Round 1: I’m not talking about when Wii Sports would adorably suggest you take a break after 15 minutes. I’m talking about the bizarre and somewhat upsetting trend of games not all being in the game anymore. For example, EA Origin is an outside online service that you use on the computer to redeem various rewards and buy additional content for EA games. Uplay is a similar online service provided by Ubisoft. These programs work across all of their respective publisher’s games, so I can play Child of Light to earn Uplay points, then The Crew, then Assassin’s Creed to keep earning Uplay points, then redeem these on Uplay for certain bonuses like character skins, color schemes, etc. In addition, you can see some basic stats for your game. For example, it shows me that I have killed approximately 6,000 people in Assassin’s Creed: Unity (holy crap!)
What I don’t understand about it is that all of these functions could have been in the game rather than on some website and they would both be easier to use and not exclude everyone who does’t feel like setting up another username and password for some umpteenth online login. With the kinds of rewards Uplay gives (Ooh, my character can wear a Blue and Orange shirt!), it seems like a lot of hoops to make people jump through, and I can’t quite figure out why Ubisoft wants us to. Okay, so they gain our e-mail address. I opted out of get any promotional e-mails, so unless they’re selling it off, they won’t gain anything by having it. Through my game access, I used the service once to get the above-mentioned shirt, but aside from a brief poke around the site as research for this blog post, I don’t anticipate every using the service again. Now if, I played a lot of Ubisoft games, they might occasionally get me to use the game access for a reward, but as far as getting me to spend enough time inn the site to sell me a game or service, they haven’t got anything to entice me. And it such an annoyance to leave the game to go look at it, I loose a little respect for the company every time they make me.
Round 2: In addition to Uplay, Assassin’s Creed has a “Companion App.” No this is not an application that lets you find companions for the evening. It is a simple puzzle and resource management game for tablets and smartphones. The first treasure chest you encounter in Assassin’s Creed: Unity proclaims that it can only be opened through the use of this App. These blue “Nomad” chests are essentially telling you to stop playing every time you come across one in the game. Why? Plus, as an added annoyance, it is impossible to get 100% completion of AC: Unity without the use of this App because some of the Relic collectibles that count toward that percentage can only be unlocked through its use. Bummer for me and anyone else without a smartphone. Thanks for penalizing us, Ubisoft.
Round 3: Here’s where we get to be confused by Destiny. The majority of the world’s fiction and backstory in destiny is in text document. This is okay. I loved collection lore and data book entries in Metroid: Prime. In Destiny, these entries on on cards. Okay. These cards are not in the game, but can only be viewed online on developer Bungie’s website. WHY?! What is the purpose of this. What do you gain from making us jump through hoops, Bungie?
Conclusion: Maybe it’s not perfectly clear to me how, but there is clearly some marketing or digital rights advantage to making everyone who buys your game set up online access for your website. The problem is that so far, whatever benefit it brings to the Publishers and Developers of the game, it comes at the expense of gamer’s goodwill. The only out of game thing that I opted into on purpose was Club Nintendo, where you filled out actual marketing surveys when you registered your game online. The difference was that Club Nintendo actually gave you a reason to do it by mailing you cool PHYSICAL rewards of your choosing (I have a Majora’s Mask 2-disc soundtrack and a 3DS carrying case to show for it) or free classic games for download. Not just letting you have the color red in Assassin’s Creed. They actually made it worth your time and at least you knew what you were doing. With Uplay, I just feel like I’m being tricked somehow. So naturally, Club Nintendo is now being discontinued. BULLSH*T!!
So… I kind of whet off this week. But, whether you agree or disagree, give us a comment or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out Daily D Pad on Youtube. Thanks for reading!