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View Full Version : Congratulations Ubisoft, You're The New EA ( FORBES )



hyungoku1234
11-12-2014, 06:56 PM
http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/11/12/congratulations-ubisoft-youre-the-new-ea/

Yesterday, the dam broke for Ubisoft, and the gaming press and gaming public stopped fighting each other after two months of GamerGate warfare to turn toward a new common enemy. In fact, Ubisoft seems to have crossed so many lines with their recent Assassin’s Creed dual release, that critical disdain and public outrage over their policies has reached EA levels of fervor.

EA, twice voted the worst company in America by extremely zealous anti-fans, hasn’t entirely avoided controversy this year. There’s still the forever-question of “was Titanfall a failure?” hanging over their heads with sales data apparently locked in a safe and buried under two hundred feet of concrete somewhere in Redwood. Then there was some kerfuffle with The Sims and swimming pools which I could never really wrap my mind around. But for the most part, they’ve kept their heads down this year and generally avoided fan ire. In fact, they’ve even scored a huge win with the apparently great Dragon Age: Inquisition, if you can believe the reviews of more or less every major gaming outlet.

But this has been an especially bad year for Ubisoft, and it’s only gotten worse as of yesterday. Whereas EA is usually cast as a corporate industry villain, Ubisoft isn’t normally quite as persecuted. Before this, their most memorable controversies involved overly-intrusive DRM, but now? They’re being painted as the face of everything wrong with modern gaming, from deceptive marketing to recycled concepts to crass monetization.

Here’s a list of the charges from this year alone, in rough chronological order:


- Watch Dogs was accused of “overdressing” E3 footage to look incredibly cinematic, yet the final product was a less remarkable visual experience and far from the next-gen graphical revolution that was promised.

- Watch Dogs failed to live up to its own hype, much of it arguably put forth by Ubisoft, or at least Ubisoft working through the press. The game was serviceable, but unremarkable, which was deemed a sin by the public given how much was promised.

- During E3 2014, Ubisoft stumbled over questions about why the recently revealed Assassin’s Creed Unity didn’t have playable female characters, saying that it was simply too much work to animate.

- Ahead of the Assassin’s Creed Unity launch, Ubisoft revealed the game would be locked at 30 FPS to create a more “cinematic” experience, an explanation fans deemed a PR whitewash of a technical hurdle they were simply unable or unwilling to overcome

- Arriving at the launch of Assassin’s Creed Unity, review copies were given out to critics, but with the stipulation that their reviews could not go live until 12 full hours after the game’s midnight launch. Then, when it was revealed that Unity suffered from a myriad of technical problems across all platforms (including framerate, ironically), the move looked to many like an attempt by Ubisoft to sell day one copies to fans before any negative press could get out regarding the technical problems or the quality of the game itself.

- Assassin’s Creed Unity features a number of troubling gameplay elements, including microtransactions that offer in-game currency for packages priced as high as $99. Past that, the game scatters chests throughout the map that can only be accessed if you game is connected via an AC app or Uplay.

- Far Cry 4 is yet to be released, but already fans are wary of the game also becoming a part of Ubisoft’s new “annual” release schedule, accusing it of looking like extended DLC rather than a meaningful evolution of the series.


- In general, fans decry Ubisoft’s constant use of an extremely similar formula across all their major series, including capture points on an open world map and a huge amount of copy/paste sidequests and collectibles, which may have reached their peak with the drowning-in-icons AC: Unity map.

That’s eight different controversies, each a differing level of seriousness, but all come together to form a picture of a company that seems to be on the wrong track, at least according to the fans who buy its products.

The oldest charge is one that’s going to resonate well into the future. Ubisoft has been a master of creating eye-catching, buzz-building cinematic trailer for their games, using actual pre-rendered CGI, but also stylized gameplay. But the problem is now, the gameplay shown at events like E3 simply doesn’t match the final product. That was most prominently on display with Watch Dogs, but it’s already happening again with The Division, which seems to get less visually impressive the closer it gets to becoming a reality. The issue now is that Ubisoft can show any kind of visually spectacular footage and be met with claims of “well it won’t look like that at launch.”

