Here’s a free game and a waiver of liability

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?



Further reading:

1. Ubisoft’s letter of apology


2. Free game offer FAQ


3. Example of a glitch (humorous but could also be slightly frightening)


3 responses to “Here’s a free game and a waiver of liability”

  1. eduj

    Interesting post, Tony. I do not have a problem with what Ubisoft did at all. After all, the decision is up to the consumer/gamer. If you want the free game, you have to agree to the waiver. In the alternative, you can take Ubisoft to court and take your chances there. Realistically, I don’t see anyone doing that so perhaps the waiver was a bit of an overkill like you said, but I suppose lawyers can never be too careful. I would’ve done the same thing if I were Ubisoft’s lawyers. There is intrinsic value in having a peace of mind.

    It was perhaps a bit sneaky to “bury” the waiver, but I suspect that even if it wasn’t buried, few would care in light of the a free game. After all, though, I am of the view that it is a consumer’s responsibilities to read any and all terms, and if one chooses not to, they bear all the risks therein. If terms are there to be seen, it is your fault for not seeing it. This is my viewpoint only, and it obviously affects how I perceive this issue.

    As to your question whether they are really trying to apologize for the game’s issues or are they more concerned about protecting themselves, I do not see these as mutually exclusive. I see nothing wrong with preventing someone from “accepting an apology” (and getting a free game out of it) and then later reneging and attempting to seek additional remedy.

  2. jjpark

    It reminds me of the sony security breach in 2011. I accepted free games as “apology” and forgot all about it but quick google search tells me Sony is still battling class action lawsuit in multiple jurisdictions. Sony is currently awaiting approval of its settlement offer for those in United States that will cost them $15 million. ( It is also interesting to note, following the security breach, users who wished to continue to use Sony’s PSN service had to accept change to terms and conditions which required users to give up the right to join class action suit to sue Sony over any future security breach.

    The Ubisoft graphical glitch seems minuscule compared to stolen PSN account information but I guess, as noted above, you can never be too careful.

  3. eduj

    I, too, accepted free games as an apology regarding the Sony security breach. It seemed like a no-brainer to me at the moment, but obviously there were other avenues that were available to me that were not readily apparent at the moment.