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access_time October 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM in Features by Tyler Colp

#PS4NoParity: Where Ubisoft failed and EA didn’t


If there’s one thing we can take away from Ubisoft’s complete misfire when it announced the console resolution for Assassin’s Creed Unity, it’s that it failed to perform one of the most important roles for a video game publisher these days.

That failure was made even more clear when EA took a jab at Ubisoft and announced Dragon Age: Inquisition’s resolutions for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and was met with internet applause.

The primary failure wasn’t the resolution, although some may think it was. No, the failure was the messaging.

Right now, the video game industry is about selling the product as early as possible. It’s been this way for a while. The game is announced, trailers go out, previews go up, and pre-orders are waiting to take your money. In most cases, you’re able to buy a game before it’s more than a trailer or even a functioning game yet. This is good for publishers, but risky for the people who play games.

In that pursuit of racking up pre-orders before a game is out, The Evil Within comes out next week and the website still begs for your money, publishers have their pr teams and marketing figure out the best way to sell the game and generate excitement. Some people will be persuaded by one awesome trailer, while others might wait until the PC requirements come out to see if it’s a good version or not. All these things are carefully doled out as one, the developer can, and two, what makes the most sense for convincing people to buy the game.

Resolution is a popular new addition to that cycle. Ever since the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s become clear that people care what resolution and frame rate the game will run at. It’s so important that it was the greatest subject of debate before the consoles were even out and that discussion hasn’t went away since their release.

So when Ubisoft said that it wanted to avoid the biggest reoccurring conversation in games right now, people responded negatively, very negatively. Ubisoft was essentially saying “don’t worry about it, everything’s fine.” But the general knowledge about resolution has risen to the point where it’s expected to be mentioned by a publisher in more than a few quotes. And, to Ubisoft’s credit, it did this in a later blog post, but the damage was already done.

That left room for EA to swoop in and look like the good guy announcing Dragon Age’s resolution paid attention to the strength of the consoles. It couldn’t have done that without Ubisoft’s mistake, and it’s important to keep that in mind before you praise it.

It’s been made abundantly clear in the last few months that the people who play games, at least the vocal part of them, deeply care about what happens to the medium, and will show that in incredibly good and bad ways. when it comes to resolution, treating that kind of audience the wrong way, telling them not to worry about your game, will have consequences, and Ubisoft might be one of the first to demonstrate it.


  • Brian October 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Resolution isn’t that big of a deal but Ubisoft holding back on the PS4 version of Unity is just wrong. Make the best version for each system that you can. Don’t dumb down the better console’s version just to make the other company happy. Microsoft is obviously paying Ubisoft to do this. Make it look like the PS4 isn’t better than the Xbox One.

  • medman October 11, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I have no clue what the author is talking about. Ubisoft’s biggest mistake was not doing their best job possible and optimizing for each and every platform they are releasing their game for. That is a problem EA doesn’t have, as their previous games have run better, and look better, on ps4. Activision hasn’t had that problem either. Neither have many other devs whose games run at 1080p with more stable framerates on ps4. Ubisoft’s problem has nothing to do with pr and everything to do with b.s. They did the same thing with Watch_Dogs pc version, false limitations fully in place for that version. F Ubisoft. They created this mess and if they don’t want to suffer with sales of future games going forward, they better get their shite together and fast.

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