Is an Ubisoft 1st Party Cloud Service Coming Powered by Google Immersive Stream??

Warning! This article is speculation. It’s a thought experiment. No jumping to conclusions allowed. =)

When Assassin’s Creed Mirage wasn’t immediately announced for Stadia, our minds began to search for reasons. After thinking about the matter, we came up with a list of possible explanations. We still think this is a pretty good list a week later. The most likely explanation remains that Ubisoft and Stadia haven’t yet worked out a deal/contract-extension for a year from now when the game releases. Other possibilities include Amazon having a cloud exclusive deal for the game (we think this is unlikely, but it’s definitely possible).

We also considered the idea possible that:

Ubisoft could be launching their own cloud service on top of Google Immersive Stream (in this time frame) similar to their Luna channel.

Remember, there is nothing Amazon or Luna about the Ubisoft+ channel over there – it one hundred percent uses Ubisoft Connect platform features.

If Ubisoft and Google have something like this is in the works, it could explain the confusion about why “Stadia” was listed some places but not others during the AC Mirage announcement and then later removed. But, of course, we can imagine all sorts of less exciting explanations for those discrepancies as well.

Another potential sign that something like this could be in the works is Ubisoft’s expansion of their own game store and subscription service to include third party titles. For example, Lake (a game available on Stadia) was recently added to the Ubisoft+ catalog and is available in the Ubisoft Store.

Lake Ubisoft Store
Lake Ubisoft Store

How Would We Feel About This?

To be honest, it may be inevitable that some big publishers with lots of IP (and third party content available in their stores/subscriptions) will eventually try their hand at developing their own direct-to-consumer cloud gaming platform – even if it turns out this isn’t the case with Ubisoft at the moment. There is a lot of potential upside for doing this. It gives them tremendous independence from (and power over) platforms like PlayStation, Nintendo, XBox and Windows. That means leverage over today’s gatekeepers.

It is also probably only a matter of time before Valve/Steam launch their own cloud platform (spoiler alert: it is sure to use Linux and won’t tie them to a single GPU vendor). We wouldn’t be surprised to see Take Two, CDPR/GOG, EPIC, EA and others go this route either.

Inevitable or not, we do have mixed feelings about this potential development from Ubisoft or other publishers. Releasing an independent service on top of Immersive Stream and not releasing games on Stadia proper would be unfortunate for Stadia achievement hunters and people who enjoy all the Stadia platform features. Here are some things that we’d ideally hope for:

  • If Ubisoft does launch their own cloud service based on Google Immersive Stream; we’d hope that the games would launch on Stadia proper, too. After all, they share the same underlying hardware/technology – so, it shouldn’t require much extra work/support other than integrating Stadia APIs for achievements etc.
    • We could see why Ubisoft (if they were to go this route) would perhaps want to steer as many people as possible to their own service. But, having the choice, would certainly make users happy. At least, though, Ubisoft does have a full set of platform features (achievements, friends lists, multiplayer etc.) to rely on.
  • We’d like a potential service to be more than a remote/virtual desktop client for the Ubisoft desktop experience (i.e. more than just GFN/Luna like). We’d want to see proper cloud application interfaces on the same set of devices where Stadia is available. We’d want to see proper cloud-first ways to interact with your friends list, earn and view achievements, change your settings etc. etc.
  • We’d want to be able to still buy games a la carte rather than join Ubisoft+. Ubisoft+ is a fabulous deal and works great for a lot of people. But, it isn’t for everyone. Having the ability to buy games outright is important for a number of players.
  • We’d want to be able to continue using the Stadia controller with its direct to the cloud technology.
  • We’d love to see things like “Stream Connect” and other “Stadia Features” available in a possible Ubisoft first party service.

How happy we’d be here at Stadia Dosage with Ubisoft and other significant IP owners going this type of route would depend on how many of the above points turn out the way we hope. We may be able to live with a big company like Ubisoft operating a cloud service separately and in parallel with Stadia if the user experience is still good.

What would it mean for Stadia?

As mentioned above, the biggest open question is probably whether games would continue coming to Stadia proper if Ubisoft were to create a 1st party cloud service based on Immersive Stream. There is certainly no technical reason why they couldn’t.

Other than that obviously non-trivial point, we think most of the outcomes would probably be good for Stadia. Google having multiple large cloud clients using the underlying Stadia hardware and technology would likely make the whole enterprise a lot more profitable/sustainable sooner. These other services would help amortize the costs for eachother and Stadia itself.

Stadia itself could end up being just one of many gaming services utilizing the underlying Immersive Stream tech.

Would Stadia end up competing with other Google Immersive Stream powered services? Particularly if those services start bringing in third party games as well? Would Stadia be at a disadvantage without exclusive games? Well… maybeeventually. But, for now, there are plenty of great games to go around that could be brought to the cloud. And, the technology remains immature – where there is plenty Stadia can do to differentiate itself as it keeps building up a library.

When the time is right (when cloud gaming has become more mainstream), they can decide whether picking up additional exclusive content makes sense.

Let’s conclude here by reminding everyone that this topic is (at best) speculation. However, we found it to be a timely thought experiment to carry out. One thing is for sure, it is going to be fun to watch the future of Stadia play out. We are as excited as ever!


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Jack Deslippe

Jack Deslippe is an HPC professional with a PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley. As a hobby, he is passionate about consumer technology and Cloud Gaming in particular. He volunteers as an editor for Cloud Dosage in his spare time. See the games Jack is Playing at ExoPhase. Like his content? You can follow Jack on Threads: @jackdeslippe and Buy Jack a Beer.

2 thoughts on “Is an Ubisoft 1st Party Cloud Service Coming Powered by Google Immersive Stream??

  1. I honestly wouldn’t be mad if Stadia had a second role in the market as a “back-end” service to major third parties like Ubisoft, Capcom, Square or Take-two. The software would be running on Stadia, and those services of course are going to use subscription access models (how else could they justify the cost to Google?) then Google says to them “Hey you can double-dip on your customers with your subscription service, give them an option to pay full price over on Stadia” Its a smooth business move and it could incentivize the big guys to start porting their games over.

  2. From the time Stadia launched, when people bashed the service, I always said “don’t worry, I know Google told you it was, but this is still the beta period”.
    Yeah kind of tongue in cheek but Stadia always gave me the feeling that Google just wasn’t quite all in. Like they were purposely moving slow to prove the tech would be able to handle the steadily increasing load.
    And I don’t care what anyone says, Stadia was (still is) the only true “click to play”, straight up cloud streaming service, that makes you forget you’re not on a console. Tried all the other “cloud gaming” options and it’s just depressing out there.

    I always thought when the time came Google would change the name to something more “Google’ish”, put the real money up, and go all in. Like Google Stream, YouTube Gaming, or whatever. Along with real marketing like TV commercials and ads everywhere games are marketed. Then when they made the announcement I thought “well, there goes that wishful/stupid thinking”. Or was it? Maybe Stadia was always exactly that, a test run, for Ubisoft or someone else to repackage what we all know works so well. It just doesn’t seem like a trillion dollar company would suddenly exit the scene and for good, with technology like this available.

    Sux for us, for now, but I don’t think it will be too long of a wait before “Stadia” is back in our hands .

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