Ubisoft Removes License To Play Online Racer The Crew, After Shutting Down Servers

Game ownership, preservation, and accessibility remains an uncertain future for many game studios in today's landscape. A live service or piece of online software can run the risk of vanishing into the ether, for a myriad of reasons. Thus is the fate of Ubisoft's online-only racing game The Crew. Back in December 2023, UbiSoft pulled the Crew from its sales listings and announced that the 2014's Racer would see its servers shut down after March 31st, mostly due to licensing and infrastructure restraints, according to PCGamer.

"We understand this may be disappointing for players still enjoying the game, but it has become a necessity due to upcoming server infrastructure and licensing constraints," Ubisoft stated in December. "Decommissioning a game, and especially our first one, is not something we take lightly."

Users on Reddit have found the ability to access The Crew, which had some single player content, completely revoked for anyone who owned it on Ubisoft Connect. This move has naturally not been a popular decision with the community.

"I'm not sure why they're even bothering with doing this," Redditor Sanctine posted. "The game isn't playable anymore, so what exactly is the harm in keeping the game available for download for those who have purchased it? Server space? Is Ubisoft really that cheap?"

The Crew may have been a decade old, but the room to keep many of these services active can eventually become costly. Ubisoft recently put out a statement earlier this year, essentially ensuring customers that they should eventually become comfortable with not owning their games. It's very aptly timed, considering a game people purchased will no longer be of their leisure to access.

The counterpoint, however, remains the grey area that digital games face when it comes to ownership. This conversation even holds significance with physical games, as the online servers for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U also recently shut down. This leaves games like Splatoon and Super Mario Maker entirely unplayable on those platforms. 

All things must pass, and while services like Xbox are providing their back catalog of game Pass Core titles, Nintendo's NSO program and with PlayStation moving in that direction, what does this stand for the third party developers and publishers with their properties?

SOURCES: Reddit, PCGamer

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