Ubisoft made The Crew vanish without a trace

Hands off my games!

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief

Unless we fight for it, we must come to the realization that we don’t own anything digital. Even if we paid a one-time fee for it, the licensing agreements will make sure to let us know we’re still renting the ability to use the software. And Ubisoft wants to make sure you know that. In fact, they’d appreciate if you would just get used to it already.

What is Ubisoft doing?

On April 1, Ubisoft turned off the servers for The Crew. This was a racing game with a truncated version of the United States that was seemingly online-only. This is somewhat news to me because I played that game from a single-player standpoint.

Now, for online games, I get turning off servers. As someone who runs a few, the costs can be prohibitive to do other things and it makes financial sense to turn underutilized servers off. However, this should come at giving people the opportunity elsewhere to continue using a service.

But that’s not why we’re here. This is about what Ubisoft decided to do after the servers were shut down.

Many people began to report that their copies of The Crew were no longer accessible. Some have gone as far as saying that Ubisoft revoked game licenses for the game even after people paid to have them in perpetuity. This came as no warning to the owners.

What’s the big deal?

Of course, you may wonder why any of this would matter. The Crew was an online-only game and would not work without the servers. Ubisoft did warn that the servers were going offline. It also refunded purchases that were made recently. You’d be right, but there are some things to consider here.

As I’ve stated before, Ubisoft could have provided some sort of way to play the game without the online component. Better yet, why are there games like this that are being required to be online-only. I played the game and didn’t intentionally interact with another person. Why not make an offline mode full of bots? Why would a game like this be intentionally made that would lock people out?

The bigger thing here to unpack is the fact that someone can just come and effectively remove a game from your system. I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying $60+ for a game, it damn should be available to me in perpetuity. It shouldn’t matter if it’s removed it from digital shelves. I should still be able to download and play it like Spec Ops: The Line.

What do we truly own?

But this goes to show a huge issue with the current digital media landscape. Because bits can be easily shared over a network, people with all the money and power can choose which bits they want you to have access to and which they do not. They will then obfuscate that fact and hope you never think about it ever again.

So, while, I can’t technically play The Crew again because of nearsighted live service decisions, the fact that any game that a company deems it doesn’t want to sell anymore can just disable your game on your computer inaccessible at a whim is a huge issue.

And we shouldn’t stand for that no matter how much Ubisoft thinks we should bend over and take it.

Source: Engadget

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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