According to Ubisoft’s latest financials report, the PC is their second highest earning platform.
In fact, PC sales contributes to 23% of all revenue earned by Ubisoft, second only to the PlayStation 4’s 27% — some of the PC’s success undoubtedly being down to exclusive franchises like Anno, The Settlers, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot and Might & Magic.
So why then, might we ask, do Ubisoft’s PC ports so regularly fail to impress. More than that, they’re often the worst version of the lot, sporting any number of technical issues.
Take Assassin’s Creed Unity, for example. Assassin’s Creed Unity was a very buggy, broken game on all three platforms, but it was the most frustrating on PC: World and character textures often vanished for no rhyme or reason; the game would regularly suffer massive frame rate drops irrespective of the card you used; it was terribly optimised, forcing anyone with anything but a high-end card to suffer awful frame rates; there were network connectivity errors; the game apparently even ignored DX 11 requirements; and initially locking the game at 30 fps, really Ubisoft?
Ubisoft then went on to blame AMD; this, in spite of the game working just as poorly on NVIDIA’s hardware.
And who can forget Watch Dogs failing to live up to the hype after a very serious graphical downgrade?
If Watch Dogs was specifically authored and optimised for PC, the PC version would not have required such an excessive downgrade. It may not have even required one at all.
Then there are any number of issues with Ubisoft’s UPlay, its security compromising browser plugin and how often it broke everything that touched it. It’s still essentially bloatware.
And finally, perhaps worst of all, Ubisoft’s many qualms with legitimate PC gamers who are stifled at the expense of Ubisoft’s anti-piracy paranoia: I Am Alive almost never came to PC as a result; Ubisoft’s anti-consumer online-only DRM was an atrocious nightmare that made any game that used it near unplayable; and a number of games had limited installations.
That has been our general experience with Ubisoft games on PC. And on the rare occasion when it isn’t, it’s still a poorly optimised experience.
Ubisoft has recent been making waves about winning back PC gamers, much like Microsoft has. But you have to ask, are they only doing this because their numbers are up?