Ubisoft Responds to Assassin's Creed: Origins DRM Controversy

The PC version of Origins uses a multi-stage DRM approach.

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Another year, another Assassin’s Creed game performance fuss. Less than a week after it launched, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is receiving some heavy backlash from some of the PC gaming community over its use of the Denuvo DRM and VM Protect as virtual armor against piracy. Less than 48 hours ago, a reddit user named voski_rvt claimed that the Origins game client was making calls to VMProtect DRM and that this setup was causing excessive CPU usage, rendering the game unplayable for many users.

It would appear that Ubisoft elected to add VM Protect to the game in an effort to prevent an early crack or bypass of the game’s Denuvo DRM. Denuvo protection has recently had a rough couple of months, with the software being bypassed in several games, including The Evil Within 2, which was cracked ahead of its official release date. Denuvo has been swamped in controversy for years now with claims that it has adverse effects on performance or hardware longevity, though with no concrete evidence.

Ubisoft responded to yesterday’s claims in a statement to Gearnuke.

“We’re confirming that the anti-tamper solutions implemented in the Windows PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins have no perceptible effect on game performance. In order to recreate a living, systemic and majestic open world of Ancient Egypt, where players can witness all of its stunning details, its beautiful landscapes & incredible cities, in a completely seamless way with no loading screens, Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements while ensuring a steady 30 FPS performance. We’re committed to ensuring the most optimum experience possible for everyone, and we advise any players who may encounter performance issues on PC to check out support.ubi.com as there might be already a workaround or to contact us further explaining their issues so that we can solve them.”

I reviewed the PC version of the game last week and did not find my experience to be hampered by excessive CPU usage, though I was not actively monitoring CPU utilization on the individual core level. The game generally ran smoothly for me outside of cutscenes, which were full of hitching and stuttering. It should be noted that I played on a machine with a 7700K CPU and GTX 1080 Ti GPU, so it is possible that the hardware was able to overcome any additional stress from the game protection, if it has any meaningful effect on performance.

For Ubisoft, the hits keep on coming as Kotaku reported this morning that MetaCritic is being flooded with fake positive reviews for Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

Contributing Tech Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 1, 2017 10:30 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Ubisoft Responds to Assassin's Creed: Origins DRM Controversy

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      November 1, 2017 10:41 AM

      Has anyone noticed this? I am thinking of returning the game to steam because of it. Especially since they don't think there is anything wrong and it sounds like they won't have a fix any time soon. Basically each core is pegged at 100% and my system gets really hot. It also is extremely laggy and will report 50-70 fps but have huge slowdowns every now and then.

      I originally noticed it after going to the desktop to do something else. Usually games will take 10% in the background usage when minimized to desktop; however, the computer was very hot when I came back and it had all four cores pegged at 100% usage (i5-4570).

      I guess the fix will be when the DRM is cracked and we will know if they are lying or not.

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        November 1, 2017 10:46 AM

        I watched lirik play it the other day on twitch, he has a titanXP and was getting 60, and sub 60 fps; no graphics changes would fix it. Definitely think it was the DRM, since other streamers were easily getting 100fps with similar set ups. Made no sense to me other than the DRM causing the problem.

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        November 1, 2017 12:12 PM

        I don't think the CPU usage is a drm thing, that's how Ubisoft games have been for me for the past few years. Siege, the division, watch dogs 2, wild lands. All had super high CPU usage.

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          November 1, 2017 12:53 PM

          And don’t all of them have denuvo?

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            November 1, 2017 12:54 PM

            I don't think so, but other non Ubi games have denuvo and don't have that issue

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              November 1, 2017 1:15 PM

              Every Ubi game since FarCry: Primal has used Denuvo. I know Denuvo constantly updates their software to combat piracy, so it's possible the latest version is causing all of these issues. AC: Origins remains uncracked for the time being so there's no chance in hell Ubi is going to remove it yet.

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      November 1, 2017 10:51 AM

      Here's my response to their response: I'm not buying your game. I want to, it looks fun, but I'm not putting up with that shit.

