Closed Beta Keys for Tom Clancy’s The Division Released

NVIDIA and Ubisoft have teamed up to provide a limited number of beta access codes for Ubisoft’s forthcoming third-person RPG shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division. The closed beta keys will allow a select number of gamers to pre-load the new game on 26th January, with the Closed Beta period running from 28th-31st January.

Tom Clancy’s The Division takes place in an open-world New York during a state of emergency, and players are tasked with restoring order to the city by investigating the release of a mysterious virus. The first five minutes of the game leaked online earlier this week, but sadly the video has now been removed for copyright infringement. From what we saw, though, the game looked pretty impressive.

Closed Beta keys can be applied for from this link.

Once you have your Closed Beta key, you must:

  1. Visit the Tom Clancy’s The Division website;
  2. Select your preferred platform (Windows PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One);
  3. Log in to (or create) a Ubisoft Uplay account;
  4. Enter your key in the field provided;
  5. Complete the registration form.

The full game, which has been eagerly anticipated since its unveiling at E3 2013, is slated for official release on 8th March, 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Ubisoft Proclaims “PC Gamers Are Important”

Ubisoft’s reputation in the PC gaming community is abysmal due to the UPlay digital distribution client and poorly optimized ports. UPlay has been plagued by network issues, poor security and launch day authentication errors. Furthermore, PC gamers prefer to own their entire library on Steam and dislike the idea of using multiple clients. Although, from a business standpoint, Ubisoft doesn’t want to pay fees to Valve for games it created. On another note, Ubisoft has openly criticized the PC platform and generalized the audience as pirates. This is completely baffling and I doubt these comments will ever be forgotten.

In 2015, the PC audience is growing at a substantial rate and Ubisoft is trying to forge a new reputation. They recently joined the Open Gaming Alliance and Ubisoft’s Consumer and Marketing Director, Sandrine Caloiaro released a statement regarding the PC market which reads:

“PC gamers are important to Ubisoft, and we’re committed to better understanding and addressing their needs and to continually improving our relationship with them. By joining the OGA, we’re able to glean gamer insights from their research, learn from best practices in our industry, and contribute to the group’s upcoming initiatives”.

Without trying to sound overly cynical, I’ve heard a lot of promises from Ubisoft before which never come to fruition. The biggest problem they face is UPlay and the widespread hatred for their digital delivery client. I understand why it exists, and only provides a similar service to Origin. However, Steam’s popularity is insurmountable, and I wonder if Valve’s fees would increase the profit due to vastly increased sales. It’s certainly an interesting argument and I would love to hear your experiences with UPlay.

Ubisoft Announce New Rewards Program

In what can be seen as another bid to draw players towards their unpopular distribution and reward service, Ubisoft announced a new rewards program to be released later this year, the Ubisoft Club. With it now available to join, I took a look to give my initial thoughts.

From my first looks at the Ubisoft Club, the service appears to incorporate a number of features into one social platform. From your Club profile, you can do simple things, such as decorate it with Ubisoft themed avatars and backgrounds and show off badges earned through playing Ubisoft games (all of which so far appear to be straight imports from Uplay Win). Another feature carried over from the Uplay Win service are the system of Uplay Units, gained by clearing certain “Actions” in Ubisoft games and spent on rewards relating to those games, from skins and wallpapers to gameplay advantages. In addition to these standing Uplay features, games bought through the Uplay store also earn you Units and the virtual currency can be exchanged for 20% off vouchers, with other rewards such as beta accesses and more hinted to be available in future.

Another new feature is your level, determined through time played on Uplay games as well as Actions and challenges completed. It is unclear at this point if your level has any effect or just serves to let you compare with your friends. Your Ubisoft Club profile also allows your friends to see your recently played games, Actions, challenges and rewards unlocked. Additionally included on your profile main pages is a news feed of you and your friends’ recent activities on Uplay and oddly, a Ubisoft Twitter feed. In all, the profile seems a little busy, with little customization beyond Ubisoft themes available.

Overall, for all Uplay is slated by the PC gaming community, at least Ubisoft seem to be making continual efforts to improve the service for their customers. And while the new Club features bring the service more into line with the social tools available on other platforms such as Steam, it doesn’t bring anything to the table that can’t be gotten elsewhere currently. And with many already having their gaming social circles on these platforms, I see low adoption as an issue for a service already possessing a negative stigma. Could this breathe life into Ubisoft’s ailing platform, or be too-little-too-late of an effort to reconcile their audience with their digital distribution platform? Or do you think this is even a step in the wrong direction, with many wishing Uplay to be more inconspicuous?

Check out the Ubisoft Club here and let us know in the comments what you think.

Where to Find the Best PC Gaming Deals!

Tired of paying full retail price for your games or waiting for the Steam Sale to roll around, only to find that most of the games that are on offer were the same games as the last sale? Well then, we’ve got a great guide to PC games deals for you, which could save you a small fortune and help you enjoy the latest games much sooner and for much less. Of course, there’s Steam, Origin and uPlay to pick from, but surely there are even more alternatives?


