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Chris Early

Ubisoft is announcing today that it will welcome games from third-party publishers on its online portal Uplay. By adding games from its competitors, Ubisoft shows that it cares more about keeping people engaged than feeding them only Ubisoft-made titles.

A dozen publishers will release 25 titles on Ubisoft’s Uplay portal. They include Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Telltale Games, 1C Company, BitComposer Games, Bohemia Interactive, Encore Software, Focus Home Interactive, Freebird Games, Iceberg Interactive, Nordic Games, Recoil Games, Robot Entertainment, Torn Banner Studios, and Paradox Interactive.

Ubisoft is offering a free copy of one of six games with the purchase of any PC digital game priced at $19.90 or higher through March 4. Uplay has more than 50 million members across the PC, console, and mobile platforms, with services such as friends lists, messaging, cloud saves, achievements, and social challenges.

The paid titles include Arma 2, Pacific Carriers, Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition, Crysis 3, The Walking Dead, To the Moon, Orcs Must Die 2, King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North, Endless Space, Chivalry, Crusader Kings II, Rochard, and The Book of Unwritten Tales. The broader Uplay store will open its sales with a buy-one-get-one-free offer.

“We think this is a big step forward for our Uplay portal,” said Chris Early (pictured), the vice president of digital publishing at Ubisoft, the big French game publisher.

Early acknowledges that the third-party games will compete for attention with Ubisoft’s own releases, such as Assassin’s Creed III. Over time, Ubisoft will add more titles.

“But we also know that no single publisher makes enough games to keep any one player happy,” Early said. “We might have a good action-adventure game, but a player isn’t going to play that all year long. We are giving the player options. It’s a matter of providing choice.”

At the same time, sales on Ubisoft’s portal will give the company revenue from distribution fees. The launch of third-party games is the result of technical work that has occupied Ubisoft for the past 18 months, Early said. The company uses white-label technology from Digital River as well as its own technology.

Likewise, Ubisoft is making its own games available on a variety of portals, including EA’s Origin digital distribution service, which is selling Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed III.

“It’s exciting for us to be able to offer this,” Early said.


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