Ubisoft driven to F2P market by piracy rates of 93-95%
August 23, 2012 // 8:52 a.m.
Ubisoft is pushing into the free-to-play market due to exceptionally high piracy rates on its PC titles, according to the publisher's chief executive Yves Guillemot.
Speaking to Games Industry International, Guillemot claimed that only 5-7% of people that play the company's PC titles have actually paid for them with the remaining 93-95% resorting to piracy.
He argues that this is a similar proportion of players who statistically pay for free-to-play games, with the benefit then being that this group will then continue to add funds to the titles.
Guillemot also attributes cheaper production and distribution costs as an additional factor for the move.
At Gamescon last week, Ubisoft announced its initial foray into the browser-based free-to-play market with new entries in three of its long running franchises. The Anno, Silent Hunter and Might and Magic license will all have free-to-play browser-based titles launched within the next year.
Ubisoft is notorious for adding controversial always-online DRM to its PC titles, requiring a constant internet connection even when playing a single player mode for the game to function. The practise started with the PC edition of Assassin's Creed II which launched in 2010 and according to a Ubisoft spokesperson talking to PC Gamer last year, its DRM has resulted in a clear reduction in piracy and has been successful.
Which metrics Ubisoft uses to measure its piracy rates is unclear at present.