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Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight

Recent comments from Ubisoft VP of digital publishing Chris Early indicate Ubisoft has a newfound outlook on the impact of DRM on game sales, saying they understand that this can lead to punishing paying customers while failing to deter piracy as intended (thanks The Escapist). This is in stark contrast to their historical outlook, which led to the implementation of an onerous online DRM scheme several years ago that required a constant Internet connection before this was relaxed. Chris explains their changed outlook on this to GameSpot:

What becomes key for us is making sure we're delivering an experience to paying players that is quality. I don't want us in a position where we're punishing a paying player for what a pirate can get around. Anything is going to be able to be pirated given enough time and enough effort to get in there. So the question becomes, what do we create as services, or as benefits, and the quality of the game, that will just have people want to pay for it?

I think it's much more important for us to focus on making a great game and delivering good services. The reality is, the more service there is in a game, pirates don't get that," Early said. "So when it's a good game and there's good services around it, you're incentivized to not pirate the game to get the full experience.

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68. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 22:12 Quboid
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 21:27:
another person mentioning that customers have "rights" other than just not-buying (but not saying what those rights are)

Who me? I didn't think the existence of consumer protection laws needed backed up. The Sale Of Goods Act 1979, for example. Whether or not that applies, or what laws do apply, is a question for someone with more law degrees than I have.

Edit: In response to your post 3 minutes before this one - bravo! The thing that really amazes me about this is when the hell have you ever heard of anyone, particularly Ubisoft, have a problem with their PC port being too good.
 
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67. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 22:09 Beamer
 
NKD wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 21:31:
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:49:
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:28:
Why would they lie? Why would they remove tested, functional, release-ready features from their product in the first place? How would they benefit from doing so?
Favorite conspiracy theory going today: Sony asked them to, as sony has the most to lose in the graphics wars. Everyone already knows xbone is full-on-shit.

I don't really buy this conspiracy theory. Consoles are not threatened by PC as a platform in the least. PC games have looked significantly better than their console counterparts forever, Watch Dogs included, and it's never mattered before. You don't see anyone else doing it, either, so it's unlikely to be pressure from Sony or anyone else.

Gamers are notorious for basically attributing everything every developer and publisher does to some kind of conspiratorial malice, even absent ANY evidence of intent.

Preconception: Ubisoft and other companies are evil. They want to make money, which is greedy and evil. Therefore everything they do is somehow aimed towards that end. If their actions don't appear to be in their greedy best interests, well, we must invent a theory to explain why perceived incompetence, laziness or shortsightedness is actually just another element of the conspiracy.

What's more likely? Some conspiracy to make Watch Dogs for PC look worse, or the idea that they just didn't care enough to get those graphical upgrades release-ready?

The second seems most likely. Why? Because it's the status quo. Lazy PC ports are nothing new. There is no conspiracy. Ubisoft ALWAYS does this shit. They throw in a lot of cool PC exclusive features and settings, but don't optimize anything. It stands to reason given their track record that they would cut a feature rather than spend time optimizing it, especially if it's not going to be compatible with consoles.

So, is it a conspiracy? Or is it Ubisoft just being typical Ubisoft with regards to the PC platform? Gonna go with #2.

It's very common, everywhere but especially here. People assume everyone is evil and out to get them. It used to be everyone assumed the government was evil and out to get them and masterminded all kinds of terrible events that stayed secret. Now, I think most people realize governments tend to be incompetent and different departments don't interact well.
So they've shifted the evil theories to corporations.

Few people in this world are actually evil. Most people in corporations think they're doing the right thing. All the way up to the top. No malice, genuine people thinking they're doing something right. Often they're doing something wrong, but it comes not from malice but incompetence.

