Tech

‘Rainbow Six’ developer plans to bring Ubisoft+ subscription service to Xbox

Ubisoft’s forthcoming Rainbow Six: Extraction pits crack military operatives against invasive alien not-zombies. (Ubisoft Image)

The third-party development studio behind the Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy video game franchises is bringing its official game subscription service to the Xbox platform.

Ubisoft’s eponymous game subscription service, Ubisoft+, is currently available on PC, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Subscribers can pay $14.99 a month for access to over 100 of Ubisoft’s past and current games, including new releases and downloadable content. A slightly more expensive plan, at $17.99 a month, also allows supported games to be played via cloud servers.

No release date was given for Ubisoft+ on Xbox. At the moment, it appears to only be coming to the Xbox, though Ubisoft was careful to not use the word “exclusive.” It’s entirely likely that it could bring Ubisoft+ to the PlayStation Network in the near future.

Ubisoft is the second major third-party developer, after Electronic Arts, to offer its own games subscription service on the Xbox platform.

EA Play, however, is available both by itself and as a bundle with the Ultimate tier of the Xbox Game Pass. At time of writing, there’s been no mention that Ubisoft+ will have a similar deal.

It’s an interesting trial balloon. Ubisoft+ has been available on cloud-based gaming platforms for months, but as an additional subscription on top of the existing cost of entry. Luna, for example, treats Ubisoft+ as a sort of premium channel, in addition to Luna’s own monthly fee.

On paper, Ubisoft+ is a decent deal. Even at $14.99 a month, it’s on the pricey side, but it offers fully updated games with all of their extra paid content included. By comparison, many of the games on the Xbox Game Pass are specifically only available in their base editions, so interested players have to purchase any expansions or add-ons.

In addition to the natural utility of any subscription service as what Microsoft calls a “discovery engine,” which measurably drives sales by letting players try whatever games they like for no additional cost, a few months of Ubisoft+ is notably cheaper than buying any single game’s deluxe edition.

You can theoretically use Ubisoft+ as a sort of extended rental, in order to wring all the fun you’re going to get out of something like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla without having to spend $60 or more. Like a lot of things about the modern Xbox ecosystem, it’s a solid option for cash-strapped players who still want to check out some of the biggest modern games.

What’s more interesting, however, is how the greater industry might react here. A few years ago, the trend among major developers was to create their own digital storefront, as Ubisoft itself did with its uPlay app.

Now, as the Xbox Game Pass continues to drive software sales for Microsoft and its development partners, the arrival of Ubisoft+ alongside EA Play on Xbox could mark the start of another race, where developers all compete to launch their own independent subscription services.

It’d be a surprise if other companies with comparatively deep back catalogs — Activision Blizzard, 2K, Sega, Square Enix — weren’t watching Ubisoft+ on Xbox very carefully. If it does well at all, it could open the floodgates.

Ubisoft also announced that its forthcoming game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Extraction, a spin-off from its popular tactical shooter Rainbow Six: Siege, will be available on the Xbox Game Pass on day one when it launches on Jan. 20.

Extraction, unlike Siege, is a cooperative game, where players team up in groups of three to take back parts of America from the invasive Archaeans, a parasitic species of alien. While it’s not uncommon for games under Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy imprint to delve into near-future science fiction, Extraction marks the first time the series has put out an action/horror game.

Ubisoft has been operating since 1986. It’s one of the most visible, successful, and recently controversial third-party developers in the modern video game industry. In addition to the various games under the Tom Clancy imprint, Ubisoft’s tentpole franchises include Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, and Rayman.

While Ubisoft maintains its primary headquarters in Montreuil, France, it also maintains a worldwide network of studios that frequently collaborate on its releases. In North America, Ubisoft has subsidiaries in Cary, NC; San Francisco; Atlanta; and in what appears to be every major city in Canada.



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