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Ubisoft Doubles Down On Cloud Gaming

With an increasing number of companies implementing their own version of cloud gaming, are streaming services going to be the next big innovation in gaming? Nobody's quite sure. However, among those who would answer in the affirmative is Ubisoft. Or at the very least, the company is currently expanding its flagship subscription service, Ubisoft+, onto a new cloud gaming platform, which is as much of a vote of confidence as any. As of Dec. 16, Ubisoft+ will be available starting with a beta release in the US on Google Stadia, ending a short period of streaming availability solely through Amazon Luna.

The path Ubisoft+ took to Google Stadia compatibility was anything but straightforward. Ubisoft's proprietary game subscription service was first launched in 2019 and called Uplay+. At that time, Ubisoft had announced that Uplay+ would release on Google Stadia at a later date. Then, earlier this year, Ubisoft completely rebranded and repackaged some of its services, which included the change in name from Uplay+ to Ubisoft+.

The service, however, remained largely the same. As was detailed back in 2019, a paying subscriber to Ubisoft+ will have access to Ubisoft's entire catalog of games, which includes titles like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Users can download fully playable versions of these and other titles onto their PCs.

Cloud gaming, however, enters the picture as a means through which subscribers can play all the games they can access through Ubisoft+ without having to download them. The service first rebranded on October of this year, and was then made available for Amazon Luna in November. Like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna offers a library of games playable via streaming from remote servers on a variety of devices. 

Amazon Luna organizes add-on content into "channels," resembling a traditional TV service. A paid Ubisoft+ subscription adds Ubisoft's library as one of these channels. Accessing Ubisoft+ on Google Stadia, meanwhile, simply requires selecting an Ubisoft+ tab in the Stadia's settings menu and linking a paid account to the Stadia console.

According to the announcement, there are some definite advantages to using Ubisoft's new service. "[T]itles that support cross-progression ... let players pick up on Stadia where they left off on other platforms (and vice versa).

A subscription to Ubisoft+ costs $14.99, which is significantly more than arguably its biggest competitor in Xbox Game Pass. Cloud gaming is available for Game Pass, but the service is currently in a beta testing period and requires its own dedicated app. Ubisoft, then, seems to be banking on added value from both its library of games and its compatibility with cloud gaming platforms unaffiliated with the company.