Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed was officially released on the PC in April this year, but a pirated version was available for download two months earlier. Ubisoft are now pointing their assassin’s sword towards who they believe are accountable for the early release, namely their disc replication firm, North Carolina-based Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM), whom they are now suing.
Ubisoft alleges that “an extraordinary breach of trust and gross negligence” on the part of OEM allowed one employee to take a copy of the game home. When Ubisoft later tracked the first connections to the pirated copy of the game, they found that the host was an OEM employee.
According to Ubisoft, over 700,000 copies were downloaded before the official release, but it’s not only for financial reasons they are filing the suit, they also claim that their reputation was damaged because of an intentional bug in the pirated copy. The bug, which caused the game to crash, caused confusion amongst the public, making them believe that the retail version was equally unstable. And so, Ubisoft are suing OEM for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and negligence, and are asking for no less than $10 million each for the breach of contract and negligence claims.
Mistakes on OEM’s behalf have been made – no doubt about it – but what is it that makes the Assassin’s Creed-case so different from others? This seems to be a way of setting an example, and if all goes Ubisoft’s way, it can be used as an important precedent in the future.