Some of the intermediate issues are relatively minor and industry-wide. Ubisoft botched the playable female character question with Unity, but obviously more women in meaningful lead roles is something that is not an entirely Ubisoft-specific problem. Neither is the eternal loop of hype-building between publishers, the press and fans, building up games with impossible promises and expectations, and then having them be let-downs at launch as a result.

But the most recent issues with Unity are serious and related to Ubisoft directly. The “weaponized review embargo” as Polygon’s Ben Kuchera recently put it, was a nasty bit of a game-playing that looked entirely self-serving and was the largest issue that managed to unite a feuding games press with their readers for the first time in months.

Though Ubisoft has mostly avoided EA-style disasters of launching games to inoperable servers, as their games are mostly single-player, the technical problems with Unity are a different sort of launch issue, and one that’s just as serious. It’s here that we see the cracks starting to show in Ubisoft’s newfound mandatory yearly release schedule for Assassin’s Creed, and now presumably Far Cry as well. Essentially blackmailing the press with a bizarre embargo time (either you agree to it or you don’t get review copies any more) let players pick up the game on good faith alone before anything negative could be written about it. But that’s the problem with “ good faith;” it goes away.

The gaming public is quickly becoming wary of what companies like Ubisoft are doing. As I mentioned earlier, glorious, too-good-to-be-true E3 footage is going to draw skeptics going forward after what happened this year. And huge AAA games which are forcing post-launch review embargos on the press are going to look like they have something to hide. These are tricks you can pull only so many times before your customers catch on. There’s a fine line between doing what you have to do to sell your product, and tricking (formerly) loyal customers into picking a game they might not have bought otherwise if they had all the facts.

In terms of Ubisoft’s struggles with what their roster of games actually contains, Unity is full of rotten ideas for the “future of games,” whether its $99 microtransaction bundles in a $60 game, or locked chests that can only be opened with companion iPhone apps. Though Ubisoft isn’t the first company to use microtransactions in full-retail games or try to shoehorn in their own services or apps, they’re doing it in a way with Unity that is simply obnoxious, and between these items and the multiple-AC-games-per-year release schedule, it looks desperate, like they’re trying to squeeze every single drop of blood out of the stone. Say what you will about an also-annual franchise like Call of Duty that many view as derivative and sometimes exploitative, but even they’re not offering $99 “unlock all guns” bundles. Yet.

A common refrain when we deal with these kinds of issues is that “well, publishers need to make money.” I understand that, but there’s a limit to what you can do without completely alienating your customers. You have a game like Elder Scrolls Online (not Ubisoft) which has A) a traditional box-copy cost B) a subscription model and C) in-game microtransactions. And how big of a hit was that game? Game developers can’t have it all. Even if a game like AC: Unity is only doing two out of three, there are gamers out there who remember when “unlock everything” was a cheat code in single-player games, and now it’s a $99 macrotransaction.

Yes, making games is expensive, and especially so when it comes to AAA blockbusters, but the further we get down this road, the less the “games are art” argument seems to apply. Assassin’s Creed can be a fun, thoughtful, intelligent series when it’s at its best. Why does it have to be forcefully milked by its own publisher with rushed-out sequels, cash-grab microtransactions and “enchanced” elements like app-locked chests? It’s like if after Gladiator won an Oscar, there was a new sequel released every year, and by the time Gladiator 5 rolls around, you’re paying 50% more to see it in 3D and you have to download an app to watch bonus scenes on your iPad.

The film/TV comparisons are always tough because games have the unprecedented ability to charge for anything and everything, whereas all other forms of media can do is raise ticket prices or subscription rates. Non-F2P, non-indie video games have the $60 price point locked in place, and now publishers are trying to figure out how games can cost $100 or more between DLC season passes, microtransactions, subscriptions and more. Ubisoft is rushing out games and trying controversial revenue generation all at the same time, and it’s not just creating a poor user experience, it’s making them look sloppy and cavalier about their relationship with their fanbase.

