It seems that the days of Season Passes and paid for DLC packs could well be coming to an end – at least with Ubisoft and their games in the foreseeable future. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has seen a consistent stream of free DLC since its release and Ubisoft recently announced that the game would receive another year of free content.
Speaking to gameindustry.biz, Anne Blondel-Jouin who is Ubisoft’s VP of live operations had some bery interesting things to say about their experience with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.
The key is if it’s not adding something on-top of the actual experience of the game, then it is no good. Because you’ll be asking for more money for the wrong reasons. Also, if the content is compulsory for the gamers, it’s no good as well. It is a way to deliver more fun to gamers, but they have a choice to go for that extra fun or not. If I take an analogy of an amusement park, you can go through all the rides, but then you can also go to the shop to buy some food or merchandise or whatever… regardless of whether you spend in the shop, you’re still part of the whole experience. Nobody is making you buy if you don’t want to, but it is another way to have a different entertainment experience. If you’re with your kids, and there’s a toy you want to get, we will make sure it is an extra experience. It won’t be the case if you don’t buy it then you can’t do anything else.
It wouldn’t work if it was about making it compulsory for gamers. No more DLC that you have to buy if you want to have the full experience. You have the game, and if you want to expand it – depending on how you want to experience the game – you’re free to buy it, or not…
…The way we monetise Rainbow Six is that people are happy about the new characters, and they can customise them with weapons and charms, but even if they don’t do it, they will have the exact same experience of the other gamers,” she says. “It is just an extra piece of revenue for us, which comes from gamers being happy. If gamers were not happy, we would not ask for that extra money.
It does have the same commercial impact [as charging DLC]. It is also more fair for both Ubisoft and the gamers, as it is an extra proposal for them and they even take it or not. This new way of doing things, is because it is Ubisoft’s responsibility to deliver gamers with the best quality possible. If you do a nasty toy, it will stay in the store no matter what the brand is. It is putting our creative teams back to work to deliver the best stuff for gamers, and it’s a win-win situation.
It seems that Ubisoft are looking to follow a similar path to Rainbow Six: Seige with their future releases. This means that all DLC that impacts on game-play and the experience of gamers (such as map packs, characters and weapons) will be free and Ubisoft will make up the deficit by selling completely optional cosmetic items. Its a path that we have seen adopted by other titles recently too – games like Halo 5: Guardians, Overwatch and most recently Titanfall 2.
Whether this policy will also extend to single player based DLC, Anne Blondel-Jouin doesn’t say. It would be great to think that all additional and meaningful content would be included in the price but multi-player DLC does have a bigger impact on the user base as it can affect matchmaking and segregate those with and those without. No-one is affected if someone has a camo or outfit that they bought but others don’t, they still have the same access to use the characters, the weapons, play on the same maps etc.
Personally we hope this becomes standard practice for all multi-player games in the future – as long as it doesn’t end up feeling like we are only getting half a game at release. One of our biggest complaints about games is the addition of micro-transactions – especially those that can have an impact on the experience of others – things like weapon variants for example. If this policy is adopted by all, then I think we as gamers would be more accepting of cosmetic only micro-transactions.
What do you think of this statement from Ubisoft? Do you think all MP games should adopt this policy? Would that make micro-transactions more acceptable? Head to the comments section below to let us know…