Watch Dogs is free from November 7 at 11:00 a.m. ET to November 13 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
The 2014 game is being offered through publisher Ubisoft. The free copy is only available for PC users and can only be acquired by registering the game through Uplay with a Ubisoft account.
Ubisoft’s use of DRM such as Uplay has courted controversy over the years. Just last week, players have been complaining about the implementation of two different DRM measures on Assassin’s Creed Origins, according to Kotaku. The use of Denuvo and VMProtect has caused game performance to slow by 30 to 40 percent and driving CPU usage from 90 to 100 percent according to some users. Kotaku confirmed that while the PC version for them is stable, the CPU usage is as high as 98 percent.
Ubisoft denies that the DRM measures have impacted the game, according to a statement sent to Kotaku.
We’re confirming that the anti-tamper solutions implemented in the Windows PC version of Assassin’s Creed Origins have no perceptible effect on game performance.
In order to recreate a living, systemic and majestic open world of Ancient Egypt, where players can witness all of its stunning details, its beautiful landscapes & incredible cities, in a completely seamless way with no loading screens, Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the full extent of the minimum and recommended PC system requirements here: while ensuring a steady 30 FPS performance.
Watch Dogs had similar problems with its PC version, with one user who said that the game eats up more VRAM than usual for a game at the time. Ubisoft has issued patches to help optimize the game, according to Techspot.
Uplay has had its own share of controversies over the years. John Walker of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, called the service a “technical mess” with “idiotic mechanical choices” in the wake of a server crash that made many parts of Far Cry 3 unplayable at launch. Among the many controversies surrounding Assassin’s Creed Unity, one of them was Ubisoft’s decision to place chests all around the game’s map that can only be opened if the player is connected to either the Assassin’s Creed companion app or Uplay. Many also complain about how you still need a Uplay account to access Ubisoft’s games even if they’re also on Steam. Watch Dogs wasn’t safe from the service, with server errors locking out some players out of the game on launch day according to Ars Technica. While the service is meant to deter piracy and other illegal acts, some users found an exploit in 2012 that could open up computers to malicious code insertion through Uplay according to Ars Technica.
Still, getting a game that used to cost $60 for free is not a bad deal at all if you can handle Uplay’s silliness. It’s not as good as the sequel but it’s still interesting to take a look back at the original game to see where it all began.