Oh man, it feels as if it was just yesterday that Ubisoft was blaming piracy for their decision to drop the PC version of I Am Alive. Hang on, it totally WAS yesterday!
There’s a new Ghost Recon game coming out soon; it’s subtitled Future Soldier and it’s looking pretty good. PC gamers won’t be getting it though, because Ubisoft thinks every PC gamer is a stinking pirate. While the console gamers get the full retail Ghost Recon: Future Soldier with a single player campaign, PC users can look forward to the free-to –play online shooter Ghost Recon: Online.
Wow, that’s a crappy compromise. Ghost Recon: Online producer Sébastien Arnoult tries to explain the rationale like this: “When we started Ghost Recon: Online we were thinking about Ghost Recon: Future Solider; having something ported in the classical way without any deep development, because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind. We have to adapt, we have to embrace this instead of pushing it away. That’s the main reflection behind Ghost Recon: Online and the choice we’ve made to go in this direction.”
Ubisoft, believing that the PC market is a dead-end (quick! Somebody tell Valve and Blizzard!) is trying their hand at the free-to-play strategy, but in doing so they’re giving the finger to PC gamers who ordinarily buy the publisher’s games; that group is also known as Ubisoft’s “loyal customers”.
“We are giving away most of [Ghost Recon: Online] for free because there’s no barrier to entry,” Arnoult told publication PC Gamer. “To the users that are traditionally playing the game by getting it through Pirate Bay, we said, ‘Okay, go ahead guys. This is what you’re asking for. We’ve listened to you – we’re giving you this experience. It’s easy to download, there’s no DRM that will pollute your experience.’”
Yeah, except there’s also no single player campaign and it’s not Future Soldier.
No matter how they try to sugar-coat this, the bottom line is that Ubisoft is beginning to seriously question the viability of the PC market. Add to this their horrific DRM methods and things don’t look that great. You can understand that they’re trying to run a business, but you can also understand why news like this would piss off their loyal PC customers.