Ubisoft to begin closing inactive accounts; revoking games

Originally published at: Ubisoft to begin closing inactive accounts; revoking games | Boing Boing


[dons eyepatch and stripey shirt] I accept your challenge, Ubisoft.


Want to celebrate turning 108 by blowing off reviewing papers for journals and modifying cows to make less inflammatory milk with NADP and cholesterol moderating goodies in, and just eat the thus improved cheese puffs while playing games you’ve had forever? Spend $108B and buy the games out from the rats while trying to recall what you even liked. Couldn’t have really been every Rabbids game, could it?

Yeah, that doesn’t seem decent.


Are they trying to make “we just wanted to chime in” iconic in the same way that " Oops - something went wrong" now is?

Because that’s definitely want a malignant xeno entity whose only human contact is an MBA would think is a ‘relatable’ opening for such a message.


… I don’t suppose their customers get to revoke their money back?


Something which is harder and harder these days. Physical media has become a rarity — hell, lots of boxed games these days just contain a download code. Modern consoles have a digital-only option with no optical drive. I don’t even remember the last time I bought a game on physical media. It’s probably been a good 4 or so years at least. (And I’d guess only because it was some sort of “collectors edition” release.)

In any event, that they can just decide the stuff you spent your money on is now no good just because “you haven’t used it for a while” is pretty fucked up.


For added context, Ubisoft can be required under certain data protection laws, such as the GDPR, to close inactive accounts if they deem the data no longer necessary for collection.

What a flimsy excuse. Retaining login data to software you own is the very definition of necessary data retention. They’re using the old UK politician trick of blaming the EU for their own shittiness


At least they didn’t try the ‘Hey guys!’ Opening.

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So the obvious workaround is people should be sharing their sign in info, to make sure all their games get played regularly?


Even if you have a physical (or local digital) copy, it may be bricked because the servers it requires to check in with (for no reason other than DRM) are gone or have locked you out.

It’s all terrible. :unamused:


No gif for enshittification so this will have to do.
john hughes brat pack GIF


Don’t forget about patches. Even if you own a disc that contains data, there’s no guarantee that it’ll work.

I’m pretty sure that unlike software piracy, I would call this actual theft. You paid for something, and the company you paid takes it away from you.


40 years ago or so one of my classmates wrote his own Pac-Man clone on his C-64. In Assembler.
I think he was on to something.


Great point. In many cases it absolutely won’t. When I worked in AAA, during the CD/DVD era (before entire games were downloadable) we counted on patching to make the deadline with virtually every game. Hitting Christmas was make-or-break for the game (and often the company) and pressing the discs is a hard deadline. That’s too many constraints for a big complex project that was also poorly organized, so something had to give. We’d ship thousands of known bugs on the disc, then use the time between gold master and day zero sales to frantically fix as many as we could. As such, “patches” were often entirely new executables and/or art packages.

It was a running joke in those days that you aren’t buying a game in the store. You’re buying the right to download the version that works. The disc we ship is a coaster, basically.


From what I’ve seen of the games industry as a bystander, it appears to me as though project mismanagement is a large cause of why so many big titles see large delays, cost overruns and poor performance upon release. As someone who’s actually worked in that field, would you agree with that? I get the sense that a lot of big name project leads are/were much better artists or developers than managers.

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100%. Game companies are started by college roommates who hire their friends, and those people get installed as the management when the company grows. Nobody is particularly qualified in large project management (or human management).

To be fair to those people, it is a difficult job. These projects are immensely complex, requiring hundreds of artists, dozens of engineers, hundreds of QA and support people, etc. A five year schedule is typical, and you’re often targeting hardware that doesn’t exist yet because you have to hit whatever will be current five years from now. For PC you can make a decent projection about that. For console, nobody knows and sometimes the entire architecture is novel. Once you get within a couple of years, you’ll start to get alpha and beta dev kits so you can at least see roughly what the hardware will do in the end.

It’s mostly down to mismanagement though. Primarily scope control. AAA games have a disease wherein management refuses to cut features to increase quality and hit deadlines. Most people know the saying, “Quality, schedule, budget. Choose any two”. That applies here as well, but for some reason AAA refuses to acknowledge this reality. I also worked in mobile games for ten years and that was totally different. Those projects are professionally managed and controlled scope really well. They also invested in project management training and hired people who knew what they were doing.


good scheduling ends the necessity for crunch. and crunch gives upper management the feeling that they’re extracting the most labor for the least money.

i think it’s enticing to them to be able to say their teams are working 70hrs a week. like a measuring stick against their upper management peers. and - at least until people burnout - it diminishes worker capacity to act rationally and find better jobs. they’re too overwhelmed to even consider that option

Yup. Every crunch is a failure of management, full stop.

Management loves crunch though, as you say, because they think it’s aggressive and proactive action to get things done. Of course all it does is make things worse. People start sleeping in, taking two hour lunches, falling asleep at their desks, etc. I’ve literally seen the bug database grow as a result of crunch because tired engineers are creating two bugs with every one they fix.

The contrast with mobile is striking. I worked on a project for ten years (mobile is different because the game is ongoing, always being added to and changed). We hit nearly every deadline and never crunched once. We had sensible resource plans made by adults who understood the mythical man month and actually understood that happy well rested people are more productive. I would never counsel anyone to go work in AAA. I spent 20 years in that nightmare only because I didn’t know it was better elsewhere. I just thought “this is what game development is” like everyone else trapped in that industry.

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