Dogged: Watch_Dogs To Require Uplay, Even On Steam

No wonder everything is so easily hackable in Watch_Dogs' universe: it's all tied into Uplay servers. Aiden Pearce just takes those suckers down and calls it a day.

In an alternate dimension, we all love Uplay dearly and Valve won’t stop shoehorning Steam into annual churned-out sequels like Left 47 Dead, Team Fortress XII: Right Back Hat Ya, and Half-Life: Pirates. In this one, however, that’s absolutely not the case. Uplay is fiddly, sometimes catastrophic meltdown-prone bloatware that gates us from playing games until we’ve gone through an archaic activation and update process. And if servers happen to be down due to demand or some other mishap? Well, good luck. The service’s worst days, I think, are generally behind it, but it’s still a pain. Unsurprisingly, it’s going to show up in Watch_Dogs, presumably to do the opposite of aidin’ main character Aiden Pearce.

Ubisoft confirmed the news to IGN with a business-as-usual slant:

“Like some of our other AAA releases, including Far Cry 3, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Watch Dogs will be available on Steam and will leverage Uplay to support the game’s services.”

A Uplay account and the Uplay client will, of course, be mandatory.

All of which is kind of funny given that this is a game about hackers rising up and overcoming The Man, but this is big business we’re talking about. If you want wry acknowledgements of irony, probably go elsewhere. (Well, unless Watch_Dogs decides to take writing cues from big brother – but not that Big Brother – Assassin’s Creed.)

I have to say, though, that I tend to err more on the side of sadness than anger when it comes to services like Uplay or Origin. As Alec wrote when all Uplay games ended up blocked on UK Internet service provider BT Infinity, this isn’t some giant evil scheme. Rather, it’s a corporate entity prizing control and flow of information/money over creating a good experience for its customers. In the grand scheme of things, I’m only minorly inconvenienced, but my stomach lurches a little every time I think of that priority list.


  1. stoopiduk says:

    I made a solemn vow never to reinstall Uplay after some dreadful experiences.

    It’s a shame, I was looking forward to this game.

    • BobbyDylan says:


      Uplay, Usuck. Thanks for saving me £30.

      • Tom Walker says:

        Saved me hundreds. I was prepared to upgrade my video card for this. Not prepared to suffer Uplay again, though.

        • Kong says:

          Recent experiences seem to have healed me from my gaming habit.
          Maybe I have never been a real junkie but did not realize this until the industry fucked me over one time too many.

          My urge to buy and play big, expensive games is gone. Died with Rome II, X-Rebirth and the side effects of GFWL’s demise. I would like to play Far Cry 3 one day, but not like this. RIP fuckers

          • SuicideKing says:

            FC3 was nice, but can become repetitive after a point and the story is complete shit. Coop is not good either.

            EDIT: Yeah Rome II was bad for me too.

      • cpy says:

        Count me as well, thanks for saving me few bucks ubisoft!

        • bstard says:

          Just dont buy stuff like this at its infant state. Wait till it’d had it’s share of a descent education, beatings and scars on it’s soul. Uplay will be crap @ release of big titles, and it’s just a little annoyance later on.

          And then buy it at some sale for -75%. 60 bloody euro’s for the regular, and 70 for the digitally doped one? lulsz!

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yep if the game is good don’t deprive yourselves entirely because of some silly little bit of background software. However wait 6 months to a year, pick it up for <£10. The game will be better then anyway after they fixed all the bugs and crap that comes with them invariably rushing the game out and you will feel less bad about having to put up with UPlay if you paid less.
          I don't pay full price for games anymore, games are 99% sure to be better months after release and you pay 1/4 of the price. Needing to dive in instantly is punishing yourself for no other reason than being impatient.

          • Lemming says:

            You could also argue: “If you have a principle for ideological reasons don’t abandon it just because of a silly little game you want to play”, just saying.

    • zer0sum says:

      The sound of tens of thousands of lost sales and pirated games

    • Lemming says:

      Same here. I quite liked the look of this, as well.

    • captain nemo says:

      Uplay is a disaster. I’m not touching this one

    • Contrafibularity says:


  2. Stellar Duck says:

    Steam is already being shoehorned in everywhere. No need to think up an alternate reality.

    • P.Funk says:

      If by shoehorned you mean embraced with joyous vigour then you’d be right.

    • Kollega says:

      And as a matter of fact, Call of Duty – one of the most egregiously sequelized series of today – is using Steamworks too. So really, no need to come up with an alternate reality for this. Our reality works just fine.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Indeed. And I challenge anyone to find a Valve game that doesn’t require Steam.

        And for the longest while you couldn’t even buy Valve games anywhere but Steam digitally.

        Valve is quite literally as bad and sometimes worse than Uplay and Origin.

        • Syphus says:

          I am installing Half-Life from the original CD I boughtr back in THE NINETIES. I will be back in a few minutes when I didn’t play it through Steam.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            And conversely I could install a Ubi game from the nineties and not have Uplay on it.

            Is that really how we’re doing this? Are we really going to include games from before either service existed?

          • skittles says:

            You will need Steam if you want the latest patches though.

          • Burgmond says:

            Who wants HL1’s most recent version, they got rid of bunnyhopping. I consider that an error.

    • Kinch says:

      Stella Duck is right.

      Everyone’s butthurt about Uplay or Origin, but noone seems to mind Steam(works) everywhere. Steam’s hardly better than either of these.

      With that in mind, I’ve never had issues with Uplay games through Steam, and I’ve played a handful (actually going through FC3 and Rayman Lemons just now).
      It sure is (just) a little annoying to have two external/redundant clients open but it’s nothing a modern PC couldn’t handle.

      • RaveTurned says:

        You’ve seen the minimum specs for Watch Dogs, right? When something needs 6GB of RAM to barely scrape by, I’d want to be running as little else as possible alongside it.

