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The Cost of AAA Gaming and The Rise of Subscriptions

Whilst the rest of the world tries to survive a cost of living crisis, Ubisoft and other AAA publishers continue to ramp up their prices and push users into their subscription models. Traditional ownership of games are being challenged by the cheap allure of smaller monthly fees. Ubisoft seems at the forefront of this transformation with games such as Star Wars Outlaws, Skull & Bones and Assassins Creed Shadows breaking through the ceiling price of AAA games.

Ubisoft’s subscriptions include Ubisoft+ Premium and Ubisoft+ Classics. The former grants access to new releases, such as the highly anticipated “Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown,” along with a treasure trove of premium editions and early access privileges across multiple platforms, including PC, Xbox, and Amazon Luna. Meanwhile, the latter caters to the nostalgia of players, offering a curated selection of beloved classics at a fraction of the cost.

The uproar among gamers though is everywhere, with forums and social media platforms ablaze with anger about having to pay $130 to get the complete game. The steep increase in prices couldn’t come at a worse time and many perceive this as a blatant cash grab by publishers. Some fans on Reddit are joking about going into debt after pre-ordering the Ultimate Edition, while others caution against committing any cash before release.

Ubisoft’s unveiling of “Star Wars Outlaws” at a staggering $130 for the Ultimate Edition has sparked heated debates within the gaming community. Critics argue that such exorbitant pricing erodes the value proposition, with some even jesting about the perils of pre-ordering. But are these prices just a way to push users into subscriptions. The newly announced Assassins Creed Shadows is exactly the same.

Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, has even tried to defend this crazy price hike, defending the premium price tag of “Skull and Bones.” Guillemot contends that the sheer scale and ambition of these projects justify a AAAA status and accompanying price points. Yet, amidst assurances of grandeur, whispers of discontent emanate from beta testers, bemoaning a lacklustre experience and the complete lack of boarding other ships.

Game ownership is akin to collecting DVDs or CDs and helps to avoid having your entire game library in one proverbial basket. Obviously the convenience and flexibility offered by subscriptions is fantastic, but only if there are a couple of options. The TV/Film industry is now awash with options. To watch Halo you need Paramount, for Cyberpunk 2077 its Netflix, Star Wars is Disney+, Game of Thrones is Now TV and so on. With too many outlets, piracy will ultimately increase and people will look elsewhere for cheaper options because they simply can not afford to be subscribed to everything. Personally, I tend to go to the code sites such as SoftwarePal as I can get complete games such as Assassins Creed Mirage for only £35 or even get my Xbox subscription for only £8. Saving 20%+ goes a long way to helping me keep playing the latest games.

As the gaming landscape continues to evolve, the battle for supremacy between ownership and access rages on. Ubisoft’s pricing might sound ridiculous at the moment, but if it drives gamers into their subscription model, then it is working as planned. Whether gamers embrace the allure of subscriptions or cling steadfastly to the comfort of ownership, one thing remains certain: the future of gaming hangs in the balance.

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