If you regularly purchase used games – or rent, borrow or otherwise access games as their second user – you’ll probably be quite familiar with the concept of the multiplayer not working. But bits of the single player game being neatly walled off behind these box-in one-use codes? That’s not quite so familiar.
That’s the case with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s fleet system and Ubisoft’s Uplay Passport.
The system works like this: board a ship during the game and you’ll have the option to add that ship to your fleet and use it through the course of the game in much the same way as you used recruited assassins in Brotherhood. You can dispatch it around to do a spot of plundering on your behalf, basically. That yields plenty of benefits in your single player game. Without the Uplay Passport, that aspect won’t function.
The Uplay Passport is a single use code that comes in every box when you buy the game new. If you buy it second hand or borrow a friend’s copy and they’ve already used the code then you’ll have to purchase a new code from the online stores if you want to access this useful element of the game.
There are some online elements to this fleet system – your friends can assist you on missions. That said, it’s not integral to how the system works in your single player game and could easily have been cut off for those without what we would have collectively called an “Online Pass” a few months ago.
So, is this an understandable and necessary step for Ubisoft to take in the fight against pre-owned sales that they see negligible benefits from? Or, is it another egregious assault on the consumer by a bunch of greedy suits around a board table somewhere?