Ubisoft Executive Faces Backlash for Telling Gamers to Stop Owning Their Games

A recent interview with a Ubisoft executive has sparked controversy among gamers and developers alike. Philippe Tremblay, the director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, suggested that gamers need to get “comfortable” with not owning their games and embrace the subscription model that the company offers.

Tremblay was speaking to GamesIndustry.biz about the rebranded Ubisoft+ service, which allows subscribers to access over 100 Ubisoft games on PC, Stadia, and Luna for a monthly fee. He compared the shift to subscription gaming to the transition from physical to digital media in other industries, such as music and movies.

Ubisoft Executive Faces Backlash for Telling Gamers to Stop Owning Their Games
Ubisoft Executive Faces Backlash for Telling Gamers to Stop Owning Their Games

“One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That’s the consumer shift that needs to happen. They got comfortable not owning their CD collection or DVD collection. That’s a transformation that’s been a bit slower to happen [in games]. As gamers grow comfortable in that aspect… you don’t lose your progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file is still there. That’s not been deleted. You don’t lose what you’ve built in the game or your engagement with the game. So it’s about feeling comfortable with not owning your game,” Tremblay said.

He also added that streaming is a key factor that works well with subscription gaming, as it eliminates the need for downloads and updates.

How did gamers and developers react?

Tremblay’s comments were met with a lot of criticism and backlash from gamers and developers on social media. Many accused him of being anti-consumer and trying to push a predatory business model that would deprive gamers of their ownership and control over their games. Some also pointed out the issues of game preservation and availability, as subscription services can remove games at any time or shut down entirely.

Some of the responses are as follows:

Even some notable creatives in the gaming industry expressed their disagreement with Tremblay’s views. Swen Vincke, the founder, CEO and creative director of Larian Studios, the developer of Baldur’s Gate 3, tweeted:

“Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king. But it’s going to be a lot harder to get good content if subscription becomes the dominant model and a select group gets to decide what goes to market and what not. Direct from developer to players is the way.” 4

Samuel Deats, the director of Netflix’s Castlevania anime series, also chimed in:

“I need the gaming industry to understand that the whole monthly subscription streaming deal is not a business model to chase; it’s a freaking mess over here.” 5

What is Ubisoft’s stance on subscription gaming?

Ubisoft is not the only company that offers a subscription service for its games. Other major publishers, such as EA, Microsoft, and Sony, also have their own versions of game subscriptions, such as EA Play, Xbox Game Pass, and PlayStation Now. These services aim to provide gamers with more choice, convenience, and value for their money, as well as to generate recurring revenue for the companies.

However, Ubisoft has been one of the most vocal and aggressive proponents of subscription gaming, as it believes that it is the future of the industry. The company has been expanding its Ubisoft+ service to more platforms and regions, as well as adding new features, such as cross-progression and cross-play. It has also partnered with other subscription services, such as Amazon Luna and Google Stadia, to integrate its games into their libraries.

Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, has stated that subscription gaming is a way to reach more players and offer them more diverse and immersive experiences. He has also claimed that subscription gaming is more profitable and sustainable than the traditional model of selling games at a fixed price.

“We think that ultimately, this will be more beneficial for the whole industry and will allow us to invest more and take more risks,” Guillemot said in 2020.

What are the pros and cons of subscription gaming?

Subscription gaming is a complex and controversial topic that has both advantages and disadvantages for gamers and developers. Some of the pros and cons are as follows:


  • Subscription gaming can offer gamers more variety and access to a large library of games for a low monthly fee, instead of paying full price for each game individually.
  • Subscription gaming can also save gamers time and space, as they do not need to download, install, or update their games, and can stream them from any device with an internet connection.
  • Subscription gaming can benefit developers by providing them with a steady and predictable income stream, as well as more data and feedback on their games. It can also reduce the pressure and risk of launching a new game, as they do not need to rely on initial sales or reviews.


  • Subscription gaming can deprive gamers of their ownership and control over their games, as they are dependent on the service provider to keep their games available and playable. They can also lose their progress and achievements if they cancel their subscription or switch to another service.
  • Subscription gaming can also affect the quality and diversity of games, as developers may be incentivized to create games that appeal to the mass market and retain subscribers, rather than innovate and experiment. It can also create a situation where gamers are overwhelmed by the quantity of games and do not appreciate or finish them.
  • Subscription gaming can also pose challenges for the preservation and accessibility of games, as they may be removed or modified by the service provider without notice or consent. It can also create a digital divide between gamers who can afford and access subscription services and those who cannot.

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