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Xbox One policy changes get thumbs up from Ubisoft

Xbox One policy changes get thumbs up from Ubisoft

Thu 27 Jun 2013 6:39pm GMT / 2:39pm EDT / 11:39am PDT
HardwarePublishing

CEO Yves Guillemot on next-gen price tags, Wii U support, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon passing 500,000 sold

Consumers weren't the only ones happy with Microsoft's recent reversal of Xbox One policies that would have enabled extra fees for used games and required a daily check-in with the company's servers. Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said he was pleased with the move.

"I think consumers didn't like their approach, so the fact they went back and listened to the consumers and gave them something different is a good move to ensure the new consoles [achieve] their potential," Guillemot said.

While the reversal calls to mind Ubisoft's abandoned foray into always-online DRM with its PC games, Guillemot said the two situations aren't entirely similar. The problem for Ubisoft, he said, was that the publisher didn't offer enough content that justified the constant online connection. With Xbox One, Guillemot said Microsoft had lots of content planned to support its connection requirements.

As for the pricing on the next-gen systems, Guillemot again expressed his approval. Like Activision's Eric Hirshberg, Guillemot noted that the $499 Xbox One asks a premium over the $399 PlayStation 4. But where Hirshberg thought Microsoft still needs to work to justify that discrepancy, Guillemot said the inclusion of the new Kinect camera in Microsoft's offering looks to do just that.

"For the hardware they're putting on the market, the price is right," Guillemot said. "They are offering machines that will be exceptional, and for those prices, they're good deals."

That was a better appraisal than Guillemot gave the Wii U prior to its launch. Last November, Guillemot said he always prefers lower pricing, so he wasn't happy when Nintendo announced plans to sell the Wii U in $299 and $349 bundles. Still, Ubisoft has supported the Wii U, and even with its slow start, Guillemot said he hasn't given up on it just yet.

1

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a striking departure from the series' norm.

"We like the machine itself, with its possibility to have different types of gameplay on the TV screen and on the tablet," Guillemot said. "It's something that's really new for the industry, and we'll continue to see more of that on the PS4 and Xbox One."

Now the big question is what Nintendo will do to push sales of the system. Ubisoft has already said it would welcome a Wii U price cut, but Nintendo president Satoru Iwata dismissed the idea in an interview earlier this month.

"We will continue to support the Wii U this Christmas, and we're expecting it to take off in terms of sales," Guillemot said. "And we'll review what happened again at the beginning of next year."

"Everybody feels that if the other guys knew where they were getting their money from, competitors would jump on that. Which is true."

Yves Guillemot

While its biggest games of the year are yet to come, Ubisoft has found some success in 2013 with the release of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, $15 downloadable offerings based on the company's established retail brands. The latter title in particular surpassed Ubisoft's expectations, topping 500,000 copies sold in under two months and even spiked sales of the full Far Cry 3 release, especially on PC. Guillemot said he was "very happy" with both games' performances, adding that it has given them the opportunity to further explore that formula of downloadable brand extensions in the future.

That Ubisoft would detail Blood Dragon's performance like that is noteworthy in itself, as reliable sales figures for downloadable titles are rarely divulged in the industry. However, Guillemot said he supported the Entertainment Software Association's call for greater digital sales transparency, saying it was important to release that information.

"It gives all the industry better visibility on what's happening," Guillemot explained. "And not just the industry, but all the supporters of the industry and the financial community, as well. So we need to have more information to help the industry continue to grow."

Despite agreement on the value of greater sales reporting, Guillemot said there's still reluctance on the part of companies to participate in it.

"When you can, you keep all your secrets," Guillemot said. "Everybody feels that if the other guys knew where they were getting their money from, competitors would jump on that. Which is true. But what we've seen is that very often, if you receive as much information as you give, it's not negative."

7 Comments

Kareem Merhej Designer, infoLink-inc

21 27 1.3
Popular Comment
I really hope they don't misunderstand Blood Dragon's success. People aren't clamoring for more Blood Dragon, they want more games *like* Blood Dragon - as in, not more 80s inspired sci-fi joke shooters (which are still cool), but "twists". Undead Nightmare & Blood Dragon are fantastic because they take a world and mechanics we know and turn them on their side. It's like a tasty dessert after a good meal.

.. don't confuse dessert for the meal, ubi.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Gary Bracey Commercial Director, Kuju Entertainment

3 3 1.0
Hats off to Yves for revelaing the unit sales of their downloadable title. Such numbers can only encourage more studios and publishers to commit to increased support for digital content on consoles. We need more transparency of this nature, so well done to Ubi for taking the lead and setting the precedent. Now we just need an official, structured chart which delivers this type of data... please!

Posted:A year ago

#2

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
"Guillemot said the inclusion of the new Kinect camera in Microsoft's offering looks to do just that"
Microsoft still need to prove that value, IMO. Kinect on 360 failed to live up to the hype and has mostly been relegated to dancing and fitness games and use as a glorified microphone for voice controls, something you could do just as well with a $10 headset. The shortage of compelling Kinect titles for Xbox One at E3 (apart from the oddball Fantasia, all I've seen is another Kinect Sports and more dancing games) and the fact that two of the biggest core gaming cheerleaders for Kinect on 360 (Ryse and Crimson Dragon) have both been delayed, pushed back to Xbox One, and shifted from using Kinect to being primarily controlled by gamepad, doesn't auger well.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Roman Margold Rendering Software Engineer, Sucker Punch Productions

24 34 1.4
The problem for Ubisoft, he said, was that the publisher didn't offer enough content that justified the constant online connection
At least he's realized it now and is able to admit it. He thought I was talking rubbish when I told him years ago.

Posted:A year ago

#4
Was not Ubisoft in the boardroom when MS proposed the original Xbone business model? Did they not agree originally with it??

Posted:A year ago

#5

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
500K+ is awesome for Blood Dragon, but I wonder how it would do as a $20 disc version so those who didn't try it can do so. Now that it's seen as a "winner", why not a limited (single pressing) release sold directly from Ubisoft (if they can afford to do so)?

Posted:A year ago

#6

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,185 1,271 1.1
Was not Ubisoft in the boardroom when MS proposed the original Xbone business model? Did they not agree originally with it??
I suppose they were saying "sure, go for it", while thinking "what's the worst that can go wrong, everybody buys the other console where we also release all our games on".

Posted:A year ago

#7

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