Hell, the amazing conspiracy theories I see in public about the things I do at my job blow my mind. People think my department is amazingly well organized and connected with other departments. We aren't. We barely talk to those other departments, and mostly when we do they want nothing to do with us because anything involving us is going to take time that doesn't result in their bottom line changing. And my department is so understaffed we don't have time to do much more than fly by the seat of our pants.
But, when I read something about the work I'm doing, people just connect dots that aren't there and claim that we're masterminding all these awful schemes that are paper thin, any child could see through, and would take us hours to carry out. It's coincidence, but they think they're geniuses for picking up on them. And I'm reading it, wishing both I had the time to execute these intricate plans or the customers that were dumb enough to fall for them (some of our competitors have dumb customers. We do not. Smart customers are fantastic, but sometimes infuriating. Especially when they aren't as smart as they think and spend hours calling you evil for something that didn't even happen.) For clarification, the example is along the lines of I'm selling something for $X, and a different website from the same parent company is selling it for $2X, and they're claiming one price is raised to make the other look better. I choose the pricing for mine, and have no clue who the hell does on the other side - there's no communication and no evil plans. But there are daily accusations of them.

I've never been in a company where departments that aren't physically directly next to each other communicated well. Even 20 yards is enough to make sure they don't interact, let alone different floors or different buildings. And no one is willing to do much that may hurt their own bottom line, even if it helps the company as a whole, because their feet are held to the fire only on their own, so intricate plans that would actually damage them at the expense of other areas will always fall apart.
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
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66. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 21:57 Kevin Lowe
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 21:52:
It's not about making the PC look worse it's about not making the PS4 look worse. So yes, obviously Sony is going to tell them that's the case and Ubisoft is going to do it.
Do you have ANY proof that this actually happened?
 
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65. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 21:52 Cutter
 
It's not about making the PC look worse it's about not making the PS4 look worse. So yes, obviously Sony is going to tell them that's the case and Ubisoft is going to do it. There's no conspiracy involved, it's just business. Unfortunately for Ubisoft that sort of myopic vision is bad for business in the long run. They're cutting themselves out of the existing PC market - 65+ million people on Steam - and future sales by creating needless bad blood. Oh well, if they want to lose that sort of money that's their business.

 
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64. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 21:31 NKD
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:49:
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:28:
Why would they lie? Why would they remove tested, functional, release-ready features from their product in the first place? How would they benefit from doing so?
Favorite conspiracy theory going today: Sony asked them to, as sony has the most to lose in the graphics wars. Everyone already knows xbone is full-on-shit.

I don't really buy this conspiracy theory. Consoles are not threatened by PC as a platform in the least. PC games have looked significantly better than their console counterparts forever, Watch Dogs included, and it's never mattered before. You don't see anyone else doing it, either, so it's unlikely to be pressure from Sony or anyone else.

Gamers are notorious for basically attributing everything every developer and publisher does to some kind of conspiratorial malice, even absent ANY evidence of intent.

Preconception: Ubisoft and other companies are evil. They want to make money, which is greedy and evil. Therefore everything they do is somehow aimed towards that end. If their actions don't appear to be in their greedy best interests, well, we must invent a theory to explain why perceived incompetence, laziness or shortsightedness is actually just another element of the conspiracy.

What's more likely? Some conspiracy to make Watch Dogs for PC look worse, or the idea that they just didn't care enough to get those graphical upgrades release-ready?

The second seems most likely. Why? Because it's the status quo. Lazy PC ports are nothing new. There is no conspiracy. Ubisoft ALWAYS does this shit. They throw in a lot of cool PC exclusive features and settings, but don't optimize anything. It stands to reason given their track record that they would cut a feature rather than spend time optimizing it, especially if it's not going to be compatible with consoles.

So, is it a conspiracy? Or is it Ubisoft just being typical Ubisoft with regards to the PC platform? Gonna go with #2.

This comment was edited on Jun 21, 2014, 21:37.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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63. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 21:27 Beamer
 
I really don't entirely get where this argument went. Who is arguing what. It seems to have started with one person putting down piracy, another person mentioning that customers have "rights" other than just not-buying (but not saying what those rights are), and now some people claiming that someone else is saying they don't have a right to say why they didn't buy.

Is someone saying you can't tell a publisher you didn't buy their game for X reason?
Is someone else saying that piracy is a consumer right if the game is bad?

