Ubisoft Once Again Proves Why Online Requirements Are Bad For Gamers

Ubisoft is one of the biggest gaming companies out there with a lot of success under its belt, and a ton of mistakes. Their newest one involves the fact that they’ll be shutting down servers for some of their older titles. No matter how long you’ve owned them or what online platform you’ve played them on, your access will soon be revoed. Despite their reasoning, Ubisoft has succeeded in making a lot of people angry as well as proving a point that another category of games needs to be highlighted for the future of all our online libraries.

Ubisoft Server Shutdown Incoming

Ubisoft has a very interesting history of releasing games and by interesting, I mean it’s riddled with more holes than a sponge made of Swiss cheese. Sure, the company has given a lot of amazing or at the very least, nice-looking series such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, but when it comes to maintenance and launches, it tends to drop the ball. One of their and least popular decisions was forcing players to download and sign up for their streaming service, Ubisoft Connect, for wanting to play some of their games that was bought on Steam. However, this indicated something which has not caused Ubisoft to do a complete U-turn on its older releases.

You may recall that this company is one of the main culprits behind the deceptively problematic Always-on DRM system. Simply put, Ubisoft has an obsession with making their games online accessible. It’s true that some of their more profitable titles have huge online components, but they’ve applied it to a surprising number of their well–known single player titles. This means that if you don’t have a working internet connection, you won’t be able to play. In fact, the non-Ubisoft title Raft got a huge amount of blowback when they officially launched the game with Always-on DRM and decided to redact it to quell the outrage.

That being said, a number of the servers that Ubisoft will be shutting down affect games that have massive single-player appeal. These include Assassin’s Creed 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3, Rayman Legends, and Prince Of Persia: Forgotten Sands being put on the chopping block. What’s worse is that anyone who owns these games will not be getting any sort of refund or compensation for these games that will essentially become worthless. Here’s hoping you waited for the sales and saw theGamer’s full list of shutdowns.

What Server Shutdowns Mean For Players

This is one of the most recent slaps in the face that Ubisoft has given to consumers. Still, it may not be completely without reason as we can make trouble for ourselves. This usually comes in the form of exploits that people find and share to get games for free. Recently, one streamer showed how you could get codes from Steam, enter them on Ubisoft Connect, and still get a refund. As such, this server shutdown may be more of a protection decision rather than a financial one. Also, many of the games that will be shutdown are pretty old. And while Far Cry 3 may be one of my favorites, I honestly don’t remember when I last opened it.

It also means that the industry needs to highlight a specific type of game: offline ones. With more games than we realize using Always-on DRM, any single-player game we buy could potentially be taken away from us. That’s why this needs to be made clear and apparent like a big sticker slapped across the title. If we can do it with “100% Organic” we should be able to do it with “100% Offline”. This isn’t anything new as mobile games have been doing it for years, tagging their games with “Offline” because not all of us can afford to roam and are getting tired of going on Wi-Fi safaris.

Whether or not the decision to shut down all these servers was a hostile move from Ubisoft or meant to serve as punishment to players, that’s how it feels. And it’s not like the company hasn’t tried to milk players for all their money before, like how they broke Star Wars Battlefront into so many DLC and online pieces that you need to break all your piggy banks just to have a full game. Even so, we should take this as a sign to examine all of our games to see how many of them may be Always-on DRM and prepare for the fallout. Definitely look through your Ubisoft stuff and hope that you won’t lose much in the future.

Will Quick is a freelance media wizard living in Spain. When he's not gaming or writing, he's doodling comics or whatever else pops in his head.