Recently, Ubisoft announced a new direction for The Division as a series, with the free-to-play The Division Heartland confirmed for a late 2021-early 2022 launch. Be prepared for more of that- Ubisoft has confirmed that it’s going to be increasing its focus on free-to-play releases.
During the company’s recent earnings call, chief financial officer Frederick Duguet said that Ubisoft will be shifting away from its model of releasing 3-4 AAA games every year. While that doesn’t mean Ubisoft is going to stop making AAA games entirely, it does mean that Ubisoft is going to be focusing more on releasing free-to-play titles. These free-to-play games, Duguet insists, will be “trending towards AAA ambitions over the long-term.”
“In line with the evolution of our high-quality line-up that is increasingly diverse, we are moving on from our prior comment regarding releasing 3-4 premium AAAs per year,” Duguet said (via VGC). “It is indeed no longer a proper indication of our value creation dynamics. For example, our expectation for Just Dance and Riders Republic are consistent with some of the industry’s AAA performers.”
“Additionally, we are building high-end free-to-play games to be trending towards AAA ambitions over the long-term,” he continued. “This is purely a financial communication evolution and doesn’t change the fact that we continue to expect a high cadence of content delivery including powerful premium and free-to-play new releases.”
Duguet went on to say that this new free-to-play-focused model will help Ubisoft expand audiences for its biggest properties.
“We think that we have a great opportunity to meaningfully expand the audiences of our biggest franchises,” he said. “We have taken the time to learn from what we did last year with Hyper Scape. We are also learning of course with the launch we’ll be making of Roller Champions and we’ve been learning a lot with Brawlhalla, which is fast growing.
“And we think it is now the time to come with high quality free-to-play games across all our biggest franchises across all platforms, but of course it will take time before proving it in a more assertive way. That’s why we want to be cautious in year one. If we are successful, that can have a very meaningful impact on the value creation of Ubisoft.”
Meanwhile, Ubisoft has plenty of AAA premium releases coming up in the near future. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake is in the works, Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Quarantine are coming before the end of the fiscal year, while Riders Republic is also in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Skull and Bones recently got delayed yet again.