The “free-to-play,” or microtransaction model has proven to be fairly lucrative for some publishers and developers. Ubisoft is looking to capitalize on this market with a new entry in their popular Ghost Recon franchise, Ghost Recon Online. It might not be the direct sequel or iteration that many fans were anticipating (Ghost Recon: Future Soldier *cough cough*), but the publisher is hoping that this new third-person cover-based tactical shooter will draw in many new fans towards the series.
The game will be free-to-play but will contain microtransactions which, according to Ubisoft, will allow players to “purchase premium items and fully personalize their experience.” In today’s press release, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said, “The online market is an exciting new frontier for video games and for gamers.” The company has dabbled in the free gaming market for a little while with a couple of Facebook games like Tick Tock, Horse Gaga, and Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy. This latest attempt seems to be their most ambitious venture yet into the rapidly expanding “freemium” marketplace.
Ghost Recon Online will be available as a free PC download sometime in the second half of 2011. If you can’t wait that long to satisfy your Tom Clancy itch, a closed beta will be launching this summer. You can sign up for the beta by heading over to the official Ghost Recon Online website, where you can also find an announcement trailer and some screenshots of the upcoming shooter. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be hoping that the next true GR game will show its face at E3 in just a few weeks.