Retail Market Kept Ghost Recon Off PC-Only

By Jim Rossignol on July 19th, 2011 at 8:32 am.


Speaking to CVG, Ubisoft’s Theo Sanders said of Ghost Recon games on PC: “We knew it was a platform we wanted to come back to. However, until recently, the retail market for PC made it difficult to invest in a big, dedicated product.” He went on to explain the move to create Ghost Recon Online, which will be Ubisoft’s first proper crack at the free to play way of doing things, is down to exciting new “online business models”: “The emergence of online business models has brought back the opportunity to produce something dedicated to PC fans, rather than just ported multiplatform content.”

So that’s good. You can apply for the Ghost Recon Online beta over here.

__________________

« | »

, , .

34 Comments »

  1. Bungle says:

    I’m so glad F2P is turning the tide. $60 games with $15 DLC packs was never a business model I was going to support as a customer. Right before the video game market lost me as a customer forever, F2P breaks on the scene and I see a glimmer of hope.

    • rayne117 says:

      “Right before the video game market lost me as a customer forever”
      Really man? You can’t just wait for those $60 games to drop down to $20 in a Steam sale?

    • Turin Turambar says:

      Uhh… Rayne, if you wait always the drop down to $20, you aren’t supporting the business model of $60 games + $15 DLC, which is what Bungle was talking about.
      You are just supporting the $20 game business model. Which i agree with!

    • woodsey says:

      Well, I for one hope this F2P fad f*cks off.
      I also hope the DLC thing does too, but this is just as irritating. I don’t want to pull out my credit card every time I want to take a crap for +1 dexterity in a game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I don’t think it’s going anywhere. But I don’t think it’s going to require a credit card quite that regularly, either.

    • bonjovi says:

      F”P model can only be sustainable in very specific scenarios. Using it as a business model for every single game (as they seems to be going towards) will not last. There will be a lot of games launched soon as F2P and most of them will not survive two years.

    • Kent says:

      I want the F2P and DLC off the market as well, at least expansions were acceptable because you paid for most often an extension with more stuff and a new story, then Bethesda started making crappy DLC and every publisher and their mom went on the DLC wagon. At least Oblivions DLC made sense in a way, it being so open ended and having a great modification support but DLC have started appearing in far too many places where they simply do not belong. Like in Mass Effect and Dragon Age for example but also Total War and Portal.

    • woodsey says:

      Thankfully Bethesda seem to have indicated that they’ll be going to back to something similar to expansion pack sized add-ons. I don’t want or need 5 hours more gameplay every 3 months – just give me another massive chunk (Shivering Isles) or two, and then leave it.

      And @Jim, maybe not quite so regularly, but I’d rather just lay the money down and be done with it.

    • Bremze says:

      You can try out the game before you spend money on it, you can chose where and how much you want to spend, what’s there not to like? Sure, if the business model is implemented incorrectly, it can sink a game astonishingly fast, but you can say that about any of them. Seems like those calling f2p a “fad” have had no/only bad experience with it or can’t see the huge upsides (everything has a demo and you can spend as much as you are willing to).

    • Rii says:

      @Bremze: “what’s there not to like?”

      Beyond compromising the integrity of the game via greedy or otherwise poor monetisation choices (which I suspect will continue to happen more often than not) there’s its influence on game design. If F2P really takes off, you can wave goodbye to entire genres that don’t play well with it. Pretty much anything with a story, in fact.

    • Phinor says:

      I very much prefer the good old 25-35€ on release day (just find the correct deals) over the new 300€ over 18 months model. You start adding the NECESSARY things to buy in any given F2P game and you are quickly looking at triple digits minimum.

      There are obviously exceptions to the rule but most of the new F2P games follow the triple digit model. Ie. the games published by publishers who had no idea F2P model existed before it became popular and are now trying to maximize their profits with this new model, failing completely at it. Well failing in the sense that I have no plans to play a game that has seven zone expansions at 15€ a pop. F2P games no longer offer micro purchases in the range of 0-3€, they now mostly offer macro purchases in the range of 5-20€. Dozens of them. There are also no deals to be found in F2P games. You buy their coins at a set rate and that’s that. Sure, they might offer item of the day with a 25% discount but it’s hardly the same.

    • Xercies says:

      There is a more obvious catch with F2P then buying power, it also limits game design, You get more gameplay from a $60 dollar game then you do from a free game. Do you know why? Because the people who make it are guarenteed some money from it, F2P you are not you have to hope people play it and buy stuff from it so your limited on how much budget you want to spend so your limited in how much gameplay there is.

      I would rather spend some money on release and get the full experience then get F2P which will probably have about 2 maps.

