A viral tweet about Assassin’s Creed creator Ubisoft’s account deletion policy has ignited some intense conversation online around data collection and game access. Though the company’s policy isn’t new, the wording has left players confused about what the consequences are for having an inactive account.

On July 19, Twitter user pc_enjoyer tweeted a screenshot of an Ubisoft email they received stating that because their account had been inactive, the company temporarily suspended it and put it up for permanent closure in 30 days—unless they stopped the deletion by logging in and selecting the “Cancel Account Closure” option. Ubisoft Support confirmed this in a reply to pc_enjoyer, saying it doesn’t want the user to lose access to their account or purchased games.

The looming threat of losing all your Ubisoft stuff

That you could lose everything Ubisoft-related simply because you haven’t accessed your account in a while is quite alarming, leading to headlines over the July 22 weekend that left some folks spooked. But it’s unclear exactly what users would lose in this scenario. It’s also a position the company’s held for a while now. If you check Ubisoft’s terms of service, it spells this out under a question regarding account termination. According to the ToS, an account can be deleted by you or Ubisoft. In Ubisoft’s case, the company can—and will—wipe your account if you fail to prove you’re the account holder, violated the ToS or rules of conduct, “for any other reason in relation to your actions in or outside of the services,” or have been inactive for over six months.

In an email to Kotaku, an Ubisoft spokesperson reiterated that account deletion has been in place for many years. In accordance with article five of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s data protection and privacy law, the company is legally required to disclose how personal data is handled in an effort to protect users from fraud. As such, Ubisoft said it considers five criteria to check to see if a user’s account should be wiped out:

  • The gaming activity of the account since its creation
  • The account’s libraries: Accounts that include purchased PC games are not eligible for deletion
  • The duration of inactivity of the account, meaning the last login to our ecosystem (including from Ubisoft games on Steam and other platforms)
  • In practice, as of today, we have never deleted accounts that have been inactive for less than 4 years
  • The existence of an active subscription tied to the account.

Should all five of these boxes get checked off, your account will be placed under the guillotine. The Ubisoft spokesperson made it clear, though, that the company reaches out before a user’s account is completely erased. They also said that anyone who purchased a PC game from Ubisoft “wouldn’t be part of this conversation” as they’d be considered an active user. This further suggests that you would not lose access to items you already purchased.

“Before the deletion is permanent, three emails are sent to the player over a 30-day period offering to restore their account,” the spokesperson said. “In addition, if the user tries to log in during the 30-day window, they will automatically receive a warning and a link to reactivate their account. Only inactive accounts that meet the criteria outlined are being deleted, and not before three emails are sent to the player within a 30-day period. […] While our Terms of Use are meant to reflect every possibility, in practice, we have never deleted accounts that have been inactive for less than four years.”

When pressed for further clarification, the spokesperson said folks wouldn’t lose access to their games on console, just their Ubisoft accounts. However, Ubisoft Support said in a Twitter reply that “if you decide to close your Ubisoft account, you will not be able to play our games even if they have been bought in Steam,” so there is still some confusion. Will this affect only Steam players? Does it impact cosmetics, DLC, or saved game data? Is the aforementioned Steam tweet only the consequence of a player closing their account, or Ubisoft deleting it for inactivity?

Either way, no, Ubisoft isn’t wantonly deleting accounts simply because. While it makes sense from a privacy standpoint that the company needs to ensure accounts are active and in good standing, it sucks knowing whatever you’ve invested into your Ubisoft account and game library could be subject to erasure should you forget about it—which is quite easy to do when so many games and services require you to have an account and use its special launcher just to play anything.

The Ubisoft spokesperson couldn’t clarify what content is lost and on what platforms at the time of publication, but we will update this story accordingly.

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