For the past few years, the gaming industry started making games that offer live services to keep players playing. Free-to-play games are notable for doing this as they include add-on content and microtransactions to keep players engaged. Games such as Destiny 2, Fortnite, and Genshin Impact are prime examples of this. Companies benefit off of this business model, as they make money over time throughout the game’s life. As a result, more companies are starting to adopt this business model to generate profit. However, one developer named Ubisoft attempted to dip their toes into this practice and is now in big financial trouble.
Ubisoft Is In Big Financial Trouble – The Current Gaming Industry Trend And Ubisoft’s Greed
Ubisoft understands that “the industry continues to shift towards mega-brands and long-lasting titles that can reach players across the globe, across platforms and business models”. They have goals to make their biggest games a part of this direction. Ubisoft used titles like Assassin’s Creed, Rainbow Six, and The Division to join in on these types of games. However, their attempts to tap into this field have not benefitted them at all.
Ubisoft straight away wanted many free-to-play games in development such as Roller Champions, The Division Heartland, and XDefiant. Ghost Recon: Frontline and Hyper Scape are one of the canceled ones, unfortunately. Released in 2020, Hyper Scape was a promising FPS battle royale game that had lots of criticisms from fans. Ubisoft mentioned that they would address those concerns but then shut down the game 2 years later. Fans criticized Ghost Recon: Frontline heavily for not showing any tactical gameplay at all. Tactical gameplay is a huge part of the Ghost Recon series, so understandably this game made fans mad. Ubisoft ended up canceling the game a few months later. To add on, the company canceled seven games in the span of seven months. One of them was Splinter Cell VR, a virtual reality experience for Splinter Cell fans.
Skull and Bones, Ubisoft’s newest upcoming game, is another game that will join this new trend in gaming. Having microtransactions and multiplayer, this title is expected to be played for a long time by players. Unfortunately, this game has been delayed once again, while some of their games that are joining in on the trend have yet to be announced. Multiple other games have experienced delays such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake and Far Cry 6.
Consequences And Learning Lessons
As a result of all of this, Ubisoft’s stock price plummeted to $4.39 from a 13.79% decrease. The company hasn’t seen lows like this since 2015. It doesn’t help that their newest releases didn’t make as much money as Ubisoft wanted. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 didn’t meet sales expectations. There are even rumors that Ubisoft will be acquired by a private equity firm. With delays, cancellations, production issues, and fan backlash, Ubisoft has a lot to make up for.
Looking forward, Ubisoft needs to make sure the new Star Wars title and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora exceed sales expectations. Give developers more time to create these games and make sure they turn out the best product they can. Make games that are groundbreaking and appeal to your fanbase. According to Ubisoft, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is supposedly an open-world game. This is great since these types of games are the current hype. The new Star Wars game is apparently an open-world game as well, which is very exciting. There has never been an open-world Star Wars game before and this could really put Ubisoft back on the map.
Another point I’d like to bring up is to not announce and try to release so many games quickly. Ubisoft recently announced that they have multiple Assassin’s Creed games in development. To explain, they rush their developers to create multiple products. These games have a high chance of being canceled or feeling unfinished as a result. There is also a huge chance of these games having bad reception. Most of these games don’t even have a title yet. A lot of these games also end up feeling unfinished. Announcing them early in the game’s development phase is already bad enough.
There has been plenty of situations where companies have been in financial issues. Some have gone bankrupt and even shut down. Despite the lack of care Ubisoft gives its employees and fans, nobody wants to see them fall. Their developers are very talented and can make great games. I don’t think anyone wants to see these Ubisoft developers experience being in big financial trouble. We will just have to see what happens from here.