You see, this is what is precisely wrong with today’s gaming industry. We PC gamers have criticised Ubisoft’s actions in the past – especially its controversial DRM – and hoped that the French company would listen and address those issues. We were not bashing Ubisoft because it’s the cool thing to do. No, we want a better gaming experience from the company that brought us Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six. In fact, we were hoping that Ubisoft would, somehow, treat us the way we should be treated in the first place. However, that won’t happen anytime soon. As GamesIndustry reported, Ubisoft is investing in free-to-play on PC, in a way to increase and guarantee revenue.
As Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, said:
“It’s a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue. On PC it’s only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it’s only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It’s around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.”
Guillemot has also added:
“We’re waiting for the new consoles – I think that the new consoles will give a huge boost to the industry, just like they do every time that they come.”
“I think it’s very important for new generations to come regularly with innovations for the industry, so I think we’ve been waiting a bit too long. What is important is that when those new generations do come, they bring enough innovation to make the market strong again.”
Well, sorry to reign on your parade Guillemot, but next-generation is already here. Yes, PC hardware is powerful enough to handle your next-generation plans. You want innovation? Then go ahead and take advantage of the PC hardware. Show us your talents, improve AI, make no compromises, offer us a game similar to Watch Dogs or an even better product. PC gamers will buy a truly, next-generation title. That’s a fact. And no, you cannot expect PC gamers to buy your delayed console ports.
You see, Ubisoft has a bad record with the PC platform. Let’s forget for a moment the fact that they have ruined some classic PC franchises, and focus on what the company has done these past months. Ubisoft’s DRM system was bashed by a lot of players because this is not the proper way to treat your customers. The fact that pirates can, actually, play their games when Internet connection goes down is proof enough that Ubi’s DRM is not as good as they’d hoped to, as a pirated version of their games offers a better gaming experience. Now before jumping to conclusions, we’re not promoting piracy, but we can’t acknowledge the harsh truth and how Ubisoft has F’ed up their PC games.
Not only that, but Ubisoft’s latest PC offers were mediocre. Although the company promised proper PC versions of its games, what PC gamers actually got were awful console ports. After all, our Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Performance Analysis suggested that the company had not polished the game’s code for the PC. Not only that, but the company has lied – countless of times – for the release dates of its PC games. Assassin’s Creed 3 was the last victim of Ubisoft’s awful PR tricks. And we all know that the company has been delaying the PC versions in order to boost the sales of its console counterparts.
The hard truth here is that Ubisoft is putting little effort into its PC games, and the free-to-play model is a way to take advantage of PC’s huge fanbase. During its Gamescom 2012 conference, Ubisoft announced three free-to-play titles. Needless to say that all of them had awful visuals, and reminded us a lot of low-budget games. So why should PC gamers support Ubi’s games instead of those indie devs? If that’s what Ubisoft is trying to do with its PC franchises, then no thanks, we won’t be a part of this.
There are companies – like CD Projekt RED – that deserve our respect and offer proper PC experiences. Companies that release their games without DRM. Companies that respect the PC market. Companies that try to offer unique experiences, right here, right now. And those are the ones we should all be supporting. If Ubisoft wants to increase its PC revenue, they should start offering unique experiences that take advantage of the PC hardware, and not low-budget F2P games. They should start respecting the PC market, instead of focusing on increasing their revenue. They should offer proper, triple-A next generation PC titles. And PC gamers will buy them. And while we are at it – delaying your next generation plans, our dear Ubisoft, until next-generation consoles hit the market is definitely not the way to win the PC market. It’s like delaying the PC versions of your current-generation multi-platform games… and you do know how PC gamers hate that, right?