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Ubisoft reworks subscription service, hopes players will forget about ownership

The French publisher has some interesting ideas about what needs to happen for its subscription service to take flight.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 16, 2024

4 Min Read
A selection of titles available on Ubisoft+
Image via Ubisoft

At a Glance

  • 'Ubisoft+ Multi-Access and PC Access' is becoming 'Ubisoft+ Premium' and will offer day-one access to new releases
  • A new offering called 'Ubisoft+ Classics on PC' is being rolled out to provide access to back-catalog and live titles on PC

Ubisoft is tweaking its subscription service after four years to bring more titles to players.

The company is rebranding 'Ubisoft+ Multi-Access and PC Access' as 'Ubisoft+ Premium,' which will offer day-one access to new releases, early access to select titles, premium editions, monthly rewards, and more.

Ubisoft is also introducing a new offering called 'Ubisoft+ Classics on PC' that will provide access to popular back-catalog and live titles.

"Premium means day one access to new releases and in some cases, like Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, early access to upcoming new releases. This is on top of our extensive back catalog, where you'll have access to premium editions, DLC, and monthly rewards," said Ubisoft's director of subscription, Philippe Tremblay, discussing the tweaks in a blog post.

"All of this is offered on Xbox, PC, and Amazon Luna, and you'll only need to subscribe once to have access to these games across all these platforms. Players can subscribe to Ubisoft+ Premium for a monthly fee of $17.99.

"Alternatively, players can subscribe to Ubisoft+ Classics, a curated selection of our most popular back-catalog games, like Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six Siege, and Watch Dogs: Legion. This catalog will grow with time, is included for PlayStation+ Extra and PlayStation+ Premium Members, and is now available on PC through the Ubisoft Store for $7.99 per month."

Tremblay said Ubisoft+ is currently "above projections" in terms of subscribers but stopped short of revealing how many people have joined the service—though he indicated there have been "millions" of sign-ups since it launched.

"In October [2023] alone we reached the highest month since launch in terms of monthly active users. We're thrilled to see players enjoy the service," said Tremblay, adding that Ubisoft+ has become a "great way" to introduce titles to brand-new players.

"One in 10 subscribers is someone who has never played a Ubisoft game before. As a result, they go on to discover more of our games, so it really speaks to the model as a means to expand their horizons."

Tremblay claims Ubisoft+ has the potential to really "build value" for the French publisher and believes the eventual addition of Activision Blizzard titles will persuade players to stick around.

Ubisoft says the death of ownership will propel subscription services forward

Although Tremblay indicated Ubisoft+ is performing well, he claims the service (and others like it) are still very much finding their feet.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz about the rebrand and the wider streaming, the Ubisoft exec said the model has delivered "rapid expansion" but is still "relatively small."

"We're seeing expansion on console as the likes of PlayStation and Xbox bring new people in. On PC, from a Ubisoft standpoint, it's already been great, but we are looking to reach out more on PC, so we see opportunity there," he explained.

One factor that could enable more growth is the death of ownership. Tremblay said players need to get more comfortable with the idea of not purchasing titles and relying on streaming platforms, suggesting that's what users of other services like Spotify and Netflix have done.

"One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That's the consumer shift that needs to happen. They got comfortable not owning their CD collection or DVD collection. That's a transformation that's been a bit slower to happen [in games]," he said

"As gamers grow comfortable in that aspect [...] you don't lose your progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file is still there. That's not been deleted. You don't lose what you've built in the game or your engagement with the game. So it's about feeling comfortable with not owning your game."

Tremblay added that people who fully "embrace" streaming will come to learn their favorite titles aren't going anywhere. "These games will still exist, the service will continue, and you'll be able to access them when you feel like. That's reassuring. " he continued. "Streaming is also a thing that works really well with subscription. So you pay when you need it, as opposed to paying all the time."

It's a confident pitch, but one that might raise eyebrows given the lack of permanency provided by other streaming platforms. Take Google Stadia. The game streaming platform (which actually granted access to some Ubisoft titles) was scrapped in January 2023 after just four years, leaving those who bought into the ecosystem with nothing but a few pieces of aging hardware to their name,

Other services like Disney+ have also come under scrutiny for removing original programming after content reviews (thanks Deadline), posing questions about what the age of streaming means for how we consume and by extension preserve media.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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