Recently, Ubisoft’s 2014 racing game, The Crew, shut down its servers on March 31st. This move left players unable to access the game, as launching it only led to error messages due to the servers being offline. What is more concerning is that Ubisoft decided to not only close the game but also revoke licenses from purchasers and remove it from their libraries.

Players who owned The Crew found the game moved to a new ‘Inactive Games’ section in their Ubisoft Connect libraries. This shift meant that the game could no longer be downloaded or installed. Instead, players were met with a message stating, “You no longer have access to this game. Why not check the Store to pursue your adventures?” This abrupt removal raises concerns about players’ ability to access games they have paid for in the future.

In response to inquiries about The Crew’s closure, Ubisoft referred back to their initial announcement, citing server infrastructure and licensing constraints as the reasons for the shutdown. Despite the disappointing news for players, Ubisoft emphasized the necessity of decommissioning The Crew after a decade of support.

Impact of Online Servers

The Crew, while playable alone, heavily relied on online servers to function properly. With the servers now offline, even players with physical copies of the game are unable to play. The community had held onto hope that fan servers could resurrect the game, akin to some defunct MMOs, but the game’s removal from player libraries complicates this possibility.

In response to The Crew’s closure, YouTuber Ross Scott has kickstarted Stop Killing Games. This initiative aims to generate grassroots pressure on governments and regulators to protect consumers’ rights regarding digital products. The movement seeks to address issues surrounding game shutdowns, license revocations, and the preservation of games no longer accessible through official channels.

The closure of The Crew highlights the vulnerabilities faced by players when game servers are shut down. Players lose access to content they have paid for, raising concerns about ownership and the longevity of digital games. Initiatives like Stop Killing Games shed light on the need for regulatory changes to safeguard consumers in an era where digital products often come with uncertain access rights.

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