If there’s one seemingly rock-solid rule in video games, it’s that hardware and software suggested retail prices don’t increase after launch day (aside from a few rare used games, of course). Enter Ubisoft, who wants to be the exception that proves the rule by introducing a $20 price increase for most versions of Rainbow Six Siege about two years after the game’s initial launch.
However, the price adjustment is not as simple as a general price increase for the same content. First, PC players can still access a $15 Starter Edition, which includes the full game but requires longer gameplay to unlock playable “Operators”.
Players looking to cut down on that grind had to opt for the $40 Standard Edition, which was available on PC and console. Ubisoft says that option is going away and will be replaced by a $60 Advanced Edition that includes 10 new Outbreak Packs: random loot boxes containing one of 50 cosmetic items. Existing players will only receive four Outbreak Packs when they log in during a four-week in-game event, and all players can buy more with real money (players cannot get duplicate items this way, so buying 50 packs guarantees the full set).
The price for the existing $70 Gold Edition will rise to $90, and the Complete Edition price will rise from $110 to $130, Ubisoft said. Those editions now include 10 Outbreak packs and access to “Year 3 pass” DLC, which costs $30 for players who previously purchased those editions at lower prices. All editions of the game now come with 600 R6 credits, which can be used for in-game items.
The game’s subreddit is already (predictably) full of furious commentators reacting to the move. “Since the starter edition is really worthless, new players will have to pay $60 for a two-year-old game,” wrote user Azagorath. “I have friends who are considering buying this, but this only assured them that they would NOT buy it because they don’t want to pay $60 for an old game nor grind 12.5K per base On,” added user iiii_Hex up.
Go in the opposite direction
With games these days evolving significantly after their initial release, it’s not uncommon for publishers to release “Game of the Year” editions or other such “complete” packs that round out all the post-launch DLC in a slightly more expensive pack. What makes Ubisoft’s treatment? Rainbow Six: Siege otherwise, the cheaper, DLC-free editions will be removed. In practice, new players are essentially forced to pay $20 more than previous players for a handful of cosmetic items.
The price hike would further Ubisoft’s continued confidence in Rainbow Six: Siegewhich last month reached 25 million registered players and attracted more than two million daily players last summer. The company seems to be betting that new players are willing to pay a slightly higher price to join a competitive tactical shooter with such an established player base.
But other successful shooters usually go the other way with their pricing years after launch. Blizzard has used occasional sales to lower the entry point for the wildly popular overwatch, giving more players the opportunity to purchase the loot boxes. Overkill offered a permanent price reduction on the Payday 2 and DLC just over a year after launch. Valve stops charging for Team Fortress 2 all together in 2011, leading to a 12-fold increase in revenue thanks to increased purchases of in-game hats. On the other hand, free-to-play MMO rupture announced last week that it will be bringing back paid subscriptions in the near future.
By charging more for new players to come in, Ubisoft can grab short-term tokens but miss out on the long-term dollars that come from a larger and more engaged player base. On the other hand, Ubisoft may recognize that the proven and continued high demand for its game means it can raise more money with a higher entry fee.