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"No more DLC that gamers have to buy for the full experience" - Ubisoft

Ubisoft's VP of live operations Anne Blondel-Jouin on what Ubisoft has discovered from giving away Rainbow Six DLC

UPDATE: Ubisoft has issued a statement from Anne Blondel-Jouin that offers further detail in terms of what DLC will be charged for and what will be made available for free.

As implied, multiplayer games that receive additional downloadable maps - like Rainbow Six for example - will receive these maps for free in future Ubisoft games. However, single player experiences may feature DLC that is charged for. The reason for this, Ubisoft says, is because if you charge for multiplayer maps then it will split the community between those that own the maps and those that do not. Single player is different, however, because (usually) it is an additional experience added on-top of the one that consumers have already paid for and played.

Here is the quote: "During our discussion [with GamesIndustry.biz], I was speaking about the lessons Ubisoft learned from Rainbow Six Siege and gamers' ongoing engagement in the game, and how we turn those into best practices we can apply to our other 'Live' games, including those focused on online competitive multiplayer. Based on gamers' feedback and behaviors, for Live games, we will continue to provide them with a deeper core game experience that might come in the form of DLCs and customization options, or other ideas our creative teams come up with. None of them will be compulsory as we want to be fair to all gamers. We won't split up the community or make gamers pay in order to keep up and stay engaged: the core elements of the online multiplayer, like new maps or characters, will be available for all players.

"As for more traditional, narrative driven and / or single player centric games, our first priority remains to offer an outstanding quality, full experience at launch. From there, our creative teams will continue to explore ways to expand on that world and add new elements to the core game or narrative. That will come in the form of DLCs, which will be available - some at an additional cost - for those players who want to go beyond the complete or core game. Ultimately, our goal is to provide high-quality, creative games that players will love playing for a long time, whether that's via Live games, like Rainbow 6, or via titles like Assassins Creed Syndicate."

Original Story: Ubisoft says that it will no-longer sell DLC that gamers will need to fully enjoy their game.

VP of live operations Anne Blondel-Jouin told GamesIndustry.biz that the publisher now looks to support its multiplayer games for between five and ten years, and in order to keep players engaged, the firm must be very careful when it comes to monetisation.

Ubisoft has enjoyed a lot of success with Rainbow Six: Siege, a shooter where the extra maps are being made available for free - gamers only need to pay if they want to customise their characters, or buy new ones.

"Monetisation is something we have to be very careful about, and my team is in charge of that and making sure we find a right balance," Blondel-Jouin says.

"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."

Rainbow Six's DLC strategy is the same as the one adopted by Microsoft for Halo 5, while Respawn is also giving away its maps for free for Titanfall 2. The idea is that by ensuring all gamers can play across all maps and modes, then fans are likely to stay engaged in the experience for longer. Blondel-Jouin says the strategy has worked for Rainbow Six, both in terms of Daily Active Users and commercially.

"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."

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Latest comments (9)

Emily Rose Freelance Artist 6 months ago
But that doesn't make sense, any dlc adds to the game, so all dlc adds to the "full experience" surely?
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Paulmichael Contreras Contributing Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle6 months ago
This style of monetization NEEDS to be supported by the industry. I really hope we see a long tail of sales for Titanfall 2, for instance. EA and Activision's usual method of not offering a full package until the consumer spends at least $80 shouldn't be tolerated. Hopefully other publishers see success with this method, and we return to receiving a full game experience for $60.
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Paulmichael Contreras Contributing Editor, PlayStation LifeStyle6 months ago
@Emily Rose: I think they're talking about adding to the core experience of the game. Customizing your weapon with a new color or some other such cosmetic option doesn't make your experience noticeably different than another player who didn't pay for that.
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Andrew Spearin Creative Director, New World Interactive6 months ago
This post-launch strategy has been happening successfully in the indie space for years before Ubisoft took notice.
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online6 months ago
Yet many of Ubisoft's games feature a season pass option with huge DLC updates. Does this mean that Watch Dogs 2 was the last game with one? Would have been great if you would have asked that question. :)

Season passes aren't always working either - they are dividing up the player base. Just the other day a friend told me that he bought the Death Star expansion for Star Wars Battlefront but could not find anyone to play the game with online.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Roland Austinat on 22nd November 2016 6:29pm

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Christopher Dring Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz6 months ago
@Roland Austinat: Hi Roland, her department doesn't look at primarily single-player games like Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed. But multiplayer titles that require live operations, like The Crew, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, The Division, Steep etcetera
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JT QA, Rockstar Lincoln6 months ago
Shame the Zodiac pack seemingly wasn't isn't included in this.
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Christophe Danguien games developer 6 months ago
So the thing they basically started doing to rip players off.....they're, strangely, coming back on it probably months before Bollore completely control them ?

It feels a bit too much like they want to look like they're not screwing players, when Bollore will probably put back the needed DLC to get the full experience style. Then Guillemots will argue something like "Look what he's doing !!"...when they were the ones doing it in the first place...

They should better announce the're doing the same level of QA as Nintendo does, and deliver not fully bugged games...

Rant finished ^_^
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 6 months ago
Personally, I don't mind paying for content. Whether it's the main game or DLC. What matters to me is not some arbitrary notion of what constitutes a "complete" game, but the experience I get for my money. Obviously multiplayer games benefit from monetization schemes that don't fragment the community.
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