During its full-year earnings call today, Ubisoft has shared that it will be shifting focus away from its plan of releasing 3-4 premium AAA titles each year. The company has revealed its intentions to release “high-end” free-to-play games for all of its biggest franchises. It seems like this initiative has started with The Division which will be getting a free-to-play game and will be coming to mobile platforms in some way.
Ubisoft’s Chief Financial Officer Fredrick Duguet said “in line with the evolution of our high-quality line-up that is increasingly diverse, we are moving on from our prior comment regarding releasing 3-4 premium AAAs per year. It is indeed no longer a proper indication of our value creation dynamics. For example, our expectation for Just Dance and Rider’s Republic are consistent with some of the industry’s AAA performers. Additionally, we are building high-end free-to-play games to be trending towards AAA ambitions over the long term.”
Despite this shift in direction from Ubisoft, they still plan to release AAA titles. “This is purely a financial communication evolution and doesn’t change the fact that we continue to expect a high cadence of content delivery including powerful premium and free-to-play new releases,” Duguet added.
The current fiscal year ending on March 31, 2022, will see the releases of Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Roller Champions, Rider’s Republic, and The Division Heartland which seems to be the first game as part of this new shift.
The Division Heartland is a free-to-play game set in The Division universe. It is a standalone game that doesn’t require previous experience with the series but will provide an all-new perspective on the universe in a new setting. The game will be made available in 2021-2022 on PC, consoles, and cloud. The Division Heartland is also the first game to utilize its new brand, Ubisoft Originals. A Ubisoft spokesperson told Eurogamer, “moving forward ‘The Ubisoft Original’ mention is attached to all of Ubisoft’s games created in-house by our talented developers.”
Elaborating on the new direction, Duguet said “we have taken the time to learn from what we did last year with Hyper Scape. We are also learning of course with the launch we’ll be making of Roller Champions and we’ve been learning a lot with Brawlhalla, which is fast growing. And we think it is now the time to come with high-quality free-to-play games across all our biggest franchises across all platforms, but of course it will take time before proving it in a more assertive way. That’s why we want to be cautious in year one. If we are successful, that can have a very meaningful impact on the value creation of Ubisoft.”
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) April 15, 2021
We may see what other franchises will be getting free-to-play titles next month during E3 2021 when Ubisoft has its next Ubisoft Forward presentation on June 12.