Ubisoft has a love/hate relationship with gamers. While millions play games like the Assassin’s Creed series, many dislike the company’s business practices. One of the most debated topics is shutting down multiplayer services.
The subject is thorny because it also deals with what you actually acquire as a consumer. If you buy a game for its multiplayer capabilities, does this mean it has an expiry date? Should you need to factor in this issue each time you want to enjoy a game? And, above all, why does this happen?
The Newest Victims
To put this into perspective, let’s compare it to a related industry like casino games. If you play, say, Madame Destiny Megaways, you don’t “own” the game. It’s there, on a server somewhere, and you use it.
If someday the game disappears, you might lament it, but it wasn’t your game anyway. However, how would you feel if you’ve purchased this title and suddenly can’t play it anymore?
Some are quick to defend Ubisoft’s decisions by claiming it’s “just” the multiplayer component. But perhaps that component was the game’s main selling point. Maybe it’s the only reason many bought it in the first place.
Ubisoft made it clear that it’ll shut down the online services for ten games in January 2024. This includes many top hits like Ghost Recon Future Soldier and several Assassin’s Creed games.
It’s not a new trend, either. In July 2022, the company announced it would be shutting down the online servers of, again, many popular games, including Far Cry 3, Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sands, and several other Assassin’s Creed iterations.
Why Are They Doing It?
According to Ubisoft, the chosen games are of older generations, and it allows the company to focus resources on newer or more popular titles. They explain that the technology with which these services were developed have become outdated, and it’s necessary to end them.
This is because maintaining multiplayer servers for older games can be technically challenging. Outdated technology and compatibility issues may occur as hardware and software evolve.
However, it’s also part of an industry standard of sorts. Many companies shut down multiplayer for older games. This is touted as an effort to make the gaming industry up-to-date with trends and new technologies. However, many see it as a tactic to force players to purchase new titles.
It’s also a matter of finance. Logically, keeping old games updated with the latest security and connectivity standards means teams need to patch them, offer support when things go wrong with newer hardware, etc.
If a game has little concurrence, it’s financially unsound to keep performing such tasks. Companies like Ubisoft prefer to commit their workforce to developing, updating, and maintaining newer games, which are generally more popular and also less difficult to keep up-to-date.
The Way It Is
Even though it’s sad that Ubisoft discontinues the multiplayer features of many beloved games on a regular basis, it’s not without reason. Outdated technology, dwindling popularity, and allocating resources all play a part.
There’s a silver lining in all of this, however. By doing it, Ubisoft and other companies can focus on developing new ideas and games for everyone to enjoy. After all, that’s how those beloved titles came to be in the first place.