This generation has had some pretty anti-consumer and terrible DRM policies trialled over the past few years, and Online passes probably land somewhere near the top of the list. But even after EA realised its mistake and got rid of them, Ubisoft is still using them. If you were planning on borrowing Assassin's Creed IV from a friend, renting it over a weekend or buying pre-owned then you might find that you don't have access to some areas.
This is because Ubisoft has made the U-Play Passport a requirement for online and apparently some of your single player, ocean crossing adventures too. In the latest game from the series, you can board enemy ships and add them to your fleet which you can then command, this feature will require a U-Play Passport. This makes it safe to assume that commanding your ships will require an internet connection.
The fleet commanding portion of the game does include some online elements such as requesting the help of friends during missions but the problem is, every mission can be done solo and you don't necessarily have to request online help. Instead of making this portion of the game an offline option, it now requires the online pass which will undoubtedly annoy many gamers.
KitGuru Says: Online passes really shouldn't be around anymore. When it gets to the point that a publisher locks you out of some of the single player features, you know something's gone wrong. If Ubisoft had this planned for AC IV then it makes me wonder, what were they going to do to Watch Dogs? The single player in that game had some online elements fused with the single player. Hopefully this will be the last straw before we see online passes go for good.