This thread needed cliff's notes because no one seems to be responding to anything in particular, anymore, just throwing out angry posts based on what look kind of like misinterpretations.
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
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62. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 20:46 NewMaxx
 
The bottom line is, and always has been, money. Having additional features for the PC and/or having people tinker with such settings generally means more support calls for them. Support calls cost money. Furthermore, the PC market is at best a 10% share, so even putting effort towards testing these additional settings means they are spending more money than is worthwhile. What's their incentive? Good will, good image? You can just have the PR guy you already pay a salary come up with a bit of malarkey and...exactly what you get above.  
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61. No subject Jun 21, 2014, 19:49 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:28:
Why would they lie? Why would they remove tested, functional, release-ready features from their product in the first place? How would they benefit from doing so?
Favorite conspiracy theory going today: Sony asked them to, as sony has the most to lose in the graphics wars. Everyone already knows xbone is full-on-shit.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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60. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 19:28 Kevin Lowe
 
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:07:

They claimed that activating it would cause issues. But as many have shown, that was a total BS claim. It's not cherry picking lines when the reality shows its BS.
Why would they lie? Why would they remove tested, functional, release-ready features from their product in the first place? How would they benefit from doing so?
 
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59. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 19:25 Kitkoan
 
Quboid wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:19:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:07:
They claimed that activating it would cause issues. But as many have shown, that was a total BS claim. It's not cherry picking lines when the reality shows its BS.

It has not been shown to be reliable - "many have shown" isn't necessarily good enough for these features to be in a retail release. As much as we criticise them, the Q&A testing done by Ubisoft will be much more thorough. The port was clearly rushed and by the sounds of it, it would be more playable if they'd switched off some more (but exactly what might be the trouble).

Is it really hard to believe that they did a bad job of porting it? Is it easier to believe that they made such a great port that the suits above ordered them to pull it back? I wish PC ports being too good was a problem!

If those functions were turned off for quality control, how would you have code comments like "is PC only, who cares."? That shows a contradiction of trains of thought.
 
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58. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 19:19 Quboid
 
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 19:07:
They claimed that activating it would cause issues. But as many have shown, that was a total BS claim. It's not cherry picking lines when the reality shows its BS.

It has not been shown to be reliable - "many have shown" isn't necessarily good enough for these features to be in a retail release. As much as we criticise them, the Q&A testing done by Ubisoft will be much more thorough. The port was clearly rushed and by the sounds of it, it would be more playable if they'd switched off some more (but exactly what might be the trouble).

Is it really hard to believe that they did a bad job of porting it? Is it easier to believe that they made such a great port that the suits above ordered them to pull it back? I wish PC ports being too good was a problem!
 
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57. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 19:07 Kitkoan
 
The Half Elf wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 18:28:

You your OWN link, it stats that they didn't 'turn them on' due to issues and side effects, up to and including lighting issues across the entire game. Are you really going to cherry pick a link you posted instead of reading the entire thing?

BTW, Uplay does have a offline mode. You know what it keeps you from doing? Accessing the multiplayer part of the game, as if you were offline. Wow, I'm pretty sure if you were in offline mode in Steam you can't access some things like Steamworks. But then again Steam, Origin, Uplay are all forms of DRM, and considering the draconian crap Ubisoft use to offer, this is pretty good. But you REALLY want to point out that you don't have to do Uplay on a console, and previously bitched about having you information tracked, yet you're ok with using a console? Again awesome double standards dude.

Yeah Lets go ahead and use Gamespy or Games for Windows Live! Gamespy is dead, and thankfully so is Games For Windows, as the cluster fuck of downloading a game (say from Steam), then having to sign into GFWL and have to pray it was implemented correctly, download the patch (pray it worked), and restart your game.

They claimed that activating it would cause issues. But as many have shown, that was a total BS claim. It's not cherry picking lines when the reality shows its BS.

You do know you need UPlay to be running to install a game with UPlay right? And if you can't get UPlay to turn on, you are barred from your game, right? And that none of this effects the console players, just PC players, right? And Steam and Origin also have such issues with failing to load like UPlay. And I said nothing about information tracking, so please troll somewhere else about that.

And I'm sure that Ubisoft looked into the future in 2009 (when UPlay was released) saw that these things would happen in 2014. Wonderful counter argument. Quick, since foreseeing the future seems to be something you believe is a real and valid thing, what are the future winning lotto numbers?
 
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56. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 18:29 The Half Elf
 
mag wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 18:20:
I still can't bring myself to buy Anno 2070 because of the shitty DRM. I desperately want to play this game, but I'm being prevented.

