There's two bits of Ubisoft
news today, one of which we're still investigating. First up, the company apparently payed attention to the outrage
of gamers who discovered the DRM in the PC version of Assassin's Creed II would throw them out of game without saving if they lost an Internet connection in a single-player game. AC2 won't be released until March 16, but the company has already issued a patch that will
allow gamers to resume playing in the event of a connection break, rather than forcing them back to the last saved game. The second (and amusing) snippet of news is that Ubisoft debuted this new controversial DRM system with the release of Silent Hunter 5, only to have it allegedly cracked within 24 hours of launch. We're currently in the process of confirming this and will report back with our findings.
Ubisoft does get a point or two, however grudgingly, for acknowledging supreme customer unhappiness and patching its ridiculously penalizing DRM scheme but unfortunately neither the medical community nor gaming developers have ever found a way to patch stupid.
Based on available evidence, we have no choice but to conclude that there are several high-ranking suits at Ubisoft afflicted with this serious condition. It doesn't matter if we're writing TPS Reports, downloading files, surfing the Internet, or playing a game—we (by which I mean, every human on Earth old enough to hammer their face into a keyboard) collectively HATE losing data or our place in it. This is why nifty features like autosaving documents, web browsers that can remember where you were, and resume download functionality were invented in the first place. It's why DVDs have scene selection, and tape recorders can rewind/fast forward.
Being nice to the librarian used to be much, much, more important. Not pictured above: The first severe beating of an individual over a dog-eared volume.
If you actually pause and think about it, humanity has pumped out a consistent level of nerdrage over losing our place for a pretty damned long time. The card catalog and Dewey Decimal System were simultaneously developed in 1876 (by two different people) because the previous library organization system consisted of throwing all the books into random heaps around the room and it was pissing people off.
It wasn't thirty minutes after Gutenberg put his first book on display in 1440 that a disgruntled competitor invented the dog-ear.
The transition from scrolls to codices (books), which began in the 1st century, was driven partly by a desire to better organize, protect, and preserve data, and included the invention of both the bookmark and the index. We can trace this desire all the way back to the very first civilizations and even into prehistoric times. What did our forebears variously paint, chisel, or drag a lot of into geometric shapes? Rock.
Why? Because it wasn't going anywhere.
You can bet that when Khufu was watching the Great Pyramid rise from the Egyptian desert, he wasn't asking himself: "What happens if I lose my place?" Skip ahead 4,576 years (give or take a decade), and it's still
Khufu's pyramid. This is why Khufu is sometimes surreptiously worshipped as the Lord of Saved Games (hieroglyphs drawn in Cheetos grease by caffeine-jittered hands depict him as an Egyptian Pharaoh in his prime, with a Legend of Zelda cartridge for a head.)
Somehow The Powers That Be at Ubisoft forgot this cultural imperative. We'd like to be the first to sincerely thank Ubisoft for doing the right thing and patching out this particular aspect of its new DRM system. We're still left asking the same question we did last week, however: Who, exactly, thought this was a good idea?