Hammered before launch by critics for being yet another example of DRM which cripples the products purchased by legitimate consumers but does little to hamper those who planned to pirate the game in the first place, the system proceeded to score a PR own-goal by dramatically failing on the first weekend, when Ubisoft's servers went down and prevented customers from playing the games. Meanwhile, a crack appeared for Silent Hunter 5 within hours (although it's purported to have problems which have yet to be ironed out by the hackers responsible), and hacker groups around the world are competing furiously to be the first to break Assassin's Creed II's protection.
Digital distribution, too, has impacted on piracy. It's not that games distributed on Steam and other such services aren't also readily available for free on pirate networks - rather, it's the case that these services bring the fight to the pirates' own turf, offering a significantly better user experience than the pirate software does. This has been one of the tragic mistakes of the PC games industry for years; pirates, in general, have enjoyed a better user experience than legitimate consumers. One wonders, for instance, how many people first began pirating their software after being introduced to the shady underbelly of the Internet by hunting for NoCD cracks for their PC games, simply so that they could play legitimately purchased games without having to locate the install CD every time they wanted a quick game. 153554b96e