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Ubisoft Officially Drops Starforce 63

totalbasscase writes "Starforce, the copy protection scheme hated by most who've had reason to use it, has lost a customer. Ubisoft has confirmed that not only will Heroes of Might and Magic V ship without Starforce copy protection, the publisher is discontinuing its use in all its games." From the article: "We'd venture it has something to do with the lawsuit raised against Ubisoft for using Starforce as copy protection software. When we asked why they were dropping the company Ubisoft representatives said, 'Ubisoft takes its customer concerns very seriously and is investigating the complaints about alleged problems with Starforce's software. Ubisoft's goal is to find solutions for its customers if there are problems with Ubisoft products.'"
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Ubisoft Officially Drops Starforce

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  • by Jim in Buffalo ( 939861 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:45PM (#15132105)
    I mean, c'mon, I don't want a converted WWII battleship flying up and launching the Wave Motion Gun at me!
  • Huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <.Satanicpuppy. .at.> on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:46PM (#15132115) Journal
    *Scratches Ubisoft off the "Completely Evil" list, and puts them on the "Evil, but I'm not so pissed off I won't buy their stuff" list.*

    Since game companies absolutely depend on the goodwill of the consumers of their product, I'm glad to see they made the right choice, and I hope other companies *coughSONYcoughcough* will see that the right choice can also be the smart choice.
    • "Since game companies absolutely depend on the goodwill of the consumers of their product,"
      Yeah, EA is really hurting from having been a bullying brute that stifles competition by throwing their revenue around.
    • Re:Huh. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aichpvee ( 631243 )
      I'd scratch them off in pencil until whatever they replace starforce with starts showing up on shipped games. They could go with something just as bad but without the reputation that starforce has already built up.
  • They'll likely be moving to another copy protection system that l33t hax0rs bypass in minutes and that cause much frustration for countless legitimate users.

    It's still a good sign though to see a publisher walking away from the evil that is Starforce.
    • Re:Shame... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ahnteis ( 746045 )
      Actually, I've had far fewer frustrations with securom then with starforce.

      I can live with some copy protection. I don't agree with the idea, but I can accept some compromise.

      However starforce has caused me too many problems for me to accept it. I've written several publishers/developers to tell them that if their game includes starforce, I won't buy it. (And of course, appropriate information as to why I won't buy it.)

      Good move Ubisoft.
      • IMHO, main "problem" behind starforce was it's effectiveness against pirate means to play games. People ranted and, strangely, succeeded in pressuring top publisher to drop it. Other protections aren't better.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:48PM (#15132126)
    Games using Starforce []

    Boycott Starforce Campaign []

    Wikipedia article []
  • by c0l0 ( 826165 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:49PM (#15132137) Homepage
    This way, I might some day be able to buy a copy of Heroes of Might & Magic 5, and actually play it without ill feelings in my guts.
    • This maybe off-topic, but if you haven't tried the demo of Heroes 5, go get it and give it a try. The last I played was a little bit of Heroes 3 (I think it was 3) and the new graphics are awesome. The combat system is still cool, and the new 3/4 isometric viewpoint is nifty. The camera is a little finicky, but once you get used to it it's not bad.

  • by cjb909 ( 838363 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:57PM (#15132194)
    Tommorrow on Slashdot: Ubisoft to look for a new Copy Protection system!
  • What they should do (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alarash ( 746254 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @03:59PM (#15132217)
    Now what Ubisoft should do is patch all of their games that use StarForce so not only upcoming games will not use this protection system, but the previously released as well. Then only will I believe them when they say "Ubisoft takes its customer concerns very seriously".
    • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Friday April 14, 2006 @04:06PM (#15132270) Homepage
      I had to return Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (which I was looking forward to quite a bit!) when Starforce wouldn't let me run it. Fun times trying to return an opened game, especially when the returns people don't know what copy protection is much less Starforce.

