I had the chance to sit down at Fan Expo 2013 with Jeyson Acevedo, PR manager for Ubisoft Canada to talk about how things are going with the Watch_Dogs Live mobile game (iOS & Android) that has been engaging fans with a number of crazy stunts like the vomiting ATM machine that spewed cash at a mall in Mississauga and the live webcast/explosion countdown of an internet privacy advocate’s car containing a briefcase supposedly full of cash. Read on to see how their innovative campaign is developing, how the developers have been dealing with real in-game hackers, and some handy hacker strategy tips for conquering the game!

So how is everything going?

Really well! We’ve passed the 120,00 download mark which is great because we’re not even halfway through the campaign. It’s great to see people come through at Fan Expo and have fans know everything about it.

(a quick breakdown courtesy of a subsequent Ubisoft email)

– 121,065: Downloads to date (iOS and Android combined)

– 86,132: visits

– 215,446: YouTube views

– 4,893,645: Total of hacked locations

– 110: Average time spent per hacker (in seconds)

– 6,762: Number of “Crack for Cash” in-app participants

– 0: Number of cars destroyed (for now…)

Who owns the Metro Toronto Convention Center in the game?

Haha, I don’t’ know because the reception here is not so great but if you go outside you’ll see a bunch of stuff that’s been hacked around here. That’s great. For me, I travel a lot around the country and whenever I load the app I see people have been active hacking and enjoying it.

Watch_Dogs Live is just in Canada right?

Yeah, its exclusive to us and that’s great because Canada is often the forgotten country when it comes to promos. I’m excited to show everyone that this Canadian-made game has great intellectual property and that we’re doing something fun to raise awareness. There’s the feeling that only Canada has it, that we have something nobody else does. US and Europeans on the web think that it might be coming but we have to let them know that it’s not. And then they’re like, “oh, now we know how you feel, to be left out all the time,” haha.

There are some great prizes involved for participating in contests. Ubisoft has a history of this from early days with Splinter Cell promos.

It’s good when we come out with a nice program and partners want to be part of this. We have EB Games as our retail partner, Sennheiser, Scion cars, Frank & Oak with the clothing, and they’ve made caps and other gear.


And Frank & Oak is also from Montreal.

Yeah! When you look at the amount of content that we put out and our partners, it shows that this is a serious thing and we want to be part of the adventure.

So who are the highest-level hackers right now? I think one of the highest is level 60 something. I’m at level 23, and I hack stuff, but I’m not constantly in it. I’d assume some of those #1s are much higher. But we also have cheaters! They have hacked the app to be #1.



How do they do that?

I have no idea, but we find them and clear their profile immediately by sending them an email as Dedsec saying we’re hacking them back. In the beginning the team actually asked the question, what if hackers actually hack the game? And now they are actually dealing with it. For example, we detected this guy at one point who gained massive amounts of Kb, like something 100,000 in a few seconds, so it was pretty obvious. It’s really fun but cheaters are everywhere!

Prizes have gone out right?

Yeah, every week we have prize giveaways like Sennheiser headphones, EB Games gift cards, Frank & Oak gear, with a car from Scion as the grand prize.

What are some strategies for players?

I can’t win prizes as an employee but I thought I’d try. But then you realize that there are people way better than you finding ways to get those prizes. I realized that even if I do try I cant do this. However, my strategy is building my defense systems. Like a good basketball player knows, the best offence is a good defense. Even if I don’t hack a lot and don’t care about my signal strength, I can still hack different places when I travel. So I focus on my defenses, so that people can’t steal from me. Someone else might say they want range, so they can hack different things, and even if you fail a hack you still get Kb and money. Someone else might build their signal for the widest reach possible if they don’t move around as much so they can get to higher level places. But in theory the higher your level, the more KB and cash you’re going to earn. Like most RPGs, there’s no one strategy, and it’s non-linear. There’s no easy way to do this.


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