Ubisoft, one of the major video game publishers, has officially confirmed its plans to decommission online services for almost a dozen of its older games, including well-known titles like Assassin’s Creed 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction. The affected games will experience this service cut-off on January 25, 2024.
Growing Trend in the Gaming Industry
Over the past few years, the trend of shutting down servers and pulling online services for video games has been on the rise. Various reasons, including low player counts and license expirations, have led to games becoming harder or, in some cases, impossible to play online. This phenomenon has led to a growing category known as “Dead Games.” Ubisoft’s recent announcement adds more titles to this list.
Reasons Behind the Decision
Ubisoft elaborated on its decision on their support site, stating that while they don’t make such choices lightly, it’s sometimes a necessity as the technology driving these services becomes obsolete. While some critics argue against the “technology becoming outdated” reason, suggesting it would be more forthright to admit financial considerations or low player engagements, Ubisoft maintains its stance. This mirrors the language from past announcements where similar decisions were made for older titles.
Affected Games and Platforms
Here are the games that will be affected by this decision, alongside the specific platforms:
- Assassin’s Creed II — Xbox 360
- Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood — Mac
- Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD — PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Assassin’s Creed Revelations — PC
- Ghost Recon Future Soldier — PC
- Heroes of Might and Magic VI — PC
- NCIS — PC
- Splinter Cell: Conviction — Xbox 360
- R.U.S.E. — PC
- Trials Evolution — PC
Once the online functionalities are decommissioned, players will no longer have access to online multiplayer, linking accounts, or collecting Ubisoft Connect rewards for these games. However, single-player modes will remain intact and accessible.
Previous Shutdowns and Platform Considerations
For those puzzled by the platform-specific shutdowns, it’s worth noting that Ubisoft has previously ended online services for several of these titles on different platforms. This new announcement primarily targets the remaining platforms for these games.
Impact on Multiplayer and Community-driven Features
The “decommissioning” has a pronounced effect on games where multiplayer or community-shared features play a vital role. For instance, in R.U.S.E., an innovative multiplayer war game, the primary draw is deceiving opponents with strategic feints and decoys. Similarly, Trials Evolution heavily relies on its online leaderboards and community content sharing. The discontinuation of such services is certainly a significant loss for the player community.
Industry Perspective on Decommissioning
The gaming industry has increasingly been reflecting on the impermanence of multiplayer game spaces. An artistic project from 2019, titled Dustnet, centered around this idea. It places players in the final server of a popular map, where they can add and create content. However, if the server ever lacks players, everything is wiped clean. This presents a stark contrast to single-player games, which remain playable irrespective of online services.
The gaming community has always had mixed reactions to such announcements. Players who have fond memories and years of experience in these games are understandably disappointed. Multiplayer sessions form the backbone of many memorable gaming moments, and the news that these would soon be inaccessible brings a sense of nostalgia and loss.
On the other hand, some players understand the challenges and financial constraints faced by game developers and publishers. Maintaining servers, especially for older games with dwindling player numbers, can be a costly endeavor. Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, these older systems can often become incompatible or challenging to support.
While the shutdown affects mainly older titles, many of which are over a decade old, the sentiment remains. It brings forth both the philosophical and practical considerations of the gaming industry’s evolution. For more details on Ubisoft’s announcements and other related news, you can visit Ubisoft’s official website.