Saturday, November 26th 2011

Ubisoft Developing PC Free-To-Play Ghost Recon Game, Claims Is 'embracing pirates'

Ubisoft, pioneer of the much-hated always-on DRM, is currently developing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – but only for the console platforms. The PC will instead get the free-to-play ("F2P" in common parlance) Ghost Recon Online, which conversely will not be available for consoles. Ubisoft claims that this is because "95% of our consumers will pirate the game", so they are addressing the needs of this market. Sebastien Arnoult, Ghost Recon Online producer said:
We are giving away most of the content for free because there’s no barrier to entry. 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.'
Note how Ubisoft are finally admitting that DRM 'pollutes' the experience? No kidding. Arnoult then elaborated on the differences between the business models of the PC and console platforms:
We’re adapting the offer to the PC market. I don't like to compare PC and Xbox boxed products because they have a model on that platform that is clearly meant to be €60's worth of super-Hollywood content. On PC, we’re adapting our model to the demand.

He then explained how they are embracing "piracy":
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.
In other words, they won't bother developing the main single player game for the PC and just give gamers some maps to play online with each other instead, with some added "premium" content that requires payment to access. Not good news for single player gamers, leaving them feeling like second class citizens.

However, not everyone at Ubisoft sees it this way, as Stanislas Mettra, Creative Director of console-exclusive Ubisoft title I Am Alive, believes that the sales numbers on PC simply don't stack up to make a full port from console worthwhile:
Perhaps it will only take twelve guys three months to port the game to PC, it's not a massive cost but it's still a cost. If only 50,000 people buy the game then it's not worth it.
This appears to be the view of the old guard however and it will be interesting to see which view, Arnoult's or Mettra's or yet something else, will prevail in the long run.

One thing is clear however: the DRM-free model of premium product does work, whether it be games, songs or movies, as reported here and here. So, perhaps Ubisoft should concentrate less on worrying about "pirates" and instead give people a reason to buy their products – it's very easy to use "piracy" as a scapegoat for the poor sales of a poor product. Treating their customers like criminals by infesting games with unreasonable, draconian DRM is not the way to give people a reason to buy and many potential customers simply boycott those products due to this DRM.

The official website for Ghost Recon Online is at ghostrecononline.ubi.com and an established Ghost Recon fan site with lots of info on the entire Ghost Recon series is at ghostrecon.netSource: PC Gamer
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93 Comments on Ubisoft Developing PC Free-To-Play Ghost Recon Game, Claims Is 'embracing pirates'

#1
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Thanks to Marineborn for the lead. :toast:
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#2
Dj-ElectriC
FU ubisoft for canceling future soldier for PC and giving us that BS!!!!

Sorry thats just me, another pc gamer fustrated....
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#3
stinger608
Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder
I agree with Dj! It would seem that everything is bending towards the consoles and leaving the PC gamer behind. I also think this is total BS!!!
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#4
DaJMasta
95% pirated? That doesn't sound accurate at all.
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#5
Shihabyooo
Seriously, those idiots of publishers should start making another excuse other than piracy. Hell, no one would mind if they admit their games were crap. At least some would respect that they have got balls to admit the truth.
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#6
random
95% will pirate the game? Or is it 95% who will rather be playing CoD, BF and Arma?
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#7
robal
87% of claims of percentage are made up.
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#8
digibucc
i think pc gamers in general are more discerning. it may not seem it, but there are and have historically been so many more games for pc, so the experience is more. but mostly i think it's because true pc games aren't locked in by as many restrictions as console games, so we have again, experienced what great games can be like.

not saying no console games are great, but as far as original, groundbreaking ideas - they rarely happen on console first.

and look at the top console shooters - halo, gears of war, and call of duty - none rank as very impressive relative to pc shooters. - even call of duty, when you split console vs pc sales the division is obvious.

now i recognize this is a matter of opinion in many ways, but i do believe objectively, the originality and quality of AAA console titles vs AAA pc titles is vastly different, with PC coming out on top. this can simply be attributed to the cost of production. with licenses and media etc, consoles are far more expensive to develop for. the problem is there simply aren't enough pc gamers to buy the games, to turn the company a large enough profit. and in the end, that's all that matters.
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#9
keling
That is not Ghost Recon. That is "Ubisoft DRM : The Game"!

