Thursday, 9 February 2012

Yet Another DRM Rant

Ubisoft needs to update its servers. Turns out that means that people can't play games they legitimately bought. Go DRM!

DRM is supposed to stop pirates from being able to play games that they didn't pay for; that's the whole crux of the argument, the entire reason that it's supposed to exist. Gamers may not agree with it, but at its core they are at least supposed to see the point.

So when something like people not being able to play the games that they legitimately paid for happens, I think it's time to ask: "Seriously, what the fuck."

Ubisoft announced last week that a fair number of games that people legitimately bought wouldn't be playable while they switch some of their servers. I'm not just talking about the multiplayer aspect of the games; that would be expected. No, I mean even the single player stuff that normally shouldn't require having an internet connection at all:

"The affected PC games are HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6, The Settlers 7. Those using a Mac will be unable to play The Settlers, Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell: Conviction. Most other games will have their online modes unreachable for the day, although Just Dance 3 and Driver: San Francisco are said to be unaffected."

Not only that, but having seemingly done the deed, Ubisoft has actually taken more games offline than they even intended to in the first place.

Again. I cannot emphasize this enough: "What. The. FUCK."

This is the exact opposite effect of what DRM should be stated to have. What is the reasoning behind this? Can't Ubisoft at least disable the DRM for incidents like these so that people that, you know, actually paid for their games can actually play them?

What possible incentive does this give to people that have bought games that they are now unable to access? If anything it proves antithetical to the point that companies like to tout about DRM: that it's necessary to keep the people who haven't bought the game from playing it, but to allow legitimate customers in. After this kind of experience I wonder how many people either won't buying a game from Ubisoft with that type of DRM again, or even worse in Ubisoft's eye, consider pirating a game from them just out of spite.

Do incidents like this make pirating games morally right? Well, no, I can't say that they do. However, it makes people who tried to play by the rules but then just got fed up and went "Well, fuck this." and pirated what they like more understandable.

Oh, but I'm not done ranting yet. Not by a long shot. Tomorrow will have something of a tertiary relation to this, but I promise is nearly as dumb and ultimately exasperating.

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