Same mag, as it keeps getting cheaper and cheaper but I simple choose with my wallet, a concept other's can't seem to grasp.
 
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55. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 18:28 The Half Elf
 
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:31:
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
Guessing you've missed the whole deal about the Watch Dogs being held back on PC?

Given that you can find posts from me in the comments for that article, yeah, I'm well aware of it. That article discusses extra features cut from the final game - not features present on other platforms that were cut from the PC version. The PC still has the graphics features of the other platform, plus extra. How is that unequal treatment?

Purposefully cripple product = unequal treatment. Or, as their own developers put it "is PC only, who cares."

Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
Out of every form of DRM, online DRM has always proven the worst for customers. Issues with flaky internet, Diablo 3/SimCity/numerous other games whom severs couldn't handle the pounding, etc... Just because something can be down, doesn't mean it's the best/only option.
By all means, then, suggest a better option for protecting their investment. The last idea (protected memory regions using TPM) was shouted down.

Since you missed it the first time (and even managed to quote it but not read it...) I will repeat: Just because something can be down, doesn't mean it's the best/only option.

Steamworks also seems to be working great for many companies, and it's not always online...

Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
And if I don't want to join such a system, I don't need to on a console. But I MUST on a PC, which again adds software that crashes and can lock me out of the product I purchased. Why is it mandatory for a PC but optional on a console? Just because they made it, doesn't mean it should be a mandatory (and problematic) need for some and a basic option for others. Also, things like GfWL, Gamespy, Steam, etc existed when UPlay was released. They didn't need to create yet another friend system, options were there.
You'd rather they used GfWL or Gamespy? And you suggest that I'M not keeping up on the latest news?

Gamespy and Steam (which I noticed you failed to read... again...) would be a better choice. GfWL was also a possible solution (didn't say the best one, nice strawman though). And since you are failing in knowing the news, UPlay has been out since 2009. Trying to use news of 2014 as your counter argument is a bit of a stretch.

You your OWN link, it stats that they didn't 'turn them on' due to issues and side effects, up to and including lighting issues across the entire game. Are you really going to cherry pick a link you posted instead of reading the entire thing?

BTW, Uplay does have a offline mode. You know what it keeps you from doing? Accessing the multiplayer part of the game, as if you were offline. Wow, I'm pretty sure if you were in offline mode in Steam you can't access some things like Steamworks. But then again Steam, Origin, Uplay are all forms of DRM, and considering the draconian crap Ubisoft use to offer, this is pretty good. But you REALLY want to point out that you don't have to do Uplay on a console, and previously bitched about having you information tracked, yet you're ok with using a console? Again awesome double standards dude.

Yeah Lets go ahead and use Gamespy or Games for Windows Live! Gamespy is dead, and thankfully so is Games For Windows, as the cluster fuck of downloading a game (say from Steam), then having to sign into GFWL and have to pray it was implemented correctly, download the patch (pray it worked), and restart your game.
 
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54. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 18:20 mag
 
I still can't bring myself to buy Anno 2070 because of the shitty DRM. I desperately want to play this game, but I'm being prevented.  
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53. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 17:42 Kevin Lowe
 
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:31:
Purposefully cripple product = unequal treatment. Or, as their own developers put it "is PC only, who cares."
Any proof that this was purposeful crippling, as opposed to cutting unfinished features? And it still doesn't change the fact that you got every feature the other platforms got, and then some. How is getting more than everyone else unequal?
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:31:
Since you missed it the first time (and even managed to quote it but not read it...) I will repeat: Just because something can be down, doesn't mean it's the best/only option.

Steamworks also seems to be working great for many companies, and it's not always online...
It's also controlled by one of their competitors.
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:31:
Gamespy and Steam (which I noticed you failed to read... again...) would be a better choice. GfWL was also a possible solution (didn't say the best one, nice strawman though). And since you are failing in knowing the news, UPlay has been out since 2009. Trying to use news of 2014 as your counter argument is a bit of a stretch.
Gamespy is in the process of shutting down. Great choice!
 
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52. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 17:37 Quboid
 
I haven't seen any reason to believe that it was purposefully crippled. Rushed, yes but for the reasons I gave earlier in this thread, not intentionally damaged.  
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51. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 17:31 Kitkoan
 
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
Guessing you've missed the whole deal about the Watch Dogs being held back on PC?