    • Vandelay says:

      I don’t have any problem with DLC, myself. The issue is that they are just too expensive for what they are. If it was just £2-3 for a few hours content then that would be great, but that price point is generally reserved for a couple of extra weapons that are marginally different from other variants in the game, at best. If you want anything with substantial content, you are looking at about £10 minimum, which is verging close to the price of an expansion pack, which offered far, far much more value for your money.

      F2P I have more of an issue with. If they took the Valve approach and all the items that you bought were purely cosmetic, I could get on board with it, but it is rarely like that. My ideal solution would be to have a F2P model, but with the option to buy the game at a standard price, gaining access to all the items. You could also buy items individually, if you didn’t want to put all the money down at once.

    • Bremze says:

      @Xercies: Buying power kill games about as fast as pricing them at 500$. A good f2p game will NEVER let you buy power.

      @Phinor: Yeah, sure, many fail at using f2p correctly, but that doesn’t mean the model is itself at fault. That is like judging paying for games upfront by using Big Rigs as an example.

      @Ril: Your definition of ” anything with a story” is silly because EVE has created more compelling stories than almost every single player game, and MMO’s are the type of games where f2p could shine. Still, never did I say that f2p has to be the one model to rule them all, just that it shouldn’t be dismissed by dev/publisher incompetence.

    • Stromko says:

      F2P as it’s being interpreted now– a vital cash shop that you need to use to excel– means that the majority of content is gated behind having to pay. It always costs much more to get all the content than it would if they weren’t F2P, by the very nature of the model. If only 10% of customers pay (and that’s high), then they need a means to pay 1000% and/or 1000% of the total players of the price to break even with the pay-for-box model.

  2. Jason Moyer says:

    Ghost Recon was kept off PC? We’ve gotten the superior versions of both Advanced Warfighter games and according to wiki Future Soldier is also coming to PC. I’m pretty sure the only non-handheld versions that didn’t make it to the PC were those (allegedly) terrible PS2/Xbox games.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’ve changed the headline slightly, since what the guy means is that it kept Ghost Recon from having a PC-only game.

    • Stromko says:

      I didn’t feel like I was getting the best version of GRAW-II, as it crashed within 5 minutes of starting the first level, every time. GamersGate to this day has never posted a patch for it, and I can’t register their code on Steam, but that there was ever a released version with such a profound and singular error in it– I blame Ubi for that.

  3. Kolchak says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this trend of F2P gaming and while I was a skeptic I’m starting to be convinced of it being a possible standard model of multiplayer gaming. One that could alter the world of gaming and effect both PCs and Consoles.

    Asking 60 bucks upfront really is a bold demand of gaming companies. Of course we can trust the big hitters like Valve and Blizzard to deliver quality gaming but those smaller less publicized developers do have a hard time when games are relatively pricey. So many mainstream gamers look at Metacritic and decide purely by those critics, I have friends who won’t buy a game unless it has an 85 percent approval rating on Metacritic. And now console developers are trying to close off Used and Rental gaming by adding a $10 surcharge for multiplayer access.

    The biggest advantage of the consoles was that they were more affordable than the PC and now that’s really coming to an end. Especially with F2P gaming possibly costing nothing at all. And while the claim can be made that most F2P games aren’t as deep as their Pay up Front cousins we can look at Mobile Gaming and see that people don’t necessarily need the best graphics or even best gameplay. The iPhone is making a killing and slaughtering the 3DS in sales now. Those 99 cent diversions like the ever so popular Angry Birds are defeating larger and more complex games. I don’t think it’s insane to think that the same won’t happen in household gaming.

    I do think Laptops are going to be a major player in the future. I hear many console lovers talking about how they love to sit on the couch and play a game. But with the laptop people can move anywhere they want and play World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2 at their own leisure.

    Is console gaming dying? Well no one knows for certain but I think it may. I think Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo take their customers for granted. Everyone at the end of the day still needs a Desktop Computer or a Laptop to check email and write up essays and a million other tasks. You really don’t need a console. Just like how people appreciate the simplicity of carrying one smartphone over carrying a bunch of electronics there could be a lot of consumers who just want to use one single computer. And F2P is the new 99 cent app. All we need is that one F2P game that everyone wants.

    • Wunce says:

      Don’t forget mods, they are free games that are often experimental and more fun than main game it was developed for. (I found it a big draw in getting a high end gaming PC)

      I agree that F2P will become a powerhouse in the future however I don’t think console gaming will die – many people don’t realise that their computer can do everything a console can with a little tinkering (playing on your TV, splitscreen, controller support) so there will be people who want to use consoles for those reasons.

    • Stromko says:

      I think 20$ ‘AAA’ games are just as valid a model as AAA F2P games. In either case you are expanding your customer base by reducing the barrier of entry, making less money per customer but (potentially) more money in gross.