        • Kinch says:

          I’m guessing any modern-ish PC has 8 gigs these days. Not an issue really.

          • Syphus says:

            According to the Steam Hardwar Survey, 27% have 8gigs. 21% have 4GB (11% have 3GB and 10% have 2GB). Adding in the smaller numbers means about 50% have less than 6 Gigs

          • Jaks says:

            The steam survey results are a meaningless number. Steam has god knows how many million registered users. Not all of them are into high end PC games or even play games that often. That 21% of Steam users that have over 8 gigs of RAM is a huge installed base of hardcore gamers, many of who will ply Watchdogs. If your PC does not even have as much RAM as a modern console – you’re not Ubisoft’s target market for this game.

            Uplay is a stupid piece of crap but it is not that intrusive.

        • revan says:

          Frankly, I think it’s yet another COD Ghost case. Game can probably run fine on 4 GB but they’ve intentionally placed the bar higher, at 6 GB.

      • ScubaMonster says:

        “Everyone’s butthurt about Uplay or Origin, but noone seems to mind Steam(works) everywhere. Steam’s hardly better than either of these.”

        Hahaha. That’s hilarious, thanks, I needed a good laugh today. You HONESTLY think Steam is hardly any better than Uplay or Origin? I don’t remember Steam screwing people over like Uplay ever, and I’ve been using Steam for over 8 years. Origin is better than Uplay, but still sucks compared to Steam.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          And what is so terrible about Origin compared to Steam. It’s certainly less bloated and intrusive.

          But to be clear: both are awful. Origin is just made by EA.

          • Vin_Howard says:

            In all honestly I don’t see any real problems Steam OR Origin. I do dislike using Origin, but for no other reason then it’s a hassle to have to load up Origin when I would rather have everything on Steam.

            Steam does give me grief on some rare occasions with the log-in (and I have to fix it by uninstalling and reinstalling it), and when Steam Community goes down (something that, I should add, has no impact on actually gameplay; you’re just unable to use your Steam friends list).

            But the amount of features and ease-of-use that Steamworks provides makes me choose a Steamworks over a dmr-free version any day.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Steam manages to find ways to screw over users on a daily basis. You’ve got a pair of blinders on.

          • Lemming says:

            Welcome, this is Earth One. I believe your home dimension is elsewhere.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Your Earth One is a sad little planet. I’m going home, goddammit.

          • silentdan says:

            Oh, Steam is constantly screwing over its users. As someone with over 500 games on Steam, I can assure you, they are ruthless. I am *constantly* abused by the frequent sales that make my favourite hobby more affordable. Those jerks should be trying to bleed me dry, but no, they can’t be bothered to clamp down and treat me like the commodity I am. It’s disgusting. And what about this Family Sharing thing? Don’t they know that licenses are purchased by individuals, not households? If I want my brother or roommate to play my games, I should have to give them my Steam password. Otherwise, they should have to buy their own copy. By allowing me to lend out access to my library without giving out my account info, Steam has truly screwed me over. When, oh when, will Valve realize that EA is right, and Origin is the ideal?

      • MellowKrogoth says:

        What? Tell me you’re astroturfing, it’s the only explanation. Anybody who compares Uplay’s and Steam’s interface and install process side by side and honestly says one’s as usable as the other is either a moron or suffering from heavily handicapped senses.

  3. JiminyJickers says:

    Same as most Ubisoft games on Steam, haven’t experienced any problems with this arrangement so far (touch wood). Mind you, I would prefer if it was only Steam if you buy it on Steam.

    • staberas says:

      There is only one thing i care about the game and the platform WORKS.

      • P.Funk says:

        WORKS can be such a relative term. By many standards GFWL “worked” just fine.

        • Wut The Melon says:

          I don’t think ‘working’ is a relative term – if the service allows you to play the game normally when you want to, it ‘works’. But it’s not binary: yes, GFWL and Uplay work, but only ‘usually’. I fortunately don’t have much experience with GFWL, but Uplay has locked me out of playing games and categorically deleted my savefiles (even with cloudsaving turned off and the service in its ‘offline’ setting) before.

          Now, Steam doesn’t always work either, but it is far more reliable than Uplay, or from what I’ve heard GFWL. Origin I wasn’t so sure about until it decided to make my Steam install of Mass Effect 2 unplayable a couple of weeks back. But obviously no DRM is still the most reliable if you just want to play your games…

        • GiantPotato says:

          For any piece of software I didn’t specifically seek out, I divide the number of times I’ve noticed it by the number of hours it spends running. By that metric, Steam works well, but less well than it used to. Uplay doesn’t work well, but is improving. And GWFL was a complete mess any way you look at it.

    • Leonick says:

      Same here. While I’d prefer if it wasn’t there it’s not going to stop me from enjoying a good game any more than the launchers for Skyrim or War Thunder.

      I’m getting a boxed version anyway so I’ll be rid of Steam so that makes it even less of a pain.

      • kevinspell says:

        Comparing Uplay to Skyrim launcher…OK. So I guess you don’t really have a clue what Uplay is and how it works.

        Well, you see, the thing is, if the Uplay servers go offline, it WILL STOP your from enjoying a good game. And if you are really lucky maybe it will even delete your save games and you’ll get to enjoy your game two times.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          But Skyrim does require Steam. It’s precisely the same.

          They even patched it when it turned out you could run the executable outside of Steam.

          • fish99 says:

            Steam’s offline mode is pretty decent these days, and if your connection goes down while playing Skyrim, you won’t get yanked out of the game or lose any progress.

            Having said all that, I don’t know whether new titles on UPlay are still always-online-only. I think they are – I remember AssFlag pulling me out of the game when my connection went down.

