Update: Ubisoft has responded to this situation with a statement to The Verge. "We have been made aware that some players encountered pop-up ads while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday," it says. "This was the result of a technical error that we addressed as soon as we learned of the issue."
We suppose that's that, then.
Original Story: Well, this is potentially concerning. Video footage is circulating on social media of what appears to be an advertising test in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the 2018 Greek adventure from Ubisoft. The gameplay clip clearly shows the player opening their map, before being greeted by a banner for latest title Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s Black Friday sale. When cancelled, the map loads as normal.
It’s unclear whether this test expands beyond Odyssey just yet, and indeed whether the French publisher intends to use this technology in more titles moving forward, but it potentially sets a worrying precedent if it proves successful. Obviously, the idea of in-game advertising isn’t exactly new, but this feels pretty immersion breaking for a narrative-heavy experience.
We’ll contact Ubisoft in an attempt to understand the exact intention of this experiment, and how many titles it’s trialling it in. For now, though, let us know your thoughts about in-game advertising like this in the comments section below.