  4. Bremze says:

    If you buy a Llano A8 series laptop, you can already play any recent game on low to med setting and it seems like Intel will follow up with a beefier GPU in their Ivy Bridge line too. This means a consumer can simply buy, install and play a game on their laptop without worrying about their spec and get on par or above graphics than on consoles. I’ll have to agree, that consoles might be marginalized by a combination of affordable and powerful laptops and smartphones.

    • Rii says:

      Why are PCs immune to this trend?

    • Wulf says:

      Actually, I think desktop computers are already being supplanted and becoming obsolete due to the lack of super high-end hardware in 99.9% of the PC games out there today. I still chuckle when I see people say that a laptop wouldn’t be able to do what their ‘rig’ can do, and a modern laptop would likely run rings around their ‘rig,’ anyway.

      But even then it’s pointless to get a laptop that powerful because most games are either console ports, indie games, or games designed to run on older hardware. Their ‘rig’ will never be even remotely challenged by even the most recent games, so it makes that sort of high-end technology obsolete. That’s a good thing, because it means, as has been pointed out, that good technology, and especially good mobile technology, is affordable.

      And that’s what I think is going to save PC gaming and keep it relevant.

  5. mbp says:

    Come on already you cannot keep mentioning free to play games without discussing Extra Credits video on microtransactions. It really is a definitive piece of work on the subject.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/3689-Microtransactions

  6. Milky1985 says:

    Of course it has nothign to do with the industries(including UBI’s) shunning of PC games, the AWFUL pc version of GRAW2 that was massivly different (and crap) , the stupid ubisoft DRM ithat has caused massivly reduced sales of PC games (as remember ubisoft were starforce supporters) .

    Its alllllll someone elses fault.

  7. The Sentinel says:

    “However, until recently, the retail market for PC made it difficult to invest in a big, dedicated product.”

    Translation: they failed to recognise how the PC market had changed, and weren’t smart enough to learn how to exploit that. Is the self-fulfilling prophecy of treating PC owners as potential criminals not working our for you, then, Ubisoft? Funny, that.

  8. Rii says:

    I’m surprised Ubisoft even bothered to point this out. I mean, aren’t we collectively past the point of being surprised that a AAA game from a third-party publisher is multiplatform? It’s when the PC gets a major non-MMO release all to itself that we should be surprised

    I guess there’s the fact that Ghost Recon was once PC-exclusive, but then so was Call of Duty. I don’t see Activision making any excuses on that front, nor would I expect them to.

  9. Derppy says:

    I don’t really like the F2P-model at all. There’s always a catch that brings unfair advantage to the players who pay and it’s too easy to go “Pay to Win” so you’ll have to pay over a hundred bucks to remain competitive.

    I’d much rather just buy the game from Steam and later a big expansion for it. Call me old fashioned, but I never really enjoyed micro-transactions and DLC. I want to buy the full game and more content as huge packs.

    I really hope they offer some sort of premium payment, so you can buy the Ghost Recon Online for roughly the retail price and just have everything that exists and will be patched in, with the exception of proper expansions.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      ” There’s always a catch that brings unfair advantage to the players who pay and it’s too easy to go “Pay to Win” so you’ll have to pay over a hundred bucks to remain competitive.”

      I’m not sure this is true.

    • johnpeat says:

      Most F2P games offer 2 types of items in return for your money.

      “Bling”
      Diamond studded hats, spectacles, shiny horses and the like – non-essential to the game, just ways of making your character stand-out

      “Time saving”
      Faster XP, quicker resurrection, items you’d have to farm otherwise and good-old money.

      The former affect no-one and are generally where games make their cash (I’ve always found this hard to understand but people do spend fortunes on it).

      The latter really isn’t the “pay to win” people talk about – all it does it allow someone to progress their character in less of THEIR time. If you start alongside such a person, they’ll get ahead – sure – but if you start alongside someone who’s better at the game and/or plays it more the same will happen and I’m not hearing cries of “limit playtime” and “limit skill” here???

      Few games, if any, offer any of this “pay to win” of which you speak – in fact I cannot think of a single example off the top of my head…

  10. Vinraith says:

    Ah Ubisoft, you hold so many great licenses, and you’re just going to systematically murder them one by one aren’t you? Not that you didn’t stab a crayon through this one’s eye right after the first incarnation, of course, but a trend is a trend.

  11. UK_John says:

    This guy is talking marketing BS! Nothing stop European games going into retail in Europe! I have bought all the STALKERS, the two Witcher’s, the Sacred’s, the Spellforce’s, the Two World’s, Metro 2033 and so on all at retail! This is just the new excuse to replace piracy as the reason you don’t get a PC version!

    If the big companies didn;t spend $30 million plus on each game’s development, then maybe they could sell PC games and make a profit like all the publisher’s of the above European titles!

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>