Ubisoft has announced a kind of strange delay. A total of three different games, two of which were part of established franchises, have been pushed back. The main cause has been pretty long in developing, with Ubisoft having trouble dealing with backlash for multiple games and the various monetization techniques the publisher uses. The French company has now announced delays for three upcoming titles — Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Watch Dogs: Legion — on the back of two main issues.
The big reason behind this whole announcement is based on the very poor critical and sales reception of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, largely due to mediocre gameplay, but another issues really screwed the game on sales. Gamers have really begun to outright hate aggressive monetization in video games, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint had those in droves.
But aside from annoying monetization, the gameplay experience just was not that great. Reviews and everyday gamers lambasted the shooter for a variety of problems on this front, concerning both bugs and a lack of substantive challenge. Ubisoft pledges to fix these issues, as the company will seek to add more development time between iterations of “live” games to help fix bugs. The publisher also admits that their newest game needed more “differentiation factors,” which likely means that it was just too mundane and similar to other games in the FPS genre. This last bit has a pretty valid criticism attached, as Breakpoint felt like it grabbed way too much from other franchises like Far Cry in its gameplay loop.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint Really Screwed Things Up
The expectations for the future of the company have also been revised. The company has reworked its financial outlook ahead of the next few quarters off of the back of this whole thing. Ubisoft is expecting net bookings to drop from €2,185 million ($2,426 million) to €1,450 million ($1,610 million) for the 2019-20 fiscal year. A much more serious drop was observed in their outlook for non-IFRS earnings, which is essentially the basis for non-stock earnings, with a major drop from €480 million ($533 million) to €20-50 million ($22-56 million). In contrast though, the company is looking for a better outlook in terms of base income. Ubisoft estimates much higher net bookings and non-IRFS operating incomes for the 2020-21 fiscal year, at €2,600 million ($2,887 million) and €600 million ($666 million) respectively.
Gods & Monsters, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Rainbow Six Quarantine will now be released in fiscal year 2020-21. This is probably a pretty major mistake for the company, as this kind of decision to delay major releases all at once isn’t taken lightly. The revised financial outlook will probably result in a loss of current and future investors in the worst-case-scenario, leading to further financial contraction. The heated backlash against Ghost Recon Breakpoint really shows that gamers have become less accepting of the worst instances of AAA greed.