Ubisoft has attempted to defend the £70 RRP of upcoming game Skull and Bones, despite it including elements normally found in free-to-play 'live service' titles.
Announced at E3 2017 with an aim to release a year later, Ubisoft's pirate simulator is finally releasing next Friday (February 16). It will include a premium currency for in-game purchases, similar to Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed titles, but also a battle pass with seasonal events similar to games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact, which cost nothing to download and play.
During an investors call (via PC Gamer), Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot was asked to justify the cost, not for ethical reasons, but that the high cost of entry "could presumably limit the size of the player base".
Guillemot responded by stating: "You will see that Skull and Bones is a full-fledged game. It's a very big game, and we feel that people will really see how vast and complete that game is. So it's a really full triple-A, quadruple-A game, that will deliver in the long run."
The rise in prices for new releases is controversial in itself, while in-game purchases, microtransactions, lootboxes and the like have been heavily criticised for (but not limited to) withholding content to make more money, implementing gambling mechanics, using psychological techniques to take advantage of people, especially neurodivergent people.
With Skull and Bones' release round the corner, it won't be long before we see if customers want to pay a premium price for a game that locks its content behind a paywall, and in the months that follow, whether they want to pump more money into something they've already spent £70 on.
Ubisoft has had multiple major controversies beyond aggressive monetisation attempts in the last few years, as five ex-employees were arrested by police during a sexual harassment investigation. The case continues.
Skull and Bones will be released on February 16.
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