They are attaching the idea of not being able to play great games from the past, in the future.  If DRM existed back in the 90s and I could no longer bust out System Shock 2 on my 5th PC since then I'd be pissed.  But people aren't making games like that any more and with common sources like Amazon, ebay, and digital downloads, buying another copy of the game in 2018 won't be hard to do.  Or it will be on warez sits and you can pirate it then when nobody gives a shit.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Lookie here, any of you pirating dumbasses.  Quit ruining this shit for the rest of us.  I really don't give a damn how much you want a game or think it's cool.  The rest of us pay for you being a thieving bastard.  If you want a game, get off your lazy ass, work for the money, and go buy it.  It's called responsibility - try it out sometime.

Moderator
Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY
Quote: "Lookie here, any of you pirating dumbasses.  Quit ruining this shit for the rest of us.  I really don't give a damn how much you want a game or think it's cool.  The rest of us pay for you being a thieving bastard.  If you want a game, get off your lazy ass, work for the money, and go buy it.  It's called responsibility - try it out sometime."

How are you paying for it? Because developers install DRM to prevent piracy? That doesn't impede the pirates, so how are the barriers that don't impede pirates the fault of pirates? It seems to me that the game companies are attacking the problem from the wrong angle.
Edited by super_machine

Lol. the wheel. I remember in the early 90s, every PC game I bought came with a code wheel, or used word keys found on specific pages of the manual. Those were the days.

Posted by AndrewB

I sincerely hope the game sells well so that publishers can be rid of all of this intrusive DRM business. I somehow doubt it will, however.

Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY

Quote: "I sincerely hope the game sells well so that publishers can be rid of all of this intrusive DRM business. I somehow doubt it will, however."

How well the game sells is irrelevant. If they sell 5 million copies, but 3 million are pirated they will consider it proof that DRM measures need to be stepped up. Unless there are significantly less instances of piracy they will consider it proof of the need for DRM. Only if people ignored the game entirely rather than pirated it would they be satisfied. They have placed themselves into a win-win situation.

Posted by Ravey

Freakin' Ubisoft...

If they slap DRM over all their crappy ports, i'm not exactly convinced they'd make a good port DRM-free.

Posted by CaLe

I'm sure this will lead to SOME people buying instead of pirating, just because they respect what Ubisoft is trying to do. It will only be a few though, which is still better than none; the game would be cracked extremely easily anyway, as they always are.

Posted by MackGyver

I agree with GIVEMEREPLAY's first comment. The way I see it is some people pirate the game just to check it out. Sometimes the demo is not enough, and there have been a lot of instances like that. If someone likes the game he or she has downloaded, then they will be compelled to buy the retail copy, plus any official expansions and patches etc. that person will enjoy. Pirating in this respect can be positive advertising.
Always remember the key rule: if you like a game you've played a bit (at friends, pirated, or demo), then give the people who made the game their due credits by buying the game. This encourages them to make even better games you will enjoy. Kudos to Ubisoft for not adding any of that PC killer called DRM!!!

Posted by Wright

well at least there won't be retards saying "OMG IT HAZ DRM DUN BUY IT ONLY PIRATE IT! THOSE BASTARDS ARE TRYING TO STOP PEOPLE FROM STEALING THERE GAMES! LOLOL JUST GET IT 4 FREEZ!" ....such a stupid arguement =/

Posted by Kael

Very interesting. The ironic thing about this is Vinny's line "It's guaranteed that this game is going to be pirated, regardless of any DRM...", which is true. It's true because DRM is totally impotent. It does nothing to pirates. It doesn't even slow them down as much as a warm summer breeze. It can inconvenience and enrage legit users pretty effectively, but there's no tradeoff; no benefit from that. A CD check does as much to stop disc-swapping, and online pirates wouldn't be able to tell which games had what DRM if they didn't see the outrage from people who payed for them.

Don't misunderstand; I advocate killing piracy as much as the next guy; I believe the game makers should get duly compensated for their works. But when trying to kill piracy, don't shoot the customer; point the gun in the right direction. With this, Ubisoft is lowering the gun and just not shooting anyone; that won't do any more or less to stop piracy than before, but at least it's an improvement. Vinny's cynical assesment of the situation feels right on target, though, sadly.

My solution to piracy involves attacking the demand, not the supply:

Some pirates just love to crack things, to do things backwards, to get around the norm: I knew a guy who modded his Xbox 180 and bought several huge hard drives to fill up with nearly every game that came out for the system. He never played any of them. You'll never be able to stop or change these guys, but if they toil away in obscurity, the industry can continue to ignore them, because I believe most pirates aren't like that; they're mostly the kind that really just can't justify spending the kind of cash on games that they'd like to. They love games, but games are really expensive at around 50 to 60 bucks plus tax; it's hard to stomach, especially when they're not completely excited about a particular game. They could wait until next year for a lower price and then maybe find the game discounted a mere ten dollars, or they could take the time to pirate it and get it right now when it's a hot new game for free. They have to do without online multiplayer, of course, and patches, but it's well worth it to them most of the time. In this case, the game makers get nothing.

