Assassin's Creed 2 DRM Officially Assassinated
It was bound to happen sooner or later. According to a CNet report, the Ubisoft "Online Services Network" (i.e. the insidious DRM protocol that requires a constant internet connection in order to play Assassin's Creed 2) has been hacked by a consortium known as Skid Row. This hack (which is apparently available on torrent sites at the moment- and no, we can't link you to it) literally removes the DRM upon installation, making it far more advanced and comprehensive than previous attempts.
The bundled readme file (which makes for very interesting reading) states that the hack was created simply to allow players to enjoy their legally purchased software, as well as to cement Skid Row's reputation in the hacking community. Thusly, it has been protected against reverse-engineering; both to deter Ubisoft from creating a patch and to stop other hackers taking the credit. More interestingly, Skid Row also included adverts and release information for AC2! It seems that piracy wasn't their intent- but then again, all hackers say that. We can expect a surge of illegal downloads in the next few days.
They also included a message for Ubisoft explaining their actions:
"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."
Ubisoft have yet to respond. [Cnet]
We've been giving the Ubisoft DRM situation extensive coverage here on Dealspwn- and we'd really like to know what you guys make of it. Will you be downloading the hack? Do you even care about Ubisoft PC games anymore? Have your say in the comments!
ModNation Racers Launches May 21st
We're psyched for ModNation Racers, and Sony have finally revealed the UK release date to VG247. We'll be able to rag our customised karts around our painstakingly-designed tracks on May 21st. This is actually four days before the US release... which makes a nice change from having to wait weeks or months for quality titles to cross the Atlantic! Why not take a gander at Brendan's preview to whet your appetite? [VG247]
Alan Wake Prequel Episodes Air this Sunday
A six-part promotional miniseries designed to provide backstory (and a fair bit of hype) for Alan Wake will launch this Sunday for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The "Bright Falls" series of short films will air weekly before the action thriller's mid-may release.
Don't worry, silver members: you'll be able to watch the series a day later on Xbox Live and the official website.
Activision named Best Publisher at MCV Awards
MCV, the UK-based games industry pundits, held their annual award ceremony last night.
Microsoft walked away with two accolades including the prestigious Grand Prix award, stating that they were "humbled" by the decision. Nintendo's UK marketing team also received two awards for their services to the brand, and HMV and Ubisoft also scooped up similar merits.
By far the most controversial decision of the evening was granting Activision the excellence award for Overall Best Publisher. Whilst their raw numbers (and their vast profits) are extremely impressive, especially considering the massive sales of Modern Warfare 2 and the Stimulus Map Pack, it appears that employee treatment and morale didn't factor into MCV's decision whatsoever. Still, I suppose that the award ceremony was based solely on UK issues and sales. Maybe Kotick's trademark "climate of fear" really does pay off in the long run... at least for profits.
It's also noteworthy that Sony didn't pick up a single award. Discuss. [MCV]