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Ubisoft Star Wars Outlaws The Crew


Ubisoft continues to lose the trust of gamers after Star Wars Outlaws and The Crew controversies

For the low low price of $110, you can get all the Jabba you’ve ever asked for in Star Wars Outlaws.

Ubisoft released a new Star Wars Outlaws the other week, giving fans further insight into the game’s story and an answer to what they’ve all been waiting for: its release date, revealed to be August 30, 2024. This would have been a simple news story and not a controversy if that’s all Ubisoft announced. Instead, they detailed three different editions of the games, drawing ire and trepidation from the gaming community.

Star Wars Outlaws should be a slam dunk. Respawn’s Jedi series has righted the Star Wars gaming ship, and Outlaws gives fans something different: an open-world adventure that has nothing to do with Jedi or the Skywalkers. But when $69.99 doesn’t net all the content for a single-player game, gamers are going to be angry.

The $109.99 Gold Edition includes the season pass (“two upcoming story pack DLCs”), the exclusive “Jabba’s Gambit” mission, and a cosmetic pack. For $20 more, the Ultimate Edition offers everything in the Gold Edition as well as two more cosmetic packs and a digital art book. For an additional $40 – almost 60% of the base game price – those “story pack DLCs” better be worth the price of admission.

Backlash to this announcement was automatic. Some players worried if Jabba the Hutt as a whole was locked behind the more expensive editions, causing Ubisoft to set the record straight – the “Jabba’s Gambit” mission is exclusive to the more expensive editions, but Jabba will still be a part of the game as a whole. I’m sure having to bring out the spin doctors four months before Star Wars Outlaws launches wasn’t what Ubisoft had in mind when the new Outlaws trailer dropped.

Gamers have shown time and again that for single-player games, all they want is a one-time purchase and an assurance that purchase gets them everything a game has to offer – just look at the success of last year’s Baldur’s Gate 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Both those titles retailed for $69.99 as well, showing that gamers are fine paying top dollar if the quality and breadth of content deserve it. If $129.99 is the price to pay to get everything for Star Wars Outlaws, purchasing the base game for $69.99 – which is still no small sum – will inevitably lead to some Star Wars fans wondering if their purchase and its price tag were justified.

The Star Wars Outlaw edition news (and collective groan it garnered) happened the same week Ubisoft began revoking the licenses of owners of The Crew, a 2014 racing game. The Crew was online-only, and Ubisoft announced earlier this year that servers would be shut down at the end of March. Now, owners – using that term lightly – of The Crew can’t access the game at all, dashing hopes of fan-made servers or a fan-made patch to make the game playable off-line. At this time, people who purchased The Crew have no means of playing a game they supposedly own.

“Remember: No preorders” has long been a mantra for gamers, and that phrase is all too applicable for a Ubisoft-published game. With their expensive pricing tiers for games like Star Wars Outlaws and the fact that so many of their releases will receive sizable discounts a short time after they launch (Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora could be found for 35% off a couple months after they released, for example), justifying a preorder for a Ubisoft title is a tall task.

Now, however, a new mindset is entering the community: If purchasing a game doesn’t mean you own it, then pirating a game doesn’t mean you’re stealing it. And after Ubisoft’s The Crew fiasco, how can a gamer ever feel comfortable making a “purchase” from Ubisoft again?

The sad part is that none of this is something Star Wars fans or The Crew owners should be surprised by. Just earlier this year, Philippe Tremblay, director of subscriptions at Ubisoft, spoke to GamesIndustry.Biz and said the quiet part out loud when discussing subscriptions and gaming, saying gamers need to feel “comfortable” with not owning their games. As digital “ownership” enters a murky space with gamers not being able to access their purchases like The Crew, how would anyone feel comfortable spending $130 on a new Star Wars game when the digital license could be revoked at any time?

These incidents weren’t the first time Ubisoft has drawn disdain from its players, and they surely won’t be the last. An optimistic gamer might hope the company learns from this and reverses course, but a pessimist (or “realist,” to some) might think that if these controversies don’t affect Ubisoft’s bottom line, then they’ll have no incentive to change. And at the center of the discussion is the next big Star Wars game – meaning the odds of Ubisoft’s bottom line taking a hit are approximately 3,720 to 1.

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