Ubisoft says it’s going to focus on open worlds, live-service games and generative AI – WGB

By admin May16,2024

Ubisoft has released its latest financial report, packed with all sorts of numbers and baffling PR speech designed to placate shareholders. Amidst claims of record profits, the company outlined it’s plan going forward: more open world titles and mores game-as-a-service.

“As a result of detailed market analysis as well as a pragmatic and more selective organic investment strategy, we have made the choice to play to our strengths and are sharpening our strategic focus on two verticals, Open World Adventures and GaaS-native experiences.” reads the financial report.

As you can see from the image below, taken directly from their financial report, Ubisoft lists Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, The Division and the upcoming Star Wars: Outlaws in its open world adventure bracket. Watch Dogs was absent, presumably confirming rumours that the series is all but dead.

The games-as-a-service bracket lists Rainbow Six: Siege, X-Defiant, Rainbow Six Mobile and The Division: Resurgence.

“The first objective is to return to leadership in the Open World Adventure segment, which are immersive worlds with a rich lore that deeply engage players. The Open World Adventure market represents €25 billion today, and is expected to grow over the coming years.”

“The second objective is to expand our footprint on GaaS-native experiences. Historically one of the major segments in the video game industry, it currently represents €120 billion, is a growing market and has the largest total addressable market in terms of number of players.” said Ubisoft in regards to chasing the live-service market.

It’s an interesting choice because while the live-service model does indeed contain huge potential, it’s also one of the riskiest ventures in gaming. We’ve already seen countless live-service games crash and burn for a variety of reasons, from free-to-play to full-priced titles with live-service elements like Ubisoft’s own mediocre Skull and Bones. One of the biggest issues is that live-service titles are typically designed to keep players coming back, which also means they have to fight for a player’s finite time. In other words, most people tend to focus on just one or two live-service games, and it takes a lot to make them move to another one.

So, what is Ubisoft’s plan? Well, according to them they are “fully convinced that our proprietary cutting-edge technologies will provide critical competitive advantages in these two core verticals, driving not only efficiency but also differentiation.”

The financial report goes on to discuss how they have “rationalized the branches of Ubisoft Anvil and Snowdrop, our proprietary game engines, converging on just two reference branches shared among our games in production, enabling our teams to focus on breakthrough innovations
and facilitating sharing across studios.”

The report notes that we will see the impact of these changes this year in Star Wars: Outlaws and the recently announced Assassin’s Creed: Shadows.

Finally, the report details how Ubisoft plans on investing more heavily into AI tools to aid game development: “Notably, at GDC 2024, Ubisoft unveiled NEO NPC, our first player-facing Generative AI prototype. It is designed to transform the way players interact with non-playable characters and create more immersive gameplay experiences. And beyond several ongoing internal projects, Ubisoft also partners with leading AI companies on joint initiatives.”

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