Tag Archives: Ubisoft

Ubisoft Blames “Technical Error” For Showing Pop-Up Ads In Assassin’s Creed

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.

Amazon Luna Subscribers Can Now Buy Individual Ubisoft Games

Late last year, Amazon Luna and Ubisoft deepened their partnership by allowing subscribers to stream the developer’s games that they already own on PC. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Amazon has chosen to team up with Ubisoft to debut a new feature on its cloud gaming service: The capability to buy games from the platform and not just stream them, Engadget reported.

Subscribers can now purchase select Ubisoft games from the developers portal on Luna, and the selection includes several Assassin’s Creed titles, the Far Cry games, Child of Light, and Watch Dogs.

Customer will be able to purchase any game they want from within Luna, using their Amazon account and as long as their Ubisoft account is linked. The e-commerce giant says subscribers will own the license for any game they buy, and they’ll be able to play either in Luna-enabled devices or on a computer if they download the title for offline play via Ubisoft Connect PC launchers. The list of Luna-enabled devices include Fire TV devices, Chromebooks, and phones.

9to5Google reported that Amazon Luna has been struggling to some extent with big library shuffles, but the cloud gaming platform is now introducing a big new feature – the ability to buy games.

According to 9to5Google, with most cloud gaming platforms available today, everything is tied behind a subscription. Xbox Game Pass has a rotating library of games that you can stream from the cloud, but you don’t really own any of the titles that can be streamed. GeForce Now and several similar services take a different approach, with the subscription used to access the cloud platform, and all of the games being ones that you’ve purchased on PC.

Amazon sent the following to 9to5Google:

At Luna, we’re always trying to find new ways to bring more games to more people. Which is why we’re excited to announce that customers can now buy individual games on Luna. Now, customers have more ways to buy Ubisoft games like Assassin’s Creed: Mirage, and playing on their Fire TV, smartphone, and any of our growing list of compatible devices.

GameDeveloper asked the question: “What does Ubisoft have to gain from the cloud streaming market?

According to GameDeveloper, in 2018 Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors that cloud streaming would help bring the company’s triple-A games to more players. His comments were particularly aimed at players who only owned mobile devices, not expensive game consoles or high-end PCs.

Notably, Guillemot also said that at the time that the company would prefer to stick with a traditional marketplace model to sell copies of streamable games, the same as buying them for a full price on a platform like Steam. The company seems to be sticking to that plan after five years of experimenting in the market.

…If Ubisoft can ride that awareness (players awareness of cloud streaming platforms) it will be able to develop bigger audiences – and revenue streams – for games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage and other upcoming titles.

In my opinion, people who have Amazon Luna, and/or have a mobile device or PC, could find themselves not just buying, but owning, the Ubisoft games that are being offered. They will own the games they purchase, and not have to worry about it disappearing from a gaming console.

Microsoft To Sell Off Activision Cloud Gaming Rights To Ubisoft

Microsoft is restructuring its proposed Activision Blizzard deal to transfer cloud gaming rights for current and new Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. The transfer of rights is designed to appease regulators in the UK that are concerned about the impact Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal will have cloud gaming competition. The restructured deal has triggered a new regulatory investigation in the UK that could last until October 18th, The Verge reported.

“To address the concerns about the impact of the proposed acquisition on cloud game streaming raised by the UK Competition and Markets on cloud game streaming raised by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, we are restructuring the transaction to acquire a narrower set of rights,” says Microsoft president Brad Smith. “This includes executing an agreement effective at the closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be in perpetuity.”

This restructured deal means that if Microsoft does close its proposed acquisition, then it will not be able to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games on rival services. Instead, Ubisoft will control the streaming rights to Activision Blizzard games outside of the EU and license titles back to Microsoft to be included in Xbox Cloud Gaming.

According to The Verge, Ubisoft will also add Actvision Blizzard games to its Ubisoft Plus Multi Access subscription, which is available across PC, Xbox, Amazon Luna, and on PlayStation via Ubisoft Plus Classics.

The GOV.UK website posted a press release titled: “Microsoft submits new deal for review after CMA confirms original deal is blocked.” From the press release:

CMA finalizes decision to block original merger after rejecting submissions by Microsoft to revisit its original decision;

Microsoft submits new, restructured deal for review, triggering a fresh Phase 1 investigation by CMA;

Under the new deal, Microsoft will not acquire the cloud streaming rights to all current and future Activision games released during the next 15 years (excluding in the EEA).

Here is a key part of the press release:

…Microsoft has stated that the restructured deal is intended to address the concerns set out in the CMA’s Final Report in April. In particular, the transaction is intended to provide an independent third-party content supplier, Ubisoft, with the ability to supply Activision’s gaming content to all cloud gaming service providers (including to Microsoft itself). Ubisoft will be able to license out Activision’s content under different business models, including subscription services. The deal also proposes that Ubisoft would have the ability to require Microsoft to provide versions of games on operating systems other than Windows…

It seems to me that this paragraph implies that Ubisoft will have the ability to require Microsoft to actually put versions of Activision Blizzard’s games on “operating systems other than Windows.” I’m hoping that means that players who use a Mac will finally get access to more games!

