For Honor: You Beta Tested Ubisoft’s Business Strategy

Imagine you’re trying to finish a grueling contract order only to find yourself in the rare position of a tie-breaker round (6th round) of an Elimination Match.  It’s 3 vs 2, you’ve just initiated a revenge power-up, and you’re slashing away as fast as you can only to be abruptly disconnected from the match.  That’s right, you’ve invested all this time just to lose everything you worked for.  If you’ve played the game, there’s a chance you’ve experienced some of Ubisoft’s infuriating network issues and have been dropped from countless matches.  These game modes consisting of very high activity on a peer to peer system relies on everyone’s connectivity versus a dedicated server network like many other traditional multiplayer games.  The question is, why did Ubisoft half-ass this?

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If Battlefield 1 can handle 64 players at any given time on an expansive map (comparing to For Honor’s average size) then couldn’t we get 8 players on a screen smoothly?  Granted, Battlefield 1 isn’t always perfect either, but the point is For Honor’s hostless peer 2 peer system hasn’t been up to snuff, and I’m not sure it could be for any game.

Ubisoft and developers have generically commented and players witnessed mediocre solutions.  Here is the hunch, Ubisoft were biding their time.  Being responsive and understanding of the situation is the obvious strategic action, but the overall goal is to get away with it.  Yes, of course saying that dedicated servers wouldn’t cure the issue may be pragmatic, but Ubisoft isn’t likely to slip funding to support that operation anyway.

At this point, the new software patch seems to be a small suture to an axe-wound, but will likely be the extent of Ubisoft’s solution to the problem.  I’d like to say drop outs do not occur as frequently with the new patch, but the scenario described in the beginning literally happened.  Focusing on For Honor’s multiplayer infrastructure with this approach seems more cost effective for them in the long run than to have dedicated servers.  And why would they?  As time passes from their initial launch, so does the pressure and concern let off from Ubisoft.  Using time as a healer, they’re getting away with this strategy and getting away from the consistent cost of running dedicated servers.

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Photo Source: i.imgr.com/GnYQahn.png

We love the game otherwise, and when we weren’t actually getting kicked off every Dominion match, we were straight up addicted.  It’s when we don’t see a major network connection problem solved after a month after release that concerns us.  We, as the consumer, can prevent falling victim to this in the future by making smarter purchases if game publishers decide to use an unstable multiplayer infrastructure again.
Seeing over hyped games flop and not live up to its promises, busted multiplayer games, and poor animation in RPGs becoming more of a thing is interesting.  At a time, where the gaming industry has been more active than it ever has been, it’s follies like these that level the playing field and take away from what truly could be a golden age for video games.

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What are your thoughts? Any insight to what happened with For Honor? How do you like the game overall? Notice any more controversial occurrences in the gaming world?  Be sure to comment on Twitter @custodiexitus and we would love to hear from you.

-Matt

 

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