How Ubisoft Connect Builds on a Decade of Online Evolution
Ubisoft Connect debuted in late 2020, opening the door for cross-platform progression and saving and uniting Uplay’s digital storefront with the Ubisoft Club rewards program. It’s a unique service in the game industry, and it represents the culmination of 10 years of work on Ubisoft’s Online Services Platform, built and maintained by the internal Harbour team. The backbone of Ubisoft’s online strategy, Harbour works with teams throughout Ubisoft, providing them with everything from production and website tools to online multiplayer functionality.
What role does Ubisoft Connect play in Ubisoft’s ecosystem? What services does it encompass?
Martin Lavoie: Ubisoft Connect is unique in the industry, as it is the only cross-game, cross-platform destination for players to access everything about their games, and to socialize, share, and contribute.
How did Ubisoft Connect evolve into what it is now?
It was designed to bring many new benefits to players, including an improved loyalty program, and a new in-game overlay that gives easy and direct access to game content and services for all players on all platforms, as well as a truly cross-platform experience.
It sits on the Ubisoft Online Services Platform, which was created 10 years ago, and has been improving and evolving continuously since then. The Ubisoft Online Services Platform is a global, managed set of central services that are integrated into all Ubisoft games. The integration of those services in our games provides a rich set of player progression data, which Ubisoft Connect can surface back to our player community in a more social way. Ubisoft Connect can also rely on those services to interact with our games, which allows for creating events and challenges, and rewarding our players with in-game content.
What are some examples of ways that Ubisoft Connect’s various services mesh together?
For example, our challenge service listens for player stat changes and waits for the configured challenge conditions to trigger challenge completion. Another example is the Ubisoft Connect “Smart Intel” feature, which listens for players connecting to their game, and provides them hints on how to improve their game based on stat values or their latest match results. Being able to listen to game events, react, and improve the player experience is pretty powerful, and it fuels Ubisoft Connect features.
How do you build those services? What’s the process like of working with development teams to create them and implement them in games? ML: We are a transversal team within Ubisoft whose mandate is to provide the online services platform used by all of Ubisoft. Our internal “clients” obviously include our game-production teams, but also anyone within Ubisoft interested in leveraging our services, such as business, marketing, or customer-relations teams.
Our clients use the platform as a self-service product. Production teams can technically develop and ship a game, using our platform, without our teams being directly involved.
What can you tell us about the underlying tech, infrastructure, or teams that make it possible?
ML: The platform is built as a micro-service architecture, with each of our 100 or so services using the programming language or database engine that makes the most sense for a given service. Those services are independently, continuously developed and deployed by their respective teams, geographically spread across Ubisoft studios located in 12 countries, speaking eight languages.
What motivated Ubisoft to build a platform like Ubisoft Connect?
ML: We used to provide technology to our production teams to help them create and operate their online services. We also needed people on our production teams who have a wide knowledge of how to write and operate online services.
We quickly realized that for enabling cross-title experiences, and to better enable our production teams to focus on the content, we needed a global and centralized set of standard tools, services, and data. This led to the creation of our online platform, and we were proven right with the release of Ubisoft Connect last year, enabling cross-play and cross-progression as standard features in our games moving forward.
Jul 21, 2021 at 01:18