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Ubisoft's press conference stood out from all the others. Not necessarily because of the way it was presented, but rather because of its focus on announcing brand new games, whilst also hyping up their already existing titles.
But these new games are not what you expect them to be. You see, all the games presented today were online, free-to-play games, a genre Ubisoft thinks is the future of gaming. According to Ubisoft, free-to-play gaming will become a $24.7 billion dollar market in 2014. Whether or not this will actually happen remains to be seen, but it sure seems to be a big risk Ubisoft is taking.
Silent Hunter and Anno
The first new online, free-to-play game Ubisoft announced was Silent Hunter Online, currently being developed by Blue Byte, who also developed the hugely succesful Settlers Online. The game places the player in the shoes of the commander of a "Wolf Pack", a group of German submarines focusing on the destruction of enemy ship convoys.
A third game series Ubisoft is re-using for its online market is Anno. The game, dubbed Anno Online, will feature what seems to be a combination of CityVille's and FarmVille's gameplay whilst staying close to its Anno roots, meaning it will also feature exploring, happiness and taxes.
After Anno Online was announced, Ubisoft suddenly changed the topic to eSports, specifically their "Maniaworld" titles. These games, such as Shootmania, are designed to be played competitively, which includes tournaments such as those seen in League of Legends and Counter-Strike. To show off how "competitive" Shootmania can be, Ubisoft used a large portion of the conference to show a match between Epsilon and n!faculty.
Might and Magic and Ghost Recon
Three new Might and Magic were also announced at Ubisoft's press conference, each one of them free-to-play.
The first game that was announced was Duel of Champions, available on the PC and iPad. With full cross-platform support, PC and iPad players are able to challenge each other to see who truly is the best Might and Magic card player.
We also saw a glimpse of Might and Magic: Raider, which seems to be more action-focused than Duel of Champions.
The final game was the browser-based free-to-play Might and Magic: Heroes Online, which seems to be a combination of RPG elements and strategy.
The last Ubisoft series to get an online, free-to-play spinoff is Ghost Recon. Surprisingly dubbed Ghost Recon Online, it allows players to choose their own loadout of unique weapons and gadgets, which they can unlock by playing the game. The player is also able to form clans, which is "one of the main features requested by fans", according to Ubisoft.
Overall, I found the Ubisoft press conference a bit of a disappointment. With the sole focus on free-to-play online games, they completely neglected their triple A hit games such as Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3, games that many would've found much more interesting to see. What did you think of the conference? Check out the video below for the full conference, and leave your opinion in the comments!