But piracy isn't as easy as flipping a switch; you have to find the right download or torrent, download tons of gigabytes, extract things to the right places in the right order, run untrustworthy .exes written by hackers who like to steal things, and pray they stop short of your computer and you don't contract an incurable case of malware. Even when you get it up and running, you're still probably going to have to do without online multiplayer and patches, like I said earlier. The question companies should be asking is: As a pirate, how much would skipping all that hassle and also being able to play online and get patches be worth to you? Obviously not 50 or 60 dollars. What about $15? Imagine if every brand-new game retailed for $15 like DVDs do. I know I'd go out and buy a TON of games right now that I had to let slip by this year and last; then those companies would get to make some money from me, hundreds of thousands of people like me, and hundreds of thousands of pirates, instead of getting nothing from those people. Companies think they have to keep raising game prices so that fewer and fewer groups of increasingly hardcore fanatics get to pay for development costs and everyone who didn't buy it. Start selling games for six hundred dollars, and you might still get enough stupidly-rich people to buy it that you could turn a profit. Well, no, actually you'd definitely lose money that way. But get every gamer on Earth to buy your brand-new, AAA game, even for only $15, and you're going to make ends meet. No DRM required, and all parties are happy; piracy would be all but dead, I get to own more games than I could ever play without feeling like I spent so much that I have a serious problem, and the game makers not only get paid, but can earn way more money than they do now, not to mention their good games get wider recognition from the many more pleasantly surprised customers that wouldn't have ever considered the game at $60. Movies with much bigger budgets than a lot of games but selling to the same demographics do this exact thing all the time and make plenty more money. Movie piracy is big, but game piracy will be much smaller, everything else being equal, because like I said above, it's so much more of an inconvenience, and you often don't get the whole experience.

Anyway, sorry for going on about it for so long. I know I don't have the credibility or clout to make any real change, but I just get driven to rant sometimes. It's a future I'd really love to see, and I am certain it can work to everyone's advantage. I'll just keep dreamin'.

Posted by Jedted
Posted by Brackynews

In these last 20 years of being aware of such things, I have not met anyone that can afford all the entertainment they consume.
Try fixing the economy first, then see if people stop stealing things.

Posted by Scorched

I pray for the success of this game so that more companies will move to DRM free policies

Edited by sasnipes

I fail to see the point of this move by Ubisoft.  If it is for the purpose stated in the article, to prove that it will be pirated just like a DRM game, then this just proves how useless DRM is.  If they are both pirated, doesn't that mean DRM failed? And wouldn't Ubisoft or any company like to save production costs by not having to license a DRM company like SecROM, therefore increasing profit?  Maybe the DRM games are pirated less, but I'm sure contracts with these companies aren't free.

As someone who purchases all their games and plays mostly on PC, I am slightly irritated at DRM that limits installs or accessability, not that I would particularly use 5 installs but for the sheer principle of limitation that insinuates that I would try to share/pirate the game.  I also fail to see the logic from the industry side: pirates will find a way to pirate the game with or without DRM, but the DRM drives away paying customers that disagree with the principle of DRM.

I guess business practices will always confuse me...

Edit: What Kael said.
Posted by FalcomAdol

They're just looking for something to take to their shareholders as an excuse to stop developing on PC completely.

"PC people steal our shit, and it's way expensive to make sure they don't steal it, and then they steal it twice as much, so fuck them."

Posted by Sephiroth9997

Well, it worked for world of Goo right?  Right????

Posted by John1912

"In these last 20 years of being aware of such things, I have not met anyone that can afford all the entertainment they consume.
Try fixing the economy first, then see if people stop stealing things."

You cant fix the economy to just give ppl what they want.  Give them more money, ppl will just charge more for the product, IE inflation.  At best, you would have to have some type of resouce based economy with a credit or money system where your paid the same for the type of job you do.  That is a prob in itself as you would have less high end cars, homes, and products.  Things would have to just find a middle ground.  And then what do you do with the busineses that support those things?  Ppl out of work, cant find jobs because many of them dissapeared.

Edited by Pitta

Posted by Gunner612

I wasnt planning on buying prince of persia, but i just might to support the idea of DRM free games.

Posted by Det1

I wonder what the ratio is between pirated copies of audiosurf/penny arcade games vs non pirated copies.

Posted by zig

@Pitta

This is basically how Steam works.

Posted by dagas

Not going to pirate it, not going to buy it either. Never played any Prince of Persia (except for the very old one and that was frickin impossible! Died like 500 billion times in the first few minutes hehe).

Posted by GIVEMEREPLAY

Quote: "well at least there won't be retards saying "OMG IT HAZ DRM DUN BUY IT ONLY PIRATE IT! THOSE BASTARDS ARE TRYING TO STOP PEOPLE FROM STEALING THERE GAMES! LOLOL JUST GET IT 4 FREEZ!" ....such a stupid arguement =/"

That's what we call a straw man. People who advocate stealing DRM laden games as a message to developers have a legitimate gripe. When you buy a game, you should own it and have the right to do what you wish with it now and forever. I like reinstalling Return to Monkey Island every year and playing it. If it was DRM'ed up to the level of spore I would have had to buy a second or third copy by now.

