Despite offering distinct pay-to-win advantages in games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Ubisoft says it follows an internal "Fair Monetization" policy for its games.
Starting in 2017, Ubisoft became a digital-first company that started baking in live services and microtransactions into all of its games. Starting with Origins, then with Odyssey and now Valhalla, singleplayer-only Assassin's Creed games have seen monetized gear and storefronts. While Ubisoft's microtransactions have typically been controversial, the publisher says it follows what it calls a "Fair Monetization" charter to help guide its mTX practices.
In its recent 2021 annual report, Ubisoft outlined its monetization policies for investors. The company acknowledges that monetization carries risks of potentially "distorting the gaming experience" and could actually harm reputation, but says it is committed to "adopting monetization and engagement policies that respect the player experience and are sustainable over the long term."
To help keep things on the straight and narrow, Ubisoft instituted what it refers to as the Fair Monetization charter as a risk mitigation measure for the business model. Ubisoft briefly mentions this aims at creating a "fair monetization model."
Ubisoft is no stranger to monetization and makes a significant proportion of its earnings from microtransactions. In FY21, Ubisoft made $714 million from PRI, what it calls Player Recurring Investment (in-game purchases, DLC, subscriptions, etc), nearly 40% of its net bookings of $1.873 billion and net sales of $1.871 billion.
The publisher mentions elsewhere in the report that monetization is meant to "respect the player experience" and ensure sustainability without adversely interrupting or affecting gameplay.
"The adoption of monetization and engagement policies that respect the player experience and are sustainable in the long term. At Ubisoft, the golden rule when developing AAA games is to allow players to enjoy the game in full without having to spend more. Our monetization offer within premium games makes the player experience more fun by allowing them to personalize their avatars or progress more quickly, however this is always optional."
Ubisoft has confirmed that all of its games will have live services in some form, and it is doubling-down on mobile releases with a slew of free-to-play experiences.
- > NEXT STORY: The world's largest Xbox Series X is massive: 600% bigger than console
- < PREVIOUS STORY: Halo Master Chief Collection gets Doom-inspired demon armor skins