Ubisoft sees “tremendous opportunity for growth” in subscription services, if consumers can get used to not owning games like they have with music, movies and TV content.
Ubisoft+ Premium, which is available on PC, Xbox and Luna for a monthly fee of $17.99, includes day one access to new releases, a large back catalogue of titles and DLC, early access to selected games and more.
Ubisoft+ Classics, which already offered a curated selection of back catalogue games to PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium subscribers, is now available for PC players too at $7.99 per month.
He claimed 10% of subscribers have never previously played the company’s games before, and that the service enjoyed its biggest month to date in October 2023.
That same month, Ubisoft’s SVP of strategic partnerships and business development, Chris Early, predicted a future where physical game sales continue to decline, but said he doesn’t think they’ll ever go away completely.
Tremblay reiterated that Ubisoft will continue to offer different ways for players to consume its games.
“The point is not to force users to go down one route or another,” he said. “We offer purchase, we offer subscription, and it’s the gamer’s preference that is important here. We are seeing some people who buy choosing to subscribe now, but it all works.”
While buying games remains by far the dominant business model, Tremblay said there’s massive growth potential if customers can get used to not owning the games they play.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but when you look at the different subscription services that are out there, we’ve had a rapid expansion over the last couple of years, but it’s still relatively small compared to the other models,” he said.
“One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games,” he added. “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.
“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.
“Streaming is also a thing that works really well with subscription. So you pay when you need it, as opposed to paying all the time.”