Halting Software Piracy the Ubisoft Way

January 20, 2012 · Posted in Feature

Here’s another reason to put off that hardware upgrade: Gaming hardware site Guru3d reports that Ubisoft’s latest Digital Rights Management scheme (DRM) counts hardware upgrades toward the 3 activation limit Ubisoft imposes on game installations. The annoying “feature” was discovered while swapping out video cards during performance testing.

Guru3d was surprised to find themselves unable to play their review copy of the PC game Anno 2070 immediately after installing a video card into one of three test PC’s the game was installed on. A call to tech support confirmed that the hardware change had indeed triggered the lock out. The activation count can supposedly be reset by sending an email request to Ubisoft. The software giant has had a history of using controversial DRM methods such as the requirement for a constant connection to the internet in order to play online OR offline. They have also been party to a number of embarrassing DRM failures causing thousands of game owners to be locked out of games they legitimately purchased.

While it is understandable that publishers want to protect their content one has to wonder when “enough is enough”. Despite many of these draconian protection schemes, many new releases are still available on illicit torrent sites days before being made available to the public. Hopefully someday a methodology can be found that protects both the publisher AND the consumer from being ripped off.

The original Guru3d findings can be found here.

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