Ubisoft Defend Questionable Price Tag Of First Ever “Quadruple-A” Video Game

©Ubisoft Singapore

Set for release on February 16th, Skull & Bones, developed by Ubisoft (known for the Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series), has defended their UK price tag of £69.99. Described by Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, as a “quadruple-A game,” beta-players, who have had access to the game between February 8th to 11th, questioned the co-op pirate RPG on its steep price.

£69.99 is nothing new since the current generation of consoles released in 2020, except that live service games like the upcoming Skull & Bones have commonly been an exemption to this rule. Often shipped with unfinished stories that are designed to be concluded in the years following release, the live service model is common and largely accepted.

However, one assumption attached to this model is usually a lower price, with the use of paid ‘season passes’ and regular DLCs as a way to entice players to return to the game for years to come and spend more money. Developers often rely on the hope that whatever shortfall the game makes on sell-value is usually recovered in the expectation of gamers purchasing more content over the years.

However, beta-players are not sold on Ubisoft’s justification of the price and their insistence on referring to it as a “quadruple-A” video game – the first of its kind. After lukewarm reception during the beta stage, many can’t help but question the high price and Ubisoft’s commitment to establishing Skull & Bones as a “… brand [that] has the potential to establish itself as a new Live experience over the long term.”

Skull & Bones has endured a troubled 11-year development, initially conceived as an expansion to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013). After reports from Kotaku on changes in the game’s direction, which led to multiple delays, Skull & Bones has the added pressure of recovering 2023-2024’s fall of 4.1% in revenue reported in the Q3 sales report. This added pressure, in particular, represents another likely reason for the higher-than-expected price.

To assuage concerns, Skull & Bones’ future has already seen a year-long season pass announced, with a “Free Pass” available to all players along with a purchasable “Premium Pass”. Nevertheless, while uncertainty clouds the outcome of its Free Pass justifying the price of the upcoming live-service game is yet to be clear, Ubisoft’s aspirations for the future of Skull & Bones is one they’re hinging their hopes on.

Words by Sam Pegg

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