Ubisoft’s CEO says pre-orders for Watch Dogs 2 have not lived up to the company’s expectations, implying that more gamers may be taking a wait and see approach with their games.
Watch Dogs was one of 2014’s most hyped releases, with plenty of Ubisoft fans hungry for a new IP. It drew initial comparisons to Grand Theft Auto but with some innovative features courtesy of the game’s hacking-based gameplay and online connectivity. In the end, most reviewers said the game was solid, but not without flaws, and at least some fans were disappointed that the game didn’t fully live up to the hype.
Ubisoft went back to the drawing board and announced Watch Dogs 2, featuring a new protagonist in a new city. The game releases later this month for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC and early impressions have been positive. But it would appear that at least some gamers are taking a wait and see approach this time around.
That was the message that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gave to investors on Wednesday during an earnings report. Guillemot said that pre-orders for Watch Dogs 2 have been below the company’s expectations, but he was quick to add that many fans could still jump on board once the game is available for sale. IGN reports that Guillemot pointed to Far Cry 3 as an example of a title that had lower than expected pre-orders but still managed to perform well upon release.
“People wanted to see if the game was up to standards,” Guillemot said, implying that this could also be the case with Watch Dogs 2.
What Guillemot didn’t say is that some fans may be less excited about pre-ordering Watch Dogs 2 than they were for the original game because of the way Ubisoft continues to market its franchises. Ubisoft is offering six different editions of Watch Dogs 2, ranging from a standard edition at $59.99 all the way up to two different collector’s editions at $165.99 each. This is similar to the multiple editions that were offered for the first game in 2014, some of which came with exclusive content for those who pre-ordered.
To be fair, Ubisoft isn’t the only publisher guilty of pushing pre-orders and multiple editions, but it’s clear that at least some gamers are starting to feel fatigued by the constant barrage of “Pre-order now!” marketing that seems to come with every big game. If this news implies that gamers are starting to hold onto their money until the developer proves the game is actually worth buying, Ubisoft and others may need to change their approach in the future.
Watch Dogs 2 releases November 14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on November 29 for PC.