Leaked code is nothing new in the game world. Suing over leaked code, however, doesn’t happen every day. Especially when the suit requests $20 million in damages.

Ubisoft has taken Optical Experts Manufacturing to court, alleging that one of Optical’s employees put up pre-release code for Assassin’s Creed. Optical Experts is a company that does disk duplication.

Among the reasons for asking such high damages is the fact that AC sold only about 40,000 copies on the PC, while Ubi claims that 700,000 illegal copies have been downloaded.

Further, Ubisoft says they deliberately put a bug in the pre-release version that caused the game to crash partway through. And that reviews of the pre-release, along with reviews of the “legit” version, “created customer confusion and caused “irreparable harm” to its reputation”.

Well, we don’t know all the details about this yet, but even so, what has been reported so far raises a number of questions. For instance, how does Ubisoft come by that count of “700,000” illegal downloads?

Are all those downloads of the released or pre-released version? If those are the bugged version, is the game playable beyond that point? If not, what’s the problem? If the downloads are of the retail version, how much culpability falls on Optical?

We could also ask just why Ubisoft put such a bug in pre-release code. Was it meant to forestall early piracy? If so, we’d expect Assassin’s Creed to be unplayable beyond the crash.

And why was pre-release code sent to a duplicator? My experience, though limited, is that one sends final (before patches, anyway) code for duplication, not early software. What was Ubisoft doing here?

Then we come to the low sales on the PC. Was that really because of piracy? The game had been out for months already on both the Xbox and PS3. Many people have both a PC and a console. If you’re waiting for a particular game and it shows up first on a console you have, would you wait for the PC version? Some would, but the majority would get the first one available.

As far as reviews go, how many were actually written about the bugged AC? What sites had these reviews? Were any “big” ones involved? How much actual “confusion” was there among gamers? How did Ubisoft measure that?

Yeah, there’s a lot here that is very murky. Perhaps, if the case actually goes to trial, more details will emerge. From what we know so far, though, it seems to me that Ubisoft is just trying to cover its losses on the PC version of the game. Read the article and see what you think.

Ubisoft sues over Assassin’s Creed leak on Gamespot