Ubisoft: Market ready for always-online services

Written by David Hing

April 16, 2013 // 8:24 a.m.

Tags: #always-online #ubisoft #yannis-mallat

The gaming market is ready for always-online services and hardware according to Ubisoft Montreal studio head Yannis Mallat.

Talking to the Guardian, Mallat suggested that the market is most of the way there already, but qualified that the question would be better put towards hardware manufacturers like Microsoft and Sony.

'I would say that a lot of people are always online through other devices. I would suspect that the audience is ready,' he said.

He also stated that a decent level of support needs to be implemented in order for online services to be viable.

'As soon as players don't have to worry, then they will only take into account the benefits that those services bring,' added Mallat. 'These services need to provide clear benefits.'

The comments come in the wake of Microsoft executive Adam Orth failing to understand why some people might be a little sceptical about the prospect of the next Xbox requiring a constant internet connection, stating that if anyone wasn't happy with this setup that they should just 'deal with it'.

That this statement comes from a prominent figure in Ubisoft is a bit of a surprise as the company abandoned its notorious and unpopular persistent-connection DRM last year, having run it on prominent titles including Assassin's Creed 2, The Settlers 7 and Anno 2070.

Always-online services have also been a hot topic of conversation in the gaming media thanks to the spectacular launch of SimCity which was plagued by server outages and frustrated players. Maxis and EA argued that being online was a core part of the title and that it would not work without it, despite fast-acting modders proving them wrong by making the game run offline. EA's acting chief executive Frank Gibeau even went as far as to state that the game was an MMO.

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