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Ubisoft Sticks It to Michael Jackson: The Experience DS Pirates

Posted by Trevor Chan

Vuvuzela: The ultimate anti-piracy tool

Piracy on the DS is a big problem for Nintendo as well as other developers, and if they can't beat the pirates, they might as well have some fun with them. If you're a software criminal, Ubisoft isn't making things smooth for you.

One thing about this year's World Cup tournament that people won't forget is the sound of the vuvuzela and Ubisoft is using the unmistakable noise to irritate and taunt gamers playing illegal copies of the Elite Beat Agents-esque Michael Jackson: The Experience on the DS. If gamers load up a ROM of the game, the in-game music is ruined by the over-powering buzz of the South African horn. Try to pause the game to save your ears from imploding and the game freezes up.

Speaking to Wired, a Ubisoft representative said:

The development team worked this feature in as a creative way to discourage any tampering with the retail version of the game.

Ubisoft is one of the big boys in the industry and can afford to implement such novel methods of anti-piracy, but what if you're a smaller independent studio with limited funds and manpower? Earlier this year, Alex Neuse of Gaijin Games spoke about the rampant piracy that developers have to deal with and his estimation of how widespread the issue has become is certainly eyebrow-raising. Let's see how successful Nintendo delivers those sophisticated anti-piracy measures it said it would with the upcoming 3DS.

[via wired.com]

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User Comments (53)

Incognito_D

#4

Incognito_D said:

doesn't really seem like the sort of game that your average pirate would download anyway, but very creative nonetheless!

_Joejoe_

#5

_Joejoe_ said:

In other news: Those who illegally copied Vuvuzela Hero were bombarded with Micheal Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal' throughout the game.

Token_Girl

#7

Token_Girl said:

That's funny, but there will be a crack for this pretty quickly. Music distributers used to do this with CDs - there would be loud static after the first 10 seconds or so. It was always somehow possible to find non-corrupted files without going too deep within the bowels of the intertubez, so I'm sure it won't be long before there's a way around this too (although, it will be annoying to a lot of people).

bboy2970

#8

bboy2970 said:

Like EBA you say? (Does research...) omg! It is just like Elite Beat Agents! This game just went from "What A stupid thing to put this on a handheld" to "I need to buy this as soon as possible!!"

Stuffgamer1

#9

Stuffgamer1 said:

@NintyFan: Nintendo has already tried this sort of weird programming trick...with Earthbound, there was a program that made illegal copies absolutely fill the screen with enemies, making it an absurd slog to get much of anywhere and no fun at all. Of course, this has long since been gotten around, as will Ubisoft's trick. They're just stopgaps at best. It's at least good when they're amusing stopgaps.:D

RyuZebian

#14

RyuZebian said:

I'm a pirate. Not the game-stealing kind though... Yaar, me Michael Jackson loving DS-pirate mateys are gonna have their timbers shivered by this! :)

Arcanum

#15

Arcanum said:

I'm not a genius and there is probably a way around my thinking but...what if i put the volume down?

edhe

#18

edhe said:

Seriously, iNiS should sue Ubi's [bums]! The gameplay is ripped wholesale from their Ouendan/EBA games.

And Ubisoft have the nerve to talk about piracy.

Punny

#20

Punny said:

Way to go, Ubisoft ninjas! Get those ROM pirates! Hopefully, many other developers will learn from this. :)

metakirbyknight

#21

metakirbyknight said:

This is going to do nothing.

This is going to be just like the Spirit Tracks DRM. It'll be cracked and the patch will be implemented directly into the flashcart firmware. It's how it works.

Again, the pirates will win, because they can patch their carts, but Ubisoft can't patch the game. It's like the cat-and-mouse game Apple plays with jailbreakers, except Ubisoft can't retaliate.

edhe

#28

edhe said:

@Sykotek
Do a youtube search of Music Monstars though, and you'll see a game inspired by EBA, that doesn't shamelessly rip it off.

Chris720

#29

Chris720 said:

You can't stop pirates or hackers... you can only halt them for a short period of time... they will always find a way around...

