Ubisoft is a great company, and they’ve many a follower. They’ve constructed great franchises, and with what we’ve seen at this year’s E3 event, Ubisoft isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. Such fame and reverence doesn’t come without faults, however, and we’re seeing one of the company’s biggest right now. That would be their new DRM software, Uplay, and with what’s been found out it could be the worst idea the company has ever had.
One of the biggest fan complaints about Ubisoft is their apocalyptic view of DRM, and the way they approach the matter. Uplay is their newest idea, and it’s already turning heads in a wrong direction. You see, when you use Uplay (on the PC) it installs a browser plugin that could easily be exploited to give any malicious website full control of your computer. Google programmer Tavis Ormandy discovered the problem and posted it on a site called ycombinator. His post includes a link that allows users to check if they’re at risk by having the plugin try and run the Calculator app on the system. If the app opens you have the plugin, if it doesn’t you’re safe.
There’s an entire list of games that can be affected by the plugin, all of which use Uplay. Some of these games are Assassin’s Creed II and each game in the series after it, Driver: San Francisco, the most recent Splinter Cell games, the most recent H.A.W.X. games, and a slew of others. When it comes to console players you’re safe. Uplay simply acts as the Ubisoft network that handles in-game unlocks, though for PC it’s copy protection.
There’s no word on what Ubisoft plans to do about the flaw. I, along with many other gamers, hope that the company can come up with something to resolve the issue soon. I’ve already had to reinstall, reset, and reconfigure my entire gaming rig from the ground up due to malicious software, and I’d really like to not have to go through that again.