Quite a few players from quite a few countries are reporting that their newly minted copies of Splinter Cell: Blacklist are refusing to launch, coming up with a "pre-load complete" message after installation instead, which won't give way to the actual game. As this Reddit thread reveals, players in South Africa, Bermuda, Kuwait, Indonesia, Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Cyprus and Serbia have all reported the issue, and despite Blacklist having been released in each country, it won't play ball.
The Steam and Ubisoft forums are currently alight with justifiably disgruntled customers, most of whom report that they have yet to hear back from either Ubisoft or Steam on the matter, and none of whom have been offered a solution. UAE resident Ajax7 sums the situation up nicely: “What infuriates me is the lack of communication on Valve's part despite the large number of people affected by this. Three days later and we still have no idea what's the reason for this delay. At least some Ubisoft mods have responded and said they're looking into it.”
Attempting to buy or play Blacklist via uPlay won't work either, since it talks to Steam during the installation/launch process. There appears to be literally no way to make Blacklist launch for affected players - I'm presuming those versions have been set to the wrong release date, and no amount of Sam Fisher-style torturing will convince them otherwise.
Let us know if you're affected by the issue. We'll update as soon we know more.
(Many thanks to PCGamesN .)