One of the bleakest things about modern video gaming is the way major publishers are obsessed with not just gaining your attention but keeping it, holding it trapped and exposed to their monetary ecosystems for as long as humanly possible while they do everything they can to bleed you dry.
It’s an accepted part of life while playing live service and other heavily online-focused games, from League of Legends to FIFA to Destiny, but at least in those spaces players are being met in the middle, since people are playing those games all the time anyway.
It’s not the kind of tactic you want or expect to see while playing a (mostly) singleplayer adventure, but here comes Ubisoft anyway. Earlier today the publisher began sending out emails to players goading them with some in-universe taunting from the game’s antagonist, before rounding up their statistics—like hours played and enemies killed—and being told in all caps “SURELY YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS”.
Here’s an example of the email, sent to us by a reader:
While some players have been getting the email having only played a handful of hours in the game, this reader had spent 33 hours in Far Cry 6! That’s more than most reviewers will have spent, and Ubisoft is still coming for them!
As you can probably guess, the point of the email wasn’t to give players a little taste of the fourth wall in their inbox, or to egg them on out of a sense of concern that they hadn’t seen all the narrative twists and environments lovingly crafted by Far Cry 6's artists and developers.
No, the point was, as it is with all of Ubisoft’s singleplayer games lately, to keep you playing the game for as long as possible so that you’re as exposed to the game’s attempts to sell you things for as long as possible. Assassin’s Creed players will be all too familiar with the hustle, as they’ve been increasingly bombarded with ads to buy new weapons, armour and skins every time they log on to the full-priced singleplayer adventure they just want to play in peace.
Fuck off! Take this whole idea and throw it in the trash.