It's Watch Dogs launch day and that means that if you're a dedicated PC gamer, there are decent odds that you're not actually playing it. That's because it requires access by way of uPlay , Ubisoft's Steam-style online game service, and it's not working quite as well as it should be. The Watch Dogs forum on Steam is pretty heavily top-loaded with complaints at the moment, most of which relate to connectivity issues and an inability to play the game. Ubisoft has already admitted that an "extremely high server load" is wreaking havoc on the system.
— Watch Dogs (@watchdogsgame) May 27, 2014 May 27, 2014
One fed-up fan has started a Change.org petition calling on Ubisoft to drop the uPlay requirement for Steam games.
Infuriating though it may be, this isn't an entirely surprising outcome. Online DRM in general can be messy on launch day, and Ubisoft's record in the area is far from outstanding. The same thing happened to Far Cry 3 in 2012, when offline servers kept people out of the game at launch. Ubisoft's response to that mess is quite similar to the one it tweeted earlier this afternoon via the official Watch Dogs Twitter account, when the publisher acknowledged that there is in fact a problem. "We're still working on fixing our server authentication issues," it wrote. "Stay tuned."
Whether or not you run into problems seems to be largely a matter of luck, and perhaps location. Both Kotaku and Polygon say that some users are able to access the game with relative ease while others run face-first into a virtual brick wall; Polygon goes further to say that console gamers are also affected by Ubi's troubles. Either way, it doesn't sound like a quick-fix is imminent, as Ubisoft's most recent tweet effectively recommends that gamers just keep hammering on it until something gives way.
"All the possible efforts are put into the resolution of this problem. We are currently monitoring the situation closely," the Watch Dogs account tweeted. "The connection is rising and the issue still seems intermittent, the sign in system might work after several tries."