Yesterday, I talked about how the Assassin’s Creed franchise needed to slow down or it would go off the rails completely, but now I’m starting to realize that this seems like it applies to Ubisoft as a whole. EA lost consumer trust more or less completely for a period of time, and is just now starting to earn it back. But this year, Ubisoft has fallen into the same trap in different ways, with consumers no longer trusting their advertising (because of enhanced footage) or their retail releases (because of an apparent attempt to silence the press). And in pumping out more games from their beloved series more often, they’re diluting all the properties involved by rushing out a final product that doesn’t have enough time to be an innovative evolution for the series, or one is filled with technical issues. Or both.


Consumers want:

A) A product that looks like what was advertised

B) Not to be talked down to in PR speak

C) A working product at launch

D) To be respected for shelling out $60 for a new game, and not goaded into paying even more

These are not difficult goals to accomplish, and it’s amazing how far a little honesty will go in an industry where consumers constantly feel misled. Obviously every company exists to make money, but when your customers feel deceived or like their loyalty is being exploited, you’ve taken a wrong turn. And Ubisoft has taken at least a half dozen wrong turns this year, and now seem to be lost in the labyrinth EA only recently escaped from.

I’ve reached out to Ubisoft for comment for this story, but have not heard back at the time of publishing.

D_cover
11-12-2014, 06:59 PM
You are right Ubisoft have fallen from the good days of Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell. To well what ever this is.

dbgager
11-12-2014, 07:07 PM
lol..What did you do paste it twice.. The article repeats the last 4 paragraphs multiple times...

hyungoku1234
11-12-2014, 07:11 PM
lol yeah i did sorry about that. all this frustration is messing up my copy pasting skillz.

D_cover
11-12-2014, 07:19 PM
I'll be honest I don't need to read the thread post to know Ubisoft are the new EA.

NightmareGK13
11-12-2014, 07:31 PM
I'll be honest I don't need to read the thread post to know Ubisoft are the new EA.

True, but now It's out in the open for everyone to see
Ubisoft really did manage to pull off a revolution

CHosIN1
11-12-2014, 07:38 PM
Hate to say it they all are doing it. Have you seen BattleField 4. All started with stupid games like candy crush, farm ville, even worse clash of clans. I know a lady that has spent over 1500$ on farmville can you imagine at least getting something here. Not just extra crops, or more lives.:confused:

playlisting
11-12-2014, 07:42 PM
Solid article full of facts. Unity is no longer on my buy-list, and I've been excited about it for nearly a year. I've been saying for a while now (ever since I found out about the annual release schedule) that it would lead to the AC series downfall. Looks like I was correct. Not paying anything more than 10 for this, and neither should anyone else. Take away what Ubisoft wants, the money, and they'll listen. Whether they like it or not.

NightmareGK13
11-12-2014, 07:47 PM
If I could I would cancel my pre-order right this instance, but already shipped... now I feel terrible for supporting this piece of ****e company

dericslab
11-12-2014, 08:30 PM
Well written Hyungoku1234

I can only hope Ubisoft reads this post.

I will tweet this forward, but they tend to ignore that too.

doughy12
11-12-2014, 08:36 PM
It's funny how everyone of you Steam fanboys slams UBISOFT and EA for doing the exact same things that VALVE does. VALVE DOES ALL THIS SAME EXACT TYPE OF STUFF hyungoku1234 posted in this thread.

All you morons need to quit trying to bring up E3 footage and say Watch dogs false advertised because it didn't. E3 was a concept video and people were too dumb to get that concept and idiots think that what a company shows is how something is going to be..But again people are too stupid to get the concept that when it comes to advertising what something looks like before release has nothing to do with what the actual release has to look like.

