Ubisoft is at it again - DRM follies

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by LionsDen, Jul 30, 2012.

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  1. Karock

    Karock Member

    I'm not arguing for DRM so I think there might be some confusion between us?

    What I am saying is that the argument for DRM doesn't make sense, and the argument for DRM clearly isn't true. (For why I'm saying this, refer to my last post).

    Completely Unrelated
    I, personally, have no problem with Steam for the majority of what it distributes and actually find it to be quite convenient, well designed and non-intrusive. Most of my problems with steam have come from third party DRM software still attached to games. That being said, Steam's DRM is only something I tolerate (for the benefits of Steam), not love.
  2. dissection

    dissection Member

    If DRM is not causing any problems if you legally bought your license and it just prevents piracy as it is supposed to do - there is no problem with it, is there?
  3. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Steam is something I've come to accept in my life. It has its uses, yes, but unlike some I'm far from blinded to its flaws. In fact, I might arguably be overly critical of Valve relative to other developers (on a gaming site I made a reputation for myself as one of the few people who would openly criticise CDProjekt RED and Valve whilst defending some of Ubisoft's practices).

    As for the argument for DRM, I think we have to look at it as a business would. Is it about controlling your product, protecting it from theft or making a token gesture so that you have a defence for copyright protection and so on? As I see it, DRM is something wanted by the shareholders to achieve the impossible - to protect the game from being stolen or used as they don't see fit.

    What they don't realise is that the more complex and intrusive forms - GfWL, UPlay and sometimes even Steamworks - can lessen sales, increase piracy and reduce the attractiveness of their product, not to mention it would increase the resources needed for post-release support.

    Yes? It's the principle of the matter if nothing else.
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  4. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    Basically, the fact that pirates just ignore the DRM completely means that DRM is not working, regardless of any technical merits it might have. It's kind of like how putting up high quality cameras and IR traps doesn't help if you leave blind spots or if you put them in the wrong place.

    The point of DRM technology is to thwart piracy. If pirates aren't being thwarted by DRM, what is the point?
  5. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    To disable the second-hand market? Honestly there's only one sort of DRM that does work, and that's only for multiplayer games that require connecting to the company servers, or their network to then connect to servers.
  6. FaxCelestis

    FaxCelestis Will Mod for Digglebucks

    ...which has the side effect problem of disqualifying a single-player experience (CF: Assassin's Creed) or rendering your playerbase frustrated and impotent when you have a server problem (CF: Diablo).
  7. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    That's not proof that DRM is not stopping people from pirating games -- all it says is that some people are pirating games in spite of DRM. You can't give an example and then assume that it's a universal truth. It would be equivalent of me claiming that since people rob houses in spite of alarm systems, that alarm systems don't do any good. Or that people drive drunk in spite of drunk driving laws, so drunk driving laws are therefor useless. It's an illogical argument.
  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    As I pointed out -- you have not proven that DRM does not stop pirates. All you have shown is that DRM does not stop ALL piracy. It's a flawed argument.

    I'm not saying that DRM definitely is worthwhile, because I suspect that this is true. I'm just saying that if you are going to argue that, you have to have a better argument than pointing out that there are still pirates. There also are still speeders in spite of speed traps, and there are still people who cheat on their income tax in spite of the I.R.S.
  9. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    It's not flawed. Once pirates start distributing the media it'll get copied out of control by other people. The DRM only has to be circumvented once for it to fail entirely to stop unauthorized copying. After that, compromised copies spread all over the world. There is no analogy with speed traps or cheating on income tax.
  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    That's actually not true because not everyone uses torrents or visits pirate software sites -- there is an inherent knowledge gap and even a bit of risk in that that does not exist for people pirating the software themselves. Not everyone is a hacker (you should have seen some of the incompetents I had to deal with on my job -- I was at one job, the 'pc administrator, essentially in charge of maintaining software licenses, the network, etc.)
  11. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I think DRM stops casual copyright infringement and resale of goods, but it doesn't stop people pirating the game. The only game that couldn't be pirated for any length of time was AssCreed 2, and that lasted about two weeks before it was cracked.
  12. dissection

    dissection Member

    Okay, let me get a convenient comparison. Lets say some public building is locked over night. Your complaint is exactly as if stating "In this country I have the freedom to go everywhere where I want. Locking up this building is conflicting with my freedom to go anywhere. I never planned to steal the things in there, I am not seriously affected by this place locking up at night, still I feel offended by the principle of matter not being able to go there at night freely"

    I think it is the right of the companies to protect their product against piracy as long as this does not affect the quality of the product itself. If you want to pirate it against law you will have to deal with this and can do if you want - I dont care, but the last thing you can do is complain that they dont make breaking the law as easy as you would have liked it, because that is just ridiculous.
  13. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    That's a completely false analogy, and my complaint is nothing of the sort. That building is not my property nor is it on my land. I have no legal right to enter it locked or otherwise.

    If we take the software situation at face value, we're offered a product subject to the publisher's own terms but this is legally questionable as the terms and conditions of the license aren't available until you've purchased it, opened the packaging (if retail; and doing so often leaves you unable to return the product) and started the installation procedure. We do not ever own the product itself, but we own the legitimate, legal copy and a license to use it. The use of DRM - software that can, will and has caused problems with the ability of one's PC to function - can often be unclear until it's too late to do anything about it.

    Somehow I don't think the publishers have a leg to stand on with DRM, or at least not as much as they like to think they do.
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  14. dissection

    dissection Member

    No, it is a correct analogy.

    You own the right to utilize the code, not to change it. You simply dont own the program, you have a license of use. You can play the game but not circumvent security measures against abuse - because the code doesnt belong to you, you just are a licensed user of it. You may own physical copies. But nobody cares what you do with these as long as it doesnt affect the content.

