Two entries from the list of games Ubisoft is decommissioning online support for—Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD and Silent Hunter 5—look like they will be rendered completely unplayable by the move, contradicting Ubisoft’s initial statement on what what aspects of each game would be cut off.
Last week, Ubisoft announced that it would be shutting off online support for a selection of games released between 2009 and 2019, including 11 on PC, alongside a list of what features this action would take away. All of the games would lose multiplayer and account linking, with relevant games also cutting off players’ ability to access DLC. Only one of the games on the list, the 2019 multiplayer-only VR shooter Space Junkies, was said to be rendered completely inaccessible by the move.
Since the announcement, Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD and Silent Hunter 5 have been pulled from sale “at the request of the publisher,” and they also received a new notice on their Steam pages: “Please note that this title will not be accessible following September 1st, 2022.” This same notice appears on the doomed Space Junkies’ store page as well, while Splinter Cell Blacklist and Prince of Persia: the Forgotten Sands, two other games from the list, remain available for purchase with a notice that “The deluxe edition and DLC for this title will not be accessible following September 1st, 2022.”
I’ve reached out to Ubisoft for clarification, but it certainly looks like two more games than previously anticipated are going to be effectively taken away from their owners when Ubisoft pulls the plug on their online functionality later this year.
This situation, as well as the PlayStation Store removing purchased movies from user’s libraries in Germany and Austria, set a worrying precedent for the mutability of our digital purchases. These are edge cases to be sure—an obscure Assassin’s Creed spinoff, a Submarine sim, a VR shooter no one seems to have played, and movie purchases on an under-utilized platform, but people out there spent real money on these products thinking they had some ownership over them, and these decisions are being made by successful, mainstream companies with a high degree of consumer trust.
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