Ubisoft To Shift Focus To Free-To-Play

By Ben Hamill - May 13 2021

Ubisoft To Shift Focus To Free-To-Play

Significant changes are coming to how Ubisoft has traditionally approached the release of new premium AAA games titles. The gaming software giant during its full-year earnings update on Tuesday announced that instead of focusing on the development and release of only 3 or 4 Triple-A games a year, it will in future shift that focus to a strategy of releasing several more high-end and “free to play” games for all its largest franchises on an annual basis.

Ubisoft however stressed that the shift in focus will by no means imply that the studio will deliver lower-grade games as it seeks to up its output. Instead, the decision was made from a purely financial point of view, with no changes being afoot in terms of a continuance of the release of premium AAA video games titles.

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Not A Situation Of Either, Or

According to a tweet by a senior Ubisoft analyst, the company’s comments indicate its interest in grabbing a bigger piece of the F2P revenue pie – and should not be misunderstood to mean that there will be fewer traditional paid games being released in the future.

The analyst wrote that the mix of content players can expect to see released by Ubisoft in the future is all about expanding, and not necessarily changing. Instead of replacing AAA games, free-to-play titles will become an additional way to experience leading and top-quality content and games.

Part of the expansion will be Tom Clancy’s The Division: Heartland, which will now be expanded into the mobile gaming arena and the free-to-play model of games development. The idea behind the expansion of especially Heartland in the land of free-to-play, said Ubisoft Chief Financial Officer, Frederick Duguet. Starting with The Division, the aim is to expand the free-to-play and mobile model to more popular titles soon, he explained.

A Constant Learning Curve

Duguet also touched on what Ubisoft had learned from what happened last year with Hyper Scape. That particular learning curve is obviously what had set the free-to-play and larger audience wheels in motion for the gaming studio giant.

The CFO did  however emphasise that Rome wasn’t built in one day, and that Ubisoft would be proceeding with caution, knowing that it will take time to provide more free-to-play content in a much more assertive and industry-defining way.

If the latest strategy proves successful, this could have a significant and meaningful impact on the creation of value for the gaming giant further down the line, Duguet explained.

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