Ubisoft, one of the leading video game publishers in the world, has recently expressed its vision for the future of gaming, where gamers will no longer own their games, but rather access them through subscription services. This is the message that Philippe Tremblay, Ubisoft’s director of subscriptions, conveyed in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
Ubisoft+ is Ubisoft’s own subscription service, which allows gamers to play over 100 Ubisoft games on PC, Stadia, and Luna, for a monthly fee of $14.99. The service also includes new releases, such as Far Cry 6 and Riders Republic, as well as premium editions and DLCs of the games.
According to Tremblay, Ubisoft+ has attracted millions of users since its launch in 2019, and the number is expected to grow as more gamers adopt the subscription model. He said that subscription services offer a tremendous value for gamers, as they can access a large library of games anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
He also said that subscription services are the future of gaming, and that gamers need to get comfortable with not owning their games, just like they did with music and movies. He compared the situation to the transition from DVDs to streaming platforms, and said that gamers will eventually realize that they don’t lose their progress or engagement with the games, even if they don’t have a physical copy.
The Benefits and Challenges of the Digital Future
Tremblay argued that the digital future of gaming has many benefits for both gamers and developers. For gamers, he said that subscription services provide more choice, flexibility, and convenience, as they can discover new games, switch between different platforms, and play with their friends without worrying about compatibility issues.
For developers, he said that subscription services create more opportunities, as they can reach a wider audience, experiment with different genres and formats, and receive more feedback and data from the users. He also said that subscription services can foster more innovation and creativity in the gaming industry, as they lower the barriers of entry and risk for new projects.
However, the digital future of gaming also poses some challenges and concerns, especially for gamers who value ownership and preservation of their games. Some of the issues that have been raised by critics and gamers include:
- The availability and quality of internet connection, which can affect the performance and accessibility of the games.
- The control and ownership of the games, which can be removed or modified by the publishers or the platforms at any time.
- The preservation and archiving of the games, which can be lost or forgotten if they are not available on any platform or service.
- The cost and value of the subscription services, which can vary depending on the number and quality of the games offered.
The Future is Now
Ubisoft is not the only publisher that is betting on the subscription model for the future of gaming. Other major players, such as Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Activision Blizzard, have also launched or partnered with subscription services, such as Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now, EA Play, and GeForce Now.
These services have been gaining popularity and momentum in recent years, as they offer a diverse and attractive catalog of games, from AAA titles to indie gems, for a fraction of the cost of buying them individually. They have also been expanding their reach and features, by adding more platforms, devices, and regions, as well as cloud gaming and cross-play capabilities.
The subscription model is not without its flaws and limitations, but it seems to be the direction that the gaming industry is heading towards, as more publishers and gamers embrace the digital future of gaming. Whether gamers will get comfortable with not owning their games, or whether they will resist and demand more ownership and preservation, remains to be seen.