Ubisoft quibbles over the definition of subscription for Trackmania

Update: Nadeo managing director clarifies stance on business model to

Original Story, June 2, 2020: Ubisoft has asserted that the upcoming Trackmania does not charge a subscription -- despite users having to pay in yearly installments.

Series fans expressed disappointment in a new pricing model on the Trackmania forums, with calls for developer Nadeo to "consider having a 'lifetime' purchase option" for those who did not wish to subscribe.

Responding to these comments, a member of the Nadeo team -- Amélie 'Alinoa' Castelnérac -- insisted this was not a subscription.

"Actually, it's not a subscription model but an access to the game for a limited time," she wrote. "You pay for having access to the game for one period and that's it. When the time is over, you have to buy the game again for the time that you want to access it again."

In a post on the game's website last month, the publisher revealed players will be able to access certain features for free, or pay $9.99 for one year of Standard Access.

There is also Club Access, which costs $29.99 for one year or $59.99 for three years. Both Club and Standard Access give the players more features, including the ability to save more than one track in the series' signature track editor.

In a later post, Castelnérac clarified that after the paid period is over, user accounts revert to the free Starter Access.

Update, June 3, 2020: Ubisoft Nadeo's managing director Florent Castelnérac has responded to's article with additional clarification on the studio's comments.

He writes that the model could also be likened to a season pass, in that it gives players a way to pay up front for any additional content that is released during the allocated period. He adds that players keep this content after that period ends.

Castelnérac also said that using this model to fund more content for the next Trackmania would be "better than making a sequel," adding: "Having new games just for new income can make you develop things that are more marketable than really interesting to your core audience."

In response to requests for 'lifetime' access, he notes that Nadeo is still operating some games that have been out for 15 years so it becomes difficult to "commit to a clear end of 'lifetime'."

"Instead of being virtually committed to 'at least five more years' of support, we decided to be as honest as possible by not selling a 'lifetime' access," he wrote. "And this is why we think that three years is a good delay."

You can read Castelnérac's comment in full below this article.

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Latest comments (6)

Axel Cushing Freelance Writer A year ago
an access to the game for a limited time
So, a subscription. That is quite literally one of the dictionary definitions of the word.
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Florent Castelnerac Managing Director, NadeoA year ago
I like to discuss this question, especially on gamesindustry, since the money question is very important. It's half of the deal, the other being us working hard to make the game.

Here, it was simply to answer various players that were afraid of the "we keep your credit card" syndrom of most subscriptions. Yes it can be called like it, like a season pass could be as well maybe. But that's not the point. In Trackmania, you will keep the 100 official + 365 tracks of the day after your yearly access and it is more related to tradionnal offline game content. The question is that for online games that can benefit from support for years, what is the best model for each game.

Here, if you take a standard access, for example, you will pay 9.99$ and will be able to access the 465 tracks and exclusive services. At the end of the year, if you still play, you will lose the access to the services and will be able to decide if you wish to pay again. Maybe it will happen a year and a half later or else. We believe that most people when they engage on that amount of money often stop to play before a year. But that if we upgrade the game for many years, that it would be better than making a sequel to have them on board again with this fee. Is it better than sequels model for Trackmania, I think so, because it also better align our work to players first interest. Having new games just for new income can make you develop things that are moer marketable than really interesting to your core audience.

And then, there is the 3 years access at the top tier "subscription" if you like. It is 59.99$. A subscription that you pay every 3 years is kind of rare. The idea here is that for most engaged players, we don't want them to have to pay on a regular basis and also for us to engage accordingly to the numbers on more long term. If we support the game for 3 years and they are still there, we hope they will be happy with our work and renew their subscription. We set a top limit to it because most engaged players can sometimes spend a lot and that we want to leave no one out of the track. Of course that amount is a lot, but 20$ per year is still something we believe is ok for one of your top online activity.

Finally, the post started because someone wished for a lifetime access, and it's a very delicate question, since if you give it, it's somehow a lie in a way or another since you can not commit to a clear end of "lifetime" We still operate games since 15 years, so we know how penible it could be. We are even still loading maps made in 2006 in the most recent Stadium edition. So, instead of being virtually commited to "at least 5 more years" of support, we decided to be as honnest as possible by not selling a "lifetime" access. And this is why we think that 3 years is a good delay.

I will quote a player answer made on another press article on this topic
"How to make news out of nothing. You took the small part of community, which is Reddit, and focused on their opinion, ignoring the vast majority which is supportive of the new payment model. "
I don't think it is nothing, because money is very important, but I hope people can see that our model maybe align in a better way with players needs, in our case, than DLCs, microtransactions, yearly sequels or monthly subscription.

Thank you for reading all this.
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James Batchelor UK Editor, GamesIndustry.bizA year ago
@Florent Castelnerac: Thank you so much for your comments, Florent. I will endeavour to update our article as soon as I can.
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Show all comments (6)
Florent Castelnerac Managing Director, NadeoA year ago
@James Batchelor: I posted it there with my super frenchglish
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Willem Mertens Freelance Business Developer A year ago
The pricing seems very fair, especially since there is a free option.
That said, I wonder why they've chosen a subscription model specifically. Most people are a little wary when it comes to subscriptions, and there are plenty of ways to make money off games currently.
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Florent Castelnerac Managing Director, NadeoA year ago
@James Batchelor: Thank you for the update.
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