Assassin's Creed Publisher Could Copy EA's Downloadable Content Model

Answering a question about downloadable content during their fiscal year 2009-10 fiscal earnings call, Ubisoft indicated it would likely they would adopt EA's Project 10 Dollar DLC plan sometime in the future.

Ubisoft's earnings were down for the year but strong for the final quarter of fiscal year 2009-10, riding on strong sales of Wii-exclusive Just Dance and Assassin's Creed II, the latter of which enjoyed further revenue due to two batches of downloadable content launched months after the game was released.

Future Ubisoft titles, however, could be getting their downloadable content as soon as day one, following the Project 10 Dollar model EA has utilized in games like Dragon Age: Origins and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The model entitles new users to free downloadable content via a code included inside the box, while gamers who pick up the game used can purchase a pass to access the extra content for a price, normally around $15.

Answering a question posed during the call about continuing revenue from downloadable content, Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez mentioned EA's plan, suggesting that Ubisoft could adopt something similar for future releases. "Most of the games we are releasing next year will have from the start downloadable content available, and we are looking very carefully at what is happening with EA regarding what we are calling the $10 solution, and will probably be following that line sometime in the future."

After Martinez's comment, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot weighed in, saying that the system was already in place. "We have been using keys starting last year on our products. Those keys were allowing some customers to have content if they were buying the product in specific stores, so we have the system in place to actually generate more revenue on the second-hand market.

"We are building the content to make sure it can be beneficial for both groups to actually pay enough on one side and on the other side when you don't buy the game as a full game that you're interested to buy the new offering and are interested to pay to get that."

Is this more trouble for the used game market on the horizon, or will players still pay for the game without the additional content?