While there was plenty to digest following yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, in our mind the biggest piece of news from it came from the very un-indie people at Ubisoft.
Hot on the heels of the approach taken by Resident Evil 7, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey will come to the Switch as a cloud based service this October 8th. This means players will need to stream the game and wont be able to download it onto their devices. This of course also means the game is only available while connected to the internet, be this over a fixed or mobile driven connection and for now at least, the game is only available for people living in Japan.
For many, us included, this announcement comes as somewhat of a curve ball.
While we’ve written before about the eventual move towards a cloud based streaming approach for game distribution, this announcement from Ubisoft feels really, really early within such an emergent ecosystem.
Let’s not mess around here, for Ubisoft to take this approach on one of the key and largest franchises out there in the gaming marketplace is very much a line in the sand moment. One thing is certain, Ubisoft are not able to control the quality of the delivery mechanics the game needs to allow customers to play it, and this is potentially a huge issue for everyone.
Ubisoft needs to rely on the fixed line and mobile operators having a decent enough network for successful streaming. Customers looking to play this one in areas of poor connectivity are going to struggle to do so. This connectivity issue remains the single biggest flaw in the whole cloud based streaming offering. While Ubisoft are evidently keen to push ahead with this type of model, the overall success of the ultimate delivery mechanism is very much out of their hands.
As hopefully is apparent, we’re very much looking forward to seeing how the Assassins Creed community takes to this news. For us right now, it’s a deal breaker as you cannot guarantee you are able to play it whenever you want. Furthermore, let’s see how other publishers both indie and AAA in nature take this.
We’re at the start of something new, and very exciting for the industry.