Ubisoft's servers have been down/overloaded for around the last ten hours, making it impossible for people in some parts of the world to play Assassin's Creed II. Which is certainly not amusing if you're someone who bought the game despite the DRM (that requires constant connection to their servers), and trusted that Ubisoft would not allow something like this to happen. Especially not in the first week. An enraged forum thread appeared on Ubi's site, which eventually led to a post from Community Manager "Ubi.Vigil", who explained that the situation was, "unacceptable". And then time ticked on.
Responding to furious posts on the Ubi forum, the community manager's comment in full was contrite and seemingly shocked:
"I don't have any clear information on what the issue is since I'm not in the office, but clearly the extended downtime and lengthy login issues are unacceptable, particularly as I've been told these servers are constantly monitored.
I'll do what I can to get more information on what the issue is here first thing tomorrow and push for a resolution and assurance this won't happen in the future. I realise that's not ideal but there's only so much I can do on a weekend as I'm not directly involved with the server side of this system."
Elsewhere on the Ubi forums, in the announcements section, Vigil states:
"Due to exceptional demand, we are currently experiencing difficulties with the Online Service Platform. This does not affect customers who are currently playing, but customers attempting to start a game may experience difficulty in accessing our servers. We are currently working to resolve this issue and apologize for any inconvenience."
It's now been over ten hours.
It's hard to imagine how this demand could be "exceptional" in the first week of release - surely it's the "first ever" demand?
It's also hard to get an idea on the scale of the problem, since the forum thread is a surprisingly light seven pages long, rather than the hundreds you might expect to see. However, the official announcements from Ubi seem to imply it's a wider trouble.
The DRM was clearly ludicrous from its first announcement, and Ubisoft could not have been sent a more clear message by a worldwide reaction of outrage. They persisted with it anyway (quashing some people's suspicions that this was a deliberately OTT announcement so they could appear to back down on it later), and despite repeated warnings that it was untenable continued to boast the "feature" as a bonus for gamers. This weekend people have not been gamers, because their game wouldn't run.
After Ubisoft's emphatic denial that the pirated versions of both Ass Creed II and Silent Hunter V work properly, we've been receiving unofficial reports that, with a couple of slightly peculiar work-arounds, they work just fine. We have no first-hand evidence of this, so cannot state it as fact. But either way, those that paid for their product that have sat in fury as their game refused to run all day. Either way, legitimate customers cannot play the game.
It's time for Ubisoft to admit this was a mistake, back down, and make their games playable by their customers.