Filed under: Announcements & Events, Downloads, Entertainment Industry, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
Tavis Ormandy – engineer for Google – stumbled upon what seems to be a serious vulnerability in Ubisoft’s DRM system. After purchasing an Ubisoft game, he found out that its Uplay browser plugin may have some security issues as it allows remote and “wide access” to machines running the DRM.
DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and is an essential tool against piracy as it lets developers to control who can copy, install and use their products. However, the DRM system often failed to work properly, thus leading to unwanted side-effects – cause of frustration for legitimate users.
According to Tavis Ormandy, the Uplay DRM system (developed and used by Ubisoft) can make things even worse:
“While on vacation recently I bought a video game called Assassin’s Creed Revelations. I didn’t have much of a chance to play it, but it seems fun so far,” he wrote on the Full Disclosure mailing list yesterday.
“However, I noticed the installation procedure creates a browser plugin for its accompanying Uplay launcher, which grants unexpectedly (at least to me) wide access to websites. I don’t know if it’s by design, but I thought I’d mention it here in case someone else wants to look into it.”
After a day he was back with an update:
“I got it working,” he said.
“I submitted it to Ubisoft via the online form.”
What we understand from this is that hackers can easily take advantage on this vulnerability as soon as they figure it out, opening doors for malicious software, keyloggers, bots, etc.
The list of games using Uplay DRM is extensive; some of the biggest names include the Assassins Creed series, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Driver: San Francisco, Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic, and Tom Clancy games. A full list can be seen here.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Downloads, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games, Tops
For all the gamers in the world 2011 was a full year with interesting and groundbreaking releases such as Crysis 2, Assassin’s Creed (Revelations), Call of Duty (Modern Warfare 3), the long expected Battlefield 3 and Gears of War 3, Batman (Arkham City) and many more. But not everyone made it to the top 3.
According to TorrentFreak’s report last’s year most downloaded game for PC was Crysis 2 with close to 4 million downloads, followed by Call of Duty – MW3 with 3.6 million downloads and Battlefield 3 with 3.5 million. FIFA 12 takes the 4th place as the most pirated game of 2011 with approximately 3.3 million downloads followed on 5th by Portal 2 with a little over 3.2 million.
A month before Crysis 2 was supposed to be released a leaked version of the game was made available for downloading. In March 2011 the game was officially launched and gathered almost 4 million downloads by the end of the year; surprisingly enough, the Xbox version did not made it to top 5. But this is of little importance since Crysis 2 managed to win over six trophies, including best German game, and several international rewards such as the videogame graphics of the year prize at the 3D world CG awards and the best European soundtrack award at the Fun & Serious Games Festival.
Xbox’s Top List is headed by Gears of War 3 as number one with 890.000 downloads, followed by Call of Duty: MW3 with 830.000 downloads and Battlefield 3 with 760.000 downloads.
Last but not least, for Wii Games Super Mario Galaxy 2 wins the prize with over one million downloads since its release in May 2010, followed by Mario Sports Mix with a million and Xenoblade Chronicles with a little under a million downloads.
For EA Games it looks like it has been a good year, as four of their games made it to the list.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Legal P2P News & Issues, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
Ubisoft generated controversy last year when the use of DRM for which an “always-on” Internet connection is needed, became a respected principle of the company.
This means that users who have the misfortune of having a connection problem, or simply lose service, are returned to the main menu. The inclusion of the DRM protection makes it impossible to play games offline, even when using the “single player” mode. The problem escalated when due to failures of Ubisoft authorization servers legitimate players have been ‘plugged out’ several times (which wouldn’t have happened with pirated versions).
Ubisoft appears confident in the efficiency of the DRM with regard to anti-piracy fighting despite the numerous complaints from unsatisfied customers.
“Driver: San Francisco,” is the latest game to use DRM; the launched was announced for August.
According to research firm NPD Group, the U.S. video game industry is not getting better as far as sales are concerned.
Some figures as revealed by CNET:
Total video game industry sales in the country, which includes hardware, software, and accessories, fell 10 percent to $995 million, compared to June 2010. Software sales fell steepest–12 percent–to $469.5 million. Sales of accessories dived 11 percent to $158.9 million, while hardware sales slid 9 percent to $366.6 million.
Another report published in May showed that total U.S. game industry sales dropped 14 percent to $743.1 million, the worst month in nearly five years.
Xbox 360 still tops the sales chart Microsoft says with around 507,000 Xbox 360s sold last month. The company also bragged about Xbox 360 being the only console to reach year-over-year an increase in sales in June.
Nintendo published some figures of their own – compared to Xbox 360, its Wii console sold 273,000 units. However, the game producer also sold 386,000 units of its Nintendo DS family of systems and, as CNET reports, the company said “those numbers represent double-digit growth from May for each product line. It also noted that the Wii has now sold more than 36 million units.”
Compared to its rivals, Sony made no public announcements concerning the sales of its various consoles and portable game devices. Company spokesman Patrick Seybold only made reference to software sales, including inFAMOUS 2, which Sony made exclusively for its PlayStation 3.
“According to the latest NPD report, PlayStation continues to see growth in software with a strong demand for exclusive PlayStation 3 franchise titles.”
Take 2 Interactive’s L.A. Noire and Duke Nukem Forever were the two best-selling games last month.
Ubisoft Suspected of Using Pirate Versions of its Own Soundtrack for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood PC
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
As any of the industry belonging to the mother entertainment industry has taught us, when it comes to justifying losses, the answer is quick and unequivocal – file-sharing is to blame.
But how about when those ferocious anti-piracy moralists are caught with their fingers in the till themselves? Well, the answer may not come as quickly.
For many gamers, Brotherhood’s arrival to the PC later this month was quite a thrill especially since Ubisoft had announced the release of a digital deluxe version of the game, complete with a variety of extras from which a copy of the game’s soundtrack was not forgotten, all just to make fans happy. But, damn, fans are just a curious species!
After preordering the game one such fan was in for a surprise – except for one track, all the songs (23) included the phrase “encoded by Arsa13″ in their ID3 tag. From there it wasn’t hard to find the origin of the phrase – pirated versions of the AC:B soundtrack that included the collector’s edition of the game available on multiple file-sharing sites and uploaded by someone called Arsa13.
The simplest conclusion to draw – the soundtrack a torrented version.
The only answer Ubisoft could come up with so far was that the situation is under investigation.
However, I’m sure gamers remember another similar incident back in 2008 involving the same publisher. ArsTechnica recalls:
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 users who had digital versions of the game were having issues, as the game required a disc to be playable. Ubisoft updated the game with a patch that allowed the game to be played without a disc. Problem was, that patch was actually created by pirate group Reloaded and used without attribution.