The lights are on
When I started up Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for the first time, I was prompted to log into Ubisoft’s uPlay. I did it without hesitation, because I love uPlay. A few seconds later, I got a series of alerts saying that I’d unlocked new costumes for Black Flag’s hero, Edward Kenway, because I’d played the other games in the series. The twist is, I’d played them on the Xbox 360, and I’m playing Black Flag on my PS4. Like I said, I love uPlay.
Let me be clear: I love a very, very specific aspect of uPlay. I am not a fan of uPlay’s DRM on PC, or the uPlay Passport, which was used to block multiplayer off to only new copies of Ubisoft’s games. That stuff sucked. I am a fan of its core functionality, and I think other developers should rip it off.
When you play supported games, you earn uPlay Actions, which are Ubisoft’s cutie-pie term for achievements. They come with specific points attached, which can then be spent in a special in-game store. Real currency never plays a part in this ecosystem, which is key. The other important part is that the currency is linked to your uPlay account, so it’s game agnostic. Your balance is your balance, whether you earned the points playing Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry 3, or Splinter Cell games.
I play a lot of games, so one of the first things I do when I start up an Assassin’s Creed game in particular is launch uPlay and purchase all of the in-game goodies with points I’ve earned in other Ubisoft games. They can include costumes, themes, weapons, and, in the case of Black Flag, some extra stuff for your ship. Since you’re using an account that isn’t locked to a particular platform, your rewards can cross over, like mine did with Black Flag. Ultimately, they were only a few silly costumes, but in this era of microtransactions, I was happy to get something like that at no additional cost.
I grumbled when I was first prompted to create a uPlay account a few years back, but I’ve been happy with the bonus content it’s provided me on my Xbox 360 and now my PS4. And now that I'm spoiled, I want everyone else to follow Ubisoft's lead. Get on it, already.
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