Following the success of Rainbow Six: Siege's approach to DLC—where maps come packaged in free updates, but characters and customisations are charged as surplus—Ubisoft has announced it'll no longer sell expansions required to enjoy the core experience of its games.
Suggesting monetisation is something it has to be "very careful about", Ubisoft's vice president of live operations Anne Blondel-Jouin told Gamesindustry.biz the publisher plans to support games for five to ten years moving forward, and that the key to introducing DLC is "if it's not adding something on-top of the actual experience of the game, then it is no good."
She adds: "Because you'll be asking for more money for the wrong reasons. Also, if the content is compulsory for the gamers, it's no good as well. It is a way to deliver more fun to gamers, but they have a choice to go for that extra fun or not. If I take an analogy of an amusement park, you can go through all the rides, but then you can also go to the shop to buy some food or merchandise or whatever... regardless of whether you spend in the shop, you're still part of the whole experience."
"Nobody is making you buy if you don't want to, but it is another way to have a different entertainment experience. If you're with your kids, and there's a toy you want to get, we will make sure it is an extra experience. It won't be the case if you don't buy it then you can't do anything else. It wouldn't work if it was about making it compulsory for gamers.
"No more DLC that you have to buy if you want to have the full experience. You have the game, and if you want to expand it—depending on how you want to experience the game—you're free to buy it, or not."
Blondel-Jouin continues, suggesting this approach lets players who choose to customise their in-game characters and/or equipment do so without giving them an advantage over those who don't. Blondel-Jouin describes this process as "an extra piece of revenue… which comes from gamers being happy." If gamers were not happy, she says, Ubisoft would not ask for that extra money.
"It does have the same commercial impact [as charging DLC]," she adds. "It is also more fair for both Ubisoft and the gamers, as it is an extra proposal for them and they even take it or not. This new way of doing things, is because it is Ubisoft's responsibility to deliver gamers with the best quality possible. If you do a nasty toy, it will stay in the store no matter what the brand is. It is putting our creative teams back to work to deliver the best stuff for gamers, and it's a win-win situation."
Gameindustry.biz's conversation with Blondel-Jouin can be read in full this way.