Well, it was not totally zero-day, since it took slightly more than 24 hours, apparently. Still, indeed it is now the case that the only ones suffering from the whole “you have to be online all the time or we’ll kick you out of your offline game” thing are the legit customers, while pirates gladly ignore such silly limitations.
Now that the news has spread like wildfire, Ubisoft is finally issuing a response and it is predictably vague. So vague that I am inclined to believe their statement doesn’t hold much water or truth. Is it possible some aspect of the game is missing? Sure. Is it likely? No, not given how Ubisoft designed Silent Hunter V, meaning it’s not an MMO and it’s world doesn’t exist on a 3rd-party server. If Ubisoft really wants to defeat piracy, may I suggest that your next game be called Silent Hunter Online? Problem solved.
Indeed. Yes, for online games, it makes sense that you need an online connection. For offline games, absolutely not so much. Worst case is that some encrypted content needs to be streamed from the online servers in order for the offline game to work, but even that can be emulated by a dedicated cracker as well (and it requires faster internet connections than mere keep-alive pings that are a more probable implementation of such a feature).
Anyway. Ubisoft of course claims the games won’t work at all anyway. We’ll see what the next days hold, I might update this post or even write a new one if fundamentally new things show up.