A developer can make anything look like anything and it's not false advertising. UBISOFT said they would deliver watch dogs and that's what they delivered...It's you ******s and your dumb *** hardware who think they're entitled to everything are what the whole problem was.

UBISOFT did nothing wrong when it came to how they showed Watch DOGS at E3 and how it actually was upon release. NOTHING only morons who don't grasp how advertising works argue this.

GRAPHICS AND HOW SOMETHING LOOKS DO NOT EVER APPLY TO ADVERTISING IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORUM UNDER ANY CONDITIONS

Where do you ****** bags get the balls to say FARCY 4 IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED...Half Life 3 and portal 3 aren't released yet so how is UBISOFT not releasing FARCRY 4 yet any different than VALVE not releasing Half Life or Portal 3?

I'll show a situation that proves just exactly how dumb, unbelievable, and one sided gamers complaining really are: What I'm posting is how the law works but yet gamers will try and say you clicked I agree to the subscriber agreement or that it's common sense to it's meaning or everyone know what it means..WHICH MEANS JACK **** Because the laws state it's illegal..So an agreement or what people think and their opinion about what's obvious cannot be used as an excuse because the law takes precedence

I love how people complain about what happened with Watch dogs (Which isn't even illegal) but yet will not complain about the false advertised Free weekend from Valve has set up. Titling something that can/will mislead the consumer into understanding something that's not what it is, is illegal. Watch dogs is a graphical OPINION that doesn't affect advertising law, but how something is titled is.

Valve offers games for free to keep forever during the free weekend...The way it's titled absolutely states that is exactly how it is because it's a false title that misleads the consumer into to thinking the game is free to keep as long as you obtain it during the time Valve offers it for free.
A game free for the weekend is not clear and misleads consumers WHICH IS ILLEGAL...The Laws sets what's illegal and not user opinion or subscriber agreement you cannot by pass the law with opinions and a user agreement.. But of course even after the laws make this illegal and you cannot bypass laws with anything, the idiot steam fanboys still try and argue this and say it's not what that means and you agreed to the subscriber agreement.

What part of the laws cannot be bypassed do these moronic Steam Fanboys not understand...?

Devst8nDscoDve
11-12-2014, 08:43 PM
All you morons need to quit trying to bring up E3 footage and say Watch dogs false advertised because it didn't. E3 was a concept video and people were too dumb to get that concept and idiots think that what a company shows is how something is going to be..But again people are too stupid to get the concept that when it comes to advertising what something looks like before release has nothing to do with what the actual release has to look like.

A developer can make anything look like anything and it's not false advertising. UBISOFT said they would deliver watch dogs and that's what they delivered...It's you ******s and your dumb *** hardware who think they're entitled to everything are what the whole problem was.

UBISOFT did nothing wrong when it came to how they showed Watch DOGS at E3 and how it actually was upon release.


Shut the **** up. Most of the options for those graphics were simply switched off because of parity. The Pc can easily handle those options so why not leave them on? You are a massive fanboy.

fashric
11-12-2014, 08:44 PM
A very nice summary of what is happening/happened at Ubisoft in the last few years. Their behaviour reeks of total mismanagement. Their share prices also dropped by 9% today so hopefully they will begin to feel some pressure to improve rapidly or risk going right down the pan. Never take your customers for granted!

@dericslab Hyungoku1234 didn't write this its a copy and paste from the link at the top of his post.

rakowozz
11-12-2014, 08:46 PM
About that, doughy12, Watch Dogs was a lot of fun for me. Even though the graphics didn't deliver the major revolution that was being promised.

But it was fun because it was playable. Mods alleviated performance/graphical issues and I was satisfied.

Contrary to AC Unity, which presents unexplainable performance loss at some points. There's nothing there justifying such an amount of frame rate drops. FPS is lower in cutscenes? Come on...

fashric
11-12-2014, 08:47 PM
All you morons need to quit trying to bring up E3 footage and say Watch dogs false advertised because it didn't. E3 was a concept video and people were too dumb to get that concept and idiots think that what a company shows is how something is going to be..But again people are too stupid to get the concept that when it comes to advertising what something looks like before release has nothing to do with what the actual release has to look like.

