Login | Signup

Ubisoft Montreal: "The Audience Is Ready" For Always-Online Hardware

Jonathan Lester
Always-online, Ubisoft

Ubisoft Montreal: "The Audience Is Ready" For Always-Online Hardware

But Services Must Provide Clear Benefits

Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat believes that the gaming audience might be willing to accept always-online consoles, so long as they provide major benefits to outweigh the disadvantages.

"That's a question you should put to Microsoft and Sony," Mallat told The Guardian when asked whether gamers would be prepared to accept always-online console hardware. "I would say that a lot of people are already always online through other devices - I would suspect that the audience is ready."

However, Mallat also believes that the infrastructure has to be unimpeachably solid for constantly-connected consoles to be an attractive proposition. "As soon as players don't have to worry, then they will only take into account the benefits that those services bring," he continued."I agree, these services need to provide clear benefits. It's important to be able to provide direct connections between us and our consumers, whether that's extra content or online services, a lot of successful games have that."

Naturally, Mallat's comments follow inflammatory rumours suggesting that the next-gen Xbox may require players to maintain a constant internet connection. We're not sure whether Microsoft would be willing to follow such an unpopular route even if they originally intended to, considering the public backlash, but we'll have to wait and see.

Add a comment4 comments
Kopite211  Apr. 16, 2013 at 16:10

An impeccably well put point, watch and learn Orth!

theslickmeister  Apr. 17, 2013 at 08:21

The main thing that concerns me is; whether it's going to be a bandwidth hog, or whether it's going to trickle it's updates/downloads/checks in the background. Where I live doesn't have a great connection (<5Mbps) but what bandwidth I have I need for work - I don't want to have to physically unplug the console from the wall (*also rumours that the console doesn't really turn off fully when you power it down*) to stop it eating up the bandwidth.

It needs good, modifiable software settings to determine when it can download along with how much bandwidth it's allowed to use.

Late  Apr. 17, 2013 at 09:52

I don't like the sound of "always on" as a requirement, at all. Any number of devices in my home (including my 360) are, to all intents and purposes, always on - but by choice, and if my connection goes down (or it's being hammered by file downloads and skype etc.) it doesn't really matter.
And there's untold millions of people who don't have anywhere near as fast a connection as the rather unimpressive one I have. A device that requires always on is excluding a massive market from the get go.
(That said, I'm not saying everyone who doesn't have decent broadband instantly becomes a lost sale to Microsoft or whoever were to bring out an always on device. I doubt the poverty stricken in third world countries, for instance, are shaking their heads and saying "no, I'm not getting an xbox 720, because my internet connection is weak". I'm now struggling with the temptation to put a hashtag "firstworldproblems" in here, now. And I've never used twitter.)

Another aspect I don't like is if "always on" becomes commonplace I think it's inevitable that your gaming experience will start relying more and more on servers, and less on the hardware and software in your house. And that doesn't sound like an enticing proposition, at present.
Currently if I buy a game it's likely to play pretty much the same now as it would tomorrow or next week, or next year. I'm not subjected to publishers saying "sorry, but your city size is restricted, and some features are disabled because our servers are struggling somewhat", or "this game isn't as popular as [it once was / we'd like it to be] so we're shutting down the servers - you won't be able to play any more". Naming no names.

As your guy Mallat says, there needs to be a clear benefit to the punters if they're to accept always on. And currently there isn't one.

Last edited by Late, Apr. 17, 2013 at 09:54
Quietus  Apr. 17, 2013 at 11:15

I'd add my support to the server argument. Always-on functionality means that in X years' time, when whatever company decides to pull the plug on a game, we could potentially be left with a game that we can never play again.

Unless they're going to get into the habit of releasing offline patches. In which case, why enforce it in the first place?

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.