Driver San Francisco Online Pass Goes Free
Following an error with printing codes for Uplay Passports that would provide access to multiplayer and other content in Driver: San Francisco, Ubisoft has decided to release the Passport for free to gamers worldwide.
Ubisoft has been involved in a great deal of DRM-related news over the past two months, starting with its announcement that it was adopting the online pass model -- calling it Uplay Passport -- and including it with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Driver. The PC version was originally going to have DRM that required gamers to maintain a constant Internet connection, a method it deemed a success in past uses, but outrage led to it dropping it in favor of DRM that only requires an Internet connection at launch. Meanwhile, the company also decided to remove that same style of DRM from the PC version of From Dust -- DRM that shouldnt have been in there in the first place, as it had previously stated the only online requirement would be a single-time activation when installing the game.
The Uplay Passport probably garnered the least amount of criticism of the three incidents -- perhaps because its becoming an increasingly common practice in the console space as a means for fighting off used game sales -- and yet its created quite the headache. When the game was released today, it should have come with a Uplay Passport code that can be redeemed on the Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Store, granting access to 11 multiplayer modes and the Film Director feature. If you buy the game used or borrow it from a friend, the Passport could be purchased separately for $10.
However, as Joystiq reports, there have been numerous reports of Xbox 360 copies containing incomplete or missing codes. The situation isnt entirely different from when Mortal Kombat and Dirt 3 were not playable online on PS3 as a result of the PlayStation Store being down. Following the PSN breach, online gameplay was restored but it was still a few weeks before the return of the Store, which would need to be accessed in order to redeem either games online pass. Mortal Kombats online play was made accessible to all players until the Store returned, while such a solution was deemed impossible for Dirt 3.
Ubisoft has decided to address this issue in less temporary fashion: the Uplay Passport is now a free download to anyone with a copy of Driver. Although the printing issue was confined to only North American copies, Ubisoft is making it free worldwide "in order to be fair to all our players."
Update: Ubisoft confirmed the Passport is free on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
To download it for free, start the game up and select "Purchase Uplay Passport" when presented with the option. This will bring up the download screen where you normally would have to pay $10; instead, the download should be free.