Ubisoft 'Will Probably' Start Bundling Free DLC with New Games 'Sometime in the Future'

By Chris Faylor, May 19, 2010 11:00am PDT Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell maker Ubisoft is "looking very carefully" at how rival publisher Electronic Arts offers free downloadable content to those that buy new then charges those that play a second-hand for that content and "will probably be following that line sometime in the future," CFO Alain Martinez has revealed.

"We have the system in place to actually generate more revenue on the second-hand market," added Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, as transcribed by Kotaku. "We have been using keys starting last year on our products. Those keys were allowing some customers to have content if they were buying the product in specific stores."

Used in such Electronic Arts games as Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 along with Microsoft titles like Alan Wake and Forza Motorsport 3, the strategy sees new copies of the game come with a one-use code for free downloadable add-ons.

Meanwhile, those that play a second-hand copy of the game--rented, borrowed, used--must pay an additional fee for that same content, a move that helps publishers recoup the lack of revenue from used sales. According to Electronic Arts, the system also helps fight piracy and makes gamers more aware of the add-on "ecosystem."

Electronic Arts recently announced an extension of the program, dubbed "Online Pass," that restricts the online multiplayer component of participating games to those that either buy them new, pay an additional $10, or make use of a free seven-day trial.

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  • This just ties in with my rant in the comments of the Epic blaming piracy for PC sales to be quite honest. The turnover from second hand games being traded in, is downright ridiculous. The retailers are absolutely loving these developers for consoles who are making games that take usually a coupld of days (a day in most cases) max, to complete the game. Then people don't want to play it again, so they trade it in, get £20 knocked off a new game which costs £45-50, the retailers still make a profit from selling the new game at a lower price point and THEN make 100% profit from reselling the week old game as "used" for £40 instead of £45. The change in tactics on DLC reflects this perfectly.

    Piracy isn't killing PC Gaming (which will never die, regardless what these lazy arsehole devs are spouting)...It's the DEV'S and publishers that are killing it. I mean, look at Valve...not owned by any publisher, but do their games sell well? You're damn right they do In the MILLIONS. Do they make a massive profit? Hell yeah. Do you ever hear them whinge about piracy? Nope.

    Then look at Blizzard. Are they owned by a publisher? No. They are in partnership with one...well pretty much the same company now. But they hold the shares as well. Do their games sell? Again, yes, in the 10's of millions. Do they make a profit? More than any other game dev for sure. And do you ever hear them whinging about piracy either? No.

    I will be honest...this free DLC upon buying a NEW copy is actually a good idea. Because the devs don't really get anything for trade-in games being sold at all. And I honestly believe this would work just fine on the PC as well. In fact, it did on Mass Effect 2 for which I bought on the PC and have been happy to download quite a few free downloadable goodies. BUT, now they have started charging for the new DLC, which is just, well, stupid and not really a good marketing or selling point for PC users who are used to getting free content for the lifetime of the product. Take Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike...in a way World of Warcraft...and well, you kinda get the picture that the 2 biggest game developers in the PC sector give stuff free and yet....they haven't jumped ship and still make a massive profit.

    Good idea, but they better not screw us in the longer term. Oh and digital distribution is the way to go on the PC, not retail. I'm taking a complete guess here, but I bet 90% of all PC sales are bought over the net and digitally downloaded. It's that way for me, personally, and all of my PC gaming mates.

    And yet, I am forced for my consoles, to pay over the top prices...hence the reason my collection totals about 5 games across 3 consoles. Why? I need to trade them in because retailer prices on console games are bloody ludicrous. I don't have that issue on PC. I buy it at a low price point on eg. Steam, and it's mine...forever...wherever I go and no matter what PC I am on. (or MAC now if that floats your boat ;-) No more buying it twice to have it on different computers etc.