Ubisoft Clarifies Comments On AAA Games
The Far Cry and Assassin's Creed publisher has clarified its original statement about AAA games.
For at least the past decade, Ubisoft has been nearly synonymous with big-budget AAA titles that appear on store shelves for $60. But according to its latest earnings call, the publisher seems to be shifting its focus away from its traditional yearly cadence of big games and more toward free-to-play titles. We've now learned a little bit more on Ubisoft's approach, and it's more nuanced and subtle of a change that some might have thought.
The publisher said in a statement that Ubisoft will not reduce its AAA output. Instead, the company is trying to support these types of games while also expanding its reach further into free-to-play.
"Our intention is to deliver a diverse line-up of games that players will love--across all platforms. We are excited to be investing more in free-to-play experiences, however we want to clarify that this does not mean reducing our AAA offering," a spokesperson for Ubisoft told GameSpot. "Our aim is to continue to deliver premium experiences to players such as Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Riders Republic and Skull & Bones to name a few while also expanding our Free to Play portfolio and strengthening our brands to reach even more players."
Analyst Daniel Ahmad of Niko Partners shared his thoughts, too. He said, "It's worth noting that the proper interpretation of this is not that Ubisoft will deliver less AAA premium games, but that its other non AAA premium content, such as F2P or even Just Dance, will become more important to the business. It's not about less, it's about more
It's worth noting that the proper interpretation of this is not that Ubisoft will deliver less AAA premium games, but that its other non AAA premium content, such as F2P or even Just Dance, will become more important to the business.— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) May 11, 2021
It's not about less, it's about more. https://t.co/ssUFsr2jLJ
As reported by VGC, Ubisoft's chief financial officer Frederick Duguet stated in the call that the company believes that its games lineup is "increasingly diverse" and that it no longer expects to put out 3-4 "premium" AAA releases each year. Rather, it expects to invest more heavily in free-to-play titles in order to push those toward the AAA level.
He caveated that this is "purely a financial communication" and that the company will continue to put out premium titles. However, his statements reflect a significant change in Ubisoft's posture in the games industry, as players will likely no longer see the same consistent release schedule of $60 Assassin's Creed, Division, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry titles.
Ubisoft's announced projects already reflect this new strategy. Last week, the company revealed The Division: Heartland, which is a free-to-play project in the Division universe coming to PC, consoles, and cloud services. In addition, Ubisoft has continued to have success with iterating on Rainbow Six Siege, which has become one of the most popular competitive shooters over the past few years. Alongside these games, Ubisoft is also continuing to make premium titles, such as Far Cry 6 and Riders Republic. Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Quarantine are both still on pace to launch this year, while Skull and Bones has been delayed again until 2022-2023.