Screenshot of the Uplay PC client
|Stable release||July Release 2 (PC) / 16 July 2015|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Facebook Platform|
Digital rights management
Uplay is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications service created by Ubisoft to provide an experience similar to the achievements/trophies offered by various other game companies. The service is provided across various platforms (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Facebook, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, OnLive). The Uplay app for the Wii U was released after the launch of the console on 1 December 2012 on the Nintendo eShop. Uplay is used exclusively by first-party Ubisoft games, and although some third-party titles are sold through the Uplay store, they do not use the Uplay platform.
Responses to the platform have been generally negative, with coverage comparing it negatively to its competitors and calling it the worst part of Ubisoft's games.
With the release of Assassin's Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft launched the Uplay network, which is activated either in-game or via the Uplay website. Uplay allows players to connect with other gamers, and to earn rewards based on achievements (called "Actions") in Uplay-enabled games, with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stating that "the more you play, the more free goods you will be able to have".
Each Uplay-enabled game has four specific Actions that can be accomplished, earning the player Uplay points, which are referred to as Units. Each Action grants the player either 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or 40 Units, which can then be used to unlock game-related rewards; though the Units are not bound to the specific games they were earned in, and may be used to purchase rewards from any available game.
The Uplay desktop client was released on 3 July 2012, replacing the Ubisoft Game Launcher. The desktop client connects Uplay's currency and reward features, and links a player's Ubi profile across platforms (consoles, Facebook, PC, and mobile) into a single app. The client is similar to Valve’s Steam and EA’s Origin desktop clients - where the user is able to purchase and launch games from the application.
A single Uplay account is required to access the client, that can be used across platforms (consoles, PC and mobile) and to access Ubisoft’s online sites, and forums. If customers already have a Uplay account, they can use their existing account credentials to login to the Uplay desktop client. Otherwise, they will be asked to create a new account upon their first connection to the client.
Digital rights management
When it was initially launched, the Windows version of Uplay required players to maintain a constant connection to the internet to play Uplay-enabled games. Uplay games would not start without an active internet connection, and losing the connection during gameplay would halt the game, sending users back to their last checkpoint or save depending on the specific game. Some games, such as Assassin's Creed II, were later patched to save the player's exact location prior to disconnect and return them to that location when an internet connection was re-established. The scheme quickly came under fire after a denial-of-service attack on Ubisoft's DRM servers in early March rendered Silent Hunter 5 and Assassin's Creed II unplayable for several days.
The always-on requirement was quietly lifted for existing Uplay games towards the end of 2010, being changed to a single validation on game launch. However, the always-on requirement made a return in 2011 with the releases of Driver: San Francisco and From Dust, the latter having been explicitly stated by Ubisoft prior to release to only require a one-time online activation on install. From Dust was later patched to remove the always-on requirement.
In September 2012 Ubisoft employees confirmed in an interview that no further Ubisoft games would be using the always-on requirement, instead opting for a one-time activation of the game on install. However The Crew required the player to be always online in order to play.
Certain Ubisoft games required an online pass known as a "Uplay Passport" to access online and multiplayer content. In November 2013, Ubisoft immediately discontinued its use of online passes on future games, and made the Uplay Passport for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag available at no charge.
In July 2012 Tavis Ormandy, an Information Security Engineer at Google, claimed that "Uplay" DRM is a rootkit and poses a serious security risk. The software installs a browser plugin that provides access to the system. Ormandy has written proof-of-concept code for the exploit. The exploit was fixed as of version 2.0.4 released on 30 July 2012.