Epic and Activision Blizzard Halt Their Games in Russia

Epic Games and Activision Blizzard have joined several other gaming companies by suspending sales of their games in Russia. These decisions are in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

On March 4, 2022, on the Activision Blizzard website, President and COO Daniel Alegre posted a message in an employee letter, and then shared that letter publicly. It included the following:

…Today we are announcing that Activision Blizzard will be suspending new sales of and in our games in Russia while this conflict continues. We will continue to look at ways to support the Ukrainian people. I want to reassure you that the safety of our employees is our leadership team’s top priority. We are doing everything possible to assist employees, and their families, who are being directly affected by this tragedy. If you or a colleague needs support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your manager or local HR leaders. I’d also like to remind you that our Employee Assistance Program is available to those who need emotional support during this difficult time…

On March 5, 2022, the Epic Games Newsroom (@EpicNewsroom) tweeted: “Epic is stopping commerce with Russia in our games in response to its invasion of Ukraine. We’re not blocking access for the same reason other communication tools remain online: the free world should keep all lines of dialogue open.”

On March 1, 2022, Ubisoft posted news about how they are supporting their teams who are in Ukraine. From the news:

…Our top priority is to take care of the safety and wellbeing of our teams and their families. Over the past months, Ubisoft has been closely monitoring the situation, and our primary focus has been the security of our teams. As events escalated in February, Ubisoft recommended all teams to take shelter in a place they considered safe. To support them as they made these difficult decisions, each team member was provided additional funds to help cover costs and paid their salary in advance to account for any potential disruptions to banking system…

Ubisoft did not mention anything about halting their games in Russia or anywhere else.

Ubisoft Players Made it Clear they Don’t Want NFTs in Games

Ubisoft recently launched Ubisoft Quartz, which would enable Ubisoft to add NFTs into (at least some of) their games. The Ubisoft Quartz website specifically mentions Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which the company chose to start putting NFTs into.

It appears that the majority of people who play Ubisoft’s games were not happy about that decision. According to VideoGamesChronicle, “Ubisoft delisted its announce trailer for its Ubisoft Quartz platform, following overwhelming backlash that saw it receiving a dislike-like ratio of around 20:1”.

Here is a small piece from the VideoGamesChronicle post:

…While the number of viewer interactions has slowed as a result, it still continues to gain likes and dislikes, with the ratio growing ever wider.

At the time of writing, it now stands at 23,447 interactions, of which 1,018 are likes and 22,429 are dislikes.

This means just over 4% of viewers liked the video…

Ubisoft Quartz website is currently in beta. Part of the description states: “This is the place where you can acquire Digits, the first Ubisoft NFTs (non-fungible-tokens), playable in a HD game and relying on energy-efficient technology.” Ubisoft is offering three Digits for free, for a limited time.

What can you do with an Ubisoft NFT? Not much, it seems. Ubisoft appears to be trying to emphasize the “uniqueness of your Digit”. These come in limited editions with an ‘immutable” amount of items. Each Digit has a serial number that is displayed on the collectible and in-game item. According to Ubisoft, “only you have control of this Digit!”

Ubisoft also wrote: “Each Digit will also be tied to the player names of all its previous and current owners… bringing you fame for years to come!” In the FAQ section, Ubisoft stated: “Once you’re done playing with them, you can put them on sale on an authorized third-party marketplace. If it gets purchased by another Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint player, you would then be able to acquire a new one or use your proceeds as you see fit.”

To me, this all sounds sketchy. It feels like a money grab from Ubisoft, in the hopes that players will buy decorative in-game items. Ubisoft claims that the Tezos blockchain that Ubisoft Quartz is using is more energy-efficient than the Bitcoin blockchain. That doesn’t mean it is good for the environment! Ubisoft needs to rethink this idea.

Ubisoft Announced Staff Departures After Internal Investigation

Ubisoft released a statement (PDF) announcing departures of staff and a reaffirmation of its commitment to implementing significant change in its workplace culture. This comes after Ubisoft conducted an internal investigation in June.

“Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviors are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised – and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the Company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO and Co-Founder of Ubisoft. “Moving forward, as we collectively embark on a path leading to a better Ubisoft, it is my expectation that leaders across the Company manage their teams with the utmost respect. I also expect them to work to drive the change we need, always thinking of what is best for Ubisoft and all its employees.”

According to Ubisoft, Serge Hascoët “has chosen to resign from his position as Chief Creative Officer, effective immediately”. He will be replaced by Yves Guillemot, CEO and Co-Founder of Ubisoft in the interim.

Yannis Mallat, Managing Director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, will be stepping down from his role and will leave the company, effective immediately. The press release described the reason as: “The most recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for him to continue in this position.”

Cécile Cornet has decided to step down from his role and a new Global Head of HR will be appointed to replace him.

If you are wondering what those allegations are, you may want to read an article on Kotaku which provides some details about the misconduct that allegedly took place.

It is good that Ubisoft is “cleaning house” and implementing changes that are intended to stop the toxic behaviors of some employees from negatively affecting the experience of other employees. This gives Ubisoft the opportunity to hire or promote good people who can help make Ubisoft a safe and inclusive workplace.