I am a privileged person. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I know that I have it better than other people around me. It’s why I choose to speak up when the status quo tends to shift away from helping everyone and actively starts hurting people. And while something as silly as subscription services exist, the business practices behind them ultimately end up hurting people. And it sounds like Ubisoft wants to be okay with that.
Tuesday, Ubisoft updated its subscription model for Ubisoft+. Ubisoft+ allows you to access titles that they make at any time for a monthly fee. This is similar to Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus. There are now two different tears to choose from. With Premium ($17.99/month), subscribers will have access to all new releases and some additional perks. With the new Classics ($7.99/month), you will only have access to a selection of Ubisoft’s back catalog and live games.
That being said, Ubisoft’s director of subscription, Philippe Tremblay, told GameIndustry.biz there is “tremendous opportunity for growth” when it comes to subscription models. Its just one thing stopping it, consumer thoughts on the matter.
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.”
Ubisoft director of subscription Philippe Tremblay
I love how it seems to think gamers don’t understand how the technology works. For one, we know you can’t store data on a optical disk on consoles because the drives in our console don’t allow for it. We’ve called for cloud saves so we can go to a friend’s house and load our save there. I’m just speaking for me here, but what I want is to be able to access a game after its removed from the internet. I would like for game preservationists to be able to have something to share with future generations. Also, if I pay money, I should be able to own it.
Tremblay went on to say: “I still have two boxes of DVDs. I definitely understand the gamers perspective with that. But as people embrace that model, they will see that these games will exist, the service will continue, and you’ll be able to access them when you feel like. That’s reassuring.”
In this case, it looks like he’s trying to compare Ubisoft+ and others like it to Netflix and its ilk. There are a lot of people who
are were glad that Netflix existed. You can watch your favorite movie and not worry about clutter in your home. It was always there. Until it wasn’t. When everyone else came through with similar services, movies and shows disappeared or went somewhere else. Now we have apps that tell us where a show is and how much those subs cost. We have to pay the cost of those subs to get that content back. It’s easier now to just buy the movies and TV box sets. Or, at the very least, buy them from Amazon, Apple, or Google and hope they don’t get taken away like PlayStation almost did.
Like I said, I am a privileged person. I have access to more storage than a small server farm at times. I have faster internet than most Americans have access to. When I could, I could afford to have all the subscriptions, both movie and gaming. I had no issue with keeping access to them. But not everyone has that luxury. It’s why I argue against the Xbox Series S. I use Xbox Game Pass, but at least Microsoft isn’t saying the quiet part out loud. They at least still want to push software sales.
But to try and convince people that they shouldn’t want to own anything anymore is just sick.