As we advance in gaming and technology, we can’t help but notice a trend in increased digital sales for many such games. The reasons for that are logical and not particularly bad if you don’t care much about having physical collections of video games. Our team at TopTierList has found one of the effects of this trend as Ubisoft closes down its Benelux office.
The Benelux branch handled physical distribution and local customer support. Perhaps due to the decline in physical sales, Ubisoft found it best to close down such offices to spend their finances better. As such, we can see this happening more in other European locations as well.
It is not the first time we have seen such a thing happening. An earlier such case happened almost a month ago, as we reported the state of Xbox physical game distribution halting in Brazil. Several reasons contribute to this situation; one of the most prominent is subscription services.
Ubisoft has closed down its Benelux office. The office handled physical game distribution and local customer support.
Since low physical game sales are common everywhere, we might see more offices closing in Europe.
First Xbox in Brazil, and now Ubisoft. 2023 might see more such cases of publishers closing down physical game distribution operations.
Ubisoft is a French video game publisher popularly known for its various games, most notably, the Far Cry series, Assassin’s Creed seriesand many others. As we move forward, video games have advanced at an impressive rate. We are not just talking about mechanics and graphics but more on the publishing side.
Almost every big publisher has a subscription service, which allows gamers to enjoy an array of different video games from the said publisher in a more budget-friendly way. Even though there are some downsides to it, the subscriptions are almost always worth it if you enjoy the games.
Therefore, physical sales of games have decreased drastically over the past years, and digital sales are on the rise. It is not necessarily bad, but lately, this decline has resulted in some publishers abandoning the physical distribution operations to manage their finances.
At the beginning of 2023, it was Xbox in Brazil, and now Ubisoft has closed its Benelux office. According to a ResetEra user who received an email saying, “As we all know, the market is constantly evolving, and as an organization, we need to keep up with it. At this time, Ubisoft is facing several challenges due to external factors, such as the decline in sales volume of physical games in favor of digital sales, the centralization of marketing by digitizing all our communication channels, the shift from major retail releases to F2P, mobile and seasonal games and less major physical shows.”
The problems are evident; due to subscription services, and better options on other mediums, people are less likely to purchase physical games. Moreover, the majority of the people who do purchase it are only doing it because of their love for physical releases in general.
The newer generation of gamers is likely unaware of these physical copies and mostly purchase games via digital stores. As tragic as it may sound, it was bound to happen. One of the things this will cause is that publishers like Ubisoft will close offices like Benelux to focus more on digital sales. Benelux branch is one of the many European branches that will receive this treatment.
We are not simply speculating that. The email also states, “To meet the challenges of the future, Ubisoft’s management has decided to close a number of subsidiaries in Europe. Unfortunately, the Ubisoft Benelux entity is subject to the intended closure with most employees departing as of April 1st, 2023.”
Be prepared to see a drought of physical game copies in many European locations. It is terrible news for physical game collectors, who will now have to pay more to secure the game through imports. In addition, this will likely not change.
Even though the email mentions, “Due to the closure, Ubisoft BV will fully outsource the current distribution of physical games in the Benelux to a distributor to be announced at a later stage.” We will unlikely see another distributor until the demand for physical games increases, which probably won’t happen.
We might see some other changes, and a different distributor will take place, but for now, it seems like bad news for some gamers. In addition, the Benelux office also handled local customer support, so the services on that side will likely be hit as well as a result.
The employers in Benelux will be relieved of their duties as of April 1st, 2023. If it happens in other similar branches, more people will lose their jobs due to the change in consumer demand. Since we can’t do much about the situation, let us observe how these publishers change their operations and see whether physical distributions will last a bit longer.
That is all for now! What are your thoughts on Ubisoft closing down its office in Benelux? Do you think they will completely phase out physical game distribution eventually? Share your thoughts with us below, and we will get back to you!