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Assassin’s Creed : Last Gen vs This Gen?

by William Schwartz

assassins-creed-unity

Okay, so we have all been eagerly awaiting Assassin’s Creed Unity, coming October 28 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.  Just a couple of days ago, Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Rogue, an astoundingly fun looking title that is due for release November 11th, on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Wait… what!?  They tease us with a second, completely different, new game, due for release around the same time as AC Unity, but offer it only on last gen consoles? No PC port? Nor a sniff for the Wii U?

Ubisoft’s plan for Assassin’s Creed is sure to have some fans upset

I think Ubisoft are doing quite a large feasibility test on Last Gen vs This Gen. At least in the two major markets. I’m not sure what that says about the Wii U, being left out n’ all.

By this, I mean that they are testing both markets for sales and matching them up with the costs of creating the game in the first place, then seeing if it’s worth continuing to support last gen or whether they should shift their focus solely onto current gen machines. Hopefully it doesn’t give them data stating they should focus primarily on last gen, as Ubisoft have been a large contributor of games on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 and I, for one, would like to see that continue! Could it possibly effect console sales to lean in particular directions – do Ubisoft and the Assassin’s Creed franchise hold that much power?

As per this IGN post, as of the 21st of April 2014, the Assassin’s Creed franchise sales exceed 73 million.

That’s a lot of games to sell. Statistics surrounding Nintendo and the fact the Mario, Pokemon and Zelda franchises have failed to right their ship would suggest that one franchise a console does not make. Here’s a more statistically detailed article about Nintendo’s losses and the failure of Mario from IOLscitech.

So I would say no, this franchise alone does not hold enough power to succesfully effect either generation of consoles in the long run.

Is it just a case of greed then?

The sales figures (from Wikipedia) for the Playstation 3 – 80 million units worldwide as of November 2, 2013 and the Xbox 360 – 78.2 million units worldwide as of September 30, 2013 far outweigh the numbers for the Playstation 4 – 7 million units worldwide as of April 4, 2014 and the Xbox One – 5 million units worldwide as of April 17, 2014, thus giving them approximately 11 and 15 times the prospective sales, respectively.

Gearbox CEO, Randy Pitchford said during the reveal event for Borderlands : Pre-Sequel “There are fewer Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s than we sold copies of Borderlands 2, I don’t think I would have to stretch far to suggest that there’s probably a lot of demand for more Borderlands. If you imagine where that demand lives, it lives on the Xbox 360, PS3 and on PC. We don’t know to what extent it’ll live on the next-gen. I imagine over time – you know, maybe by the time we get to third or fourth Christmas – there will be enough of an install base. I mean currently, between PS3 and Xbox 360, there’s over 150 million installed units worldwide.”

If this attitude becomes a trend of developers, things are not looking great for the new generation of consoles. It’s hard enough getting people to fork out $400-$500 on a piece of hardware as it is, but if the games they want to play are not coming out on those consoles, why would anyone bother?

And what does this say to the millions of fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, who want to play every Assassin’s Creed game? I’d imagine something like this :

Thanks for supporting us all these years, helping us ship 73 million units and enjoying our games, but if you don’t own a console from both generations, you don’t get to experience both of our new games. Too bad, go suck a lemon.”

I mean, AC Rogue isn’t even listed for release on PC! Exclusive only to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

As a fan of the franchise and Ubisoft in general, this angers me. I am one of the lucky ones in the way that I still have my Xbox 360. If you upgraded and left the last generation behind, how does this make you feel? Left out? Angry? Antipathic?

And will Ubisoft stick to their guns, or will they cave under fan pressure and join other large publishers houses (like Microsoft, Rockstar) in porting supposedly exclusive games to other platforms (Ryse, GTA V)?

Are Ubisoft trolling us, or is it good business logic?

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