If you’ve played any Ubisoft game on the PC, chances are you’ve encountered Ubisoft’s online service known as Uplay. Experiences with the service have ranged from “fine” to “argh,” though Ubisoft is hoping to make the experience a bit better with its upgrade to Uplay 4.0.
This is becoming increasingly routine: an online service has been hacked; usernames, emails and encrypted passwords have been compromised; no personal payment information has been taken. The standard drill, basically. This time it's Ubisoft that's been hit; affecting users' web and uPlay account. Clearly someone took the premise of Watch Dogs a little too seriously.
We used the only viable fuel source with the world's only time machine to visit E3 2014, and bring back the gaming news of the future for you, our loyal readers. The haters will say we could have done something more beneficial for humanity with this singular opportunity, but we usually just ban people like that. What new boxes will you be able to plug into your TV? Will everyone own a Rift? Do your emotional scars from Game of Thrones Season 3 ever heal? We have the 100 percent accurate, non-speculative answers to all this and more.
More information has appeared about the source of this morning's (now removed) leaked videos of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Eurogamer report that Ubisoft's uPlay launcher has been exploited by Russian hackers, allowing them to freely download the service's games. Supposedly, the hackers' software tricks the launcher into thinking the user already owns a particular game, allowing them to download it for offline play, and thereby bypassing the uPlay DRM.
Ubisoft recently expanded their Uplay Store catalogue to include third-party publishers like EA and Warner Brothers. Their next step on the road to being a competitive force in digital distribution is more an act of contrition. The publisher realises it needs to improve its perception among the PC gaming community.
Speaking to MCV, Ubisoft's worldwide Uplay director, Stephanie Perotti, says, "Announcing all these partners for Uplay and a wider choice of PC games, it shows our commitment to PC, and we want to improve out relationship with the PC community."
Some weird cosmic alignment must be taking place today, because a number of EA games—including the sparkling Crysis 3 and pre-orders for SimCity—showed up on Ubisoft's Uplay store. It's no less strange on the digital shelves of EA's Origin, where Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3 sit prominently on the store's splash page. What's going on? As Ubisoft announces today in a press release, it's all part of expanding third-party support to bring titles from various developers.
The 1.04 update for Far Cry 3 has the usual collection of bug fixes and tweaks. Removing the "reloading" shout after shooting the bow in multiplayer? Makes sense. Fixing a bug that made weapon models stick to the character's arm? Totally useful. Adding support for downloadable content? Inevitable.
But forget all that, because there's something far more useful hidden in those patch notes.
Oh dear. Rock, Paper, Shotgun report that Far Cry 3's servers are currently down. We've had a quick look ourselves and yes, it looks like Uplay's throwing a tantrum.
While Ubisoft have dropped their previous always-online DRM requirement, the Uplay launcher will still default to booting the game in online mode. If you launch without a connection, there's no in-game prompt to switch over to offline mode, causing menus to load blank and your character to become stuck to his current spot.
It's happening again. PCGamesN report that Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 are not available on the Steam store in the UK, mirroring the fate of a number of EA games in the last year or so.
“We’ve been in discussions with Valve about Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3, but for the time being the games are not available via Steam in the UK,” Ubisoft told PCGN. “In the meantime, UK customers wishing to purchase either of these games can do so by visiting the Uplay store, our retail partners or other digital distributors. Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 are available on Steam in other regions outside the UK.”
In an interview with MCV, Ubisoft’s Stephanie Perotti discusses the potential to sell more than just Ubisoft games on the newly relaunched Uplay store. The new store includes social features, the ability to purchase DLC content by completing Achievements, and everything else you'd expect - and unlike most of Ubisoft's recent work, it doesn't take a month to get to the PC shelves.
But would you want to make it your shop of choice?
Viking Overlord T.J. takes the helm of the podcasting longship this week, and Logan and Tyler hang on for their dear lives. We talk THROWING MOONS AT PLANETS in Planetary Annihilation, TF2's new Co--op vs Killer Robots "Mann vs Machine" mode, and how Dan Stapleton was outed as an alien sympathizer in X-Com: Enemy Unknown. All this, plus listener questions, and the first ever PC Gamer Podcast Tabletop Adventure! Can Logan and Tyler defeat the evil wizards Daywan Dee El-Cee and Al'wayzan Dee Ar'Im to save their favorite PC franchises from Internet scorn through a series of arbitrary dice rolls?
Ubisoft have launched a new online store called Uplay, bringing another contender into the increasingly crowded digital distribution race. The downloadable client can be used to buy and launch Ubisoft games, and has a range of community features like Xbox Live style avatars and achievements designed to "strengthen your gaming relationship with your friends." There are better rewards than points on offer on the store front right now. Daily deals are offering a small selection of titles for £1 each.
There's troubling news on RPS regarding a potential security risk associated with Ubisoft's Uplay plugin software that could allow hackers to remotely install programs onto your PC. The problem seems to centre around the Uplay browser plugin, which is easily disabled. In Chrome, search for about:plugins and disable Uplay. In Firefox, head to tools - add ons - plugins and then disable Uplay and the UPlay PC Hub. To be safe, you might want to consider deleting Uplay and related programs from your PC.
The problem is detailed on Hacker News, which exposes a backdoor thread that allows a website to install and run programs remotely. We've contacted Ubisoft for comment and they're "looking into" the problem. We'll update with any further statements. Meanwhile, here's a list of Uplay associated games that you might want to steer clear of until we know exactly how serious the problem is.
Update: Ubisoft have sent over a statement saying that they've patched the problem out. Here it is:
Ubisoft has announced that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier will be available for PC in stores and as a digital download on June 15 in the UK and June 12 in the US. The PC version will require one-time online registration with Uplay, but not a continuous broadband connection for singleplayer.