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Print 12 comment(s) - last by masher2.. on Jul 23 at 9:25 AM


The RELOADED .nfo file included with the original crack  (Source: NFOHump)

RELOADED's calling card is visible in a hex dump of Ubisoft's unofficial patch.  (Source: neilthecellist, Ubisoft forums)
Oops

Some people crack videogames' copy protections in order to pirate them. Others simply like to avoid the hassle of inserting a CD. One company used a crack to quell its customers' growing outrage.

Ubisoft, it seems, used a piracy ‘Scene’-released No-CD crack to wish away certain support issues, like the lag time between patches available for the commercially-released and Direct2Drive versions of its hit PC game, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.

Some further explanation is needed: Direct2Drive is a legitimate videogame-download service owned by IGN Entertainment. Users pay retail-ish prices to download videogames straight to their hard drive, in order to avoid the hassle of picking a game up at a store. The lack of physical discs in this kind of system makes anti-piracy enforcement difficult, so Direct2Drive uses an online activation system that works by wrapping itself around the game code to ensure the game’s legitimacy.

As a side effect of this system, games sold via Direct2Drive oftentimes cannot be used with patches released for equivalent retail versions, as Direct2Drive needs to publish the patch in a way that’s compatible with its system; usually this results in a lag time for Direct2Drive users lasting a couple of weeks.

Returning to the topic of Rainbow Six, it appears that Direct2Drive users waiting patiently for version 1.03 – released last March, according to TorrentFreak – have understandably grown restless, as a Direct2Drive version of this patch has yet to appear. Compounding this frustration is the fact that 1.03 adds desirable new features, including a handful of new play modes. Users, ever impatient, worked out solutions on their own and created a mess of third-party hacks and unofficial fixes.

As a result of the commotion, it appears that an Ubisoft employee found a fix of his or her own, and uploaded a small patch to Ubisoft’s support site. But here’s the catch: the “solution” provided was a small no-CD crack – the same one released by warez group RELOADED some time earlier.

The fact was confirmed by screenshots of the patch file loaded into a hex editor, where users located RELOADED’s signature embedded within the program.

Particularly puzzling is the fact that as Rainbow Six: Vegas 2’s publisher, Ubisoft has access to the original program code. Why lift something from the scene instead?

Ubisoft community manager Ubi.Vigil had little to say to address users – many of which seem to dither between amused and “righteous” fury – beyond implying the aforementioned:

 “We're looking into this further as this was not the UK Support team that posted this, however if it is an executable that does not need the disc I doubt it has come from an external source. There'd be very little point doing so when we already own the original unprotected executable.”

Since then, the patch has been pulled from Ubisoft’s support site and, for most purposes, has disappeared from the ‘net. Worse, an official version 1.03 patch for Direct2Drive customers does not yet appear to be available.

The official company line is that “copy protection circumvention methods … [are] in direct conflict with Ubisoft’s policies,” and I’m sure that a support person in Ubisoft-land is, sadly, now out of a job.



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It worked
By Nik00117 on 7/21/2008 2:44:20 AM , Rating: 5
The fix works, its meant to give the customer what they paid for. Its not like Ubisoft is helping spread privacy. And even if they were theres so many other people doing that its not really that important.




RE: It worked
By FITCamaro on 7/21/2008 5:58:29 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah privacy is evil!


RE: It worked
By krwhite on 7/21/2008 10:45:14 AM , Rating: 2
haha, fit. you beat me to it


RE: It worked
By AnnihilatorX on 7/23/2008 7:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is not whether it works.

The catch is that one employee "stole" something illegitimate illegitimately to fullfil a cause that the parent company have every available resources to do.


RE: It worked
By masher2 (blog) on 7/23/2008 9:25:52 AM , Rating: 2
> "The catch is that one employee "stole" something illegitimate illegitimately "

No they didn't. There is a legal doctrine known as "unclean hands", which covers just this sort of case. One cannot engage in copyright circumvention, then turn around and claim copyright protection for your own works.


I am laughing uncontrollably right now.
By homerdog on 7/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: I am laughing uncontrollably right now.
By Spectator on 7/21/2008 2:08:38 PM , Rating: 1
Like Really. how many people actually use a DVD drive often.

I and most of the people i know. just use them 1 time to install sht.

Im not spending XXX on a quiet PC. to have some noisy ass drive whiring away next to me for hours :) Crack 4TW.

Im sure alot of ppl. only ever use the slow dvd drive to write the occasional disk or install something they cant DL.

Steam > dvd Drive. dont even dream of trying to force me to use some old gimp tech.. :(

Spectator.


RE: I am laughing uncontrollably right now.
By ZaethDekar on 7/22/2008 9:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
I love steam as well. That is how I get most games now-a-days. I like being able to just have it. They have great download speeds as well. GTA:SA downloaded in just over an hour and a half... and if I remember correctly thats a 3gb download.


By lebe0024 on 7/22/2008 2:28:58 PM , Rating: 3
Isn't it funny how years ago steam was the bane of gamers everywhere? Now it's the bomb. I don't remember the last time I installed a game with a DVD.


By mmntech on 7/21/2008 7:54:54 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely. The only thing my LO:MAC CD is good for is resting drinks on. UBI used to be the DRM king back in the bad ol' Starforce days.

What video game companies fail to realize is that if you make the gaming experience as pleasant and convenient as possible, people will buy the game. Pop in the disc, install, and go. No CD checks, no "phoning home", no downloading patches ad infinitum because they released a broken game. The way the industry uses copy protection today is akin to cutting off their nose to spite their face.

I used to love PC gaming but I'm just sick of the crap we legitimate gamers are being put through. Surely we can't be the minority in all this. I'll just stick with consoles for now until the industry decides to pull its head out of its backside.


D2D
By gramboh on 7/21/2008 6:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like D2D is a horrible/useless service.

Steam has patches up for games within a day usually on most titles (3rd party too, non-Valve games).




Recommended
By TaasMennaan70 on 7/21/2008 9:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
So it seems that Reloaded warez releases are the recommended ones? :)




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