It’s Ubisoft’s response to piracy.
It differs a bit from what the company want you to believe, quoted as:
Uplay is a set of services that give players extra value for their Ubisoft games.
I don’t have anything against Ubisoft or any other company that tries to protect their investments. I’m also not in favor of piracy. I’m just writing my experiences regarding Uplay. Anyway…
This DRM scheme was introduced in 2010, which forced us as customers to remain online for game authentication. With such introduction, side effects started to appear. Game progress discarded due to connection lost and even server problems causing legitimate buyers to be unable to play. However, subsequent patches came out at a later time aimed to solve this kind of flaws.
The DRM protection evolved from its first appearance becoming what we know now, Uplay. Now with a touch of ‘Social’, and other features. Which is free, btw. Even free, I don’t know a single person saying: ‘Oh, I want to install Uplay, so I can access Ubisoft services, like redeem rewards and share content with friends’. Why? Because it’s a forced requirement for customers in order to be able to play the game. Simple, you don’t have it installed, you can’t play the game.
Even now that we have Offline mode, we still eventually find problems like the following one I’m currently getting:
Unable to start the game. Please check that your game has been installed correctly. If the problem persists please contact Ubisoft Support.
The first step I took was to check the Game Integrity through Steam client application (since is the platform I used to purchase the game). The result of the test was OK, and since I wasn’t in the mood of uninstalling and reinstalling Anno 2070 (the game related to the problem), I proceeded to contact Ubisoft Support.
Days passed and with no answer from Ubisoft Support, I somehow, by mistake, got the game to successfully launch. In me desperate intent of getting the game to run, I clicked continuously the big Play button on the Uplay window and voilà, I got the ‘Game running …’ message and finally the game launched!
I tested several times this workaround and it worked each time. However, it doesn’t work in Offline Mode. While waiting for Ubisoft solution, this is the only way I’ve found to play the game.