Image: Ubisoft

Ubisoft has just unveiled Assassin’s Creed Shadows, the latest installment in its globe-trotting, time-traveling megaton stealth RPG series. Taking place in 16th-century Japan, the open world title will drop players into the shoes of two new protagonists, the shinobi Naoe and the current historical figure Yasuke. People seem to be excited for the return of dual protagonists—back for the first time since the oft-forgotten but critically beloved Assassin’s Creed Syndicate—but there’s a slight rub in the fine details.

As spotted by VGCan internet connection will apparently be required to install the physical version of Assassin’s Creed Shadows, which seems to fly in the face of one of the reasons why folks will often pick up a physical copy over a digital one. Thought VGC does highlight that the game’s box art only makes mention of needing an internet connection to install the game specifically, the move still reeks of bad business on Ubisoft’s part.

A mandate like this isn’t new for Ubisoft, though, as last year’s Avatar: Frontier of Pandora had the same requirement, and this summer’s Star Wars Outlaws will push it on players again. Still, it’s a frustrating tactic! Selling customers a single-player game that can’t be played without an internet connection is not only a big fuck up, it’s straight up anti-consumer.

The games industry doesn’t seem ready to reckon with the fact that not all of its consumers have internet connections. It’s bad enough that increasingly huge games have made it more work than it’s worth to set your console or PC to download a game that may or may not take the entirety of an evening (and in some cases a day or two!) to finish. In many parts of the world, internet connections aren’t necessarily stable or capable of constant service. Internet connections aren’t cheap either, and for some, maintaining the services of an internet service provider is simply too costly.

Kotaku you have reached out to Ubisoft for comment.

Past Ubisoft games with the same requirement suggest that the online connection will be leveraged to deliver a day-one patch that makes the game playable. What are folks without the internet supposed to do in this case, though? What kind of precedent does it set to be able to sell someone a game, thereby making it their property, and still barring them from accessing it because they don’t have an internet connection? How do you preserve a game that’s locked behind a third-party requirement such as this, and are game companies making it easier for their products to become lost media? Ubisoft is especially guilty of shutting down games with online requirements and making them inaccessible to anyone ever again. Even if it seems like a benign installation mandate, requirements like this raise a lot of questions worth asking.