Ubisoft has revealed that it is breaking its reliance on previous AAA titles. In a recent earnings announcement, the company announced that it would not abandon AAA games altogether, but instead play with more “other premium experiences” and free play titles.
Fiscal Year 22 marks the year that publishers take the first step in “strengthening” the output of free play. We will also begin to focus on the mobile market, aiming for AAA quality on mobile. Ubisoft wants to see its brand as a AAA title and on mobile platforms. This is the model used in the next Roller Champions. The first title created by Tencent, which is rumored to be Assassin’s Creed’s mobile title, will also be soft-launched towards the end of the period. As CFO Frederick Duguet explains:
In 2010, we continue to evolve from a AAA release-centric model to a model where AAA stands side by side with a new premium, free-to-play experience across platforms. These diverse experiences interact with each other through free gameplay and business models.
[…]For years, I’ve said that regular templates come with 3 or 4 AAA games, so I’ll keep this pattern in 2022. However, we can see that we are gradually and continuously migrating from the previous model. Not only will we focus solely on AAA releases for models that combine powerful releases from AAA with powerful back catalog dynamics, but we will complement the new release program with free play and other premium experiences.
Ubisoft has learned a lot from the acquisition of Brawlhalla, especially with regard to multiplayer and live service models. They introduced Battle Pass in the summer to increase player engagement and implement cross-play between all consoles and PCs. Game availability on multiple platforms is a model publishers want to apply to other franchises as well. The puzzled HyperScape also taught the company how to create a robust structure to handle many players. The title has been significantly redesigned and the team did not mention future plans for this title.
These intents aren’t all that surprising when Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla not only makes record profits in the franchise, but also finds casual titles in full bloom. Just Dance 2021 has seen a surge in net bookings compared to Just Dance 2020. This was the best-selling franchise title in the last six years. The back catalog also surged 200%. Fortunately, if the company moves away from the focus on AAA titles, it’s unlikely that many titles, if any, will go up in price.
As confirmed by Duguet, the release slate for fiscal year 22 includes three AAA titles. Of the known releases, the delayed Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Quarantine are considered AAA games. Other titles include the troubled Skull and Bones, Riders Republic, Prince of Persia remakes: The Sand of Time and the Roller Champion. They also said, “Several other surprises are underway.”
In addition, Massive Entertainment has a Star Wars title. Ubisoft has confirmed that there is a lot of interest in creating titles and many people want to get involved. The game is in the early stages of development, so there is no planned release period yet. Massive will also create more Division 2 content, which is currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of Resident Evil at a crossover event, doubling XP throughout the week.
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