Beware the fury of an impatient man

I’m quite cross. About DRM. Which makes me even crosser, because I don’t want to be some ranting demagogue who goes around giving 1 star to Spore on Amazon. I’ve briefly outlined my DRM agnosticism before, obviously no DRM scheme is totally effective, but maybe they put a few people off, so long as I can get on and play the game I’ll overlook a few hoops which is all that’s necessary for evil (and/or DRM) to triumph. Well finally I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more.

Ubisoft have a new “Online Services Platform”. It’s an “added value platform“. And you’ll have to be permanently connected to the internet to play any game on it. Not just a bit of a check on startup:

What will happen if I lose my Internet connection when I play the game?
If you lose your Internet connection the game will pause while it tries to reconnect. If the Internet Connection is unable to resume you can continue the game from where you left off or from the last saved game.

Not to mention:

Can I resell my game?
Not at this time.

“Not at this time”? Being the system is only being rolled out in future titles, obviously you can’t resell them “at this time” because you can’t buy them in the first place. Also mysteriously absent from the Q&A list are more pertinent questions, like “You know it’s still going to get cracked in a couple of days, tops, right?” and “Are you fucking kidding?”

You might point out it’s not so different to a MMOG, you have to be connected to a server for those all the time, what’s the big deal? Two things: there’s a *good* reason you’re connecting to a server for a MMOG, like, all those other players, and if there’s a problem with an internet connection that’s the time I’d most like my other, single player games to be available. RPS links to a GameSpy piece that includes the line “While it’s hard to conceive of PC gamers being stranded without an Internet connection, those situations do come up, particularly when traveling.” Well it’s not *that* hard to conceive, is it, you managed an example right there. Tell you what, another example, just off the top of my head y’know, maybe your phone line goes down for a couple of weeks? Too crazy?

The only way this makes sense is if other companies have banded together and written Ubisoft a huge cheque to be sacrificial lambs, deliberate putting out the most blitheringly stupid DRM system they can think of on PC games they don’t give a stuff about so other companies suddenly don’t seem as bad. “Launch day DLC via in-box codes that can be redeemed once, so if you sell the game on the new owner has to shell out if they want that same content? Seems like a little bit of an underhanded way of making the second hand games market less attractive. Still, it’s no Ubisoft.” Any slight foibles Steam might have pale in comparison to a shade so light even Procol Harum are unable to suggest anything whiter, and that’s before it offers Psychonauts for £1.

If the Ubisoft Bloody Stupid Platform offers games for a quid, we can talk, until then I’m officially boycotting anything that includes it. That was going to be a bit of an ironic boycott, as a cursory glance at their upcoming games list didn’t reveal anything I’d been particularly planning to get anyway, but after clicking on a couple of titles to double check R.U.S.E. started actually looking quite interesting. It’d slipped under my radar ’til then, somewhat fittingly for a game about deception and concealment, so I now find myself in the slightly confusing situation of being interested in a game only because I’ve decided to boycott it (assuming it requires the permanent connection). Still, makes the stand vaguely meaningful, I suppose. Ooh, I feel like an activist now, someone get me a placard. “DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING!”

5 thoughts on “Beware the fury of an impatient man

  1. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Psychonauts for £1.

    And now we interrupt you regularly scheduled comment the an installment of “British whines, only in reverse.”

    OMG OMG OMG why is the game US$2 when it only costs £1 for silly tea drinkers! The currency exchange rate today is approximately US$1.60/£1, so that means us poor Americans are getting so ripped off! You can’t just double the number and expect the prices to be equal! And, after a long history of favorable pricing for people paying in U.S. dollars, this is a slap in the face!

  2. Zoso Post author

    Woohoo! 40 cents up on the deal for once! I’m gonna put that towards an iPad when they’re released over here, bet the exchange rate is just as favourable.

  3. FraidOfTheLight

    Oops; fell victim to crazy Steam prices again.

    Zoso: agreed. I do wonder with issues like this if the company in question is well-intentioned but bad at implementing or communicating, or completely out of touch with their potential customers.

    “Careful now.”

  4. Tesh

    ‘Tis a wee bit like choking your customers with the umbilical you’re communicating and selling to them with.

    Captcha bingo: “hellostabs”…

    Maybe I should have waited until Stabs commented for this one?

  5. Derrick

    I hear ya.

    To be honest, I don’t understand these rediculous drm schemes. I don’t object to base-level, non obtrusive things, steam, for example: just need to be online once to update your game and authenticate and you’re good.

    To require a constant Internet connection to play a single player game is absurd. Personally, I frequently game while travelling and I can never rely on a connection, not to mention all those days when you don’t have a connection for whatever reason. Moved? Getting a new ISP? ISP service issues? It’s bad enough to be cut off from the Internet, but to be unable to play your games too? Egads.

    Anyhow, ultimately DRM is ONLY a deterrent and only for a very small number of people. The game will be cracked and distributed on release day if not sooner anyways. A deterrent is important, but these measures only impact the honest without affecting piracy at all.

    Don’t even get me started on the highway robbery that is install limits.

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