          • kevinspell says:

            Well since Skyrim (and, as far as I know, War Thunder also) has an actual launcher with game options and stuff, when you say Skyrim launcher we are not talking about Steam anymore.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Uplay also works find in offline mode. If that’s the criteria, then there are no problems.

            And I’m not sure how the launcher for Skyrim is relevant. To start that launcher you need to have Steam running.

            Edit: also, Steam will gladly fuck up your save games with the cloud sync if it’s in that mood some day. But it can be disabled. As it can in Uplay. There is nothing Uplay does that Steam doesn’t.

            Mind you: I think both are bad.

            Edit edit: yes, offline in Steam works decently now. But that’s a recent thing. For years and years and years there was a bug that messed it up so you needed to be online to go offline or go and hex edit a file as some character would mess up if Steam wasn’t shut down manually before you shut down the computer. That’s fucking Valve for you. And yet people don’t care. Blows my mind!

          • fish99 says:

            Well Steam has never yanked me out of a game due to loss of my connection (in a single player game), which UPlay has.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            And Uplay has never done it for me.

            Games I’ve played on it:

            AssCreed 2
            Ass Creed 3
            Driver San Fran
            Splinter Cell Something Something
            Splinter Cell Conviction
            Silent Hunter 5 aka. The Really Shitty One
            Anno 2070
            Far Cry 3

            So, if we’re doing anecdotal evidence, I submit that.

            I also may have played too many AssCreed games…

          • fish99 says:

            That’s great, but it *has* happened to me. AssFlag, 5 minutes after starting the game I had ‘synchronization lost’ and was dumped back to the main menu. Like I said you don’t get yanked out of Skyrim when your connection goes down, so you can’t equate running Skyrim through Steam with an always-online single-player game on UPlay.

            That’s the only point I’m making here.

          • basilisk says:

            Fish99 – AssFlag is not always on. When I played it, my connection was particularly wonky, and whenever it crapped out, the game merely informed me of the fact, disabled the online stuff and kept running. This doesn’t have much to do with Uplay, either; the game simply has an optional and mostly invisible online component, not entirely unlike Dark Souls, but can run without it.

            I did play a Uplay game with always-on, the mediocre PoP: Forgotten Sands. That one did throw you out whenever your connection was down, but they are no longer doing that, and haven’t been for years now.

            So I don’t know what happened in your case, but it’s not designed to do that, and it’s AssFlag’s fault rather than Uplay’s.

    • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

      those ubi fuckers could at least “sync” the uplay achievements with steam ones, which means add steam achievements to their game, but no.

      • iainl says:

        Why would they add a feature to the Steam version of their product that would encourage people to buy from there instead of directly from the Uplay client? Allowing people to use Steam is an unavoidable fact of business in AAA PC Games for most, but I wouldn’t expect them to push people away to it.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      There used to be a popular thread in the Steam Community’s Might & Magic: Heroes VI section that detailed quite a few issues with the Steam version of Uplay. It got thousands of responses before it was finally locked and deleted by moderators — apparently someone at Ubisoft and/or Valve was very uncomfortable with the amount of attention the subject was getting, so they canned it.

      The most well-known issue I can think of is the fact that a Uplay/Steam conflict prevented Heroes VI from running at all for many Steam owners of the game, and that both Ubi and Steam were well aware of the issue and refused to fix it or offer refunds. There were also a bunch of other complaints about performance problems and technical issues detailed in the thread I referred to above.

      • Swanny says:

        I think this is one of the most important points so far.

        Steam, Origin, and Uplay generally work, but put two services together and dumb things start to happen. I’m having a hell of a time trying to get DLC to work on Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition purchased through Steam.

  4. Horg says:

    Uplay, you say? No sale, I say.

  5. Themadcow says:

    2 days ago I bought a uplay version of Might and Magic X and every time I try to start or close the game it spends 3 minutes trying to back up my savegames to ‘the Cloud’ before failing, then another 2 mins trying to backup my achievements (all none of them since the last load)… and failing.

    \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ uplay \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

    (although in that instance IF I’d bought it on Steam I’d have only needed to register it on Uplay rather than have to bloody use the thing)

    • Caiman says:

      I had the same problem, until I turned off save game synchronisation. Apparently this also has the benefit of stopping UPlay from erasing your save games periodically, so I heartily recommend it.

      • Themadcow says:

        Cheers! I’ll sort that out tonight then. I assumed there would be a way to turn it off but being World Class at lazyness (I’m too lazy to look up the correct way of spelling laziness) prevented me from action.

    • Bweahns says:

      I got the latest HoMM game awhile back and got the shits with uplay. I ended up just installing HoMM 3 from over a decade ago and spent a few weeks addicted once again.
      The more I learnt about the Watchdugs the less interested I became. Uplay is the final nail in the not going to bother playing coffin.

    • Moraven says:

      Cloud save of XCom rarely works for me. Each platform seems to be hit or miss. Titanfall has missed it once. Had no problems with Anno or Heroes 6 on Uplay (launched through Steam).

  6. Stevostin says:

    RPS: one day mocking people who only want their games on Steam, the other day complaining that not everyone use steam as standard for multiplayer / community features. I can go with any stance but not both.

    • Wut The Melon says:

      RPS: A gaming news blog written by more than one person, with probably more than one opinion, which is generally more nuanced than ‘Steam is great’ or ‘Steam is bad’.

      Or, if you want a serious response, for hopefully obvious reasons Steam is preferable to having some form of regularly dysfunctional DRM on top of Steam, but that doesn’t immediately mean that in an ideal world every single game is released with Steam DRM.

      • Lemming says:

        Indeed. If Ubisoft could make up their mind to shit or get off the pot like EA have done, and JUST used Uplay or JUST used Steam, I’d have no problem with it (albeit I’d still be not buying Ubisoft games, but I’d at least respect it).

