Ubisoft has been having a rough couple of months. Stock in the company has taken a tumble, bringing it to one of the lowest points it has been over the past year. This was driven by a myriad of factors but is primarily due to game delays and under-performing new releases. There is a bright spot for the company, however, as Rainbow Six Siege continues to thrive nearly four years after launch. However, if the company wants to remain one of the biggest publishers around, it can’t rely on just the Rainbow Six franchise.
What The Heck Was Ghost Recon Breakpoint?
Throughout its 18 years of existence, the Ghost Recon series has never been the massive critical success Ubisoft would have liked. Even so, previous entries in the series have received mixed to positive reviews and established a dedicated fan-base.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen with Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
Ubisoft’s latest entry to the franchise was an absolute mess. If releasing broken, microtransaction-riddled titles is the game plan, then Ubisoft is right on target. Seeing as that (hopefully) isn’t the plan, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Ghost Recon has been a steady performer for Ubisoft, as the series receives a new installment every year or so. Breakpoint, however, was an absolute train wreck by most standards, and Ubisoft expects a “sharp downward revision in the revenues expected from Ghost Recon Breakpoint.” What could have been a massive cash flow opportunity was squandered by poor design choices. Games that are part of a beloved series need to be thoughtfully crafted — and that takes time.
Give Developers A Realistic Timeline
That brings us to our next point — giving developers a workable timeline. Ubisoft recently announced that several of its upcoming games were delayed in order to “…ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented to deliver optimal experiences for players.” Frankly, this is a huge step in the right direction.
Sure, stocks plummeted after this announcement, but in the long run it will pay dividends. We’ve seen too many half-baked games hit the market lately — a surefire way to earn bad reviews and get on the wrong side of players.
Better yet, plan accordingly from the start so delay announcements aren't necessary.
In the short term, sales from Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed will help keep the company profitable, even if that means stocks take a temporary hit. Now, Ubisoft needs to ensure that the next batch of games to hit store shelves are very good. Extending the development timeline is a great way to do just that.
What Ubisoft can’t afford is to rely on two franchises in the long haul. Rainbow Six Siege is almost single-handedly keeping the Uplay platform relevant and Assassin’s Creed looks to never go out of style. Of course, even these could fall prey to the Breakpoint curse in the future if Ubisoft isn’t careful.
A company of this size cannot survive on two franchises. If this trend continues and stock continues to fall, it won’t be long until some difficult decisions have to be made. Ubisoft has an incredible roster of games, but they must be treated properly in order to bring in any cash. Breakpoint is a prime example. Instead of looking at short-term gains in the form of microtransactions and rushing a game to market, treat these franchises with care and look to make enjoyable games. Everything else will follow.