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Ubisoft Announces Focus On ‘High-End’ Free Games Alongside AAA

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A recent Ubisoft earnings call reveals that the developer-publisher intends to put more focus on free-to-play games than it has in previous years.

A recent Ubisoft earnings call has revealed that the developer-publisher intends to put more focus on “high-end free-to-play” games than it has in previous years. Ubisoft is typically known for its many different ongoing franchises, such as Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and several Tom Clancy series. It’s easily become one of the most well-known companies in gaming.

However, one thing Ubisoft has yet to truly break into is the free-to-play market. More specifically, the games-as-a-service model has largely been absent from Ubisoft’s releases (aside from Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege). This is a model that places a high value on microtransactions, DLC, and expansions instead of new titles. Games like Fortnite have proven this to be the method that pays the bills. Recently, it was revealed that as a game available for free on just about every gaming platform, Fortnite pulled in $9 billion in revenue in 2018 and 2019. Even the best-selling video games in history would be hard-pressed to generate this kind of revenue in their lifetimes based on sales.

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With this knowledge, it seems Ubisoft is going to try to get in on the action. On Tuesday, VGC reported on a Ubisoft earnings call that contained plenty of details from CFO Frederick Duguet about the studio’s plan to put more resources towards free-to-play experiences. Ubisoft has come to identify itself with its large-scale, single-player experiences. Now, the plan is to “make sure [high-end free-to-play games are] a strong contributor in the long-term to the expansion of the overall brand…” Duguet goes on to express the company’s interest in making such games “across all our biggest franchises across all platforms…” This likely means that fans can look forward to affordable experiences from their favorite Ubisoft IPs, in addition to the company’s upcoming big name titles, like Far Cry 6.

Initially, it was believed that this may mean Ubisoft would be stepping away from its usual titles, in spite of the success and customer loyalty these projects have earned. However, in response to a Tweet from Geoff Keighley about the news, Sean Lama, a Senior Analyst for Ubisoft, assured fans that these free-to-play ventures would be supplementary to what they’ve come to expect from the company. This means fans will likely still be greeted almost every year with Assassin’s Creed games and other AAA titles.

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This news comes just days after the announcement of Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, a free-to-play game that serves as a way to expand Ubisoft’s The Division series. If Duguet wasn’t convincing enough during his earnings call, this definitely shows Ubisoft’s intentions. The game will no doubt push microtransactions and feature simple, addictive gameplay loops the way most free-to-play games do. Ubisoft hopes to break into the free-to-play market with this game, a move that would open up the series and company to an even wider audience.

Next: The Division Heartland: Where To Sign Up For Early Access

Sources: VGC, Sean Lama/Twitter

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