Bassman_Q

#32

Bassman_Q said:

Too bad most pirates only ever steal big-name games like Zelda or Mario. Arrrrrgghh!!!!1!!!!

sykotek

#33

sykotek said:

@edhe: That game never came out in the states as far as I know. Looking it up on youtube was my first exposure to it. Really, I don't see the connection and I feel it is unfair to compare it to EBA as it really doesn't appear to me to have anything in common besides touching the screen with your stylus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_f2raL7cK0

Music Monstars seems much less like an EBA inspired game and much more like you're learning another instrument on the DS. What I'm trying to say is it looks freakin awesome, its unfair to it to compare it to EBA and I don't feel it is truly inspired by EBA. Its much more like those digital keyboards with the light up keys that teach you how to play music.

sykotek <3 music games.

Sylverstone

#35

Sylverstone said:

BRILLIANT!

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bloodysaber

#36

Bloodysaber said:

If the game is any good someone will find a way around it. (As in, if there's someone who finds it worth their time to break.)

Capt_N

#37

Capt_N said:

^ Don't know about that, but some MJ fans who buy this might also be pirates. It must also be considered some might buy this, just for the challenge of cracking this.

edhe

#38

edhe said:

@Sykotek

But that's my point. It's similar to EBA in it's basic form, but, whether the developers were inspired by EBA or not, they didn't turn out the exact same gameplay that iNis used for EBA.

Incidentally, it wasn't released in the UK either - I had to buy it on eBay, and I can vouch it's similarity to EBA - it's a game where you tap to a rhythm of a popular song, multipliers are applied on combos and harder levels contain more notes, but it still defined itself as its own game more than Looney Tunes: Cartoon Concerto or this game, Michael Jackson: The Experience DS.

I don't know whether the developers of Music Monstars were inspired in part by EBA, but because the games are different enough, I'd be happy to say "no" they didn't get inspiration from EBA. And if they did, they did a pretty good job of developing it into a new idea.

However, I love EBA and Ouendan, and if this game happens to rip off the mini cutscenes aswell, I would probably still buy it.

Skotski

#39

Skotski said:

@metakirbyknight
If they didn't intend it to be funny, they would simply have used static.
I'm pretty sure they'd still think it was funny.

If they can't fully stop pirates, they can at least make it annoying/humorous on their first go.

HugoSmits

#40

HugoSmits said:

This is just as useless as putting a serial key in your game. It gets cracked in 10 min after release.

To me it seems they just try to get some extra promotion out of it... it's a trick that is done before. And no problem at all for pirates.

ukiby3000

#41

ukiby3000 said:

This is actually pretty creative. If it's going to be effective or not, only time can tell, but, damn, is that a neat idea!

Pod

#43

Pod said:

That's pretty funny, but I wonder if it won't be circumvented soon enough. :)

Though I'm not sure this game is the target for the most piracy.

metakirbyknight

#44

metakirbyknight said:

I actually just checked and nobody has cracked it yet, except some carts can bypass all DRM.

Someone actually posted asking for a patch, and nobody responded. I guess nobody with skills to do this actually cares.

BulbasaurusRex

#46

BulbasaurusRex said:

If they really want to annoy those pirates, they should use a long Ben Stein narrated summary of the Pittsburgh Pirates' current 18 (and counting) consecutive losing seasons (Major League Baseball team, for those of you across the Pond or Down Under).

Marioman64

#47

Marioman64 said:

i wonder what would happen if ubisoft decided to sell patches to these pirates for more than the game is worth....

Cats

#48

Cats said:

Anti-piracy measures basically only annoy consumers and don't hinder piracy.
P.S.- Am I the only one that finds it ironic that the core gameplay in this game was stolen from Elite Beat Agents.

Vinsanity

#50

Vinsanity said:

Developers should start planting anti-piracy versions of their games on torrent sites from now on. For example, a few weeks before a game comes out, start dropping tons of "Halo 4 LEAKED" (and various other names) torrents out on sites like the PirateBay.org. But really, it's just bug ridden crap, or has just a half of level one, or has vuvuzelas blasting over the soundtrack -- anything to discourage people from pirating more copies. After trying to obtain a game 3-4 times, all with different file names, and finding garbage torrents like that, you'd figured at least some pirates might just give up..

Great job Ubi Soft! Keep sticking it to those pirates. Cheap jack-offs. If they want to play it so badly, they should learn to be responsible with their money, grow up and be patient. Buy it later when it's much cheaper or just rent it. Anyone who is a true gamer, and really loves games, should gladly want to give their money to the talented people who make these titles for us to enjoy.

eXpEnDAbLE92

#52

eXpEnDAbLE92 said:

Wow. Epic Fail. Too bad for Ubisoft and Nintendo. But who would even want to play this game anyway? Not to mention going out of your way to hack this game. It's a worthless game!

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