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Claim a free game and give up the right to sue over Assassin's Creed Unity

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Those who bought the season pass for Assassin's Creed Unity are off and downloading their free game now, a make-good for Ubisoft shipping broken game that needed four patches in its first month. Game Informer offered a useful reminder that's worth repeating here: You're giving up legal rights by accepting the free game.

It basically says in 200 words what Ubisoft wants you to say in five: "I will not sue you," whether for the busted game or the fact giving away free DLC devalues the season pass you bought. The waiver is buried in the mile of legal text that no one ever reads, but they're required to say they have before they can get their stuff.

This makes it a little more clear why Ubisoft (or any publisher) would do something this. It's not because it's an apology or good PR. As this law firm demonstrates, there's money to be made in class-action lawsuits. Thinning out that potential class can either kill a suit or make filing one pointless.

Assuming a favorable judgment or settlement, the price of a free game is probably what plaintiffs in a class action suit over Assassin's Creed Unity would receive, anyway. Of course, as a digital edition, the cost to Ubisoft is effectively nothing, and they get to skip all of the legal fees.

Now, some class-action suits are undertaken in the public interest and sometimes real harm is done to consumers, and they are a more effective way of making them whole and punishing the wrongs done than a government investigation. It's just curious to me that a quibble over an imperceptible difference in Killzone: Shadow Fall's multiplayer resolution is a lawsuit with more than $5 million at stake, but the most broken embarrassment of 2014 isn't or, thanks to this offer, can't be.

Here is the full text of the waiver. If you haven't yet claimed the game, at least read this part of the agreement.

You hereby irrevocably and unconditionally RELEASE, WAIVE, AND FOREVER DISCHARGE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE Ubisoft Entertainment S.A., and each of its past, present and future divisions, parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, predecessors, successors and assigns, together with all of their respective past, present and future employees, officers, shareholders, directors and agents, and those who give recommendations, directions, or instructions or engage in risk evaluation or loss control activities regarding the Campaign (all for the purposes herein referred to as "Released Parties") FROM ANY AND ALL LIABILITY TO YOU, your assigns, heirs, and next of kin FOR ANY AND ALL CLAIMS, DEMANDS, CHARGES, LAWSUITS, DEBTS, DEFENSES, ACTIONS OR CAUSES OF ACTION, OBLIGATIONS, DAMAGES, LOSS OF SERVICE, COMPENSATION, PAIN AND SUFFERING, ATTORNEYS' FEES, AND COST AND EXPENSES OF SUIT, KNOWN OR UNKNOWN, SUSPECTED OR UNSUSPECTED, ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THE PURCHASE, ACQUISITION, RENTAL, POSSESSION AND/OR USAGE, AND/OR THE INTENT TO PURCHASE, ACQUIRE, RENT, POSSESS AND/OR USE, THE ASSASSIN'S CREED UNITY VIDEO GAME AND/OR THE ASSASSIN'S CREED UNITY SEASON PASS ON ANY AND ALL PLATFORMS, AND/OR RELATED TO THE CAMPAIGN, WHETHER CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASED PARTIES OR OTHERWISE.