Ubisoft’s Big Marketing Problem

Their business projections are doomed to fail

Alex Rowe


A woman in a green outfit with a sword leaps over some perilous spikes.
AI Artwork generated by DALL-E 3 from a prompt written by the author.

In their regular earnings report call this week, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot said some really wild things about Skull and Bones and Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR. It’s not the first time he’s had outlandish sales expectations for middling games — indeed, some might argue that this is part of his job description as a tech CEO. Still, there’s a fine line between projecting optimism into the marketplace and sounding like you have no idea how good or bad your own titles are.

I’ve played both of these games. They’re aggressively average in the most middling possible way, no matter what their marketing tells you. Skull and Bones has a free Beta/Demo available right now that you can try through the end of this weekend, so you don’t have to take my word on that one. It’s nowhere close to living up to its haphazard decade of development, and indeed its origins as a smaller scale DLC follow-up to 2013’s Assassin’s Creed Black Flag are obvious in the final product. It has some shiny modern graphical paint on top thanks to ray tracing, but is otherwise one of the most bland pirate games I’ve ever experienced.

If you ever found yourself wanting an entire live service online game made up solely of the ship combat from that ten year old AC game you loved, well then Skull and Bones