        This “one foot in each” approach just pissed people off and betrays a lack of confidence in Uplay, and if there is a lack of confidence in Uplay – why fucking use it?

        But, yeah it’s much easier for Steam’s detractors to ignore all that and comment about how Steam is DRM and ‘never works’ over, and over.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yeah it’s like these goddamn politicians. One day they’re all, “Gay Rights and Equality!” and the next day they’re all shouting like homophobes. Make up your mind people!

  7. DarkLiberator says:

    Raise your hand if you were surprised. Why would their own most “hyped up” game of the year NOT have Uplay?

    Well, anyways, probably will buy, but I’m waiting for reviews first.

    • ModeratelyMotivated says:

      I guess it’s just been so long since I’ve played a UBISoft game that I forgot this was a thing. Regardless, I made a promise to myself not to take any more of this crap and I’m nothing if not spiteful.

    • Lemming says:

      I guess people were hoping that no Uplay for one of their top new titles would mean the service was coming to an end. South Park and Call of Juraz: Gunslinger are two that don’t, for example.

  8. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Haven’t had any real issues with Uplay up till now tbh. If anything, I’ve had more issues with Steam over the years.

    Both are bloated and unnecessary in my opinion, but that’s the way of things.

  9. Low Life says:

    Left 47 Dead, in which Agent 47 is given one last contract by The Agency: Assassinate all the zombies.

  10. Rodney Dee says:

    I’m wondering whether a retail version might also use Steamworks on top of Uplay…

    • c-Row says:

      I suppose it will be uPlay only, like Far Cry 3 (Retail) before it for example.

    • nu1mlock says:

      No, it will not. The game doesn’t use Steamworks at all, not when bought on Steam either.

    • revan says:

      Just Uplay. You don’t have to go retail. Just use another digital distribution site.

  11. P.Funk says:

    I remember the day I launched GTA4 on Steam for the first time. Log into steam, log into R* Social Club, Log into GFWL. Then I got to the mission where I had to log onto the internet….

    • revan says:

      Now that you mentioned it, I reinstalled GTAIV couple of months ago and went through all the same steps, groaning all the while. I enter into the game, finally, and it asks me to install Adobe Flash Player 9 if I want to use Social Club stuff (which I don’t), even though I have Flash 11 installed. :/ It was “Delete Local Content” after that.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Yo we put Xzibit in your Xzibit² so you can put stuff in stuff while you stuff stiff in stoff.

    • silentdan says:

      I loathe the Rockstar Social Club with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. I’m told that Max Payne 3 is pretty fun. I bought a copy. It installed. I fired it up. It took me 90 minutes to get past RSC (did it also have GFWL? I think I recall wrestling with GFWL, too, but I might be mixing up memories) and into a game that actually saved its checkpoints such that I could reload them after exiting the game. In the end, the experience so infuriated me that I was stuck in a “hate everything” frame of mind for the rest of the evening, which prevented me from getting into the game, and ultimately freed up 30GB of disk space. Steam has problems, but it’s got some pretty compelling advantages, too. Origin, as far as I can tell, adds no value for the consumer whatsoever, existing only to allow EA to use non-Steam digital distribution. I have two or three games on Origin, but if that number ever hits double digits, I’ll be surprised. UPlay is crap at best, and at worst, a digital wall between me and the content I paid for. Before I buy a UPlay game, I’ll read through my Steam backlog to see if maybe I’d rather do something else. But RSC is a dealbreaker. No more of that, ever, period. It’s worse than GFWL ever was, and that is a very, very low bar to limbo under.

  12. Screamer says:

    So someone here thought Ubisoft will release their latest high profile title without Uplay???

    • Horg says:

      One day Ubisoft will come round to the idea that Uplay is losing them money and abandon the client. This will probably kill all games that require Uplay, but it might just allow for a future where their games aren’t crippled but shitty bloatware.

      • silentdan says:

        Yes, but when they retire UPlay, it will be succeeded by UPlay Next Extreme Ultimate which also runs on XBones or something. You’re right, they’ll realize it’s discouraging purchases, but they’ll believe deep in the very core of their beings that the problem with UPlay is that it’s not UPlay *enough* and the key to success is to jack all that rotten garbage up to 11.

  13. 9of9 says:

    I kind of wish Ubisoft had the balls to start up their distribution service à la Origin, rather than sticking with their bloatware shenanigans. I really can’t fault EA for trying to break away from Steam’s monopoly on PC distribution (sure, Steam’s ‘loved’ by all, but it’s still in our best interest to make sure it doesn’t become an absolute monopoly). Sure, it means more things to install on my hard-drive, but at least I DON’T HAVE TO BE RUNNING ALL OF THEM AT FUCKING ONCE.

    UPlay is just kind of offensive, because it feels like they’re not even committed enough to the platform to start up their own service like EA. It’s just a cursory nod of ‘well, if you really want to play our stuff with your mouse and your shitty keyboard, you’re gonna have to make things easier for us and jump through a few hoops that we’ve lazily wedged in between you and the game’.

    • Surlywombat says:

      Ubisoft have a store. Just buy the game direct from them if you don’t want it linked to steam

      • lavenders2 says:

        Of course, if you want you can just buy the game from steam and launch it from uplay and I don’t think it requires steam.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Uplay has a store in the client. Just a browser page like Steam’s in-client store.

    • Lemming says:

      Extremely well put, I’ve often said the same thing.

  14. basilisk says:

    So where’s the list of Valve games that do not rely on Steam, eh? There are definitely some double standards at play here.

