server outage. Hackers, angry at Ubisoft's draconian DRM protocol, which requires a persistent internet connection, even for single player games -- knocked out the publisher's authentication servers, preventing owners of games like Assassin's Creed II from being able to play at all.
While Ubisoft has modified its DRM protocol, it doesn't seem the publisher has any plans to discontinue using it any time soon. In light of the recent outage, the publisher has started to send letters offering gamers either a free game or DLC, depending on the product originally purchased. A support forum for Assassin's Creed II appears to confirm that those affected by the outage may receive an offer to upgrade the standard edition to the "Black Edition," which includes additional areas not found in the original. Those that already have the Black Edition will be able to receive either HAWX, Heroes Over Europe, EndWar, or Prince of Persia.
Certainly, this is the right move for the publisher to take, offering a virtual olive branch for a policy that has only generated negative press thus far. However, the Ubisoft forums are alight with those that have yet to receive any compensatory offer. We're reaching out to Ubisoft to find out more details of this offer, and will update if we hear a response.
[Thanks, Rockr90! Via Exophase]