Ubisoft Commits To Live Games As It Delays Skull And Bones... Again

The decision comes after a difficult Holiday period for Ubisoft

By AlexJohn, Posted 11 Jan 2023

Ubisoft is one of the biggest publishers in the video game industry, but even they are struggling to hit expected targets. As a result, the French company has taken extreme measures to ensure it remains a big name in the market by reorganizing its finances and changing its priorities. The last four years have seen Ubisoft becoming more reliant on Live Games and titles that continue to earn after release (via in-game shops, DLC packs, Battle Passes, etc.). In a new press release, Ubisoft has made it clear that they intend to double down on Live Games as they aim to turn their properties into global franchises "with multiple offerings across platforms and business models". An early example of this can be seen in the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Infinity, which is intended to work as a hub, from which players can then access their library of Assassin's Creed games.

This shift in focus comes after a disappointing Holiday period for Ubisoft, which has led them to cancel three unannounced titles. Their Nintendo crossover Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and the latest addition to the Just Dance franchise (Just Dance 2023) both underperformed, much to the publisher's surprise. Combined with "worsening macroeconomic conditions"; a slow Holiday season; and the continued effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ubisoft's net bookings are expected to be "down more than 10% year-on-year" as the company expects to make approximately €725 million from Q3 of 2022-23, despite targeting a figure closer to €830 million.


Ubisoft, Skull & Bones, NoobFeed

Furthermore, the financial restructuring has led to Ubisoft delaying the pirate, adventure game Skull & Bones for a sixth time. Skull & Bones, which began development as an expansion for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag in 2013, was first revealed at E3 2017 and has been teetering on the edge of development hell ever since. While a beta for the game is on the way, Skull & Bones' release has been pushed to early 2023-24 "in order to showcase a much more polished and balanced experience and to build awareness" of the game.

It is not all bad news for Ubisoft however with 2023-24 set to feature what Chief Financial Officer Frédéric Duget calls "the biggest pipeline of games in Ubisoft's history", including Assassin's Creed Mirage, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the aforementioned Skull & Bones, "other yet to be announced premium games", and Free-To-Play titles based on the companies extensive back catalog. This back catalog is also providing the company with the majority of its success currently, with Ubisoft Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemet singling out the "healthy" and "robust activity" of Rainbow Six Seige and the Assassin's Creed franchise. Furthermore, Ubisoft's Live Games continue to perform, hence the company's expansion into that area.

It is going to be an interesting few years for Ubisoft. Fans of their key franchises will be getting more and more of the worlds and characters that they love, but this change in direction could come at the cost of original IPs, single-player narratives, and an added reliance on in-game shops and microtransactions.  



Alex Johnson (@AlexJohnWriting)
News Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft, Ubisoft Singapore, Ubisoft Blue Byte, Ubisoft Chengdu
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Multiplayer, Pirate, Shooter
Release Date: 2024-02-16

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