A developer can make anything look like anything and it's not false advertising. UBISOFT said they would deliver watch dogs and that's what they delivered...It's you ******s and your dumb *** hardware who think they're entitled to everything are what the whole problem was.

UBISOFT did nothing wrong when it came to how they showed Watch DOGS at E3 and how it actually was upon release.

Unless you work at Ubisoft or have some sort of monetary investment in them then your post is strangely defensive and you probably need to get out more. I'm hoping that you are just trying to get a rise out of other posters though.

fashric
11-12-2014, 08:51 PM
If I could I would cancel my pre-order right this instance, but already shipped... now I feel terrible for supporting this piece of ****e company

As long as you don't open it and register the key its not too late to cancel.

Wraith_of_sands
11-12-2014, 08:57 PM
it's happening

Going down like them frames

http://www.vg247.com/2014/11/12/assassins-creed-unity-ubisoft-stock-down/

hurts doesn't it, well good

King_of_Ricers
11-12-2014, 10:49 PM
Want them to listen? Stop pre-ordering, as simple as that. Actually, it might not be that simple because over half of those pre-ordering casual gamers are underage, don't understand the meaning of money because their parents buy them games.

fashric
11-12-2014, 11:59 PM
Which parts do you disagree with? He is listing situations that have already occured. Hardly even mentions the performance issues with the game.

GrungePunk
11-13-2014, 08:21 AM
It's funny how everyone of you Steam fanboys slams UBISOFT and EA for doing the exact same things that VALVE does. VALVE DOES ALL THIS SAME EXACT TYPE OF STUFF hyungoku1234 posted in this thread.

All you morons need to quit trying to bring up E3 footage and say Watch dogs false advertised because it didn't. E3 was a concept video and people were too dumb to get that concept and idiots think that what a company shows is how something is going to be..But again people are too stupid to get the concept that when it comes to advertising what something looks like before release has nothing to do with what the actual release has to look like.

A developer can make anything look like anything and it's not false advertising. UBISOFT said they would deliver watch dogs and that's what they delivered...It's you ******s and your dumb *** hardware who think they're entitled to everything are what the whole problem was.

UBISOFT did nothing wrong when it came to how they showed Watch DOGS at E3 and how it actually was upon release. NOTHING only morons who don't grasp how advertising works argue this.

GRAPHICS AND HOW SOMETHING LOOKS DO NOT EVER APPLY TO ADVERTISING IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORUM UNDER ANY CONDITIONS

Where do you ****** bags get the balls to say FARCY 4 IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELEASED...Half Life 3 and portal 3 aren't released yet so how is UBISOFT not releasing FARCRY 4 yet any different than VALVE not releasing Half Life or Portal 3?

I'll show a situation that proves just exactly how dumb, unbelievable, and one sided gamers complaining really are: What I'm posting is how the law works but yet gamers will try and say you clicked I agree to the subscriber agreement or that it's common sense to it's meaning or everyone know what it means..WHICH MEANS JACK **** Because the laws state it's illegal..So an agreement or what people think and their opinion about what's obvious cannot be used as an excuse because the law takes precedence

I love how people complain about what happened with Watch dogs (Which isn't even illegal) but yet will not complain about the false advertised Free weekend from Valve has set up. Titling something that can/will mislead the consumer into understanding something that's not what it is, is illegal. Watch dogs is a graphical OPINION that doesn't affect advertising law, but how something is titled is.

Valve offers games for free to keep forever during the free weekend...The way it's titled absolutely states that is exactly how it is because it's a false title that misleads the consumer into to thinking the game is free to keep as long as you obtain it during the time Valve offers it for free.
A game free for the weekend is not clear and misleads consumers WHICH IS ILLEGAL...The Laws sets what's illegal and not user opinion or subscriber agreement you cannot by pass the law with opinions and a user agreement.. But of course even after the laws make this illegal and you cannot bypass laws with anything, the idiot steam fanboys still try and argue this and say it's not what that means and you agreed to the subscriber agreement.

