Ubisoft is partnering with Netflix to release three exclusive mobile games on the company's subscription service. The three titles will all be original games based on existing Ubisoft franchises, and will be available to subscribers globally without in-game ads or microtransactions.
The two companies announced the partnership during last Saturday's Ubisoft Forward event, where the Assassin's Creed publisher showed off a number of upcoming titles that would normally debut during the E3 marketing window.
The three games headed to Netflix include a sequel to World War I-themed adventure game Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a roguelike version of Ubisoft's The Mighty Quest series, and an original Assassin's Creed game optimized for mobile.
That Assassin's Creed game might be linked to the live-action Assassin's Creed TV show that Netflix is already developing. Though no direct link was stated during the event, a Netflix post unveiling the partnership makes a very suggestive connection between the two projects.
Netflix's growing game ambitions
Earlier this year, Netflix revealed that it's also working on animated adaptations of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It's interesting to see that neither franchise will be represented among Ubisoft's first games for Netflix.
Today's announcement makes Ubisoft the largest game developer to date that's announced plans to publish games on Netflix's subscription service. There's good reason for both companies to buddy up like this.
Netflix has been buying up multiple studios in a bid to accelerate its games output, but having an experienced publisher like Ubisoft on hand that also has an interest in adapting its other franchises creates growth opportunities for the streaming service.
Having more prominent game franchises on hand may also help get more players to actually try out its games. Allegedly, only one percent of Netflix subscribers have downloaded any titles.
For Ubisoft's part, there seems to be acknowledgement from company leadership that it needs to experiment with new business models to continue growing and earning profit. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that company executives met up for an off-site, where CEO Yves Guillemot stressed the need for evolution and adaptation in the face of shifting economic challenges for the company.
"This will be a challenging and unforgiving journey: Either you keep up the pace of change or you are out," Guillemot reportedly told attending company leaders.
It wasn't clear if said meeting addressed continued concerns by developers about the company's alleged culture of sexual harassment and abuse across its studios. Last week, members of worker advocacy group A Better Ubisoft indicated that the company has still not fully reformed its troubled past.