    Also, while the activation/patching process in Uplay used to be unbearably idiotic, they have fixed it as of AC: Pirates and it’s now pretty much equivalent to Steam’s. I know it’s fashionable to hate on Uplay, and no, it’s not a perfect piece of software, but I quite honestly don’t see anything terribly wrong with it. Stop feeding the negative hype train.

    Because seriously, this is not news. This was a given right from the start.

    • Distec says:

      From the perspective of somebody who makes most purchases through Steam, there’s no good reason for UPlay to be running on top of it already.

      • basilisk says:

        I do agree with that, which is why I simply don’t buy Uplay games from Steam anymore. It’s more convenient and often cheaper to buy a Uplay key from anywhere else. Problem solved.

    • dE says:

      Uplay Download Speed:
      Steam Download Speed:

      Yep. Double Standards. Until Uplay gets its download speeds up to… speed, they can go away. I won’t wait several weeks for a download, because they’re saving out on server bandwith for my region.

      • iainl says:

        So very much this. I can’t believe I can download entire games from Steam in less time than it takes UPlay to apply a tiny patch.

      • Ramacc says:

        But according to your comparison, uplay is 3.5 kilobytes per second faster than steam.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Ahem: link to

      Look at that list carefully.

      Yes, some games require the publishers client, some do not. That is on both sides (possibly for some, a very few, Origin games too).

      But it’s the “multiple clients running” problem. I’d play it if it only needed one (specifically Uplay I guess as that’s the one they own). But Uplay is not something I’m putting on this machine.

      • basilisk says:

        I explicitly said Valve’s games. I am well aware of that list, thank you.

        (And yes, I am also aware that HL2 is no longer Steam dependent, but it’s also almost ten years old.)

    • PikaBot says:

      Valve is a developer, releasing games they have made themselves. Ubisoft is a publisher, releasing games made by a variety of developers working under them.

      The two aren’t remotely equivalent.

      • Ogun says:

        Would be more sympathetic to uPlay if it seemed like some serious time and/or money had been spent on it. uPlay doesn’t feel like it has the background infrastructure (downtime, slow speeds) or the frontend sorted and it doesn’t feel like it was really planned. It feels like software that’s gone through a few significant iterations in response to a series of screw-ups and ill-conceived ideas and still doesn’t really work reliably.

        Steam has similar issues to a far, far lesser degree (e.g. the midnight GMT disconnections are infuriating and browsing the shop is clunky – they could make more money from me if I could press ‘back’ and be returned to the point I left in a list) – but I’m as happy as I can be with Steam because it does what it’s supposed to do reasonably well.

      • Emeraude says:

        What, in your opinion, is it about the fact that Valve is independent and self published that makes it totally different from Ubisoft being the publisher of games for third parties, on top of publishing games by its own studios, as is the case here, (and that in spite of Valve being so far the biggest DD *distributor*) ?

        Genuine question.

    • Alexrd says:

      I agree. I find it more disturbing the amount of games (from Valve or not) that require Steamworks than Ubisoft games requiring uPlay.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    Well, there we go, that was inevitable. Now I can stop caring about if it’s managed to live up to its promise or become That Generic AAA Game in hacker’s clothing.

  16. Hunchback says:

    Sad, it seems to me that every time there’s a piece of news about this game, it gets worse and worse. I doubt i’ll even bother to pirate it, in the end…

    GG Ubisoft :S

  17. Talahar says:

    Umm, isn’t that the case for pretty much any Ubisoft developed game of recent years?
    How is this news? Ubisoft does Uplay, EA does Origin,
    we players are left to either accept it or or not buy it.

    The whole other thing of course is that both uplay and origin are crap,
    prone to breaking whenever they release an update, and that these companies
    shouldn’t have tried to imitate steam unless they could deliver a product of at least
    similar quality, but both failed to do so pretty spectacularly. But that’s not news either.

  18. MOKKA says:

    I can’t say much about Uplay’s quality, it’s certainly more stable than GFWL, but it just feels weird everytime, when I boot up a client (Steam) to boot up a game, which than boots up another client, which than boots up the game.
    It’s the main reason I try to stay away from Ubisoft games. Sure, I probably could buy it via a different service, but I don’t usually do this with AAA titles.

  19. Yargh says:

    After my dismal experience with AC Black Flag, entirely due to UPlay messing up my account, I’ll be avoiding this one.

    A real shame to shackle enjoyable single-player games with such buggy garbage.

  20. Husa says:

    I wouldn’t mind if you needed one or the the other, I’d still get these through steam. Guess what AAA games I don’t own..

    I gave UPLAY a few chances, but I’ve made my mind in not buying anything that requires it.

    Origin is also on my nope list, I was tempted by BF4 but didn’t get it because of previous mishaps and service.

    • fish99 says:

      You can just get it on UPlay, or buy a UPlay key from a 3rd party. It doesn’t have to be on both.

  21. Lord of the Fungi says:

    After the uPlay experience I had with Black Flag, I vowed to never again buy any game that uses this crap. What’s worse, I gave my flatmate permission to slap me silly should I ever break that vow. As I can’t risk getting any dumber that I am already, I’m afraid I have to skip this game.

  22. Laurentius says:

    So we are past the point of “pick your poison” and embracing “have all of them”.

  23. revan says:

    It’s Ubisoft game so I’ve come to expect Uplay to go with it. Although it is overkill to include Uplay on Steam purchased game. That’s why I don’t buy anything Ubisoft there. It’s usually GamersGate or Green Man Gaming for me when it comes to their titles. I haven’t had any problems with Uplay, but that’s in large part because I don’t have many of their games (three, to be precise), all bought on sale.

    I’ll probably do the same with Watch Dogs if I buy it at all. Looks more and more like modern day AC and I grew bored of that one after AC2.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      It is going to be exactly a “modern day Assassin’s Creed”. I’m shocked that anyone ever thought it was going to be anything different.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Nah… it will be much much much more systemic than Assassin’s Creed.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Although it is overkill to include Uplay on Steam purchased game.

