The chaotic “teardown” of Ubisoft (opens in a new tab)“Over a dozen older games took an unexpected turn today with a surprise announcement that the process for, well, most of it, has been delayed to give people one last chance to snag the leaving content.
It all started in early July when Ubisoft announced that the online features of some older games, including one-shot greats like Far Cry 3, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and a bunch of Assassin’s Creeds, would be shutting down, so Ubisoft could “focus [its] resources to deliver great experiences to gamers playing newer or more popular titles.”
I guess that’s pretty reasonable, except that the shutdown meant losing access to DLC for affected games. There was also an implication that at least two of the games on the cutoff block, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD and Silent Hunter 5, would be unplayable even for current owners, though Ubisoft quickly clarified. (opens in a new tab) that this would not be the case.
Adding fuel to the fire of confusion, Ubisoft Mainz basically said “no” and went to work updating Anno 2070’s online services infrastructure. (opens in a new tab) so that people could keep playing even after Ubisoft pulled the plug.
In other words, it wasn’t the easiest path to shutdown, and today Ubisoft acknowledged the flaw with word that it’s suspending planned shutdowns for a month. (opens in a new tab).
“The decommissioning of online services for older games is something we don’t take lightly, but it’s also a necessity as the technology that powered those services becomes obsolete,” Ubisoft said. “We want our players to have optimal gaming experiences without things breaking, which could subject players to crashes and security breaches. At the same time, we want this process to be as seamless as possible for our players. During For the past month, our teams have been hard at work exploring what is possible to reduce disruption.”
So here’s what’s happening now: The lockdown has been moved from September 1 to October 1, and any Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood single-player DLC until then. (opens in a new tab), Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3 and Splinter Cell Blacklist will be available to download and keep – as long as you activate it before October 1, you’ll continue to access and play the additional content without interruption. Single-player DLC in the console versions of those games will remain unaffected and will continue to be available to access and play after the October 1 deadline.
Ubisoft also confirmed that Anno 2070 will receive an update that will allow the game to work, in single or multiplayer, beyond the closing date.
“In fact, your experience should be even a bit smoother now than it was before,” the Anno 2070 team said in a separate post. (opens in a new tab). “We ported the game to 64-bit, which allows the game to address all of your PC’s memory. Also, the new online services should provide a more enjoyable matchmaking experience. And you can still use the in-game friends list to configure matches.”
The only game that will shut down on September 1st as originally scheduled is the multiplayer-only Space Junkies, which will shut down as scheduled and will no longer be accessible at all.
Allowing players to retain access to DLC is a smart move by Ubisoft, but frankly it’s baffling that it had to waste so much time before it got to this point. Did no one foresee the backlash to the initial “we’ll take your stuff” announcement? And given that Ubisoft was able to change course in this relatively short amount of time, why didn’t they go straight to it instead of upsetting (and confusing) everyone first? Better late than never, but even better than that is to avoid tripping over your own feet in the first place.
The updated breakdown of all the games affected by the shutdown, and exactly what they stand to lose, is available on ubisoft.com (opens in a new tab).