Quote: "Companies think they have to keep raising game prices so that fewer and fewer groups of increasingly hardcore fanatics get to pay for development costs and everyone who didn't buy it."

Exactly. I don't know what got into the minds of bad game producers to make them think that their crappy game is worth the same as a AAA title that retails for the same price. Look at how many games on giant bomb have gotten less than a 5 and yet still retail for full, or near full price. At best the game makers may drop the price on their game 10 dollars, making it a "budget" title. But are they really selling you 4/5 of the quality of game of the best thing in the field? A BMW retails for more than a ford focus because it has greater quality. The Ford Focus doesn't retail for 4/5 of a top of the line BMW, it retails for one QUARTER. What in the hell makes the creators of Need for Speed: Undercover think that their cruddy game is worth as much as an Orange Box, a Gears of War 2 or a Metal Gear Solid 4? And yet it does. Piracy is gamers' way of telling the developer that they are too big for their britches. Games like Fallout 3 sell well (even if pirated) because they provide GOOD content, and LOTS of it. Bitch and moan all you want about "don't pirate it if you don't want to buy it", but the power is in the pirates' hands, and it always will be. Eliminate the legitimate gripes that pirates use to justify piracy and you will eliminate all but the most hardcore of pirates. There are opportunity costs to piracy: viruses, time, not actually owning the game, lack of patches, finding cracks/solutions on your own, so game devs need to sell their games with more benefits and fewer costs than are associated with piracy. What's your time and security worth? What are patches and post-launch content worth to you? For 10 or 15 bucks for budget titles and 30-50 for AAA titles I think people will gladly buy games.

Quote: "PC people steal our shit, and it's way expensive to make sure they don't steal it, and then they steal it twice as much, so fuck them."

Adios hombre. The PC is a tough market and those who aren't willing to innovate will die.


Quote: "You cant fix the economy to just give ppl what they want.  Give them more money, ppl will just charge more for the product, IE inflation.  At best, you would have to have some type of resouce based economy with a credit or money system where your paid the same for the type of job you do."

You realize it's not a zero sum game, right? The middle class, aka the biggest segment of game buyers has suffered greatly in the last 8 years. There is a lot less money in the middle right now than there was during the dot com boom. When the middle class has more money, they buy more. Producers don't keep prices in step with the amount of money situated at the middle class, at least not in step with that proportion.


Posted by PureRok

Well, if the game gets pirated just as much as a game with DRM, no more and no less, then that just proves that DRM is worthless and they shouldn't bother with it to begin with.

Posted by Lepuke

That settles it, since I recently upgraded to a Radeon 4850 HD I might as well make use of it, buy this game, and show Ubisoft  a bit of support.

Edited by chplusink

I think they did it, because they know people will pirate it even if they had DRM protection on it.  However, this way, they don't have to pay Sony for SecuROM or any other DRM development company for their services.

Posted by Tebbit

Not having DRM kinda makes me feel bad for not buying it. I mean, look at Spore: the most pirated game of the year, with some of the most hardcore and fucked (bet you'll never see those two words in the same sentance again - not) DRM in town. It'll be interesting to see how pirates react to there being absolutely no DRM at all.

Posted by Sledgehammer_Messiah

So the logic is that if a game is good, it should not/won't be pirated, but if a game is bad, it should/will be pirated? That's a total load. That's like saying it's okay to steal the Ford, but not the BMW. A good game for one person it not a good game for another person. GIVEMEREPLAY, you think Relic blows, I don't, there's an immediate and wide difference between the two of us. I think Far Cry 2 was worth the 60 dollar investment, many people don't, so therefore it's okay for them to pirate it by your standards.

How, exactly, do you determine a threshold for "it's okay to pirate"? Do we use Metacritic? Do we start a whole new site for the video game community to get together and hold arbitration?

Posted by DARKIDO07
Mawryk said:
"I bought this the first day the PC version showed up in stock...

not because it is DRM-free, but because it had positive reviews (waves at Brad), fantastic looking art style, and I was able to pick it up brand new for $30.00 Canadian.   Fun + cheap == Mawryk buy. 

I do think the point that Ubisoft is trying to make is probably valid - this game will likely end up being pirated just as much as a DRM-ed game.  Most people who pirate games to play them will do so regardless.  There is probably just a very small minority of uber-assholes who will download a pirated copy of a game that is "riddled" with DRM but without actually playing the game. "
But that in turn is good. If this game gets Pirated just the same as a game with DRM it will show companies that the pain in the ass DRM is useless.
Edited by DARKIDO07

I try to buy all my games when their less than $40 to save money, unless I really want a game like Gears of War 2. Really I think charging $60 for new game (now its$90 for a Limited Edition) is just outrageous. Banjo Kazooie Launched at $40, why can't Gears of War 2, Fable II ect. People pirate games becuase they are too expensive. Lower the price on games = lower piracy rate (in theory).

  • 72 results
  • 1
  • 2