Anno 2070 VGA Graphics performance review

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DRM - Digital Rights Management


DRM - Digital Rights Management

Now before we begin, prior to the publication of this article we stumbled into some malicious findings. We have written about it, after it went viral on the web.

Ubisoft has once again raised their copy-protection. Anno 2070 is secured with the Tages protection. The Tages protection limits your installations. The game key can be used on three systems. Though we feel that's fair, we ran into complications once we started changing hardware inside the PC.

The first activation was used on my personal game rig. The second activation 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 we took out the GTX 580, and inserted a GTX 590. When we 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.

Anno 2070

This protection did not kick in on the AMD Radeon system, as when you swap out a card there, the current driver installation will pick up the card.

For NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards that is different, swap a card out and the driver will have to reinstall again from scratch. And that is somehow registered as a hardware change.

Here's what Ubisofts DRM is doing these days, they don't just verify the number of PCs you work on, nope... they monitor noteworthy hardware changes. So once we inserted that GeForce GTX 590 the driver reinstalled and the hardware id # hash changed, rendering our activation invalid requiring us to reactivate the game. The problem is, you get three of these activations... and then you are out.

After going back and forth with both Ubisoft and finally producer BlueByte, our key got freed up from these severe limitations but it left a bitter taste in our mouth alright.

So keep in mind, Ubisoft will allow three significant hardware changes with an accompanying activation, and after that you will have a problem.

That also means that if your motherboards breaks down and you need a replacement... that new motherboard would require the game to be activated again. Then a week later you decide to upgrade your GeForce GTX 460 towards a GeForce GTX 570. This combination already ate away your three available game activations -- while you are still on your own PC.

We so much dislike this kind of protection.

That said, this is an article about graphics performance. So let's do exactly that -- starting up our Anno 2070 graphics performance review. We'll take roughly twenty DX11 class graphics cards and fire them of at the game to see how well this title plays.

For Anno 2070 the graphics certainly have been beefed up, making it a great looking game, let's have a looksy.

Update: January 20, 2012

With the VGA performance review posted moments ago we received an email from BlueByte, the producer of the game with the following information:

Hi Hilbert,

Just wanted to let you know, that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC.
That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants.


We are very happy to see that the activation scheme has been changed for anybody and everybody who purchased and is purchasing the game, you may now swap out as many graphics cards as you want. It doesn't mean though that you can change hardware (significant hardware like motherboards) more then three times. As that protection will still will apply.

But this certainly is progress, a small success really and we are happy to see that the game industry does listen towards their user-base.

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