- Philippe Tremblay, Ubisoft’s director of subscription, suggested gamers could get comfortable not owning their games.
- The executive’s comments were made as part of Ubisoft’s latest subscription push that saw the company rebrand its Ubisoft+ service.
- Tremblay believes gamers may grow more accustomed to subscription services, much like consumers across the world accepted offerings like Netflix and Spotify as alternatives to outright buying entertainment media.
A senior Ubisoft official suggested that gamers need to get comfortable not owning their games. The executive’s perspective on the subject of game ownership, or lack thereof, arrived amid his company’s latest digital push that saw Ubisoft make big changes to its subscription service.
Ubisoft has been one of the earliest proponents of subscription-based gaming offerings, with its first foray into the segment dating back to September 2019 when it launched its 115-strong Uplay+ library. The platform was rebranded to Ubisoft+ in October of the following year. Another rebranding occurred on Monday, January 15, when the $17.99-a-month service was renamed to Ubisoft+ Premium. The move also saw the company introduce Ubisoft+ Classics, a more affordable offering granting access to a smaller catalog of popular titles for $7.99 per month.
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Philippe Tremblay, Ubisoft’s director of subscription, labeled the latest changes as the company’s attempt to “evolve.” In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, the executive explained that splitting the subscription offering into two will allow the publisher to better cater to its ever-diversifying customer base, which now includes a substantial number of people who are primarily interested in older releases. And while it might seem intuitive to assume that this particular demographic is price-conscious and hence uninterested in subscription products, Tremblay appears to be of the opinion that’s not necessarily the case, or at least won’t be true forever.
On the contrary, the executive talked up subscription-based services as having “tremendous” growth potential, which is a big part of the reason why Ubisoft is doubling down on such offerings in the first place. Although Tremblay acknowledged that he cannot see the future, he suggested that gamers could get used to not owning their games, much like consumers all over the world accepted platforms such as Netflix as a replacement for outright buying movies and TV shows on physical media like DVDs and Blu-rays.
Gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That’s the consumer shift that needs to happen.
Looking beyond Ubisoft, Tremblay’s forecast appears to be well-rooted in reality; according to a number of recent reports, physical game sales continue to decline across the board while the industry, on the whole, keeps growing. And even traditional digital sales only work to strengthen Tremblay’s perspective, as platforms like Steam and PlayStation Store have long normalized selling game usage agreements instead of actual games.
The Success of Xbox Game Pass Implies Many Are Already Comfortable Not Owning Their Games
Selling temporary access to usage agreement libraries is merely another step in that direction. And given the massive success of Xbox Game Pass, it’s not surprising that Ubisoft is betting on this trend continuing in the future. What remains to be seen is whether subscription libraries will ever become the dominant method of accessing new gaming content, like they already are for several other types of entertainment media.