They have successfully made a game out of their permanent internet connection DRM, with Ghost Recon as a cover to fool the unsuspecting PC gamer.
Posted on Reply
#10
Trackr
"because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind."
They've progressed to the stage where they have accepted their psychosis as truth and are now trying to appease the world they see before them.

That, or they're massively trolling.

These are my thoughts - Thanks for ruining Rayman, buttheads.
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#11
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Take a game with draconian, internet needs to be always on, DRM scheme and change it to a online only game and spin it as "we listened to the PC gamers".

You just can't make this stuff up.
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#12
digibucc
i'm really having a hard time with this one. i just can't seem to wrap my head around this mentality, i mean from every angle it just seems ridiculous. infantile and simply poorly thought out. i think ubisoft is trying to commit suicide.
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#13
Breathless
by: robal
87% of claims of percentage are made up.
Yea, but only 72% of the time.
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#14
entropy13
by: robal
87% of claims of percentage are made up.
And there have been already around 25 studies made confirming such figures.
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#15
Drone
What a pile of poo it's gonna be if they give it for free
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#16
entropy13
by: Breathless
Yea, but only 72% of the time.
96% (24 of 25) of studies have refuted that.
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#17
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
And 101% have agreed! :wtf:
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#18
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
by: digibucc
i'm really having a hard time with this one. i just can't seem to wrap my head around this mentality
Please stop trying, Digi.
If for some unknown reason you came to the conclusion they were right, we would be forced to kidnap you and send you to the "TPU Gamers Re-education Camp".
It's not pretty and involves a lot of pain.
Posted on Reply
#19
stinger608
Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder
Well as a saying goes, "what do you get when you polish a turd? Ya get a shinny turd." :laugh::laugh::laugh:
Posted on Reply
#20
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
ubisoft is admitting this new game is a pile of poop. if you think 95% of people will pirate the game on PC then you clearly don't have much faith in the game itself. also, let's look at the history of free to play online games. they all suck!! you download them, play them for 30 minutes and that is all. also, F2P online games attract an insane amount of trolls who find great pleasure in purposefully ruining your gaming experience. just give me an updated version of the original ghost recon for $10 and go away.
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#21
EastCoasthandle
Until they make a true successor of GR1 it doesn't matter what they do.
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#22
entropy13
Sorry Ubisoft, F2P Online FPS are Asian studios' specialty. :laugh:
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#23
Major_A
There is money to be made on "free" games. I"m really surprised no studio has tried this yet, to test the waters, so to speak. Rovio isn't rich because they charge $1.99 for Angry Birds on the iPad, iPhone, iTouch, etc... They're rich because everyone and their mother has Angry Birds installed on their Android device. What do you see in the upper right hand corner while playing? Hell, just by signing up for a game (i.e. joining their community) the developer has a gold mine right there. By consenting to allow the developer to sell user information to potential customers they would make money.

One more small rant and I'll shut up. What do developers/distributors expect when they don't release a demo? It wasn't very long ago I'd cruise FilePlanet and GamersHell daily to see what demos I could try. Now you have two options, buy the game or pirate it. Not everyone has $40-$60 to casually throw around on a game that may or may not be what they wanted.
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#25
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: qubit
Note how Ubisoft are finally admitting that DRM 'pollutes' the experience? No kidding.
I hardly think that is what they were saying there. I think they were saying it pollutes the experience of getting it by pirating it. I know I've run into plenty of games that released an update that broke the crack, that pollutes the experience for pirates. No DRM removes that pollution.

However, I think they should still sell it and charge for it. Just to prove that sales will be in the absolute tank if a AAA title is released without DRM.
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