Ubisoft’s Uplay, the digital rights management scheme that evolved into a Steam and EA Origin competitor in 2012, remains a follower in the digital distribution field. It was only in February that Uplay brought in third-party publishers, moving beyond the distribution of its own games like Assassin’s Creed III and selling others like The Walking Dead and even indies like To The Moon. All of Uplay’s publishing partners were likely wishing that it had waited a bit longer to team up with Ubisoft since a hacking group discovered an exploit that let them download games for free.
As detailed by Gameranx on Tuesday morning, a Russian hacker group built a piece of software that exploits the Uplay client launcher. Ignoring the jargon for a moment, what this means is that they found a way to trick Uplay into thinking there were many games they already owned when they didn’t. Not only did they have access to games already available on the service, they were even able to download unreleased Ubisoft games. In particular, they were able to download and play Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the goofy cyborg-infested spin-off that won’t be out officially until May 1.
Ubisoft said on Tuesday afternoon that it’s still trying to fix the problem and that luckily no sensitive user information got out.
“We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it quickly,” a Ubisoft representative told Game Informer, “No personal information was compromised. Uplay’s PC download service will be unavailable until the problem is fixed, however all other Uplay services remain available.”
This isn’t the first time that the Uplay launcher has caused Ubisoft problems. Last summer a Google security engineer discovered that Uplay installed a plug-in on PCs that could be exploited by hackers and malware distributors to launch any application on a PC with Uplay. Similar to a rootkit, the plug-in was supposed to only be used for launching the client through a web browser.
While Uplay is still catching up to its distribution competitors, the service does have a sizable membership, approximately 50 million registered users as of this writing.