At the time of this writing, people (myself included) are still having trouble getting Farcry 3 retail copies to work properly. I still have framerate hitching, audio issues, and other annoyances. I have spent about four or five hours trying to get the game to work flawlessly on my amply-constructed rig (runs circles around most games with no difficulty at all), but Farcry 3 remains with just a toe over the unplayability line. The game is gorgeous, plays remarkably well, and feels amazing, but I am not able to play it in the way I paid for. I built my rig to perform, and I bought this game with my hard-earned dollars to see it perform in tandem with my hardware.
Well imagine my surprise when I went to a friend's house and saw him playing Farcry 3 flawlessly on a very similar rig. I asked him how he did it. His answer shocked and depressed me: "I pirated it. The retail copies play like garbage. That stupid Uplay DRM from Ubisoft kills it."
I must admit, I went home and pirated the game (which I almost never do- I purchase 99% of my games) and to my astonishment...........
It plays flawlessly. No slowdown. No graphical errors. No audio dropouts. No crashes. 1080p, ultra graphics, DX11... It's amazing.
This is a huge problem for consumers and developers. When the copy we pay money for performs well below a pirated copy, we should seriously start to consider why we should pay for games at all. I pay for games because I like to enjoy a quality experience, and I love nothing more than to reward the hard work of the developers who spent countless hours to bring me a product of their sacrifice. I feel like, for great games, $60 dollars is a pretty fair bet, considering that the average video game will give you at least four times the enjoyment of a $15 movie ticket. But when paying that $60 dollars buys me a technical disaster that results in truncated enjoyment, I have to ask myself who I am rewarding and why. Ubisoft wants to protect its product with its Uplay DRM system. Fat lot of good that did them, because there are pirated copies available anyway, and they play to a higher standard than the ones we are paying for.
Consumers lose in this scenario because the developers know there are always those who will take the game for free, so the developers add these useless DRM programs that result in headaches and other problems (I understand Uplay is making Assassin's Creed 3 for PC a mess as well). Developers lose in this because all they do either way is piss customers off (pay for a copy that underperforms due to DRM, or pirate a copy and contribute to the very reason DRM exists in the first place).
But there is another way to vote with your dollars. Don't spend them. If this is the product that Ubisoft is proud to sell me, then I'll stop buying their products, but I won't pirate them either. I'll stop playing them. I don't like to pirate games, because there are people that made that game and poured their heart and soul into it that don't represent Ubisoft. The average game has dozens of studios and sub-developers that have done nothing wrong. It's the publishers that want to bend the consumer over a table at the expense of product quality while simultaneously ignoring the hard work by talented teams of devoted video game fanatics that want nothing more than to get a great product into people's hands. If Ubisoft wants to dilute my gaming experience because they are afraid of pirates, then they don't deserve my $60.
So to any of the sub-studios that made Farcry 3, if you can break away from a big publisher and perhaps self-publish or go with another publisher with more integrity (like 2k or even Bethesda), I will HAPPILY give you my money. Until then, I'm going to have to say goodbye.