Ubisoft is blaming a “technical error” for a fullscreen pop-up ad that appeared in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this week. Reddit users say they spotted the pop-up on Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game, with an ad appearing just when you navigate to the map screen. “This is disgusting to experience while playing,” remarked one Reddit user, summarizing the general feeling against such pop-ups in the middle of gameplay.
“We have been made aware that some players encountered pop-up ads while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday,” says Ubisoft spokesperson Fabien Darrigues, in a statement to The Verge. “This was the result of a technical error that we addressed as soon as we learned of the issue.”
While it was unclear at first why the game suddenly started showing Black Friday pop-up ads to promote Ubisoft’s latest versions of Assassin’s Creed, the publisher later explained what went wrong in a post on X (formerly Twitter). Ubisoft says it was trying to put an ad for Assassin’s Creed Mirage in the main menu of other Assassin’s Creed games. However, a “technical error” caused the promotion to show up on in-game menus instead. Ubisoft says the issue has since been fixed.
We recently saw Microsoft use fullscreen Xbox pop-up ads to promote its own games, and they’ve been annoying Xbox owners. Microsoft’s ads only appear when you boot an Xbox, and not everyone seems to be getting them. Microsoft and Ubisoft’s pop-ups are still very different to the ads we’re used to seeing on game consoles. We’ve seen games like Saints Row 2 with ads running on billboards, or plenty of in-game ads in EA Games titles in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Fullscreen pop-up ads in the middle of a game certainly aren’t common. Imagine a world full of games you’ve paid $70 for and then ads popping up in the middle of gameplay. I truly hope that Ubisoft’s “technical error” never becomes a game industry reality.
Update November 24th, 1:01PM ET: Added an explanation from Ubisoft.