I was all excited to relax a bit this weekend playing Far Cry, a clever new first person shooter. I made a special trip to buy it on the way home and everything. But instead of installing the game and enjoying virtual battle I first have to have a real-world battle with my computer. Or, as the box says in tiny print:
Notice: This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disc and virtual drives.
I use Alcohol 120% to create virtual CD drives. It's great for saving the trouble of finding the actual CD and it's able to emulate a bunch of the crap that copy protection schemes look for. Ubisoft has decided to punish their paying customers by refusing to run if you have Alcohol installed. It's almost enough to make me join the 12,938 other people who are downloading a fixed version of the game off of BitTorrent. I'm not even trying to run the game with an emulated CD; just having Alcohol installed is enough to break Far Cry.
Fortunately the software engineers aren't any smarter than the decision makers at Ubisoft and upgrading from Alcohol 1.4.3 to 1.4.8 fixed my problem. But I had to waste an hour of my life figuring that out.
Palladium, the uber-DRM system Microsoft is pushing, will make it impossible for me to work around crap like copy protection. With "Trusted Computing" Ubisoft will have more power over what my computer does than I will.
See also this customer discussion