      Pro tip: you can launch Steam/Uplay games without Steam adding this command line to game shortcut ‘ -uplay_steam_mode’.

  24. Ianuarius says:

    Honestly, I’m fine with Uplay. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    I’m not, however, fine with developers lying to us when it comes to their games. So if I ever pick up Watch Dogs it’ll be when it’s like five bucks. Could’ve been day one purchase. A real shame.

  25. derbefrier says:

    This means I will probably buy it on my xbone if I buy it at all. Uplay is kind of annoying

  26. wyrm4701 says:

    That’s too bad, I really wanted to buy this game. I’m not going to pay full price for a single-player game that’s hobbled with UPlay.

  27. trjp says:

    How is “UBISoft game to use UBISoft launcher” in any way ‘news’???

    All of UBIs recent games(*) use UPlay ‘even when on Steam’ (or Origin or wherever else)

    (*) with the exception of Rayman Oranges which was promoted as ‘DRM Free’ and The Might Quest for Epic F2P Loot which I suspect, being an MMO, just needed more updating than UPlay was capable of delivering?

    I’ve had some horrible experiences with UPlay but that they’d use it in a game is hardly surprising – is it?

  28. Davidsve says:

    Might be going out on a limb here, but I always download/torrent Ubisoft games. I have bought many of their titles in the past, but a couple of years ago (when their systematic approach to releasing annual versions of the same game became apparent), I just decided not to support them anymore. If a game turns out to be worth the asking price, then I will buy it. Until then, piracy suits me fine. As a bonus, I don’t have to bother with Uplay.

    • rikvanoostende says:


      • Davidsve says:

        Oh, I know it’s wrong, but please elaborate.

        • derbefrier says:

          because stealing to fight DRM is idiotic and no one believes thats why you do it. I mean which is more likely here:

          you using piracy to battle DRM, or are you just using DRM as an excuse to steal games and not feel guilty.

          If you were a publisher which one would you choose to believe?

          • WrenBoy says:

            I guess you wouldn’t have to believe anybody you could see how often a AAA DRM free game such as The Witcher 2 is pirated compared to equivalent DRM games.

            Of course it doesn’t matter either way since there is no evidence that piracy impacts sales.

          • Davidsve says:

            I’m not fighting DRM, I just gave up on Ubisoft. I still buy games (preferably via Steam). My point is, if Uplay and Ubisoft irritate you so much, why keep buying their products? Piracy has become a functioning try-before-you-buy option for me, and it has saved me a lot of money and frustration.

            I think gamers need to be more selective with their purchases, is all. Buying Watch_Dogs and finding out it’s not very good (and having to deal with Uplay in the process) and end up complaining on the internet about it is not very effective. Ubisoft still has your money, and will continue to publish the games that generate the most hype and profit.

            Also, what happened to demos?

          • Emeraude says:

            Davidsve says:Also, what happened to demos?

            Publishers seemingly realized they prevented more sales than they created (there are more people who, having tried the demo, will decide the game is not worth their time than people who will refuse to take the chance with the game because there is no demo – especially in the Holy First Month). As such they were judged a complete misspending, and mostly abandoned.

            That’s one story anyway.

          • silentdan says:

            I found myself in a difficult position with Silent Hunter V. The UPlay integration was total and broken (it kicks you out of the game if it thinks your internet is down, and it had a *lot* of false alarms.) The submarine sim genre is underserved, and I didn’t want to deprive one of the few developers of a sale … but I also wouldn’t put up with that kind of UPlay crap, so I bought it on Steam, and never downloaded it from Steam (until a few years later when the problems were sorted out.) No one could credibly claim that I’d “stolen” the game after paying full price for it, but even I couldn’t deny I’d pirated it. I’ve rejected their control, but paid them what they asked. Where do I stand morally on that one?

            This is a scarcity-of-competition problem. If there were many viable publishers to choose from, no one would be able to get away with pulling a stunt like UPlay, because the developers and the customers alike would shun a company that tried that. The problem is that companies become dominant through business/financial savvy, not by creating a quality product and letting the market decide. When the parts of capitalism that serve consumers stop working, I hold the parts that serve the rich in much less regard.

        • Lemming says:

          Well, you asked…

          If you don’t want to support them, don’t buy their games, which means don’t play them. There is no justification for pirating a game unless the game is unavailable by any other means. At best you could just be buying the console versions that don’t have the DRM. (I did this for Diablo 3 and Rayman Origins, for instance), as it still sends the appropriate message to that publisher concerning PC gaming DRM.

          By pirating it, you aren’t someone with a principle, you’re just a selfish child who wants their cake and to eat it too that finds the simple process of just not playing a particular game an inconceivable concept, when it isn’t. There are no shortage of great games, you just need to gain some perspective. I haven’t played an EA game on PC since Mass Effect 2. I haven’t played a Ubisoft game on PC since Anno 2070.

          • Emeraude says:

            Rayman Origin was one of the few ubi exception: no uPlay, no DRM. Bought it on PC day one myself.

            That being said, as someone who does not pirate myself (well, there was that one exception for Human Revolution, but I did buy it day one full price, so I don’t feel too conflicted about it): “voting with your wallet” is a fallacy. It doesn’t work. The minority of people who’s willing to inconvenience itself for the sake of long term principles is and will always be just that, a minority; on the grand scheme of things our buying or not doesn’t make enough of a splash to matter*. Others will take the path of least resistance (whether, as with Steam, just shut up and swallow the pill, or piracy) . If you don’t buy, publishers don’t take you into account at all – dixit the publishers themselves, you’re not one of their paying customers, so why should they care ? If you do buy a console “DRM free” version, they don’t take that into account – that’s not part of their narrative. Best of both worlds for them, even: they can coax you into buying it on one platform anyway, while keeping the other as is, so why bother changing anything ?

