Ubisoft has announced that it is to scrap its controversial Uplay Passport online pass programme, removing the code-based system from all its future games.
Originally introduced as a means to limit both piracy and second-hand sales, the Uplay Passport programme saw games coming bundled with a single-use code to enable additionally, typically multiplayer-centric, content. While a player who had bought the game second-hand could enjoy the single-player experience, he or she was expected to shell out additional cash on an extra - also single-use - Uplay Passport code to get the same game as the original purchaser.
Ubisoft's latest title, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, is no exception: a cross-platform interactivity feature, Edward's Fleet, is exclusive to Uplay Passport holders - and while the code is, as usual, included in the box, second users will need to splash out on a code of their own.
At least, they did - until now. 'We listen to our community and understand that there are concerns over some players’ ability to access this feature, so we have decided to eliminate the cost of the Uplay Passport for Black Flag,
' explained Ubisoft communications manager Gary Steinman in a blog post
late last night. 'This ensures that everyone will be able to use the companion app, Edward’s Fleet, online multiplayer and available bonus content at no additional cost.
Steinman also confirmed that the releasing of the Uplay Passport for free is the final nail in the programme's coffin. 'Uplay Passport will not be a part of any future Ubisoft games.
' he stated. 'The Uplay Passport program was initiated as a means of giving customers full access and support for online multiplayer and features, along with exclusive content, bonuses and rewards. However, games today are blurring the line between offline and online, between what is “single player” and what is “multiplayer.” Based on that and on the feedback we received from you, we recognised that Passport is no longer the best approach for ensuring that all our customers have the best possible experience with all facets of our games.
Those who have a second-hand copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag will be able to download one for free from today; those who have already paid are advised to contact their regional Ubisoft support office, although refunds have not been explicitly promised.
In more disappointing news, the company has also confirmed that its upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth title has been hit by yet another delay due to quality issues. The new schedule sees the game hitting shelves on the 4th of March 2014.