Ubisoft promises to do better by PC gamers

Andy Chalk at

Ubisoft's relationship with PC gamers has been strained for years. Always-on DRM, last-minute delays of PC releases, its insistence on uPlay and CEO Yves Guillemot's stated belief that nine out of ten PC gamers are filthy pirates have collectively made it a difficult publisher to love. But it promises that things are different now.

"We recognize the importance and needs of PC gamers, and want to continue to improve how we create and support games for PC," Alain Corre, the executive director of Ubisoft EMEA, told MCV. "As a percentage of our business, PC grew last year, from 11 per cent in 2012/13 to 15 per cent in 2013/14, which is an indication of the progress we’re making."

That is perhaps a slightly simplistic way of looking at the situation, but the bottom line is that the PC's relevance as a game platform is actually increasing and that's something Ubisoft can't afford to ignore. Corre cited the change from always-on DRM to one-time activations, which he described as "a standard practice in the industry," as just one example of the company listening and responding to its fans.

"We’re also doing our best to bring our games to PC at the same time as the console versions. Assassin’s Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, for example, will be released simultaneously on console and PC, and this will continue to be the goal for all our major titles," he said. "Finally, we are committed to improving the optimization of our games for each platform on which they’re released – including PC."

It sounds good, but words are easy, and given Ubisoft's well-established history of delaying the PC releases of its games at the last minute—consider Driver: San Francisco, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, From Dust, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed Revelations and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag—I think I'll wait a bit and see how things pan out before I offer any congratulations on a job well done.


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