When Ubisoft took a year off from their annual Assassin's Creed release, it seemed to really pay off. Not only did Origins launch to stellar reviews, but the attention to detail both graphically and narratively was evident. It seems like that successful test run may have inspired the developers because the team has decided to scale back the amount of releases they pump out to focus on "long-term engagement."
A recent financial briefing call with Ubisoft shed a lot of light on what the company plans to do for the future. With Mario + Rabbids' rapid success, The Fractured But Whole being an instant hit, and even For Honor seeing a major turnaround with their player numbers, most companies would want to capitalize on that momentum. Luckily, Ubisoft has done that in the past and saw that the practice of quantity over quality is not the way to win over their audience. According to CEO Yves Guillemont, they are approaching the future smartly and with eyes wide open.
"Ubisoft's success reflects the industry's move towards a model that is less dependent on releasing new game," Guillemont stated. "New releases now only represent a part of our business, which is now focused on long-term engagement with our player communities."
He also made note that their player communities have grown exponentially thanks to multiplayer titles, and the chart below shows the business side of single-player vs. multiplayer. Does this mean will see a dramatic decrease in narrative driven titles? Most likely not, especially given Origins' success, but it does meant that they will have a renewed focus on providing an intricate multiplayer experience with new IPs going forward.
Another focus was that on digital items. Less on digital titles and more on DLC. Ubisoft made significantly more money off of DLC than they did off of base games. This includes expansions and microtransactions. This could potentially mean that in place of annual releases, the team will now focus on hearty expansions to meat up an already thorough story, versus pumping out a new title every year that appears bare at the bone.
It will be interesting to see the choices Ubisoft makes in 2018 with their revised business model. We hope it means only good things ahead!