Ubisoft will focus on high-end free-to-play games going forwards, moving away from its 3-4 premium AAA games per year strategy.
Ubisoft held its full-year earnings call (opens in new tab) yesterday and there were some interesting revelations about the company’s content creation plans hidden amongst all the financial details. Speaking during the call, Ubisoft’s chief financial officer Frederick Duguet said that “In line with the evolution of our high-quality line-up that is increasingly diverse, we are moving on from our prior comment regarding releasing 3-4 premium AAAs per year,”
Instead, Ubisoft is shifting its focus towards the free-to-play games market, along with its smaller releases. “Additionally, we are building high-end free-to-play games to be trending towards AAA ambitions over the long-term,” explained Duguet, who also made references to Ubisoft’s second tier of releases like Rider’s Republic and Just Dance, which are apparently expected to perform as well as some other companies’ AAA titles.
Ubisoft has already made significant moves in the free to play space this year with last week’s announcement of Tom Clancy’s The Division: Heartland, a free-to-play spinoff title that is set to release for consoles, PC, and cloud platforms. There was also mention of a mobile game based on The Division, though we’ll have to wait until later in the year to hear more about that.
Speaking about this strategy in the earnings call, Duguet explained that free-to-play was a “great opportunity to meaningfully expand the audiences of our biggest franchises”, but noted that Ubisoft was being “cautious” in its first year of this strategy.
None of this is to say that Ubisoft is abandoning its traditional model entirely though. Clarifying these comments on Twitter, Ubisoft senior analyst Sean Lama said this did not mean less traditional AAA titles, but a growing focus on free-to-play.
Hi. Regarding the Ubisoft comment, it's in reference to F2P becoming a larger share of the revenue pie, not an indication that there will be less traditional paid games like AC. The content mix is expanding, not changing. A good comp is the evolution of CoD since Warzone.May 11, 2021
Plus, we’re still expecting the releases of Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Quarantine by the end of September 2021. But currently, this will mark the first year in a long time that Ubisoft does not have a blockbuster launching during the holiday season, with no AAA title currently scheduled for the second half of this fiscal year.