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Ubisoft Watching EA's 'Project $10' 'Very Carefully'

Ubisoft Watching EA's 'Project $10' 'Very Carefully'

May 18, 2010 | By Kris Graft

May 18, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

French Splinter Cell publisher Ubisoft is is keeping a close eye on competitor Electronic Arts, and how that publisher is combating used game sales with day-one downloadable content.

Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said in a Tuesday earnings call following Ubisoft's fiscal year results, "Regarding ... monetizing used games or downloadable content … most of the games that we will release next year will have downloadable content available from the start."

He added, "We are looking very carefully at what is being done by EA regarding what we call the '$10 solution,' and we will probably follow that line at sometime in the future."

EA is leading the industry with a business strategy reportedly called "Project $10." This tactic involves new games that have about $10 worth of content (maps, armor, quests) included in the package as a one-time download code. When the customer brings that new game home, he can immediately acquire the rest of the game via download.

Assuming that the $10 one-time code is used by the original owner, used copies will not include that chunk of the game, although the content would still be available to buy online. Ubisoft began using download keys in its products last year, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot noted.

The strategy is designed to make buying a new game more tempting to consumers than buying cheaper used games at retailers like GameStop. Publishers do not see any revenue from the sale of used games.

EA also recently introduced "Online Pass" for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 EA Sports games. The "pass" is a one-time-use code that allows the original owner of the game access to content and online multiplayer.

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