    Similarly, you have the right to enter the building when its open. You are not allowed to change it or break in when the creator decides ypu aren`t allowed to. To round up the comparison lets change it into a golf club membership where you claim you can go there when you want to and do what you want on the place, because you legally paid for and own it from now on (you have a plastic card in your pocket proving this right!).

    For those new to this idea: Yeah, that was never different. All the times you thought you owned a SNES-game in your childhood bought from hard earned pocket money - it was all in your mind. You never owned a game. You owned a piece of plastic and circuits containing it. The game on it is just illusionary information, an abstract thing, an idea thats not your property but that of the guy who did it. We call this "intellectual property". And its not yours. It just became obvious the first time when digital distribution made it possible to buy only the right of use of an abstract idea without actually receiving anything.
  15. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Because books hadn't been around for centuries beforehand, right?

    But your analogy still doesn't quite hold. Property rights have been tried, tested, tried again and tested even more in courts, over a period of centuries. It's pretty clear how they work. EULAs and software agreements have existed for maybe two or three decades to the layperson (i.e. an average consumer), and have had very little testing in court. We don't know what the court would think of the removal of DRM because it's never come up in a court case involving a consumer and the publisher/developer (only time I know of is CDProjekt vs Namco Bandai). It's not so much a legal certainty as a legal grey area.

    But this does leave an interesting conundrum - if I use the latest US patch for Dreamfall to remove StarForce on the EU version, am I cracking or patching? ;)
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  16. klaymen_sk

    klaymen_sk Member

    That may as well mean that piracy as a threat to the gaming industry is not as terrible as publishers want us to believe.

    In fact, I believe that piracy is more of a scapegoat:
    "Does our game sell bad? Why would that be? Reviewers are paid off, so the problem is elsewhere.....people complain that it sucks? No way, our game is the best! Many complaints about horrible bugs? Oh, come on! What else then? Of course, PIRACY!! Them filthy pirates!!11ELEVEN!1!"
    *goes writing a press release complaining about how piracy affected the game sales*
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  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    That's what piracy is, klaymen - a scapegoat. No matter which industry we're talking - gaming, music, book publishing - piracy is an easy, convenient scapegoat.

    Now, it needs to be said that piracy IS a problem. It does result in lost sales. It does mean people aren't getting paid for their work. But piracy is not the sole problem, which it often tends to be seen as. I've seen authors in particular say their series, in a few extreme cases, have been dropped or risk being dropped by their publisher because it's not making the right number of sales due to piracy. Bah.

    My answer is and always will be "that's complete BS". Piracy will account for some percentage of the sales that aren't made, that is an undeniable truth. Markets, regardless of the type of medium, fluctuate. They change, they flow, they crest and fall. An author who was on the New York Times Bestsellers List in 1990 is not necessarily going to be on that list in 2012, even if they're still publishing regularly. Those that do, or sell even better, are often rare cases. Sir Terry Pratchett's sales will have increased (generally) with each book, but an author like L.E. Modesitt, Jr. will see their sales decline. It's the natural way of things.

    There's many reasons why a book, a game or an album won't do as well as it perhaps should. Marketing, the state of the market, the position of the vendors (what are they pushing at that time?), the quality of the product itself and so on. There's a large number of variables - piracy is just one of many.
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  18. Karock

    Karock Member

    I'm pretty much done with this topic but I wanted to chime back in for one more thing. You DO own the game you purchase.

    The whole line about you never owning the game is one that takes the concept of 'owning the game' out of context. It's really just an attempt to do PR and mitigate the negative view that certain practices by gaming companies receive.

    What you don't own is the intellectual rights to the game. This means you can't reproduce it (and/or redistribute additional copies), reuse the IP in your own work, etc. It doesn't mean that they can take your copy of the game away from you. This is, of course, a grey area as far as the issue of 'purchasing a license' goes, so denying you access to the software you've purchased because your license expired is something they can do. However, they cannot take your physical copy of that software away from you, for example.

    If it is difficult for you to understand, then a book might be an easier way for you to understand. You buy the book, you own the book. The person who owns the IP can't take your book away. You can't reprint the book (generally) or sell the non-original book (copies to others or sell the book to a different publisher), and you can't take pieces of the IP and put them into something you are making yourself (this one is a little more complicated, but in general it holds true. For example: you can't write a story that has a wizard named Gandalf in it and publish it, but you could write one about a pizza delivery guy named Gandalf).

    Hope that all made sense because I'm pretty tired right now.
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  19. dissection

    dissection Member

    You still only own a copy. Even if you buy a book you own a bunch of paper with letters on it. Not the work itself. You dont own a game as much as you dont own what is written in a book. So if the "author" of a game decides that your license to "read" it doesnt include circumventing any protection of copying it - its bad luck for you. You cannot change it. You accepted that its protected by signing the buyers contract. If you have a problem with the offer - dont accept it. But you wont be allowed to change the conditions of the contract by yourself without agreement. Thats how it works.

    If DRM annoys you - dont buy it for fucks sake. Its part of the contract you sign. Its protected. Get over it. You have no right to claim it being otherwise. It is the way it is. As the game is part of the code, the DRM is. You bought a license to use it. The "game" is information. You cant own that. You can use it or create it and own the rights of distribution. Its just fair that who created information is the one to decide what is allowed to do with it.

    There is NO basis of complaint regarding DRM, because its just there. Claiming the programmers have no right for DRM is the same as claiming the programmers dont have a right to give you a game with a 25% +Mana from Stupid Men`s Staff instead of 20% which will be more balanced in your opinion. It is what you got with the deal. You didnt buy a right to tell them how their offer should be (you accept it or not).
  20. Aegho

    Aegho Member

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