What part of the laws cannot be bypassed do these moronic Steam Fanboys not understand...?

Hey Doughy, I hate to say this but I think your brain has turned into a pile of moldy dough. Since when does something need to be illegal in order to be wrong and since when does something have to be illegal in order to offend people? Abortion offends a ton of people and it's legal in America. Nobody says "Well it's legal so you can't disagree with it." (Well other than you apparently...) Everybody is entitled to their own point of view. Even you unfortunately. Also, nobody said anything about FarCry 4 NEEDING to be released. You obviously have trouble with reading comprehension. The article said people were worried about the release just basically being a reskin/expansion of FarCry 3. It was a few sentences! Was it really that hard to grasp the meaning of the words? How you figured that compared to Valve in any way I will never understand. You know how many years Valve waited to make a Half-Life sequel? Like 10 or more and it's been a hell of a long time since 2 was release and I'm still waiting for 3! That's a far cry from releasing a game every single year that just looks like a slightly modified version of the last. (Pun intended.) I actually enjoyed Watch Dogs but I also didn't watch any of the videos for it or pay for it because I just borrowed my friends copy. It was a fun game though. Like GTA with hacking which isn't a bad thing in my opinion.

Also nobody said anything about their advertising methods and E3 videos being illegal either. They just said it's messed up how they doctor their footage. Even when they show gameplay footage recorded a month before release they cut out any bugs that get recorded or rerecord the entire thing if they encounter a bug just so you won't see how buggy the game is. That's pretty shady business especially when they go and release the game without fixing a lot of those bugs that they KNOW are there. I think we know not to expect to much from an E3 reveal trailer. They usually don't show too much anyways. But trailers after the games already been in development for awhile? That's bad for business. From your viewpoint it sounds to me like you think a car company like Chevy could show a commercial on TV for a new car that can fly like a plane and shows the car being flown through the air (even though it's just a computer animation like all car commercials but not everybody knows that.) so when I go purchase the car and attempt to drive off the top of a parking garage because I was told in a commercial and by the sales man that the car can fly and the car instead just plummets 5 stories down and explodes killing me instantly you're basically saying that's because I didn't understand how car advertising works? Your viewpoints are childish and invalid. Just because you like a game doesn't mean you have to go off on some huge rant and spew a bunch of crap that doesn't even make sense. You think you're so intelligent but I could probably point out flaws in most of the things you said so your angry post defending Ubi has done nothing but make you sound like you think you know what you're talking about but in actuality you in fact do not. It's a scary thing to think you're always right and blindly disagree with other's opinions without even actually understanding them. That's something close minded religious fanatics that blow up abortion clinics are known for. Not gamers sitting behind their keyboard raging that somebody dared talk poorly about a game they like. And yes I took the time to read what you posted. Unlike how you obviously skimmed the article and assumed you got the gist of it when you really hadn't. It's too bad there's not a rolls eyes icon for this post...

PapercutOwl
11-13-2014, 11:22 AM
Well put hyungoku1234. I've never criticized ubisoft I've always tried to justify all the lag and the bugs, but this time they've really crossed the line. This peace of sh** crashes every 20 min and I can't even walk into some of the districts without the game freezing. It's not a disturbance any more, the game is UNPLAYABLE. High time they get off their asses and do sth about it

Vai-Peru
11-13-2014, 02:18 PM
Why are people giving credit to the OP and not whoever wrote the article?

Also, doughy12, is such a fanboy he's embarrasing himself.

AntiChrist7
11-13-2014, 02:21 PM
Forbes apparently dont know what microtransactions really are.

Or has the guts to admit that journalists have lost any sense of putting things in perspective and not blindly believing everything you hear/see in trailers.