Ubisoft 'probably' adopting EA online model, five MMOGs in development

Publisher looking to monetize used game sales, will likely charge $10 for online features unless players purchase their titles new.

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Last week, Electronic Arts took the wraps off its Online Pass program, which will require gamers wanting to play online multiplayer titles to purchase their games new or pay $10 to unlock those features on games borrowed, rented, or purchased used. Today, the first of the publisher's competitors indicated it would be following suit.

The next Assassin's Creed will feature online multiplayer, but Ubisoft might charge extra for gamers who buy it used.
The next Assassin's Creed will feature online multiplayer, but Ubisoft might charge extra for gamers who buy it used.

In a post-earnings conference call today, Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez answered an analyst's question about monetizing used games, saying, "We are looking very carefully at what EA is doing regarding what we call 'the $10 solution,' and we will probably follow that line sometime in the future."

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot then added that the system for such a solution was already in place. The publisher has been including downloadable content codes with new games since last year but has to date only used them to grant access to retailer-specific bonus features. Martinez also noted that "most" of the publisher's games next year would have downloadable content available from launch.

Elsewhere in the call, the executives went deeper into their online plans. They said that Ubisoft has five "massively multiplayer online light" or free-to-play games in development, including MMO takes on Trackmania and Might and Magic. Additionally, the publisher will be focusing more on high-quality games for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network and is planning downloadable offerings for use with the upcoming Project Natal and PlayStation Move peripherals.

Going beyond the console space, Martinez and Guillemot also said the company is more closely examining Facebook. The publisher is considering the social service not just as a potential platform for new games, but also as a way to promote its brands. Ubisoft has used the service in lieu of traditional press releases for such recent announcements as the recent delay of R.U.S.E.

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