One of the flaws of digital gaming is the fear of having your games removed or unplayable after having purchased them but what if you lose your entire account and hundreds of dollars in the process? That’s what happened to this poor gamer, who discovered that he lost all his games in his Ubisoft Uplay account after not logging in for more than a year.
Speaking with PCWorld, the Norwegian gamer who wishes to simply be named Tor, said that stopped gaming for a while in 2020 to focus on his studies and work. When he decided to return to gaming in 2021, he discovered that he was unable to log into his Ubisoft account.
He was later able to reset the password but then learned that his account had been closed. He said that Ubisoft told him that they couldn’t recover it and that it was permanently gone. When PCWorld reached out to Ubisoft, the company insisted that Tor’s case is not normal and that they’ve never deleted an account that hasn’t been inactive in less than four years. Tor also discovered that while he did receive an email warning him of inactivity and account deletion, it was in his spam folder.
What happened to Tor’s account? According to Ubisoft’s international terms of service agreement, they “may suspend or close your Account and your ability to use one or more Services or part of the Services, at any time, automatically and at our sole discretion where… upon notification, where your account has been inactive for more than six months”.
Apparently, it all has to do with Ubisoft’s interpretation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to this Ubisoft support page:
This is only if we have strong reasons to believe that the account in question will remain unused. We may also close long-term inactive accounts to maintain our database. You will be notified by email if we begin the process of closing your inactive account.”
When contacted further by PCWorld, Ubisoft gave four criteria that they take into account to consider before deleting an account:
- The gaming activity of the account since its creation.
- The ownership of PC games since the creation of the account: accounts tied to purchased games are not eligible for deletion
- The existence of an active subscription to Ubisoft and/or related to the account.
Before an account is deleted, the gamer in question should receive three emails over a 30-day period offering to restore the account to active status. The user will also receive an error message when logging in warning of the pending deletion.
In regards to Tor’s case, Ubisoft said:
“Considering the specific case you mention, the player mentions that their account has been deleted when they had only been inactive for less than 2 years (he mentions that he was away for two years maximum on that account) and that he had purchased PC games through Ubisoft Connect (and not Steam or Epic for instance, in which case entitlements would be linked to their accounts on these platforms).
This case doesn’t fit within our criteria for inactive account deletion, so our customer support team will reach out to the player to get his username so they can start an investigation and take the appropriate measures.”
Ubisoft is the only games company that has a policy for shutting down or closing gamer accounts. Microsoft and Riot Games do have similar policies, while Steam, Blizzard and GOG don’t. However, according to a video game law lawyer named Ryan Morrison (who was consulted by PCWorld), all game publishers can potentially and legally delete a gamer’s account for any reason they want.
That’s a scary idea, isn’t it? Especially for gamers who have gone 100 percent digital. When was the last time you logged into your Ubisoft account?