Litigation is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage - Ambrose Bierce, allegedly
ONLINE GAMING PUBLISHER Ubisoft's digital restrictions management (DRM) is continuing to give its users headaches and does not seem to have stopped much unauthorised use.
The system requires users to log on to a DRM server at Ubisoft before they can play its games and stay connected to it all the time they are playing. Ubisoft claims that this was a wonderful thing that will stop unauthorised players dead in their tracks, although we are yet to see any proof of this.
However like any DRM system it is not the copyright infringers who suffer but the ordinary users. Players of Settlers 7 were unable to play for nearly three weeks just because the DRM server was down. Other users have also complained that they can't play because Ubisoft's DRM server is offline.
Ubisoft's problem is that by pushing a DRM server that is unreliable it is encouraging tin-foil hat wearers of all flavours to blame everything that goes wrong with their PCs on Ubisoft's DRM.
Games makers have had problems with illegal copying of software ever since the early days of the computer games, but so far they are yet to find a way of protecting anything.
Their tendency is to place their faith in technology, forgetting that the same faith is shared by those who seek to exploit their products.
While Ubisoft employees rush to webgroups to claim that its DRM is not intrusive, customers are getting messages that a game they have paid for thinks they aren't legitimate users. The only answer to this is to look to the game crackers to come up with solutions that allow them to play the games they have paid for. µ
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