Ubisoft Exec Says Physical Media Will Never "Completely Go Away"

Ubisoft exec Chris Early says physical media is here to stay, but that the company is big on cloud streaming.

Published: October 13, 2023 10:49 AM /


Coco holding her laptop and grinning in the midst of a futuristic city in the Activision Blizzard game Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, to which Ubisoft now has cloud streaming rights

Ubisoft may have acquired the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard's catalog, but that doesn't mean the company believes physical media is going away.

That's according to a new Ubisoft News post on the company's official site, which takes the form of an interview with Strategic Partnerships and Business Development SVP Chris Early.

In the interview, Early says he believes physical media will never "completely go away", pointing to collector's markets, gifting, and people who "will always want to own the physical disk".

With that said, Early does say that Ubisoft believes cloud streaming will "grow over time" and "continue to get better" as internet access improves and connections become more stable.

Early also points to the unique challenges of cloud streaming in gaming versus other media. 

He says that other media is "linear"; when you stream a video or a song, you don't need to worry about player inputs, making game streaming more "dynamic" and thus more challenging to implement well.

A soldier waiting around the corner for another soldier to emerge in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, an Activision Blizzard game to which Ubisoft now owns the streaming rights
Ubisoft now owns the cloud streaming rights for all Activision Blizzard games in existence now, plus the ones being made for the next 15 years.

In terms of where Activision Blizzard games will be streamable in the future, Early says it's "something we'll see as time goes on and things evolve".

He won't be drawn on any other platforms that the games might come to, but at the very least, they'll be on Ubisoft+, so you'll be able to play them there.

Early's comments come in the wake of Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal finally going through today, having cleared major hurdles in the form of US and UK regulators.

The UK CMA's concerns with the original deal revolved around cloud gaming, with the authority expressing worries that the deal would result in Microsoft gaining a cloud gaming monopoly.

The deal was thus reworked to hand over Activision Blizzard cloud gaming rights to a third party in the form of Ubisoft, a change that led to the CMA approving the deal.

With more and more of the industry seemingly moving towards digital gaming (including Xbox, if a recent leak is to be believed), Early's comments about the perpetuity of physical media are comforting. Let's just hope they apply to the industry as a whole as well.

Stay tuned for more on all things Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and cloud gaming.

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