Ubisoft Needs a “Hard” Reset if They Want to Continue Making Fun Games

Brett Wilson, Staff Writer

What’s one thing that can bring almost everyone together? Movies? Memes? One of the best contenders happens to be video games. Every day, millions of people love going online and playing games; they let you meet friends to play with time and time again or enemies you never want to even hear or go against ever again.

Every game is made by a production company or studio. Ubisoft is a game development studio known for many well-known and highly played games such as “Watchdogs,” “For Honor,” “Assassins Creed,” and “Rainbow Six Siege.”

Despite making so many games, Ubisoft has been making a lot of poor choices recently. In the case of “For Honor,” a multiplayer team battle game with ancient warriors, Ubisoft made most of the characters bad in combat, either being too slow or weak while making others overpowering and unfair in a fight, too strong or fast. For example, Shinobi, a silent warrior with a dancer’s grace, can get an advantage in a fight no matter what kind of move you use. Even blocking can’t save you from their overtuned abilities. Having such an imbalance in characters makes the game undesirable to play, and at this point, it feels like Ubisoft doesn’t care about the game anymore. It seems as if they prioritize the possible profit over gameplay itself.

The company mainly prioritizes the profit by making money from the first wave of marketing new games. To do this Ubisoft pours most funding and time not into the games themselves, but into the trailers and other promotional material of the games, making them look as good as possible before they get their players to buy their games so they obtain profit. This leaves most people who bought one or more of these games disappointed in what they got. In 2021, Ubisoft had spent about $1.23 million on a trailer for their upcoming game “Far Cry 6”, and they had the company “Goodbye Kansas” make the trailer for them. They are mostly known for making the trailer for “Cyberpunk 2077.” You don’t even need to look very closely to notice more funding and time went to trailers than actual games.

When the game “Rainbow Six Siege” was first released, it was a team game about using different characters’ special abilities to win a match. It had stayed the same for a while, even when adding new characters. More recently, however, Ubisoft started to treat the game like a joke, making it less enjoyable with huge changes to characters and items that make them either too weak or too strong. One character, a defense operator, Mira, has the ability to place a bullet-proof glass window, which used to be invincible and couldn’t be damaged from any direction or by any weapon. Still, now it can be damaged from both sides and has become completely useless.

Zofia, an attacker, had her “resist” ability removed, which allowed her to get up from a downed state without help. The reason it was removed was that big players and streamers of the game didn’t like it, getting frustrated over thinking they dealt with the Zofia but then being attacked by them a few minutes later. Sure, Ubisoft did what some people wanted, but now the character isn’t used very much anymore. An essential part of the character was removed because people didn’t finish off their opponent, which is their fault.

Of course, people have their own opinions on the downfall of the company. Some people dislike what Ubisoft has been doing and don’t see much of them having a comeback at any point. And at this point, it’s true, that is all they have been doing with their games, like “Assassin’s Creed.”

Ubisoft games are released almost every year, and they put most of the money into making the trailers look good when the actual game itself is buggy, feels incomplete, and simply doesn’t look as good as it’s marketed to be. Back in 2019, Ubisoft had a net income of around 229.2 million euros (~241 million USD), but last year, that plummeted down to around 105.2 million euros (~110 million USD), losing over 124 million euros (~131 million USD) of net worth. Why? Bad gameplay decisions and handling of their IPs. Ubisoft has had these problems because of their poor management, and after they acquired Massive Entertainment, they’ve focused more on shooters than strategy games, take for example, “The Division”. It’s your average shooter that Ubisoft pumps a lot of money into. Bloomberg reports that Ubisoft has actually gone down 31% in revenue this year. An expected 825.3 million euros was analyzed, but instead, Ubisoft only obtained 665.9 million euros, which is about 757 million dollars.

But due to those problems, the large open-world games such as “Watchdogs” and its sequel have lost a lot of their flare and meaning to Ubisoft. They’re some of Ubisoft’s biggest strategy games yet, due to the lack of Ubisoft’s care for the game, only a sum average of 487.5 players have played within the last 30 days, that’s a massive change from when it was released, which had a count of 5,776.6 average players. Ubisoft consistently abandons their games and then players begin to lose interest in them as well.

When you’re a game developing company, you want to appeal to your audience, not create just for the sake of money, or else you’ll begin to lose profit. That’s how Ubisoft has been going downhill in the last few years. Appealing to your audience means you’ll have more people buy your games, and you’ll keep gaining profit to make better games, continuing the cycle of improvement. Staying on top of the focus of your player base instead of being blinded by profits is the key to having great games and even greater success in your company.