Uplay's reception with reviewers and the public has been largely negative. John Walker, writing for Rock Paper Shotgun, called it a "technical mess" and saying that "it desperately needs to just go away" in the wake of a server collapse around the release of Far Cry 3 that temporarily made the game unplayable. Ars Technica's Kyle Orland says that "Uplay has not exactly endeared itself to the PC gaming community", describing a history of technical errors and problems related to its DRM. Geoffrey Tim, writing for lazygamer.net, called it the "worst thing" about Ubisoft's "otherwise excellent" games, and particularly criticized it for running alongside Steam when Ubisoft games are purchased on that platform. Patrick Klepek, writing for Giant Bomb, criticized the same point, saying that Ubisoft's desire to run its own distribution service offered no real benefit to consumers, and describing the tactics they used to try and get people to use it as irritating and unappealing. Writing a comparison for GadgetReview in which he compared the three major distribution platforms — Uplay, Valve's Steam and Electronic Arts' Origin — Shawn Sanders criticized it for using large amounts of memory while offering fewer features than its competitors. Summarizing popular opinion on the service, VG247's Brenna Hillier said that "Uplay is one of the less popular PC DRM systems, but all your fervent wishing that it would die has not been successful."
- Anno 2070
- Assassin's Creed II
- Assassin's Creed III
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Assassin's Creed: Liberation
- Assassin's Creed: Multiplayer Rearmed
- Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy
- Assassin's Creed: Recollection
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Assassin's Creed Rogue
- Assassin's Creed Unity
- Brothers in Arms: Furious 4
- Call of Juarez: The Cartel
- Child of Light
- Driver: San Francisco
- ESPN Sports Connection
- Far Cry 3
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Far Cry 4
- Flashback (2013)
- From Dust
- Just Dance 3 (Xbox 360 version only)
- Just Dance 4
- Just Dance 2014
- Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
- Might & Magic Heroes VI
- Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness
- Might & Magic Heroes VII
- Might & Magic X: Legacy
- The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot
- MotionSports Adrenaline
- My Fitness Coach Club
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- PowerUp Heroes
- Pure Football
- Rabbids Land
- Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking
- Rayman Legends
- Rocksmith 2014
- Shaun White Skateboarding
- Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic
- Spartacus Legends
- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
- The Crew
- The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom
- Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
- Tom Clancy's The Division
- Trials Evolution: Gold Edition
- Trials Frontier
- Trials Fusion
- Toys'R'Us Towers
- Valiant Hearts: The Great War
- Watch Dogs
- Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
- Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012
- Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
- Jackson, Mike (10 November 2012). "Ubisoft targeting UPlay for Wii U 'sometime after launch'". ComputersAndVideoGames.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Saints Row IV". Ubisoft. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "Assassin's Creed II and Splinter Cell to feature Uplay system". 21 November 2009.
- Good, Owen (14 November 2009). "Ubisoft: All Our Games Will Do This UPlay Thing". Kotaku. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- Ben Kuchera (18 February 2010). "Official explanation of controversial Assassin’s Creed 2 DRM". ARS Technica. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Ubisoft Patch Makes its Internet DRM Less Painful". Tomshardware.com. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Ubisoft's New DRM System Falls Down, Locks Out Paying Customers". Kotaku. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Constant net connection no longer required for Ubisoft games". PC Gamer. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Ubisoft’s Driver: SanFran Has Always-On DRM". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "From Dust DOES Need Online, Badly Ported". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- Ben Gilbert (9 September 2011). "PSA: From Dust patch now available on PC, removes Ubi DRM". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Interview: Ubisoft On DRM, Piracy And PC Games". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "Ubisoft Kills Online Pass System, Effective Immediately". IGN. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Adrian Kingsley Hughes (30 September 2012). "Uplay is a rootkit". forbes.com. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- John Walker (November 30, 2012). "Far Cry 3 Servers Down Already: Ubi, This Is A Mess". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Kyle Orland (Nov 7, 2014). "Ubisoft pulls upcoming holiday titles off Steam". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Geoffrey Tim. "Watch Dogs on PC skipping uPlay?". lazygamer.net. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Patrick Klepek (November 18, 2014). "Ubisoft's Tactics Are Making uPlay Less Attractive Than Ever". Giant Bomb. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Shawn Sanders (November 6, 2013). "Steam Vs. Origin Vs. Uplay (comparison)". gadgetreview.com. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
- Brenna Hillier (2 July 2014). "Not even a lawsuit could kill Uplay". VG247. Retrieved 2015-09-03.