Ubisoft is expanding its distribution portal Uplay to include games from various other developers such a EA and Warner Bros.
Consisting of over 50 million users, Uplay is Ubisoft's answer to Steam... or Origin. And just as Uplay is adding EA titles to its library, Origin is adding Ubisoft games to its service as well. As of today in North America, Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 have made the leap to Origin, while they'll arrive in Europe and Asia on 22nd February.
"We have about 15 partners with about 25 to 30 titles that will be available at launch," said Ubisoft's worldwide Uplay director Stephanie Perotti in an interview with GamesIndustry International.
Other publishers under Uplay's new roster include: 1C Softworks, bitComposer Games, Bohemia Interactive, Encore Software, Focus Home Interactive, Freebird Games, Iceberg, Nordic Games, Paradox Interactive, Recoil Games, Robot Entertainment, Telltale Games and Torn Banner Studios.
"We've been working on this for some time," said Perotti. "We've been launching our own Uplay shop, and we wanted to make sure we offer a good experience from the start so we had to work on both the technical setup and all the negotiation with partners, and we thought the timing was good after the release of very strong PC titles from Ubisoft but also from partners."
"It's about looking at what gamers like today and you can see across that list big names as well as indie developers that have been very successful, in particular with PC titles," she added.
"We're looking into adding more partners to the Uplay shop in the coming weeks and months. So we want to have a broad offer, and we also want to provide another place maybe for some of the indie developers or smaller publishers to get in touch with an audience and we have a pre-launch user base that we think can be also beneficial to these developers and publishers."
Perotti noted that games by other publishers would be available on Uplay upon their release and that Ubisoft would still have its wares on sale on both Steam and retail stores.
"I think more choice and more digital options are good for the whole industry and is something we've seen a very positive response for from other partners we've been discussing it with," explained Perotti. "I guess everybody believes also that giving more choice to the players is something that is important... I think more choice and more digital options are good for the whole industry."
Beyond simply being a storefront, Uplay allows users to reap rewards and achievements across multiple platforms. "I really think it's at the core of our DNA to be able to adapt and the major thing we want to adapt to is our customers," said Perotti. "This move is quite important for us because it's a way for us also to get in touch with them with more choice and more content, and to improve our ability also to know what our customers are expecting."
Ubisoft seems pretty serious about digital distribution as Perotti believes half the publisher's revenue will come from the digital market by 2018.
"We believe that in four to five years digital should be around 50 per cent of our business. It definitely varies across platforms, and PC is probably a little more advanced than the others. We see this as an additional way to grow our revenues but also to connect with our players in a different way."