Ubisoft Patch by Pirates

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Games, Technology

I was linked to the following news article by a friend who was plagued by issues with his Direct2Drive installation of Rainbow 6: Vegas 2.

The setup: A patch to the game added DRM which forced a CD check on installations of the game. This is obviously a problem for people who bought the game through services like Direct2Drive that provide downloads but not physical discs. So what happened?

Apparently a Ubisoft employee found, and made publicly available, a patch for the game executable that allowed it to be run without the CD, fixing the error and allowing paying customers to enjoy the product that they paid for. As a minor side note, the patch was a game crack released by the release group “Reloaded.”

From the Ars article:

The game broke, and the easiest way to fix it was to turn to the very pirates that the PC gaming industry vilifies at every opportunity. The uneasy truth is that DRM is an elaborate way to say something is being done to combat piracy, and the publishers have long relied on the piracy groups to “fix” their games that ship infected with these often-invasive programs. Anyone with even a passing interest in technology knows that technological measures do little to stop hacking by determined users: new PSP firmware is cracked in hours, games are cracked and leaked before the retail versions hit the shelves, and anyone who reads Apple blogs knows how to jailbreak their iPhones. The harder companies try to lock their products down, the more likely they are to test the limits of legitimate customers who look on enviously as the pirates enjoy a superior user experience.

Kind of funny how the synergy works out here.

Who watches the watchmen?

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