Ubisoft releases stolen illegal piracy crack for their own game

Being one of the largest video game publishers in the world, most people would expect Ubisoft to be professional and do everything by the book. At least, that’s what purchasers of Ubisoft-published Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (RB6V2) thought when they discovered their game needed to be patched.

The patch was required for those gamers who bought the PC version of RB6V2 from Direct2Drive (D2D), an online game store that sells titles as copy-protected downloads. As the user will not have an actual DVD-ROM, the Digital Rights Management (DRM) code of the game needs to be modified so that the game does not try to check that a disc is inserted.

As the game code is not identical to that of the retail game, regular patches from the games developers cannot be used, instead D2D must redo these patches so they would work with the downloaded version of the game. This means that D2D consumers typically have to wait weeks (or even months) longer to get patches for their favourite games.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who have paid for a game and want to play it with the latest updates installed aren’t averse to creating or downloading their own ‘cracks’ that circumvent the DRM. Technically, although someone has legally purchased a game, the production or use of these cracks is still illegal, and is something that publishers like Ubisoft ‘crackdown’ on.

RB6V2’s latest 1.03 patch added many new features and even new modes to the game, and it didn’t take long for D2D players to be clamouring on Ubisoft’s forums for an official fix. Eventually a file was uploaded to Ubisoft’s help/support site that appeared to remedy the problem. Everyone’s happy, right?

The controversy came when one user found the tags of ‘software cracking team’ Reloaded, hidden on the file. This appears to be proof that not only did the developers of the game steal someone else’s solution to a problem and release it as their own work, but said fix is also an illegal crack that violates their own rules on piracy.

This incident may serve to reignite criticism that DRM practices tend to provide more inconveniences for that buy digital products than those illegal pirates these measures are designed to defeat.

It also raises questions why Ubisoft ‘borrowed’ someone else’s work, when they should presumably have access to the original unprotected executable code.

The file in question has since been removed from the Ubisoft support site, and the only official word on the matter comes from a Community Manager at Ubisoft, who said, “The matter is being thoroughly investigated by senior tech support managers here at Ubisoft.

Needless to say we do not support or condone copy protection circumvention methods like this and this particular incident is in direct conflict with Ubisoft’s policies.”

Perhaps Ubisoft can sue themselves for such flagrant disregard for their strict polices by distributing such un-condonable software?

*Thanks to DarkZero forum-goer Allyn for the tip!