In a recent interview, Ubisoft’s Director of Subscriptions, Philippe Tremblay, spoke at length about the state of play in our increasingly digital global landscape. He laid out the present and future of streaming services, particularly covering the recent changes made to the Ubisoft+ service, which has undergone a slight rebrand.
In his words, ‘millions’ of users have flocked to Ubisoft’s cloud-based streaming service since it launched, and there are expectations that the number of users adopting these subscription-based models will swell as time goes on. He stressed that gamers should get comfortable with these services and that despite some users still clinging to physical games, a consumer shift ‘needs to happen’.
Digital Is The Future
In recent years, we’ve seen the concept of cloud gaming and subscription services explode. From PlayStation Now to Xbox Game Pass and from GeForce NOW to EA Play, it seems like there are countless services that you can pay a monthly fee for to unlock a host of ever-changing games. There are tens of millions of people – if not more – with multiple subscriptions, covering the field and gaining access to hundreds of titles.
Ubisoft recently amended its service – Ubisoft+ – with a slight rebrand. The core offering is now known as ‘Ubisoft+ Premium’ and it operates alongside other tiers, such as ‘Ubisoft+ Classics’, which gives players access to back-catalogue games – but nothing brand-new.
There are multiple behaviours. There are definitely a lot of people who come in for one game and then decide to buy it after the subscription ends. That’s part of the reality and that’s ok with us.
He referenced the ‘tremendous value’ of subscription services, pointing out that subscribers of the Ubisoft+ Premium service get access to the latest games from the moment they’re released – and that typically means they’re getting the highest tier of that game, too.
There’s still room for more gamers to get on board, though, as Tremblay explained:
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. 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.
Soon, Ubisoft will onboard Activision Blizzard games to its subscription-based offering as part of the recent deal with Microsoft to acquire streaming rights for the games. Over time, subscription services are soaking up a staggering portion of revenue in the games industry – will this peak soon, or is the growth of these services persistently exponential?