Ubisoft readies digital range for summer

Gamers unserved by a quiet summer release schedule might find solace in raft of new digital games from Ubisoft.

The firm is looking to take advantage of a barren period for boxed games with a clutch of download titles – including a swift follow up to Xmas hit Far Cry 3.

Ubisoft this week unveiled six games it will release over the next four months: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Spartacus Legends, Flashback, Call of Juarez Gunslinger, Cloudberry Kingdom, and Might & Magic X Legacy.

They are a combination of download-to-own and F2P?games, and a mix of original new titles and spin-offs.

The games were shown at a central London event.

Thomas Paincon, Ubisoft EMEA’s free-to-play publishing director told MCV that the range of games were proof that the firm’s digital strategy is delivering concrete results and concrete games”.

He said: After Beyond Good & Evil HD, From Dust, I am Alive and Trials Evolution, we keep on proposing original experiences like Spartacus, which will be our first free to play on console, but also Cloudberry Kingdom which was initiated on Kickstarter and is incredibly repayable.”

The firm is also using digital as a platform for retail game spin-offs – the first of which is Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.The standalone is built on Far Cry 3’s engine but in a new setting inspired by 1980s action movies.

Said Paincon: This standalone game will be based on all the gameplay pillars that made Far Cry 3 one of the best FPS titles in 2012 but will propose a fresh environment and new elements that will push the Far Cry 3 experience to a new level.”

The new Juarez game is also based on the roots of the series’ retail adventures, while Flashback HD is a revamp of the 1992 original.

Ubisoft sees a big opportunity for digital content to grab attentions with little new content available on the High Street.

We know from previous years that the first quarter of the year is usually quieter than the end of the year and Christmas concerning triple-A retail releases, so it gives players and us the opportunity to propose new experiences,” said Paincon.

Players are more keen in investing their time and money in new types of games or even new brands that could be overwhelmed in visibility during the Christmas period.”

Media coverage is also less crowded and gives the opportunity for journalists to spend time on original games that could require more explanation, he said.

A raft of digital promotions will also help the games: There are also plenty of promotions and loyalty programs during this Q1 such as Play to Earn Microsoft Program, Steam sales or PlayStation store promotions. Whether it is on PC or console, this gives us the opportunity to communicate again on high quality digital titles that players were not aware of because they were released during the Christmas period.

Media space is also less crowded and this enables us to set up campaigns with a lower budget than it would during September to December. So we usually released our digital titles during this period to benefit from all these positive elements in terms of budget, time available and visibility opportunities.

Download channels are offering flexibility and enable us to reach a maximum of potential players in a minimum of time. With demo and the free-to-play model, it also enables us to let players test our games and convince them to buy our games.

And it has also granted us the ability to test new IPs or new concepts thatcould be very risky and less accepted in the established models.”

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