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      November 1, 2017 11:06 AM

      Console Master Race reporting in!

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        November 1, 2017 11:14 AM

        I'm picking it up on the XB1X next week. I've liked the AssCreed games on the console more than the PC to be honest, most controller based games I play that way.

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        November 1, 2017 12:55 PM

        To be fair, the game is a stuttery mess on consoles as well, according to digital foundry.

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          November 1, 2017 11:52 PM

          Fuk, I hope the usual patches fixes this when the kid opens his Xmas present..

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      November 1, 2017 12:44 PM

      All I can find on Denuvo in TEW2 is it was removed before release by Bethesda, not cracked?
      Either way, I haven't purchased a single Ubisoft game since a friend and I had to use a crack to be able to play Splinter Cell: Conviction co-op, stupid uplay wouldn't allow us to connect.

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        November 1, 2017 12:56 PM

        The game appeared online before release by a pirate group and it had Denuvo (which had been bypassed). It was removed by Bethesda prior to official launch.

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      November 1, 2017 12:52 PM

      Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements while ensuring a steady 30 FPS performance.

      hahahahahahaha oh wow thanks for the 30fps on PC fuckers

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        November 1, 2017 12:56 PM

        The Division still looks incredible and runs great. What's their excuse for this game? The pet eagle's feather physics take 60% of the CPU?

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          November 1, 2017 1:00 PM

          I did not find ACO to run any worse than The Division on the same setup. ACO also has much better lighting and textures. I still love the look of the Division, though. The night blizzards in survival are amazing.

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        November 1, 2017 12:58 PM

        I had no real issues hitting 60fs+ during my review time with the game. If I lowered my resolution it went over 100fps average. I spent most of my time since the review playing at 3200x1800 ultra at a v-sync'd 60fps and the frametimes have been very stable. Native 4K was just a bit too much for the 1080 Ti, but this is nothing new. I can't get over 40fps in the Division on the same setup at 4K.

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          November 1, 2017 1:01 PM

          4K at anything other than 30fps is still a bridge too far for most games with the current GPU tech. Even those that can hit 60 will often dip well below under stress. nVidia's next gen of cards will probably be the tipping point for 4K on PC.

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        November 2, 2017 12:14 AM

        Are you saying their statement is factually untrue? The game scales to reach high framerates with the proper hardware.

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      November 1, 2017 12:58 PM

      I pretty much agree with Ars' Lee Hutchinson:

      Frankly, as a many-times jilted PC gamer, I trust the scene groups considerably more than I trust Ubisoft. When a cracked version of AC:O eventually happens, that'll be the definitive statement on whether or not the issues are due to DRM.

      I truthfully don't think ubi is familiar enough with their products to be able to issue accurate statements—or, more specifically, I don't think the ubi PR mouthpiece has any idea what it's talking about and it's just repeating the approved shareholder-friendly company line. A more nuanced technical statement on the function and impact of DRM would have bottom-line impacts.

      When the game is cracked, we'll actually know for sure. For now, we're just being pandered to.


      https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/11/ubisoft-denies-pc-drm-is-slowing-down-assassins-creed-origins/?comments=1&post=34255125

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        November 2, 2017 12:20 AM

        It's possible there is a problem of performance waste but it's just as possible that high CPU utilization is the price for the kind of dense world simulation they were aiming for. If utilization was 25% lower PC gamers would be cussing them out for not taking proper advantage of the hardware.

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      November 2, 2017 12:54 AM

      At some point it will make more business sense to just skip DRM or not release on PC at all.

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        November 2, 2017 1:54 AM

        Nah. This won’t ding their sales, DRM is cheap and Ubi keeps doing this since forever. See Starforce and Chaos Theory years ago. They’ve always believed that any-means-necessary DRM fixes sales lost to piracy, especially in the first week or two after launch - any weeks after that where it remains uncracked are just a bonus. They may even have numbers that they think back it up.

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      November 2, 2017 5:18 AM

      This makes it sound like the game is capped at 30fps.

      Is that the case?