According to an interview with the VP of live operations for Ubisoft, Anne Blondel, the publisher is working to extend the life of their games to 5 to 10 years after their release. And, what’s interesting about their latest interview is that Blondel says the company will no longer be charging for DLC that they find vital to the games.
Instead, their monetization will focus on things such as character customization, that, while nice to have, are not necessary for enjoying the game.
She used a theme park for an analogy. Once theme park admission is paid for visitors should not have to pay to ride the rides. That is part of the initial payment. Visitors may choose to pay for things like food and merchandise but even if they don’t they aren’t going to miss out on experiencing the fun of a theme park. Sure it might add to the experience but not having it is not keeping them from doing anything else.
She notes that Rainbow Six is a good example of DLC done correctly and it drew inspiration from Halo 5 and Titanfall 2. All maps and modes for these games are free. This has increased the number of daily active users for all of them. Rainbow Six does allow the purchasing of new characters that can be customized with different charms and weapons and these extras are not essential to the experience. Additionally, the chief creative officer for Ubisoft, Serge Hascoet, recently said that Ubisoft would be moving away from heavily scripted games in an effort to give players more freedom but still giving them some narrative.
This push to make games more like “anecdote factories” came from Far Cry 4 and they tried it recently on Watch Dogs 2. They hope this will lead players to do more unexpected and imaginative things and approach problems in ways they could not have predicted. They also plan to apply this to Assassins’ Creed Empire which will take place in Egypt.
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