Ubisoft launched its own social network, Uplay with the release of Assassin's Creed II. It's a layer that runs over the likes of Xbox Live and PSN, and offers players of Ubi titles the chance to use achievements to unlock in-game freebies.
Uplay has been a relatively quiet part of the Ubisoft online offering so far. But as it enters its third year the longer term plan is becoming apparent. And the system is definitely coming into its own, says digital games VP Chris Early.
We find that people who use Uplay almost invariably do so to unlock more content,” he says.I don't want to say it's addictive but it's highly utilised.”
Has it helped sell more games, or is it just a bonus for players?
I think it gives players a better experience of a brand that they like and they're gonna continue to consume that brand. That might be the next Ghost Recon game that comes out on console. That might be the next Facebook game that you can spend a little money in. That might be the next free-to-play game.
But it's going keep you engaged with the franchise which is why it's important to build that customer base because the more people you get into that connection with the IP that they love then the longer, the more loyal they're gonna be.”