We Confirm: Ubisoft's DRM Scheme Cracked In Hours
Less than 24 hours after Silent Hunter 5 shipped, several hacking groups claimed to have completely disabled Ubisoft's protection mechanism and began distributing the full game, the 1.1 update patch, and a cracked executable that allows users to install the game and play seamlessly without ever needing an Internet connection.
Actual game footage.
We at HH waited a couple of days after the initial crack was announced in order to verify both that the game had been cracked and that the version being passed around online contained the entire game. The answer the first question is unequivocally yes, the game is cracked. As to the second question we've been informed that if the game is incomplete it's the most complete incomplete game ever invented. Those of us who speculated that gamers might have to jump through a complex series of hoops in order to play the game sans Internet connection were wrong; SH5's crack is installed using what we'll call 'standard procedures.'
The irony in all of this is that Ubisoft dismissed Steam as essentially being too pirate friendly. Had the company gone with Steam and allowed for standard offline play this entire brouhaha would have been avoided; reviewers and gamers would be discussing the quality of Silent Hunter 5 while looking forward to both Assassin's Creed and Settlers 7 Instead, the industry is standing around collectively sniggering at a bunch of suits that couldn't find the pulse of gaming with a stethoscope.
Meet Pickles and Peanut, the crack development team behind Ubisoft's new DRM scheme. Say hello, guys!
We at Hot Hardware don't recommend or endorse game piracy; we're not going to start now. We must admit, however, that we'd understand if a person bought Silent Hunter 5, Assassin's Creed 2, or Settlers 7 and then decided to use a cracked version of the program to avoid having to maintain a constant Internet connection. The sad truth of the situation is that once again, it's only the legitimate users of a program who are being punished by this DRM scheme.
Hopefully this latest snafu will convince Ubisoft that their current approach to digital content management is wrong-headed and extremely counter-productive. All this considered, however, we doubt it.