Gamers had their revenge this week as the infamous implementation of Ubisoft's "always-on" DRM, released with Assassin's Creed 2, was successfully circumvented by the hacking group Skidrow.
The new DRM system, now included in every new Ubisoft PC game, requires users to have an always-on internet connection while playing. Dubbed "Online Services Network", it locked out many legitimate users from playing simply due to a lack of reliable Internet connections. This kind of anti-piracy behavior has polarized the gaming community. It did effectively control illegal distribution (at least until now), but at the cost of many legitimate users having an incomplete gaming experience. As the game was released, Ubisoft suffered two denial of service attacks the weekend of the release, effectively shutting out all gamers for six and a half hours and revealing an inherent flaw in their DRM system.
For now, the battle has been won by the file sharing community. The cracked executable for the game is making its way around the bittorrent underground, and it removes the DRM entirely from the game. Skidrow added a message to the 'read me' file in the hacked content ensuring users that the method can't be reverse engineered by competing hacker groups or by future Ubisoft updates.
Skidrow had this to say to Ubisoft:
"Thank you Ubisoft, this was quiete [sic] a challenge for us, but nothing stops the leading force from doing what we do. Next time focus on the game and not on the DRM. It was probably horrible for all legit users. We just make their lifes [sic] easier."