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Does Ubisoft "belyves" in the cloud?

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

October 6, 2023

2 Min Read
A promo image for Assassin's Creed Mirage featuring player character Basim and the logo for Amazon Luna.

Amazon and Ubisoft today announced a new partnership for the publisher's games on Amazon Luna. Starting today Amazon Luna owners can now buy individual Ubisoft games on Amazon's cloud streaming game platform.

If that news seems a little...banal (you can buy Ubisoft games elsewhere, what's the big deal about Luna?) it's this: Amazon Luna owners could previously only stream their games if they had an Ubisoft+ account.

Players will still need to link an Amazon account and Ubisoft account to complete these purchases, but they aren't required to hitch themselves to Ubisoft's subscription service.

It's a relatively minor note in Amazon Luna's slow cloud expansion but it's a relatively consistent note for Ubisoft's cloud streaming efforts. The publisher is one of the largest third-party studios to experiment in the space, and the sunsetting of Google Stadia and the dominance of Xbox Cloud Gaming aren't slowing its ambitions.

Previously Ubisoft was one of the first publishers to partner with Google for its cloud streaming technology, offering a limited-time opportunity for players to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey through Google Chrome. Elsewhere, the publisher is choosing to view Xbox as a partner in cloud streaming rather than competition. Microsoft transferred the cloud streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft in August as part of its bid to appeal to the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority in its $68.7 billion effort to acquire Activision Blizzard.

What does Ubisoft have to gain from the cloud streaming market?

In 2018 Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors that cloud streaming would help bring the company's triple-A games to more players. His comments were particularly aimed at players who only owned mobile devices, not expensive game consoles or high-end PCs.

Notably, Guillemot also said at the time that the company would prefer to stick with a traditional marketplace model to sell copies of streamable games, the same as buying them for full price on a platform like Steam. The company seems to be sticking to that plan after five years of experimenting in the market.

Xbox president Matt Booty is still telling the world that cloud streaming is a "very, very small" market (which may explain the company's comfort in transferring the Activision Blizzard rights to Ubisoft). But that may change soon. Omdia analyst George Jijiashvili noted in 2022 that player awareness of cloud streaming platforms for games is surging,

If Ubisoft can ride that awareness, it will be able to develop bigger audiences (and revenue streams) for games like Assassin's Creed Mirage and other upcoming titles.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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