Ubisoft is joining the ranks of big name game publishers looking to explore the free-to-play games market. Head of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, talked to GamesIndustry about the PC market for their games. Guillemot claims that the piracy rate for Ubisoft games on the PC is close to 93-95 percent, which seems strange, considering how much Ubisoft touts about the success of its draconian digital rights management (DRM).
Guillemot told GI, “It's a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue. On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.“
Ubisoft is going for the free-to-play market
Guillemot says that the move to free-to-play will help them explore new markets. “We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it,” said the French CEO. “The advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously – places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer.“
We had reported yesterday that Electronic Arts is making a similar move to free-to-play games with its major strategy game franchise, Command & Conquer. The upcoming game in the franchise is set to be a sequel to Command & Conquer: Generals, but is going to be simply titled Command & Conquer. The game is set to have e-sport features and no single player, according to PCGamer. Here is what the general manager of BioWare Victory John Van Canaghem told PCGamer, “As a live service I think the exciting part is you can try things. You can see what the community wants, you can give it a shot, you can put it up for a weekend and see how it goes, develop towards what the fans like.” EA is all set to release the other series in the Command & Conquer franchise, that is Red Alert and Tiberium, as free-to-play games.
Ubisoft generally isn’t known for its friendly stance towards the PC games market. The company repeatedly makes bad ports of its games for the PC version, releases the PC version weeks, sometimes months, after the release of the console versions and the company is very well known for its draconian DRM practices, which sometimes require the players to be connected to the internet at all times even when playing a single player game.
Ubisoft’s upcoming game, Assassin’s Creed III, got a multiplayer trailer earlier this month. The trailer shows off a new progression system for the game where players can unlock more things as they level up by playing matches. Another thing the trailer shows off is a new gameplay that looks like it could either be something akin to King of the Hill from games like Team Fortress 2, where a team has to capture a place in the map and keep control of it for a certain amount of time, and a control point game mode where the team that captures all control points in the map wins the game.