Far Cry 4: The Disappearing Game

Wow, Ubisoft just can not catch a break, can they? Yesterday, reports were coming in to Ubisoft and Microsoft that Far Cry 4 was no longer available on Xbox LIVE as a download. Not only that, but anyone who had bought the game got a message asking if they own the game when they tried to run it. I can only imagine the frustration when a game you spent $60 on refuses to work anymore, and in fact behaves like you didn’t even buy it to begin with, but that is the issue they saw.

While this was an ongoing issue, no one was able to get a straight answer from tech support of either MS or Ubisoft. Both groups were claiming that the other company was responsible with MS claiming that since it was only one game from Ubisoft, they were to blame while Ubisoft countered with this being an issue in the store and MS needs to put it back up, so they are to blame.

Ultimately it seems this has been fixed, but that fix required the game to be re-instated to the XBLive store. This suggests at least to me that Ubisoft may well be right about who was to blame, though I suspect answers to that will not come easily. People are playing their game again, and outside of a vocal minority, they will probably forget about this in a week, moving on to something else.

However, this should be a warning to anyone who owns the system about buying digital on it, as it suggests the online DRM is connected not only to your account, but to the store, and if something is pulled back from the store for ANY reason, we could see a repeat of this… and I can think of plenty of reasons it would happen because we have seen it happen before:

  • Publisher closes it’s doors (THQ)
  • Contracts expire (Every Marvel based game by Activision)
  • Conflict of Demands (EA’s support of the WiiU)

I believe very seriously, this incident should be taken as a “Buyer Beware” note for digital purchases on the system.



  1. What pisses me off about all this DRM crap is that they are twisting the copyright laws to their advantage and practically ripping off the people trying to play games (or whatever) legitimately.

    Copyright laws were originally instated to protect an author's, musician's, or studio's IPs from being snatched up by some schmuck who wanted to make a quick buck by plagiarizing their work. And believe me, I know how it feels to have one's work stolen -- I faced that just recently, as you know, Megs. But, the thing is, no one is stealing a game, movie, or song to sell as their own; they are merely trying to circumvent the insane pricing that is shoved down the consumer's throat for the "privilege" of playing the game, watching that movie, or listening to that song. Technically, it's not a violation of copyright; at worst, it's a "theft of the license" which is a different crime all together.

    Unfortunately for us though, the "always online" DRM thing is here to stay just because those major corporations keep stamping their little feet and throwing a temper tantrum in the name of so-called "copyright violations." One day, when there is a major tangle in the system that results in everyone saying "Screw it" and boycotting all the game publishers, movie studios, record companies, etc, and the indie people rise up and take over, the big dogs may finally understand that their DRM BS is just that and stop being so overprotective of their software and stuff.

    -- Cougarmint

  2. ...you know? Im not sure if this is always online DRM or not. It seems to at least be an online check on startup, which is still something of an issue for a game that is primarily single player, but Im not sure the game would stop from playing if you were already in it when this issue hit. Im also not seeing always online being half the problem it once was. It could be that Im coming from the PC side of gaming and pretty much saw the last games complained about in this way were actually designed to be always online because they were actually multiplayer-only games, but... I'm just not seeing it as much.

    But that's also another point in why I see this as a much bigger problem then I do what happens on PC to be quite honest. NEVER have I seen a PC game with DRM designed that if for some reason the game you bought is removed from the store you bought it in, you can no longer download it should you need to again. You always can. I have a few games on Steam right now that haven't been sold in years, but they remain in my games list waiting for me to download and play whenever I feel like it. Hell I games like this on gog.com, too!

    Consoles have never had this luck. If a game drops off the XBL, PSN, or Nintendo store, it doesn't matter if you bought it or not. The game is no longer downloadable, so I hope you had it on your drive. (I actually lost Donkey Kong Country this way when moving from the Wii to the WiiU.)

    But this is a whole new level. At least prior to Xbox One, your downloaded games were still yours. This event with Far Cry 4 brings a real question about if even the games now on your hard drive will be playable when the store stops selling it (regardless of why). Should this be the case and the moment a game is culled from the store the downloaded version no longer plays on the platform, that will actually be a worse form of DRM then anything I have ever seen previously on ANY platform.

    - Megabyte