Posted on August 20, 2012, Ross Lincoln Ubisoft Launches Steam Competitor
In my feature on why streaming gaming isn’t guaranteed to become the dominant framework, I said the “the implication being that gamers would have to make multiple such purchases from many different companies. The problem with this is that the current climate suggests that players are increasingly uninterested in such schemes.” Though I cut a considerable portion of this point to make room for the discussion of America’s broadband issues, my point here was, in part, that forcing gamer to sign up for multiple services to access games they previous could simply buy however they like is going to inconvenience players far too much to be viable. Valve has had tremendous success with Steam, but if EA makes their games exclusive to Origin and other developers follow suit, rather than spread the streaming/downloading wealth around it’s just going to drive players back to ordering hard copies, or to piracy.
As if to hand me more ammo for this point, Ubisoft has announced their own entry into the already crowded streaming marketplace. Dubbed Uplay PC, the new service is builds off of their existing Uplay. It’s described on the official site as “bringing all your Ubisoft PC games and Uplay services in one place.” Confusing things further, the site also adds “With Uplay PC, customers have all their Uplay-enabled PC games and Uplay services in the same place and get access to a new set of features for their PC games.”
Welcome Ubisoft’s Steam. Will it take off? Currently they’re offering several of their games at a dollar a pop to get you to test it out. While they haven’t yet taken their games off Steam, it’s only a matter of time. And I can’t imagine people will enjoy having to join yet another service, especially one that will almost certainly load you down with a mountain of DRM. We aren’t anywhere near where we need to be for the marketplace to support more than one such service, and now we have 3. My guess is that they quietly shutter it within a year. I’ll stick to buying their games on disc, thank you.
What do you think, Game Fronters? Let us know in comments.