Ubisoft is blaming a “technical error” for a fullscreen pop-up ad that appeared in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this week. Reddit users say they spotted the pop-up on Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game, with an ad appearing just when you navigate to the map screen, The Verge reported.
“This is disgusting to experience while playing,” remarked one Reddit user, summarizing the general feeling against such pop-ups in the middle of gameplay.
“We have been made aware that some players encountered pop-up ads while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday,” says Ubisoft spokesperson Fabien Darrigues, in a statement to The Verge. “This was the result of a technical error that we addressed as soon as we learned about the issue.”
While it was unclear at first why the game suddenly started showing Black Friday pop-up ads to promote Ubisoft’s latest version of Assassins Creed, the publisher later explained what went wrong in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The Assassin’s Creed account on X (formerly Twitter) wrote: “We have been made aware that some players encountered a pop-up message in-game while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday. This was the result of a technical error that has now been fixed.
Our intention was to display a promotion for Assassin’s Creed Mirage as part of the franchise news in the main menu of other Assassin’s Creed games.
Unfortunately, this technical error caused the promotion to appear in one of our in-game menus instead. We want to ensure the best player experience possible, and these disruptive pop-ups were promptly removed once we learned of the issue.
– The AC Team
RockPaperShotgun reported that earlier this week reports of players encountering in-game pop-up adverts for this year’s Assassin’s Creed: Mirage, while innocently trying to visit the map screen in Ubisoft’s older open world stabathon Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
According to RockPaperShotgun, big publishers such as Ubisoft have experimented with adding in-game ads to their games in the past, not always for the worst. 2K Games tried it with unskippable loading screen videos in NBA 2019. Sega and Sports Interactive’s Football Manager offered free match side billboard space to mental health charities in 2020.
In the latter case, the ads are both for a good cause and consistent with the game’s representation of virtual soccer. Pop-up Black Friday discounts during the heyday of the Peloponnesian War? Less convincing.
Personally, if I were playing an Assassin’s Creed game, and a pop-up ad appeared that I could not instantly remove, I’d be angry about that. It would break the immersion of the game. I’m not at all surprised that some players strongly disliked the pop-up ad.