PC gaming is full of piracy. Ubisoft, one of gaming's premiere game development companies, is no stranger to seeing their material stolen online. According to Eurogamer, to combat piracy, Ubisoft is utilizing the popular free-to-play model in order to guarantee revenue for many of their pirated titles.
Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot told GamesIndustry International, "We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it," said the French CEO. "The advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously - places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer."
Known for popular franchises like "Assassin's Creed," "Rayman," and the Tom Clancy series of games ("Rainbow Six" and "Ghost Recon" chief among them), the company has established a solid console following, with their titles rising to the top-selling list upon release. Their latest Tom Clancy-related release, "Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" sold over a million units worldwide since its release in July.
When asked about why the company is exploring the option of free-to-play as their best bet to combat piracy, Guillemot stated "We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it," the French CEO continued, "the advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously - places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer."
Going free-to-play also allows Ubisoft to save on costly packaging. By taking store shelves out of the equation, Ubisoft bypasses the middle man and recoups whatever the development costs might be at a more rapid rate. "We also take content which we've developed in the past, graphics etc, and we can make cheaper games and improve them over time. What's very important is that we change the content and make it a better fit to the customer as time goes on," Guillemot said in the interview.
As Eurogamer is quick to point out, Ubisoft's decision to force players to log onto the internet whenever they booted up a title was met with harsh criticism from the gaming community. Games like "From Dust" and "Driver: San Francisco" were rendered unplayable offline. This kind of system, however; is what's prevented DRM-free versions of their titles from leaking to torrent sites and stopped other illegal means of distribution.
Guillemot emphasized the importance of new concepts in game development, saying "I think it's very important for new generations to come regularly with innovations for the industry, so I think we've been waiting a bit too long. What is important is that when those new generations do come, they bring enough innovation to make the market strong again."