Ubisoft owns the Tom Clancy brand name, and that investment is continuing to pay off for the French publisher. The company revealed today that its various Tom Clancy game communities have a total of 60 million unique players.
The Tom Clancy name is the parent series for active Ubisoft shooters Rainbow Six: Siege, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and The Division. All three of those releases are part of Ubisoft’s live-service strategy that has enabled them to continue growing through new content. This business model has helped Ubisoft turn Siege, Wildlands, and The Division into huge financial successes over a long period of time instead of relying solely on early retail sales. Ubisoft chief executive officer Yves Guillemot highlighted Rainbow Six: Siege as the best example of how it is thinking about game development and ongoing support for the Tom Clancy brand, which it acquired the rights to in 2009 for $94 million.
Siege, a military shooter in which players take turns defending or attacking a fortified position using specialized hero characters, doubled its daily active player number between February 2016 and February 2017.
“This outstanding performance is a testament to the success of the game,” Guillemot said in a presentation to investors and analysts. “It also reflects the ability of our teams to continually refine the player experience, to offer new high-quality content, to take on board player feedback, and to engage with the player community through regular esports competitions, which are proving increasingly popular month after month. Our teams are now experts in three key areas of online gaming: Acquisition, Retention/engagement and monetization. The visibility offered by Siege is expected to last for several years.”
As of November, Siege has reached 25 million players. More recently, The Division and Wildlands have both seen increased engagement, according to Ubisoft. But all of these games have had ups and downs in terms of player excitement. Siege had a lackluster launch, and The Division fizzled out for many players after a handful of months. This led investors to wonder if Ubisoft could take some of the momentum and lessons from the current games and apply them to sequels in the future. In particular, one analyst asked about a potential sequel to Tom Clancy’s The Division.
“These games are always a place to try new things,” said Guillemot. “And we’re experimenting with new things in Division 1 — that’s helping us figure out what could come in the future.”
As for the present, Ubisoft is trying to maximize revenues with loot boxes and esports. The publisher confirmed that esports viewership for Siege doubled over 2017. And the interest in competitive gaming led to it reaching the No. 5 most-played Steam game and a top 10 most-viewed game on YouTube
“We think we can make Rainbow Six one of the biggest esports games in the industry,” said Guillemot. “And that will mean more revenue coming from there.”
But Guillemot is probably counting on even more cash coming from loot boxes. The publisher just introduced a loot-box-style mechanic in Siege. And while this business model has drawn a lot of criticism and even attracted the eyes of regulators in Belgium and Hawaii, Guillemot isn’t worried.
“There has been some discussion in a few countries about how loot boxes should be treated,” he said. “But when we get the chance to explain what we’re doing, the discussion is actually a lot calmer than it initially appears. We don’t think there is a regulatory issue that we should be facing.”
So expect Tom Clancy to continue attracting even more players and money in the future for Ubisoft.