Following in the steps of EA’s Origin and Valve’s Steam digital distribution offerings, Ubisoft has launched its Uplay PC application. Originally starting as a rewards system for customers of Ubisoft’s titles across all platforms, Uplay PC will replace individual game launchers for Ubisoft PC titles, catering to approximately 35 millions members.
The software is said to be incorporating the usual bells and whistles that come with a digital distribution service, including cloud saves, achievement, a social network, and a chat system. Worldwide Director for Online Games Stephanie Perotti states:
“Uplay PC is a great way for customers to discover Ubisoft’s games, connect with their friends and gaming communities, and win achievements and content that’s not available anywhere else… For PC gamers that are already fans of Ubisoft’s titles or have been considering trying some of our classics, this promotion is a great deal, and our way of saying thank you for their support.”
To entice customers, Ubisoft has priced certain PC titles at $1 in celebration of launching their service, including Driver: San Francrisco, From Dust, and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2. Customers can expect daily discounts of up to 75% on other titles.
As of right now, no announcement has been made as to whether Ubisoft’s entry into the PC digital distribution space will also support third-party developers like competitors Origin and Steam.
Analysis: My biggest concern when EA announced that they would launch their own digital distribution hub was that it would open the gateway for all the big publishers to create their own services as well. With Ubisoft joining the club, my fears are one step closer to being realized.
Although competition is generally good within any industry, I don’t think this applies to PC gaming, at least not to this extent. At the moment, gamers could have up to four digital distribution accounts installed, be they Steam, Origin, Good Old Games, and GameStop Now. Throwing a fifth into the mix only adds another account for people to remember and have taking up space on their computers, but most importantly, it splits up the PC gaming community.
I’ll admit that the launch offering is quite impressive. Even though I imagine many may feel Ubisoft will fail due to their treatment of the PC crowd, I don’t think this will change the mind of the majority of gamers. Publishers don’t care if you’re mad as long as they get their money. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that this may be the start of a trend that will only serve to separate PC gamers.