      It would be awesome if they patched their old games to remove it. I just hope whatever new "protection" scheme they use in their new games will be less retarded.
      • I don't know if it's related, but my Splinter Cell 3 game keeps crashing (from every 2 up to 10 minutes). All my drivers are up to date, my system is very stable, and no other games I have ever crash (well, except Oblivion from time to time, but it's more like every 3 or 4 hours due to memory leaks).

        I never experienced a hardware defect, and never noticed a loss of performance on my DVD player as some people reported. But I can't believe so many people would complain, and StarForce would look so dubious, an

        • Actually, I had a friend have the same problems. It was something in the mobo drivers don't by chance have a GigaByte board, do ya?
          • Thanks for the tip. But I have a Shuttle FB83 (Intel 915G + ICH6R, Award V6.0PG BIOS). The only game that ever crashes is Splinter Cell though, and I play a lot of games. So even if it's hardware related, they must use it not like they should or something.
        • I actually had UT2004 do this to me a loooong time ago...

          Athlon XP w/gigabyte mobo and 512MB Mushkin Black. Turns out, after I replaced the Mobo (with an Asus) and the power supply, and tried buying another gfx card, that a quick test with memtest+ found the culprit.

          Now, it sucks to get a bad stick of ram and not know it, but it didn't act up in anything other than UT (and then memtest+). C&C Generals ran like a dream, no burps, farcry was perfect as well.

          So check your memory for 12-24 hours with memt
          • note though... memtest errors DO NOT mean that your memory is bad. When diagnosing my last comp problem I of course went straight for memtest... sure enough error error error. However the problem was actually my motherboard. I determined this without actually testing other ram or anything but rather by the fact that the comp would not boot if i changed the bios settings for the processor at all... and it was recognizing the processor as something it wasn't... Best bet is to run memtest on your ram on a sep
            • Understandable. I did have both motherboards, as well as other memory to test within each board...

              Of course, the best would be to have differing chipset mobos, as both of mine were Nforce2 boards...
    • It would be nice if they did, that's for sure.

      One of my happier game moments recently was reloading NWN on my PC after a HD crash, and finding out it didn't need a CD in the HD to play... EVER!

      *does a little happy dance*

      Now if the fine folks at Funcom would realize that their copy protection on Sacred is just silly (only requires the CD at startup) is effectively worthless in a 2 PC house when you want to play a game with the wife, I'd be set!
  • Or maybe it has to do with the forum fiasco where StarForce goon handed out links to warez and whatnot.

    Starforce is of the same level of ilk as adware/ransomware vendors.

    Behold a toast to hoping these Russians are looking for jobs in Siberia within the next 3 months.
  • by ShinSugoi ( 783392 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @04:03PM (#15132247)
    ... when the first thing you do when you are thinking about buying a game is check what sort of copy protection it uses before even considering the purchase itself. And what if the game happens to have one of the more offensive copy protection schemes? (Safedisc, Starforce) Well, you're forced to download cracks from questionable websites if you want to avoid dealing with them. This is coming from someone who wants to buy their products. This is a good first step for Ubisoft, but they should realize that all restrictive copy protection schemes do nothing but hurt their business in the long run.
  • by jfclavette ( 961511 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @04:11PM (#15132315)
    The company is happy to announce it's copy protection system is changing names from Starforce to HappyFriendlyStuffedBear in order to revamp our bruised image. We're also glad to have Ubisoft's HoMM5 as our new flagship product. As always, we will continue to strive to redefnie the phrase 'haha you're screwed' in many different ways.
  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @04:26PM (#15132425)
    What about the poor saps who bought the games already? What about the games unsold on the shelves? Somehow I just can't see Ubisoft doing a recall or releasing anti-Starforce patches.
  • What can WE do? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zitchas ( 713512 )
    Well, for all of the rabid anti-copy protection types up there, here's something nice and constructive you can do: Get your wallet, and go visit your local gaming store. Now, buy every single computer game in there (every copy of them, too) that doesn't have any kind of copy-protection on it. Now go sell them on Ebay or your local pawn shop or something. It doesn't matter what you do with them, so long as you buy them legitimatly and don't return them.

    If enough people do this, it will create a large enoug

    • Good luck

      I bet i would get a 20% error rate trying that. How does one KNOW what they have or don't have.

