At E3 this year Ubisoft revealed Uplay+ the new subscription service for PC and the forthcoming Google Stadia. While it’s not the first company to offer a monthly subscription, the move is significant.
EA and Origin Access started the trend for providing a back catalogue of games for a monthly price from a single publisher. Since then we’ve seen that service expand to provide a top tier solution that gives you all EA games on PC for a set monthly price, including early access to full versions of new games. Xbox Game Pass and Playstation Now have brought monthly streaming of yet more titles, with Game Pass notably providing all Microsoft Studios games at their launch as part of the service.
Out of the top 10 videogame publishers, Ubisoft looks to be next in line to follow the trend with their service, set to provide all new games and DLC on top of their back catalogue for $15 per month when it launches on 3rd September. As such, it’s a step further than the Origin Access subscription from EA and a sign in Ubisoft’s confidence over its own IPs that this can be sustained with a monthly fee. There’s no reason to think otherwise based on the sales from the company’s flagship Assassin’s Creed and Ghost Recon franchises and the forthcoming Watchdogs game, which received a good reception when it premiered at E3 in June.
Where does that leave the other major publishers? Activision Blizzard have a different model for most of their games already, moving to individual games with a subscription, so it’s unlikely they would follow suit here, but Bandai Namco and Square Enix may be looking on with interest at this trend, especially Namco’s recent wins in the fighting genre bolstering their profile.
Whether consumers have an appetite for yet more subscriptions remains to be seen and PC is still the testing ground for EA and Ubisoft before these larger services move to console but with Google’s Stadia arriving and ‘games as a service’ becoming increasingly popular, it may just be a matter of time.