Presumably hopeful that gamers will ignore Groucho Marx's famous adage, Ubisoft is launching its own club. But the club is neither the leather wingback chair nor the pounding EDM variety. The Ubisoft Club is a free to join loyalty rewards program that offers "extra game content, limited edition goodies, [and] discounts in the shop" to members.
It's not clear at this point whether the Ubisoft Club will be an extension of Uplay, Ubisoft's existing online store/service, or if it will replace it entirely. Either way, there's a distinctly Steam-like air about it: Members will automatically earn units ["U-nits"—get it?] that can be redeemed for for "exclusive in-game contents," and experience points that increase your level (to what end isn't clear), simply by playing Ubisoft games. There will also be badges, which I'm guessing are akin to Steam Achievements, and leaderboards of one form or another.
Signing up is simple enough. Just log in with your Uplay account (or create one if necessary) and your relevant information, including your history, "progression," and other such game-related info will be automatically imported. In my case, for instance, I am now a Level Nine member of the Club; that sounds impressive, but the reality is that there are only three games in my Club collection—Far Cry 3, which I've spent about 15 minutes with, plus Blood Dragon and Valiant Hearts, which were both outstanding—and I have managed a sum total of four badges across all three titles. Not exactly the hardest of the hardcore, in other words.
Polygon says the Ubisoft Club is set to launch later this year, but as far as I can tell it's fully operational now, although I would imagine it's not yet feature-complete. Is anyone not able to get in? I've reached out to Ubisoft to clarify the situation but for now, even though you may need another online game service like you need a hole in the head, do me a solid and try to sign up, and then let us know how it goes in the comments. It's for science, you know. And it's okay if you really don't want to. I'll let you know what I hear, when I hear.
Update: Ubisoft has released a statement clarifying the role of the Ubisoft Club as it relates to Uplay. "Ubisoft Club replaces Uplay Win as the free single platform that rewards our players. Uplay remains the account that enables players to access all Ubisoft services such as forums, customer support, Uplay shop, Uplay PC and Ubisoft Club. Rewards already earned in Uplay Win will automatically be transferred to Ubisoft Club. Ubisoft Club also creates XP/Levels and Badges to enhance the game experience."
A separate email sent out to Uplay members says there will be no changes made to Uplay accounts as a result of the transition, which will take place "in the coming days."