After months of intense buzz, the launch of Ubisoft‘s multi-million dollar game Watch Dogs has been one fuck-up after another. The latest of these is a PR stunt that went horribly wrong, resulting in the evacuation of an office in the Sydney CBD after a bomb threat was called in.
Yesterday afternoon, a suspicious-looking black safe was discovered in the Australia Square offices of Ninemsn, after being dropped off by courier but not signed for. Attached was a letter instructing a reporter to “check your voicemail.”
The reporter in question did not have a voicemail, and when staff entered a PIN code that was taped to the top of the safe, it began to emit a mysterious beeping noise. Staff on the floor were sent home, and the bomb squad were called in.
When the safe was opened, it was found to contain a copy of the game, along with some Watch Dogs #swag and instructions not to write about the product until 5pm. I’m thinking, though, that a broken embargo is probably the least of Ubisoft’s worries.
Ninemsn editor Hal Crawford was far from amused, and in an interview today with Mumbrella, said that while staff were not panicked, they took sensible precautions. “This is definitely the other side of the line in terms of what it’s safe for a PR company to send anonymously to a newsroom,” he added.
Even leaving aside this insanely stupid and ill thought-out PR styund, Ubisoft are having a pretty terrible time with the launch of Watch Dogs. There are reports today that the PC version of the game is all but “unplayable”, thanks to a Digital Rights Managment hitch similar to the one that plagued Sim City at its launch last year.
Kotaku reports that PC players need to log in to Ubisoft’s uPlay to access the game, but the system is overwhelmed, and refusing to let some players log in all, while throwing up error messages and shutting the game down for others.
Those who’ve actually managed to log in and play the damn game on PC say that it is way too powerful, and its demands are slowing their systems down.
I woke up extra early to try watch dogs and the performance is damn near unplayable and the input lag is horrendous
— hard8times (@HARD8TIMES) May 27, 2014
watch dogs is too powerful for my pc, almost unplayable
— Poppuk?n. (@acex222_2) May 24, 2014
At the very least, someone in Ubisoft’s PR department is getting a stern talking-to right about now.
Picture: Emmanuel Dunand via Getty Images