Ubisoft will take their cues on monetisation from Rainbow Six: Siege’s model, avoiding any DLC that adds no value, or feels compulsory where it should be optional. This is according to a Ubisoft exec.
Rainbow Six: Siege is one of the best shooters on PC. What are the others?
Ubisoft VP of live operations Anne Blondel-Jouin spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about what Ubisoft has learned from Rainbow Six: Siege.
"Monetisation is something we have to be very careful about, and my team is in charge of that and making sure we find a right balance", says Blondel-Jouin.
"The key is if it's not adding something on top of the actual experience of the game, then it is no good, because you'll be asking for more money for the wrong reasons. Also, if the content is compulsory for the gamers, it's no good as well. It is a way to deliver more fun to gamers, but they have a choice to go for that extra fun or not."
Rainbow Six: Siege's extra content model involves a season pass which grants access to four post-launch expansion packs, each with a new map, gameplay features and character classes. Most of this is exclusive to season pass owners, but any new maps and game modes are free to all, season pass or not.
This has the added bonus of not splitting the player base according to what maps they can play on, a problem for shooters such as Call of Duty in the past. Microsoft and Respawn are also giving away maps for Halo 5 and Titanfall 2 for free, the idea being that a single large audience which regularly receives new maps to play on will stay engaged with the game for longer. Blondel-Jouin says the strategy has worked for Rainbow Six, both in commercial terms and by daily active users.
"The way we monetise Rainbow Six is that people are happy about the new characters, and they can customise them with weapons and charms, but even if they don't do it, they will have the exact same experience of the other gamers," says Blondel-Jouin. "It is just an extra piece of revenue for us, which comes from gamers being happy. If gamers were not happy, we would not ask for that extra money.
"No more DLC that you have to buy if you want to have the full experience," says Blondel-Jouin. "You have the game, and if you want to expand it - depending on how you want to experience the game - you're free to buy it, or not."
Rainbow Six: Siege is one of precious few recent successes for Ubisoft, with the company under pressure and their only major triple-A release this holiday season, Watch_Dogs 2, getting off to a miserable start in terms of sales. Betting on Siege's business model seems like a sound idea, then.
Of course, the implication of Blondel-Jouin's comments is that some of Ubisoft's previous DLC has felt compulsory, which would be a substantial thing to say.