A hot potato: A man in Norway claims Ubisoft deleted his Ubisoft Connect account and all his games after a year of inactivity. The stated reason is GDPR related, but Ubisoft's account deletion policy is very different from what happened in this instance.

Tor, who only wants to be identified by his first name, told PCWorld earlier this month he sold his PC in 2020 to stave off gaming addiction. When he decided to start playing games again this past summer, he found his Ubisoft account closed.

After resetting his password, Tor discovered his hundreds of dollars of purchased games like Rainbow Six and Assassin's Creed were gone. There was just one email from Ubisoft warning of account inactivity, which Tor found in his spam folder. Ubisoft says it cannot recover the account or its games.

A Ubisoft representative said it deletes inactive accounts according to its interpretation of article 5.1e of the European Union's GDPR law, which concerns how long companies should hold onto users' personal data.

Ubisoft's terms of service say it can issue a warning and then delete an inactive account after six months. However, the company told PCWorld it doesn't just purge accounts with purchased games on them. It usually sends three warnings before taking action and hasn't ever deleted an account after less than four years of inactivity. The representative said Ubisoft support would reach out to Tor.

Tor said no other gaming service did anything like this. GOG and Steam support don't say anything about deleting dormant accounts. Blizzard might change your WoW character's name or delete your Diablo II account if either is inactive for a while.

In any case, let this be a reminder that when you buy most digital products, you don't fully own them. Also, account deletion warning emails could be problematic because users may think they're phishing scams or get filtered into the spam folder, as it was in this case.