So it's Thursday in the 2nd week of January 2012. I Figure, hmm, it's time for a nice new VGA / graphics performance article on a game title. One of my favorite series is Anno, I still play Anno 1404 which in fact is included in our graphics card benchmark suite.
A few weeks ago the latest version of the game was released, Anno 2070. I've been playing it for a while now, and do like it despite the time it eats away ! :) Next to that, it's a good looking game as well with an updated graphics engine.
So yesterday I started working on a performance review. We know (well at least we figured we knew), that the game key can be used on three systems. That's fair, the first activation is used on my personal game rig. The second we installed on the AMD Radeon graphics test PC and the 3rd on our NVIDIA graphics test PC.
On the AMD Radeon PC we initially test the Radeon HD 7970, then to match the timedemo sequence we install the NVIDIA system, which has a GeForce GTX 580. So far it's all good, we have created a timedemo sequence, defined our image quality settings, took screenshots and the numbers for the first two cards.
For the NVIDIA setup I take out the GTX 580, and insert a GTX 590. When I now startup the game 'BAM', again an activation is required. Once again I fill out the key and now Ubisoft is thanking me with the message that I ran out of activations.
Here's what Ubisofts DRM is doing these days, they don't just verify the number of PCs you work on, nope .. they monitor hardware changes. So once we inserted that GeForce GTX 590 the hardware id # hash changed rendering our activation invalid.
What a bunch of rubbish ....
This means that if we'd like to make a VGA performance review on Anno 2070 we'd need to purchase the game seven times. Ubisoft claims that you can send an email towards their support so that the activations are reset, we did so .. yet are still awaiting reaction.
When contacting Ubisoft marketing here in the Netherlands, their reply goes like this: 'Sorry to disappoint you - the game is indeed restricted to 3 hardware changes and there simply is no way to bypass that. We also do not have 7 copies of the game for you'.
I'm sorry, but I am not about to purchase the title seven times to make a review that by default benefits Ubisoft sales.
Welcome to PC gaming Anno 2012.
Please find the results of our massive VGA performance review below on the one chart. With one hand in the air I wave to Ubisoft, more puzzled about this then anything. What do you think ?
Update monday Jan 16 - 2012:
We have been contacted by bluebyte over the weekend, the company that developed the Anno series. Our key has been pretty much unlocked allowing us to properly work on this article. To be continued ....
Above results are taken in High Quality mode AA enabled 16xAF and all settings at its highest.