We posted about the release of Anno 2070 back in November of last year and it’s faired pretty well. It seems now that Ubisoft literally can’t touch a game without dirtying it with grimy DRM (digital rights management) that is intended to curb piracy but ends up simply making life with the game difficult – even if you purchase it legitimately. Driver: San Fransisco, Assasin’s Creed 2, From Dust, Silent Hunter 5, locking out legitimate paying customers, being mocked by Minecraft creator Notch, and even being warned against their DRM by MMO giant Blizzard hasn’t changed a thing… despite all of this Ubisoft still feels like their DRM system is a success.
Unfortunately a good game like Anno 2070 isn’t immune to Ubisoft’s meatball fingers leaving greasy little DRM all over it after handling it according to Rock Paper Shotgun. Turns out, Guru3d – one of my favorite PC hardware sites out there – is having trouble testing the game out on some of their benchmark rigs. While testing the game, they knew the game had only three activations (a pretty controversial practice in itself), they kept it to a trio of boxes, and then switched cards. And the game stopped working. And refused to activate. They then contacted Ubisoft (this was four days ago) as instructed, but have had no reply. It appears that slight hardware changes like switching a video card will nullify an activation. This isn’t completely unheard of.. Windows will occasionally complain if you do something major like change your motherboard and/or CPU but those are large undertakings and generally don’t happen that often. Not as often as swapping out a video card to squeeze a little more life out of an aging PC or to upgrade for tri-screen gaming. Guru3d says it more than likely won’t ever test any more Ubisoft titles because of this.
Still think your DRM is a success, Ubisoft?
Update 1/25/12: Guru3d has been notified that Ubisoft has remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC, meaning you can swap video cards as many times as you’d like. It’s a step in the right direction, but I’d like to see all hardware monitoring removed from the DRM.