To sum up: Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was released with numerous glitches. To “apologize” for the crappy launch they are giving away free bonus content for all owners and also a free game to players who agreed to buy all bonus content upfront. However, people have discovered that to receive your free game you have to agree to a waiver of liability for all issues relating to the AC: Unity launch.
From a contract perspective there is probably nothing wrong with what Ubisoft is doing. In fact, they may even be overcompensating because the season pass was only worth $30, whereas the game is worth about $60.
However, it seems quite sneaky to offer the game as an apology but also to bury the waiver of liability in it. So then the question is are they really trying to apologize for the game’s issues or are they more concerned about protecting themselves? There was also no mention of the waiver despite the FAQ containing a full block of capitalized terms regarding the free game offer.
I don’t know if the waiver was necessary. Is it really likely they were going to get sued from this? Perhaps their lawyers were worried due to a judge recently allowing a lawsuit against Sony for Killzone: Shadowfall’s graphics to proceed. I just feel like the legal risk they may have eliminated is probably far outweighed by the further damage to their brand.
Finally, reading about this reminded me about our course. We have seen publishers aggressively use EULAs and TOUs to control numerous aspects of games like preventing otherwise legal activities (reverse engineering) and even preventing ownership (games are licensed, not sold).
Do you have any thoughts on this?
1. Ubisoft’s letter of apology
2. Free game offer FAQ
3. Example of a glitch (humorous but could also be slightly frightening)