Ubisoft’s beloved tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege might be transferring to a free-to-play model. Siege’s director Leroy Athanassoff suggested the switch from a purchase model to F2P in an interview with LADBible. It might give the well over 4-year old game a Counter Strike: Global Offensive-like second wind.
A quick peek at Siege’s SteamCharts shows that even on Steam, the shooter is still hugely popular. With almost a hundred thousand players on average, the game is still gaining popularity after it’s december 2015 release. And that is just looking at Steam, the non-native platform; being a Ubisoft game many players are playing through UPlay, not to mention everyone playing on console.
Siege’s popularity might even skyrocket once you can play the game free of charge. Athanassoff explains that it would be a company decision to switch to a F2P model. He is, of course, referencing Ubisoft, that would have to pull the trigger on the decision. But if they leave it up to Athanassoff and his team however, they would make the game free sooner rather than later.
I think on the development team we want that at some point. We want the game to be accessible to everyone. You need certain features ready to be a good and successful free-to-play game.
He proceeds to talk about a common problem in F2P games: smurfs. So-called smurfs are players that – despite their serious skill – decide to create a new account. That way, they get matched with lower skill players again, effectively dunking on anyone in their way.
And if you’ve ever gotten your butt kicked by a seemingly similarly skilled player, that may have very well been a smurf. Especially if it is a free game, making it very easy for smurfs to manage multiple accounts because they don’t have to actually purchase a new game.
Competing competitive shooter CS:GO recently turned free-to-play and that gave Valve’s legendary game a second wind. In 2018 player counts were dropping significantly, but after the new business model, popularity took off again.
With the eSports-friendly nature of Rainbow Six Siege, it doesn’t seem to be a bad idea to go F2P; the more people play, the more popular your eSports-events would be. Besides, Siege already has a mild F2P model embedded in the game.
With new Operators, cosmetics and attachments releasing regularly, players have to choose on whom to spend their in-game currency. Or… buy some with real-world money, of course. Similar concepts apply to industry juggernauts like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and previously mentioned CS:GO.