Ubisoft restricting some single-player Assassin's Creed IV content via online pass?
Online passes aren't anything new - implemented to prevent access to multiplayer or online content when a game is sold on, gamers must instead pay a small fee to the publisher to get access via a code. However, to date this has never been done to restrict offline single player functionality until now.
Reports are coming in that a core mechanic of Assassin's Creed IV is locked away behind an online pass. In the game, when the protagonist Edward Kenway boards a ship the player is given the option to add it to their fleet. Ships can then be sent off on missions and after a period of time return with their earnings. This whole process is locked behind the Ubisoft Uplay Passport gateway. There are some online elements to this part of the game, but it can also be done offline in single player mode which makes the need for second-hand buyers to pay for access rather distasteful.
The mechanic is similar in practice to the dispatching of assassins in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and that didn't lock anything away - let's be clear, there are no technical reasons for this restriction, only financial hurdles.