Ubisoft looks to follow EA's Project $10 plans

System already in place to monetise second hand sales says Guillemot; publisher "looking very carefully" at EA's success

French publisher Ubisoft has admitted that it is keeping a sharp eye on Electronic Arts' Project $10 plans, as it looks to monetise boxed games beyond the initial purchase.

EA's plans have so far included offering extra content for consumers that buy their games brand new, with codes available in the package to access downloadable content, and in the case of EA Sports titles, access to play online.

Consumers buying their games second hand have to pay around $10 for the extra content and additional features, providing the publisher with additional revenue in a second hand market where retailers have traditionally enjoyed 100 per cent profit.

Speaking in a call to investors following its full-year financial results, Ubisoft's CFO Alain Martinez said it will likely follow EA's lead to ensure it continues to see returns from the lucrative second hand business.

"Most of the games that we release next year will have from the start downloadable content available," said Martinez. "And we are looking very carefully at what is being done by EA regarding what we call the 'ten dollar solution' and we would probably follow that line at some time in the future."

Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, added that a system was already in place, and pointed out that titles released in the last year, including the 9 million-selling Assassin's Creed II, already include codes for bonus content.

"Actually, we have been using keys starting last year on our products, so those keys were allowing some consumers to have the content if they were buying in specific stores.

"So we have the system in place to actually generate more revenue on the second hand market, so we are building now the content to make sure that it can be beneficial for both groups, he added.

Electronic Arts said last week that over 70 per cent of consumers had redeemed bonus codes for games including Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, while second hand users who had purchased the codes were in the "low single digit percentage".

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Latest comments (12)

Chris Wallace Studying Games Design, University of Bolton12 years ago
and so it begins...
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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 12 years ago
Did they not get enough negative feedback over their recent DRM snafus?
Perhaps they enjoy being unpopular?
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Peter Shea Games Director, Chunk Games12 years ago
Perhaps they'd like to turn around their current losses more than mollify the loud vocal minority who post on forums...

Seriously, the negative feelings that fly around about certain publishers on hardcore gaming forums have no visible impact on sales. People claim they are boycotting MW2 then it goes onto sell more than ever.

While it's important to listen to all of your customers you cannot base business decisions on the opinion of those who shout the loudest. I think the mass market will be perfectly okay with schemes like this. As do EA and now Ubisoft it seems...

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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 12 years ago
@Peter Sure, your average punter simply ponies up for what they want, and what they can afford.

But there are many different ways to approach a fall in profits.
Some admirable. Some less so.

EA and Ubisoft seem determined to take the low road.
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Elikem Jubey12 years ago
How is it low when a second hand game + $10 eventually become cheaper than getting the same game new?
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Simon Smith Business Development Manager, Head First Communications12 years ago
I've never understood while publishers made playing online free in the first place? Customers pay the same to buy an online title as an offline title but get extra online features and the servers etc cost a fair bit to build and run. Again, I'm annoyed at people expecting something for nothing. Also if I don't play games online but the features are there, it feels like I'm playing to subsidise someone else's fun.
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Stephen Northcott Senior Consulting Engineer 12 years ago
The problem is that when a publisher sells a game they add the cost of supporting that game online into the price. Presumably for the lifetime of that game.

Now, if publishers were simply to say that online services cost X, and a game costs Y, and if you want the online portion you must pay X + Y, I'd be fine with that.

There would also be the opportunity for people who want to pay less, and not play online, to take that option. So you can see why they don't like that option.

What they are doing now is taking a fee upfront for online services for the life of the game, and then charging *again* for that directly to the second hand purchaser. It's opportunistic, and disingenuous.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 12 years ago
I don't really have a problem with this (assuming they are looking at 'Project Ten Dollar' as opposed to 'Online Pass' which is a different kettle of fish...), so long as this means in the future they don't remove any parts of the game to sell is back to the customer later, a la Assassin's Creed II. Their claims that it was to get the game released in time for Christmas rang so hollow given the dearth of content in each episode.
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gi biz ;, 12 years ago
I think that most non-technical people are completely unaware of servers' maintenance cost. I'm not doing any forecast, but imo shops should take care of paying that fare. Anyways, most shops price their pre-owned games basing themselves on average user's demand, so you can see clearly overpriced not-so-good titles right next to very cheap "underground" high quality titles.
My point is, if a shop can sell a pre-owned Tomb Raider Legend for 40 euros (not a joke), then _maybe_ they can include the 7 euros fare and "only" get 20+ euros from that same game, assuming they payed 10 euros to get it. Of course, like that you can forget those great occasions, like Deus Ex for 3 euros...
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Mark Boyce12 years ago
Michele has a good point, the used game market has taken advantage of the the publishers and the companies who work hard to make the games. I for one am all for the 10 dollar solution.
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Joe Martin Journalism 12 years ago
I'm a fan of Project Ten Dollar, so if Ubi copies that then good for them - but I hope they drop their current DRM and Uplay bullshit beforehand.
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Tim Holt Studying Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee12 years ago
Good on them its time the game companies started getting profit for second hand game sales. Its a good call, sounds like it will work well.
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