Given that you can find posts from me in the comments for that article, yeah, I'm well aware of it. That article discusses extra features cut from the final game - not features present on other platforms that were cut from the PC version. The PC still has the graphics features of the other platform, plus extra. How is that unequal treatment?

Purposefully cripple product = unequal treatment. Or, as their own developers put it "is PC only, who cares."

Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
Out of every form of DRM, online DRM has always proven the worst for customers. Issues with flaky internet, Diablo 3/SimCity/numerous other games whom severs couldn't handle the pounding, etc... Just because something can be down, doesn't mean it's the best/only option.
By all means, then, suggest a better option for protecting their investment. The last idea (protected memory regions using TPM) was shouted down.

Since you missed it the first time (and even managed to quote it but not read it...) I will repeat: Just because something can be down, doesn't mean it's the best/only option.

Steamworks also seems to be working great for many companies, and it's not always online...

Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:17:
Kitkoan wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:04:
And if I don't want to join such a system, I don't need to on a console. But I MUST on a PC, which again adds software that crashes and can lock me out of the product I purchased. Why is it mandatory for a PC but optional on a console? Just because they made it, doesn't mean it should be a mandatory (and problematic) need for some and a basic option for others. Also, things like GfWL, Gamespy, Steam, etc existed when UPlay was released. They didn't need to create yet another friend system, options were there.
You'd rather they used GfWL or Gamespy? And you suggest that I'M not keeping up on the latest news?

Gamespy and Steam (which I noticed you failed to read... again...) would be a better choice. GfWL was also a possible solution (didn't say the best one, nice strawman though). And since you are failing in knowing the news, UPlay has been out since 2009. Trying to use news of 2014 as your counter argument is a bit of a stretch.
 
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50. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 17:30 ASeven
 
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:25:
ASeven wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:22:
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 16:46:
"Consequences it might do to the market"? Oh, do go on. This should be good for a laugh. What consequence is this game going to have that aren't perfectly ameliorated by the simple procedure I described in my post (JUST DON'T BUY IT!)?

This type of reply only shows you have really no idea what you're talking about, do you?

If I don't buy something, others might, something that seems to have not entered your flawed logic. And if others buy the game it shapes the market. If a game with draconian DRM sells a lot it will send a message to publishers, regardless if I bought it or not. And regardless if I bought it or not I will voice my displeasure about consumer rights being throttled due to draconian DRM. That's just one example of all the shit Ubisoft, and the gaming industry, keeps pulling on us.

Then again I'm starting to think you really have no idea of what you're talking about based on your continued flawed logic.
So what if someone else buys something you're not happy with! Publishers are in business to make money, and as long as enough people are happy enough with their products to pay for them, what does it matter what you, me, or any other one person thinks of them?

Oh boy, I can see I'm wasting time talking to you. Holy crap this flawed logic of yours.
 
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49. Re: Ubisoft's Newfound DRM Insight Jun 21, 2014, 17:28 Kevin Lowe
 
Eirikrautha wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:26:
ASeven wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 17:22:
Kevin Lowe wrote on Jun 21, 2014, 16:46:
"Consequences it might do to the market"? Oh, do go on. This should be good for a laugh. What consequence is this game going to have that aren't perfectly ameliorated by the simple procedure I described in my post (JUST DON'T BUY IT!)?

This type of reply only shows you have really no idea what you're talking about, do you?

If I don't buy something, others might, something that seems to have not entered your flawed logic. And if others buy the game it shapes the market. If a game with draconian DRM sells a lot it will send a message to publishers, regardless if I bought it or not. And regardless if I bought it or not I will voice my displeasure about consumer rights being throttled due to draconian DRM. That's just one example of all the shit Ubisoft, and the gaming industry, keeps pulling on us.

Then again I'm starting to think you really have no idea of what you're talking about based on your continued flawed logic.

Something tells me he is the same kind of dickhead who would tell you that if you don't like the NSA spying on you, don't use email or a phone...
Really. I wasn't aware that one had the option of not buying into their government. I also wasn't aware that surveillance and consumer entertainment products were of the same importance. Thanks for clearing that up!
 
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