Philippe Tremblay, director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, had made a statement a few days ago which had angered the gaming community. GOG too has hit back.
Years ago, one of the best or maybe only way to purchase games was through the physical media. This included game purchases via CDs and DVDs. Then came the internet and then various online gaming stores like Steam and others. This brought in a progressive change towards the digital media throughout the years.
These days, purchasing a game or any form of media via digital means is more common than purchasing them via CD or DVD. Which has its downsides too. It means that if a game publisher stops selling certain games, getting those games through legal means is almost impossible.
If that is not enough, a new method of playing games is becoming famous in previous few years. It’s the subscription model. In this model, people pay a subscription fee every month and play all the games available in the catalog of the company offering the subscription.
The games as subscription sounds good. Except one, these companies could significantly increase price later. But an even bigger problem with this is that people don’t own any games in it. Looks like Ubisoft wants that to happen.
Ubisoft – Get comfortable not owning games
A few days ago, Philippe Tremblay, director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, gave an interview to GamesIndustry.biz.
In that interview, he discussed the launch (rebranding) of Ubisoft’s new, more expensive tier of subscription service called Ubisoft+ Premium. The Ubisoft+ Premium is in addition to Ubisoft+ Classics (newly available on PC) and offers more and latest games.
In the interview, he spoke about the benefits of subscription services and other things. However, one of the most controversial parts in the interview was this statement:
One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That’s the consumer shift that needs to happen. They got comfortable not owning their CD collection or DVD collection. That’s a transformation that’s been a bit slower to happen [in games]. As gamers grow comfortable in that aspect. You don’t lose your progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file is still there. That’s not been deleted. You don’t lose what you’ve built in the game or your engagement with the game. So it’s about feeling comfortable with not owning your game.Philippe Tremblay, director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, in an interview to GamesIndustry.biz.
Meaning Of The Statement
Basically, what Ubisoft is saying that people are too used to owning games. Just like people made a move from physical media to digital one, now Ubisoft wants people to get comfortable not owning games at all. In other words, buy our subscription service, play games, forget about owning them.
While during the course of the interview, he explained that Ubisoft doesn’t want to force anyone to use any single method and Ubisoft will keep offering various method of purchase. He also mentioned that he himself has a lot of physical media with him.
But his statement of getting comfortable not owning games has led to massive outrage internet-wide. With people slamming the statement everywhere. If that is not enough, even GOG has joined the chorus.
GOG – Feel comfortable owning games
The tweet is really simple. It says that players should feel very comfortable in owning games. Games can be bought on GOG without DRM. For record, GOG is owned by CD Projekt Red, which is best known for making games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077.
What’s interesting here is that GOG directly takes on the idea behind Ubisoft’s statement. This is because all games hosted on the GOG gaming store don’t come with any DRM whatsoever. Simply purchase the game and it’s yours to keep always.
A big problem with DRM is also the preservation of games. There are some highly used DRMs which only work online and allow limited number of activations per device at a moment. Just think about it, what if the DRM servers stop working, the game will stop working even if it’s available for purchase. This is a known problem for many games.
Ubisoft’s statement shouldn’t be looked in isolation. It shouldn’t be looked as some sort of bad intent, either. Ubisoft claims that the subscription is an additional option and not a replacement.
However, it also shows a larger issue in hand. Companies after companies are pushing for subscription based service model over the purchase of media. They don’t want people to own anything. This isn’t limited to games, either. It’s an issue in movie, music and even software industry.
This trend of moving towards people not owning any purchased media is worrying and should be countered. The public has all the right to complain about it.
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