The Ubisoft+ debate relates to a recent interview done by GamesIndustry.biz with Philippe Tremblay, director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, you can find that very interview at the following link https://www.gamesindustry.biz/the-new-ubisoft-and-getting-gamers-comfortable-with-not-owning-their-games
The main part in question or in debate from this interview is when he says
One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That’s the consumer shift that needs to happen. They got comfortable not owning their CD collection or DVD collection. That’s a transformation that’s been a bit slower to happen [in games]. As gamers grow comfortable in that aspect… you don’t lose your progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file is still there. That’s not been deleted. You don’t lose what you’ve built in the game or your engagement with the game. So it’s about feeling comfortable with not owning your game.
I think it is important to include what he follows up with also
I still have two boxes of DVDs. I definitely understand the gamers perspective with that. But as people embrace that model, they will see that these games will exist, the service will continue, and you’ll be able to access them when you feel like. That’s reassuring.
Streaming is also a thing that works really well with subscription. So you pay when you need it, as opposed to paying all the time.
So small disclaimer I do subscribe to Xbox Gamepass and most of what I play comes from that service, however, unless an amazing deal comes up - which is rare, I tend to try to purchase a game I want to keep physically because they depreciate in value (until they become retro, at which point uno reverso) meaning I can get a good deal on a game I want to play.
The problem a lot of people have with this seems to be from the fact the head of subscriptions says to get comfortable not owning your games and out of context with just the first paragraph, you get the impression that if they could Ubisoft would quit physical copies and just ship digitally via its own service, Ubisoft+
I disagree, I think in context he is trying to say - that DVDs used to inhabit a specific set of shelves in most people’s homes, much like the HiFi of yesterday - streaming came along and for most people (not all!) physical died off. This has not happened with gaming as of yet and it will not be happening in this generation either.
PC gamers (mostly) are comfortable with the digital model, Steam, Epic Games and GOG to name just a few offer excellent clients to buy and manage your game library as well as many other game-adjacent things like achievements, friends lists and other social media stuff.
So objectively we could argue that PC gamers mostly, already accept the fact they do not physically own the games they purchase.
Let’s remember that Steam, GOG and Epic Games support virtually every country on the planet and two of those 3 support my local currency so I know exactly what I am paying without doing a currency conversion via Google, deciding if it is worth it and then realising they use a higher rate of conversion so I lose a little extra cash
Let’s look at the Xbox setup from my perspective as things currently stand.
- I have a TON of legacy support as I can install and play most Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games on my Series device
- I live in an unsupported region so I have to use Australia as my account location
- Because I’m using an Australia-based account I have to use PayPal to pay for my services.
- Because I live in an unsupported region while I (per my subscription) should be able to stream games on the go via XCloud I cannot because it does additional checks and knows I am outside Australia
If you happen to be curious about what regions Xbox supports take a look at https://www.xbox.com/en-US/regions, I’m not familiar enough with PlayStation to make a comment on how its service works but based on a quick Google it appears to be a very familiar scenario.
Ubisoft+ documentation will only get you so far, as the list of countries supported is for PC signups (which oddly I am not in a supported region, a rare moment for PC service support lacking)
Console wise it’s not obvious but I would assume they only officially support what the console itself does.
The long and short of all of this is simple, until they can exploit every region on the planet for cash - physical copies will still need to be sold, and they (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Ubisoft etc) need to step their game up if they want to do away with digital purchase…
I know people that are die-hards for physical and I fully expect the big games will continue to provide physical copies regardless of the landscape change - Rockstar Games, EA, CD Projekt Red, and Activision to name a few, and smaller publishers may go the all-digital route and that is fine but all these services need to include a legacy option and they need to support far more regions than they currently do.
Collectors well they will suffer the most as I fully expect physical copies to transition into being a more premium offering, unlike phones I do expect those premium offerings to contain extra goodies - not just the digital kind.
I could be wrong, but I hope the future of gaming still allows ownership, I also hope the service providers do introduce legacy options, and more regions and finally remember that a purchase is forever… not until you shutter a failing service.
more coverage of this issue