            As a friend of mine would put it, at least piracy as two advantages.
            One, it makes the publisher aware that you were interested in the game, but not in the conditions in which it was being sold. Now your issue may have been that the price was too high (including not null), but there are myriads of reasons, and it’s the publisher’s job to find a way to turn those people who don’t buy into paying customers if possible.
            Two, it throws back the negative affect of being forced into piracy right back at the publisher, because they have the data, and they hate it. Probably at least as much as players hate being forced to use uPlay, or Steam, or Origin. That’s a Pyhrric, mean spirited and childish victory at best, but I must confess I can understand the appeal when you think you have no chance of winning anyway. At least the situation is shitty for everyone, not just you.

            *: now I do think what people in management have been forgetting these past ten years or so, is that you can ignore one or two such niche/minorities, but when you ignore all, or most of them, suddenly you don’t have much of a market to speak off. Just a glass core that offers you no mobility, nor leeway, for fear of shattering.

          • Davidsve says:

            I really hope you (and others who get all worked up when someone brings up piracy) are corporate devs, otherwise I think your reactions are a bit strong. Are you personally at a loss when someone downloads a Ubisoft game? No? Then just relax and let’s discuss it for a bit, buddy.

            “If you don’t want to support them, don’t buy their games, which means don’t play them. There is no justification for pirating a game unless the game is unavailable by any other means.”
            Who plays games they don’t like? If I like a game, I buy it to support the devs. The problem might be that I can’t afford to buy every title I’m interested in, so I might have to be careful with my purchases. Now, how will I know, in a world where AAA-titles avoid demos, if Ubisoft (or EA, or Rockstar, et al.) will actually deliver on the games they’ve been promoting? Personally, I read reviews, watch gameplay videos, or sit in on a friend playing it, etc. Now, in some cases, buying games will still leave me disappointed and frustrated. Developer on top of that list? Ubisoft.

            Here’s an example:
            Bought Splinter Cell 5, was disappointed. Pirated Splinter Cell 6, deemed it too similar to SC5, and uninstalled it. Would I have bought SC6, the message to Ubisoft would’ve been “keep up the good work”. Now, piracy clearly isn’t the right way to go about it, but at least it doesn’t add to the financial incitaments and bloated sales of AAA-titles. When Splinter Cell 7 is released, I won’t have to bother. Or, I might just give it a try to see if they’ve made changes for the better (if possible by downloading a demo).

            “By pirating it, you aren’t someone with a principle, you’re just a selfish child who wants their cake and to eat it too that finds the simple process of just not playing a particular game an inconceivable concept, when it isn’t.”
            Oh, I don’t play games that I don’t like. I mean, who’s got the time? You need to differentiate between pirating software (recklessly) for personal gain, and pirating because there is no other way of trying the game before buying it (again, in lieu of demos). And, I don’t pirate indie games. Thing is, they don’t continuously lie about their products. Feel free to comment on this, but let’s keep it civil. Thanks.

          • Lemming says:


            You’re wrong about voting with your wallet having no effect. Obviously it has little effect if only a few people do it on the big AAA titles – they just get lost in the noise. But it’s shown working very well on the smaller titles. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet was an example. There was no reason to remove GFWL for it when they did, other than the fact no one was buying it on Steam because of it.

            If there were more people sticking to their principles instead of going “oh that never works anyway.”, it would actually be effective. As it is, it’s good enough as far as I’m concerned, that they aren’t getting a penny out of me.

  29. RichardDastardly says:

    You can’t buy most major PC titles from a retail store without Steam being required (Skyrim), getting mad at everyone but Valve is really pointless.

  30. gbrading says:

    If I had a choice between Uplay and the Online Services Platform, I’d chose Uplay any day. At least Uplay doesn’t force you to be online to play single-player games (except when it does).

  31. Simbosan says:

    Just remember, you can’t *buy* a game with UPlay, you can only rent it. If you close down your UPlay account as I did, you lose access to ALL Ubisoft games. All your serial keys become invalid. Uf*ck off basically.

    • Shooop says:

      That’s true of any digital distribution except GOG.

      If Valve decided they didn’t want you to play a Steamworks game anymore, you wouldn’t either.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Let’s please not conflate these things.

        It’s not intrinsic to digital distribution, it’s intrinsic to account-based DRM. There are other non-DRM digital distrubtors (old Humble Bundles), and other non-digitally-distributed account-based-DRM-locked games (boxed copies of GFWL games).

      • Stellar Duck says:

        But it doesn’t matter when it’s Valve!

    • Lemming says:

      Curious: If you close down a Uplay account, does it remove the game from your Steam account also? Would be lovely if it did. I could get rid of a past mistake.

    • Simbosan says:

      I didn’t mean just UPlay games, I said ALL ubisoft games. Any Ubisoft game that connects online will be blocked

  32. Winged Nazgul says:

    I have had nothing but headaches with uPlay. I foresee more headaches to come since I do want to play this game eventually.

  33. SuicideKing says:

    Like some of our other AAA releases, including Far Cry 3, Splinter Cell Blacklist, and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Watch Dogs will be available on Steam a few weeks after the console release.


  34. Shooop says:

    The only game I’ve played that’s tied to Uplay is Far Cry Blood Dragon, and it went into offline mode without any issues after validating the game once.

    But I bought that off GamersGate so I didn’t have to deal with two DRM clients at the same time.

  35. Zaxwerks says:

    My usual order for purchasing games these days is… -> Steam sale -> boxed copy or Origin (whatever is cheaper) -> unholy pact with Satan -> uPlay

    I have Virgin 100mb broadband, I get the full bandwidth from gog, same for Steam, same for Origin, through uPlay I usually get 73kb… yep KILObits… with the launcher trying to update ever other day it seems whenever I try and play a game that uses it…those Ubisoft muppets couldn’t manage a server farm if their lives depended on it.

