F2P Ghost Recon Online To Be Learning Experience For Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s upcoming F2P MMO shooter, Tom Clancey’s Ghost Recon Online, is an experiment for the developer, an attempt, they say, to see if the model could be more widely applicable to their other games. In an interview with Eurogamer, Ubisoft Creative Director Jean-Marc Geoffrey elaborated on that, saying that “We need to learn how it works: how to make free-to-play successful.”

That’s an interesting point to make. As the subscription model for MMOs has seen very diminishing returns over the last few years – see the possible troubles behind the scenes for Star Wars: The Old Republic for just one example – more and more MMOs have gone the Free to play route. One would assume that it’s a model that simply works. The question is, how universally? Discussing that, Geoffrey said “Maybe even with consoles. We don’t know how the future will pan out, the business is changing. It’s business design research.”

Ghost Recon Online will have a version for Wii U as well as PC, an interesting experiment (and one that yet again confirms a 2012 launch for Nintendo’s new console.) This is in addition to other Ghost Recon games and a 20 minute Ghost Recon: Future Soldier prequel film due later this year. On these topics, Geoffrey said “The idea is widen to brand, to eat up more of the market.”

This sounds a lot like what EA was saying a couple of days ago about creating so-called ‘Online Universes‘ around their games ‘brands’. And it gives me a bit of a tummy ache. The difference here would be that they’re talking about experimenting with a sales model and maximizing the exploitability of their games, and don’t, at least now, appear to be talking about forcing players to waste a bunch of time playing platforms they don’t like just to beat a game that should have been complete on disc. Said Geoffrey about GRO’s possible success, “If it’s good, it’s good. Maybe some will people will only play one and not the other, but we’ll see.” Excellent. No stupid Galactic Readiness.

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