Systems like Microsoft's Gamerscore, Sony's PlayStation Trophies, and Steam's Achievements all dole out rewards for in-game accomplishments, but only in decidedly intangible bragging rights. With the launch of Assassin's Creed II this week, Ubisoft has gone into open beta testing with its own achievement system, Uplay, featuring still-intangible but decidedly more appealing rewards.
In addition to bragging rights, gamers who complete Uplay tasks (for example, discovering the Assassin's Tomb in the publisher's recently released sequel) will earn points that can be redeemed for a variety of downloadable goodies. Currently Assassin's Creed II is the only Uplay-compatible game, although the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction and R.U.S.E. will also support the service.
Each game has four achievements worth a total of 100 points to earn and four corresponding rewards to unlock. At 10 points, gamers can get free wallpaper (PC edition) or themes (Xbox 360 and PS3), with 20 points netting Assassin's Creed II players an expanded in-game knife belt. For 30 points, gamers can swap out protagonist Ezio's duds for those of the first game's protagonist, Altair. And at 40 points, players can unlock access to Ezio's family crypt in Assassin's Creed II, though it's unclear what it holds (beyond Ezio's family, of course).
Conviction's rewards include an extra weapon, multiplayer skin, and multiplayer game mode, while R.U.S.E. will offer players downloadable unlocks for an exclusive tank upgrade, and a new single-player map. Uplay will also serve to give gamers hints and cheats for Ubisoft games and offer social functions including forums and leaderboards.