    Just a hint Ubisoft when I click the play button I normally don’t want to wait 15 minutes before the game then starts.

    • revan says:

      Yeah, always uses up my entire bandwidth (40mb). Even when they had their insomnia sale, and people were buying and downloading like crazy on the first day, I asked, jokingly, if their servers will crash when I start downloading NWN2? One of the staff guys said: ‘go ahead’. I did and the speed didn’t dip an inch the whole 18 or so gigabytes. Steam is the same, with a slowdown occurring once or twice when there is abysmal amount of traffic, usually weekends.

      Origin is tricky. I had to open up a lot of ports for them to use. They seem to have occasional trouble with NAT as well. Doesn’t make sense, since they can only see your public address and not what’s going on your LAN, but it happened. But once you set everything up, their servers take everything you can give them. Uplay is definitely worst of the lot, sometimes stopping altogether, forcing me to manually pause downloads before they would deign to resume.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I feel sorry for your 40 millibit connection. Just this page hogged your connection for 448,47 years.
        I’ve found that changing the broad bands into really long shoestring can both lower lacency and give firmer connection ends when tying the knot in the cups.

        (sorry :P).

  36. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    Dang it, Mr. Grayson, now you have reminded me how I desperatelly wanted to play Half-life: The Pirates edition : (
    G-man, take me to alternative dimensions!

  37. PikaBot says:

    What I want to know is if Child of Light will escape this curse.

  38. 2late2die says:

    I’m right with you Nathan. I’ve played Far Cry 3 and AssCreed 4 and the UPlay thing was just a minor inconvenience – after the initial authentication and update I just had to wait for it to load before the game itself would start. But then it didn’t add any value to the experience. All it did was give some upoints and some achievements, that would’ve been better served attached to my Steam account instead. The whole thing just stinks of “us too” mentality – Valve has Steam so UbiSoft must have its own service otherwise they’re somehow losing money or some BS like that.

  39. QbertEnhanced says:

    I wonder how long before someone cracks it.

  40. nimbulan says:

    Why is this news? It’s not like Ubisoft hasn’t done this with every single AAA release in the last couple years.

  41. DrManhatten says:

    Just scratched Watch Dog off my list. Well done Ubisoft for being even more backwater than Steam!

  42. Marrow says:

    When Ubisoft let me switch Uplay to offline mode so I can play this and AC/Far Cry on my laptop at work, then I will embrace it with open arms. Same went for GFWL.

    Everyone saying steam is just as bad clearly doesn’t live somewhere with unreliable internet, or need to go to offline mode to play when travelling.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Any particular reason you can’t do that now? Start the executable with no connection and then click “Go Offline”.

      I just did that. Blocked it in my firewall and went into offline more on start up.

      Better start embracing!

      Edit: Not embracing it yet? It was just empty posturing then? How surprising!

      • silentdan says:

        Seriously, man, this comes across as “hey, you know those problems you claim to have had? Well, I haven’t encountered them, therefore you have no problems. Start embracing!” You’re just assuming your own conclusion. It’s not persuading anyone.

  43. Rockman says:

    Ugh, PS4 version it is then -_-

  44. buzzmong says:

    Well, I’ll just wait for reviews then. If it’s good, I’ll look into seeing if I need to use U-play to install it and if there’s a no-Uplay crack I can use. If there is, then I’ll buy it, install and crack it.

    If not, then I won’t buy it. Burnt by Uplay before.

  45. MacTheGeek says:

    Watch_Dogs just made my wishlist.

    For the Winter Sale.

    In 2015.

    When it’s $5.

    Tell ya what, Ubisoft. You keep using the attract-flies-with-vinegar method to grow your service, and I’ll keep waiting until your games hit rock-bottom prices. I have patience, and you have stockholders. Guess who’s going to win?

  46. racccoon says:

    STEAMS a Monopoly it needs to be shutup. The only way to do it is for rival company’s to have to still include it(STEAM) but, use it and have their launcher after it, It sucks but STEAM has created this, this makes the player say what do I need STEAM for this game anyway. just launch Uplay or whatever, STEAM is just a silly tool that updates itself and follows, updates and updates. and follows your every internet move.
    In order for you not to be followed you must distant yourself before you load STEAM otherwise as most of STEAM uses do, just let it take down your every move on the internet, it’ll also follow you afterwards too and store this info constantly in its data base.
    For those who want to be safe from STEAM’s data theft before launching steam use the code I made below, you can also use it if your not using STEAM as a dns clearer, it has a timer and all you do is turn it off before the time runs out.

    @netsh int ip reset C:WindowsTEMPIPRESETLOG.txt >nul

    @ipconfig /flushdns >nul

    ipconfig /all

    cd C:Program Files (x86)Steam
    start steam.exe

    save as forksteamdns.bat or whatever you want to call it.
    then paste shortcut on your desktop.

  47. soopytwist says:

    What’s the problem? Run Uplay offline you moaning gits.

  48. Carr0t says:

    My main problem with UPlay is that I typoed my name when first signing up and will now forever be known as Corr0t :-/

  49. reggiep says:

    Interesting. In all of this “how is uplay any worse than steam” nonsense, I see no mention of big picture mode. This game was clearly made to be played on a controller. Uplay does not function with Steam Big Picture. That’s a rather large annoyance. Pretty simple really.

    I can actually even load Origin games into Steam and launch them through Big Picture (if I’m already logged into Origin). You can’t do that with Uplay. Uplay is easily the worst of the 3 though I don’t really mind the points system they have that unlocks in-game content.