Uplay is a unified gaming platform that works across all of the games in the Ubisoft catalog and adds a variety of additional features for players in both a multiplayer and single player capacity.
- Cross-platform support for PCs, mobile devices, and most consoles
- Achievements that earn you currency for in-game rewards
- A digital market for all the games in the Ubisoft catalog
- Keeps all your Ubisoft games in a single launcher
- Rewards bought with currency are a nice gesture that rarely throw gameplay balance off
- The whole interface offers little to the player, serving more as a nuisance than a boon
- Uses way too much memory
As video games become increasingly about interconnected online experiences and gaming consoles and platforms like Steam emphasize a meta element to games that reward players in a central hub, some developers are looking to increase customer engagement by creating a platform in which all of their games are experienced. Ubisoft's Uplay platform is designed largely to compete with the dashboards offered in Playstation and XBox systems. But where these are tethered to their respective consoles, Uplay is a standardized service that synchs across all of your devices. Whether you're playing the newest Assassin's Creed on your XBox One, exploring the world of Far Cry on your PC, or digging in to a casual free to play game on your phone, all of your games will be linked through the same interface. In practical terms, the Uplay platform for PCs is pretty similar to that utilized by Steam. That's because, for all of its talk about cross-game interactivity and features designed to improve the lives of players, Uplay is essentially a game distribution service. It's a somewhat perplexing choice. While Ubisoft manages a large number of smaller studios and puts out a respectable amount of games every year, the notion of keeping a management platform on your computer explicitly to navigate through games from one developer is a bit puzzling. And despite the fact that it looks rather similar to Steam, it doesn't run nearly as well as its more popular predecessor. While Valve has continually improved their Steam platform and even Electronic Arts has made progress with their proprietary Origins platform, Uplay has struggled to keep pace. Memory usage is incredibly high for a program that's essentially just a landing pad for your games library, and even when you've bought an Ubisoft game through Steam, you're required to run both platforms if you want to play your game. There are a few cool little features offered up by the Uplay platform. While trophies and achievements have become a popular mechanic in modern gaming, they rarely offer anything substantive besides the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge. Uplay achievements are tied to a unique currency system. Most games in the Ubisoft catalog come with four major achievements which offer varying numbers of currency based off of the difficulty of the task. These can be traded in for a number of cool digital items, largely cosmetic and gameplay alterations in game. While it's a small gesture, it's one that would be great to see more integrated into the games of other companies. This currency is shared between every game in your catalog, so gamers who invest deeply in Ubisoft's games will have even more options to choose from. But cosmetic enhancements don't mitigate the frustrations of tangling with the uPlay interface. It's slow, clunky, and often bug ridden, and the need to log in adds a frustrating layer of inconvenience in the process of playing a game.