Ubisoft seeing the light.
I love Ubisoft, but it’s hard to deny that they had become a bit cynical over the last few years. Endless sequelization, annual sequels for their franchises, making multiple games with the same template, and exploitative DLC and microtransactions had become the norm for them. They’ve sort of started to make a turnaround these last few months- actively trying to make games that break from their template, stopping with annualization, and more. And now, it looks like they have decided to not have DLC that should ideally be a part of the main game, too.
“Monetization is something we have to be very careful about, and my team is in charge of that and making sure we find a right balance,” Ubisoft VP of live operations Anne Blondel-Jouin said to GamesIndustry.biz.
“The key is if it’s not adding something on-top of the actual experience of the game, then it is no good. Because you’ll be asking for more money for the wrong reasons. Also, if the content is compulsory for the gamers, it’s no good as well. It is a way to deliver more fun to gamers, but they have a choice to go for that extra fun or not. If I take an analogy of an amusement park, you can go through all the rides, but then you can also go to the shop to buy some food or merchandise or whatever… regardless of whether you spend in the shop, you’re still part of the whole experience. Nobody is making you buy if you don’t want to, but it is another way to have a different entertainment experience. If you’re with your kids, and there’s a toy you want to get, we will make sure it is an extra experience. It won’t be the case if you don’t buy it then you can’t do anything else.
“It wouldn’t work if it was about making it compulsory for gamers. No more DLC that you have to buy if you want to have the full experience. You have the game, and if you want to expand it – depending on how you want to experience the game – you’re free to buy it, or not.”
Ubisoft have probably come around after the sustained success of Rainbow Six: Siege. Their multiplayer shooter launched last year, and while it was not a success out of the gates, sustained support for it, a fostering of the community, and good DLC practices have now made it into a very profitable and successful venture for them. For the company, having long term slow burn successes like Siege is probably more important than having short term flash in the pan successes like the original Watch Dogs.