Forget competing with big boxed blockbusters at retail – Ubisoft says the best way to release new IP is through digital platforms.
The publisher has over ten download-only games in the works – and a number of them are new properties. They include action title Shoot Many Robots, strategy game Babel Rising and survival epic I Am Alive.Ubisoft will launch them on XBLA and PSN in the New Year, because it says this is safer than bringing new IP to the High Street.
There is less risk releasing a new game digitally,” Ubisoft's digital publishing manager for EMEA Thomas Paincon told MCV. At retail, if you don't have a 90 Metacritic score and millions of fans, it's very risky to launch a new game.
Look at From Dust, we sold half a million units on XBLA and PSN. Why? Because the prices were lower, but also because it was a new experience and people using digital platforms are more willing to test a new IP.”
Paincon said new digital games can perform well during retail's quiet periods such as the summer lull – when From Dust arrived.
It's more strategic to launch downloadable games in the first half of the year or around September before the boxed blockbusters arrive,” he added. It's harder to compete for gamers' money when there are lots of new triple-A games out.Microsoft's Summer of Arcade Xbox Live promotion is a good new market that people are getting used to.
And now digital is a great business for retailers as online games are part of the revenue stream for them.”