CD Keys

CD Keys are one of the most popular key reselling websites around and one of my own personal favourites having picked up a few great deals there over the last few months alone. Even better, the site lists more than just PC games and often has a 5% discount code available for liking their Facebook Page. Their stock updates quite a lot, so if your game isn’t on there, check back every day or so to see if it has become available. They even provide codes from various platforms such as Steam, Battle.net, GOG and uPlay, to name a few.

cdkeys


Humble Bundle

If you haven’t heard of this one, you’ve had your head under a rock for quite some time. Humble Bundle offers up some great gaming bundles, some lasting days, weeks and some that as just a few hours via their Humble Bundles pages, as well as the ever-growing Humble Store. Most of the keys are steam, but often you’ll also find mobile and other platform keys too. The bundles are mostly pay what you want, allowing for some seriously cheap deals, while their store relies on fixed prices, with regular discounts on popular titles.

Humble Bundle / Humble Store


Bundle Stars

That’s right, another bundle store, one that has been quickly growing on my radar and offering up better and better games at increasingly tempting prices. Humble Bundle may get a lot of the fame, but this one is certainly worth keeping on your bookmarks, as it offers some very wallet friendly gaming deals.

bundlestars


GOG (Good Old Games)

Don’t be fooled by the name, Good Old Games may offer a huge range of classic PC gaming titles, re-tweaked to ensure they run on modern operating systems, but they’re no stranger to new games either, such as The Witcher 3 which is proud to call GOG its home. The prices aren’t always the best on new games, but the older titles are an absolute steal and worth digging through. The best feature of GOG, however, is that all the games they sell there are DRM free, something that’s not to be sniffed at in today’s often heavily DRM-focused market.

GOG


Gamersgate

Gamesgate has years of history behind them, offering a wide range of gaming deals. It’s rarely the best-priced store, but when you’re shopping around, it’s always worth checking all the big deal sites as this one may be the winner for you. there’s plenty of regular discounts, as well as a range of games new and old that you may not find on other sites.

Gamersgate


Green Man Gaming

This is easily one of the most popular key reselling websites, with a solid reputation behind their name that’s made them one of the best-known game sites around. The thing that makes them the most attractive, is their regular deals, massive discounts and sales, often seeing titles reduced by as much as 95%. They also tend to do great deals around the time of Steam Sales, helping taking some of the wind out of Valve in those busy game buying periods.

Green Man Gaming


What’s your favourite gaming deals website? Let us know in the comments section below!

Grand Theft Auto 5 PC Users Faced with Login Problems over the Weekend

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5 has just hit the PC platform and it already had its fair share of problems. Users with ‘unique’ usernames have been extremely disappointed when attempting to install or play the GTA 5 title over the weekend, having been greeted with the “Rockstar update service is unavailable (code 1)” message.

By ‘unique’ usernames, we mean to say that users with characters outside the alphanumeric table are facing the issue described above. Now let’s stop and think about that for a second… really? I mean how in the world did you not see this coming? Going on a simple forum or scrolling through your list of Steam/Uplay/Origin/Windows/etc usernames reveals the “0b\/|0u$”. People have been creative with their usernames for ages now.

Rockstar Support provided some information on their website, which reads as following:

“We have identified an issue where players with Windows usernames that include characters not found in the table at the bottom of this page will likely run into difficulties when attempting to download, install, or play GTAV. We are currently working on a fix for this issue.”

The company’s support has even stated to have had temporary alternative for the issue, but it involves creating a fresh account. While this gave you access to the game, you wouldn’t have had any previous achievements, friends or stats as on your regular account. Even so, who would want to play on a temporary account and lose everything when they have to switch back to their old one?

A full list of supported characters, according to Rockstar, read as following: “A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9”

This is now in the past though, since Polygon reported that connection issues are now resolved. However, Rockstar now seems to be investigating some possible progression losses, saves, items and characters that occurred along with the connection problems. Have you had any problems playing the game? Did you lose any progress or items? Let us know!

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Ubisoft Pushing Uplay & Pulling Games From Steam

Ubisoft need to stop what they’re doing, get up from their desks, take a walk outside and just stay there for a few weeks. It seems not a day goes by where I don’t get an email with “You’ll never guess what Ubisoft has done” in the title. Today we have heard news that Assassin’s Creed Unity will not be available on Steam in the UK, but it now looks like it runs a lot deeper than that.

“We’ve been in discussions with Valve about Assassin’s Creed Unity but for the time being the game is not available via Steam in the UK,” a Ubisoft representative told PCGamesN.

However, it now also looks like Far Cry 4 and The Crew will be joining Unity as the listings for all three games have been pulled from the Steam service entirely.

This means that if you want to purchase these games digitally, you’re going to have to download the UPlay service to play them.  The general consensus on Twitter is that no one likes Ubisoft (but that’s hardly breaking news). It also means these games won’t be cropping up in any of the popular Steam Sales we all love so much.

https://twitter.com/shadowzack/status/530569514057216000

Thank you PC Gamer for providing us with this information.

