Ubisoft likes to take their time with games, the ones that don’t have “Assassin’s Creed” in their names anyway. In a day and age when publishers are slammed by the media for releasing unfinished titles to meet release dates (see: Battlefield 4) and when unfinished games sometimes sell more than completed ones (see: DayZ), we can all applaud developers and supportive publishers for giving the games the time they need in development to release in a state worthy of the time (and money) of players.
For Ubisoft, that means games including Rayman Legends, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Watch Dogs and South Park: The Stick of Truth have all been delayed for the simple reason of having more time to perfect releases. That mindset also applies to Ubisoft’s push into the free-to-play market with Ghost Recon Online – a game that’s been playable for a very long time – is coming to Steam.
We played the Ghost Recon Online closed beta nearly two years ago on PC and in summer 2012 it released for PC, available only through Ubisoft’s Uplay service. With Steam announcing yesterday that they have 75 million registered users, and seeing daily activity on the service reaching new heights, Ubisoft is finally bringing Ghost Recon Online to the biggest and best service for PC gamers.
Corey Facteau, Producer at Ubisoft:
“Bringing Ghost Recon Online to Steam has been our goal since the game’s inception. We took the time necessary to reach a quality level that can go head to head with the best online games available today before releasing on Steam. As the top shooter for gamers who enjoy team gameplay, we have also seen our audience expand to include MOBA fans, who comprise fifty percent of our user base. To ensure a seamless transition to the new platform, we will use Early Access to fine tune the Ghost Recon Online experience before releasing it to the rest of the world.”
Ghost Recon Online is now available via Steam Early Access in Canada, meaning that even though the game is out, there’s still a lot of work to be done based on player feedback. The game works, is polished and isn’t missing features so the “Early Access” tag might be a tad misleading. This is far from the unfinished, partially broken state of DayZ which has sold over a million copies at $30 a pop.
With GR Online, Ubisoft is aiming to please the MOBA gaming demographic, where 50% of their 4 million current registered users hail from. The game is a 16-player 3rd person shooter so it’ll be interesting to see how the title develops with its push into Steam.
With Ghost Recon: Future Soldier marking the last core release of the series in retail (after a very long development process) – launching alongside the Ghost Recon Network service – we’re curious to see if Ubisoft is gearing up to announce or unveil another followup this year (read: at E3). We’d love to see a next-gen Tom Clancy Ghost Recon title, especially since Rainbow Six is restarting from scratch.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.