Ubisoft has revealed their interest in getting more people to subscribe to Ubisoft +. It may surprise you to learn how well they understand what they’re up against.
As shared by Video Games Chronicle, Ubisoft director of subscriptions Philippe Tremblay revealed in an interview that they understand that gamers still prefer to buy their games, and why.
“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.”
Of course, what Tremblay is alluding to here is that as streaming services like Netflix and Hulu became more popular, consumers got more used to subscribing to stream their shows and movies instead of owning them. We can talk about the issues with this argument, but let’s return to what Tremblay has to say.
Tremblay doesn’t see Ubisoft as forcing a change in consumer behavior, but in normalizing it by making it more agreeable. Again quoting Tremblay:
“The point is not to force users to go down one route or another. We offer purchase, we offer subscription, and it’s the gamer’s preference that is important here. We are seeing some people who buy choosing to subscribe now, but it all works.”
Tremblay has a strong argument for game subscriptions. For what it’s worth, this is the same exact argument that got gamers to subscribe to Game Pass and PlayStation Plus now. Here’s what Tremblay says:
“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 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, of course, the counterargument to the comparison to the media streaming business like Netflix and Hulu, is that those same services are now struggling to maintain growth now. But, see, if you think about it, this part of the comparison does not hold.
While Netflix and their many competitors has seen small but sure drops in subscriptions, both PlayStation Plus and Game Pass have cited healthy subscription numbers. Tremblay says Ubisoft Plus itself has had its most successful month yet just last October 2023.
Tremblay’s comparison only works when we’re talking about the attitude shift that’s needed so that more gamers will subscribe for games instead of buying to own them. And in an industry where many gamers are willing to spend their hard earned money on mobile microtransactions on games that can go away anytime, this really isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.
But then, the industry has always known their customers are willing to spend big if they’ve been swayed hard enough. Their struggle now is to sell the idea of subscriptions to more of them.