Ubisoft Scraps Uplay Online Pass System, Assassin’s Creed 4 Was The Catalyst

After dissent from Assassin’s Creed 4 fans and players, Ubisoft have decided to officially scrap the Uplay Passport code requirement to access to online aspect of Assassin’s Creed 4, called Edward’s Fleet. Previously gamers would need to enter a Uplay Passport code to unlock the online aspect of the game (the companion app called Edward’s Fleet) and bonus content of Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag. These codes were supposed to ship with all copies of the game but in some instances they didn’t and if you didn’t have a code then you had to pay extra to buy one separately. Now that Ubisoft have scrapped the Uplay passport all gamers will be able to access the online aspect for free via Xbox Live or PSN. Ubisoft encourages anyone who purchased a Uplay passport code for Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag to contact regional support, presumably for a refund or some type of reimbursement.

Ubisoft also notes that all future game titles will not feature Uplay passport again. Ubisoft’s move follows a similar move made by EA earlier this year where it also scrapped its online pass system for all current and future games after very negative feedback from gamers.

“What’s more, Uplay Passport will not be a part of any future Ubisoft games. The Uplay Passport program was initiated as a means of giving customers full access and support for online multiplayer and features, along with exclusive content, bonuses and rewards. However, games today are blurring the line between offline and online, between what is “single player” and what is “multiplayer.” Based on that and on the feedback we received from you, we recognized that Passport is no longer the best approach for ensuring that all our customers have the best possible experience with all facets of our games.” Stated Ubisoft.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Ubisoft Says 58 Million Users Had Details Stolen – Payment Details Safe

The phrase “EPIC FAIL” comes to mind after Ubisoft have just sent an email out to all Ubisoft account holders warning of a massive data breach. Apparently a staggering 58 million accounts have been hacked allowing the hackers to gain access to user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. Ubisoft reports that no debit or credit card information was lost as Ubisoft does not store them.

In response Ubisoft has advised all users to change their passwords on their Ubisoft accounts, and change your password that is the same and used with the same email address on any other site. I am quite shocked at Ubisoft’s incompetence. Firstly, that they didn’t auto-reset passwords for all Ubisoft accounts to prevent hackers gaining access to them without the associated emails. Secondly, if they went to such extraordinary measures of outsourcing payment details to another company with better security, why did they not do a similar thing for account details?

This isn’t the first time Ubisoft have been victim to a “hack-attack” and last year a security hole allowed hackers to download software from its store for free that hadn’t even been released yet. I guess some companies will never learn.

Image courtesy of Ubisoft

EA Removes Online Passes Because Of Customer Feedback, Wait What!?

Yes you heard right, EA listening to customer feedback. EA has confirmed that it will no longer implement online passes in any of its future games. The move to scrap the online pass system comes after EA received high levels of feedback against online passes from gamers.

In recent years EA offered online pass codes with certain games that needed to be redeemed before users could play online with others. With the case of used game titles EA also required that gamers buy a new online pass as online registration was non-transferrable from the previous owner. These costed around €10/$10 and in a lot of cases it made sense to just buy yourself a new copy of the game when it is on sale or stick to the single player.

“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format, We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward” said EA Director of Corporate Communications, John Reseburg.

It is nice to see EA listen to customer feedback but you can’t help be a little bit suspicious about whether they did it for other reasons – such as it was hindering their sales of certain games. It is worth noting that Sony and Ubisoft still use a similar style of “online pass” with their PSN Pass and Uplay Pass respectively.

Source, Via

Ubisoft Says That it Wants to Improve Their Relationship With PC Gamers

Ubisoft, a company behind well-known titles for multiple platforms such as Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3, were heavily criticized by a lot of PC Gamers due to the controversial always-online anti-piracy protection.

To assure that it wasn’t their intention to alienate PC Gamers in any way, the company made a decision and recently stopped this practice. The company’s Uplay director Stephanie Perotti made a comment after listening very closely to gamer’s feedback:

“Announcing all these partners for Uplay and a wider choice of PC games, it shows our commitment to PC, and we want to improve out relationship with the PC community. We are always seeking to improve. We took a lot of that feedback on board. With every game on PC we are improving. Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed III on PC were very high quality.”

Although many would deem this as a typical monotonous response from any company, Ubisoft have made sure that they back it up with actions that many gamers will begin to appreciate. The company said that they are looking forward to selling digital copies of their games via retailers like Steam, EA’s origin, Xbox Live, PSN, and even via the Nintendo eShop.

Making their games available to be bought via other online retailers, especially via Steam is a bold and a positive move that Ubisoft will ever make. but Perotti stated that it’s just another way to expose more content.

What about uPlay? Ubisoft’s digital store will also be selling games via third parties. As of now, 30 titles from third party vendors are on uPlay and more will be announced over the coming weeks and months.

On the bright side, it’s always appreciated that a game company keeps an eye on the feedback and criticisms of consumers and make changes accordingly, especially at times when many will deem an action as unjustified. While its not unheard of where a gaming company listens and alters their policy according to gamers’ demands, there are certain gaming companies out there that don’t listen to gamers, especially for PC and consoles. Will this trend have an effect on other brands to have more of a “2 way” communication structure and make actions speak louder than words? Only time will tell!