      Midway arcade treasures deluxe didnt say in the ad or on the box or during the install that it uses/requires the starforce rootkit. Only sign is a starforce popup telling you to reboot AFTER installation :/

      Definately not sure why that POS requires copy protection in the 1st place. (90's arcade games stripped of arcade race games that won't use a wheel or forcefeedback even tho the arcade ver
  • I'm wondering if they are really dropping Starforce because of customer complaints/boycott or because Starforce tried to strongarm them and Ubi called their bluff.

  • my anecdote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rossjudson ( 97786 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @06:07PM (#15133018) Homepage
    Can't say that I've had any problems with Starforce recently, but a few years back a Starforce-protected game did trash a CD-ROM I had at the time. On the first run of the game (I think it was Broken Sword III) there was a kind of "seek of death" sound, and the drive never worked again. Yeah, it was an old drive, but it worked great up until that exact moment.

    I don't know what the current state of Starforce is, and I'm assuming they've improved its compatibility. What I have a problem with is the arbitrary installation of a device driver into a system without any form of notification to the user, no explanation of the risks involved, and no way to back out of it.

    Software developers really should have a legal declaration that accompanies their software, in which each major component is declared with an explanation, and an inventory of the files that comprise it.
    • It also forces you to install and run your games as a privileged user...
  • "Ubisoft's goal is to find solutions for its customers if there are problems with Ubisoft products."

    Clearly, they just admitted that they make problems in the first place on purpose. If their goal is resolving them, then without problems they are useless.

    It's a cunning business strategy, really.
  • I've been having trouble finding torrents of Ubisoft games. Now there'll be no problem!
    • For those that don't get the joke. It is a reference to when StarForce posted the torrent for GalCivII on their website because StarDock didn't use any copy prevention mechanism on the game.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have switched to console games since there seems to be better backward compatibilty. After upgrading my computer to one that has a DVD drive instead of a CD-ROM drive, I found that all video games I had bought that used Macrovision's SafeDisc v1 no longer playable. Macrovision's code artifically declaired the purchased CD to no longer be an "original." Neither Macrovision or the game manufactor would provide any support in addressing the issue. To date, Macrovision makes no promises that their current
    • They don't want you playing old games, they want you to buy the latest ones and ditch the old stuff... That way in a few years time, they can relabel the old games as "classics", update the copy protection scheme and sell them to you again.

      And pirates have had superior versions for years... I remember the copy protection schemes on the amiga, usually required you to input a particular word from the printed manual (you dont even get printed manuals nowadays, games cost more but the publishers are too cheap t
  • by HunterZ ( 20035 )
    Way to step up to the plate, Ubisoft!

    My guess is that they got enough returns, emails, and support calls from dissatisfied customers that they finally figured they were losing more money on that than on pirates. Still, it makes me feel a lot better about the idea of buying games from them.
  • I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but good for them - it's a move that's likely to lead to higher sales.

    I have avoided purchasing games [] which used egregious copy protection, even though I owned previous games in the series and was quite interested in buying the title. I have been spurred into buying games [] I was unsure about simply due to the anti-copy-protection stance of the company. And I'm sure I'm not alone.

    Not surprising to any of you, of course, but here's a concrete example of how bad copy pr
  • I hired the PC copy of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory but couldn't play it after I returned the original disc due to the lack of a crack. I had to hire the PS2 version and copy that instead. And I formatted my hard drive to get rid of the starforce drivers that were on it. I recently hired Rainbow 6: Lockdown and installed it on a 10GB hard drive I had lying about, I can enjoy the superior PC version because fortunately someone was able to crack the game. All starforce does is create a lot of unessesary effo
    • But your poor, therefore in the eyes of the commercial software makers your scum, you are unworthy of having their products.
      If piracy is your only way of affording games, then your unworthy of playing them.

      Software is artificially priced very high. As someone who was very poor as a child, i can sympathise with the situation. My parents only bought me a computer on the basis that i could pirate the games, they could barely afford the machine let alone the extortionate price that games cost.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982