A Rainbow Six Siege free-to-play model may be far from the current business strategy of Ubisoft’s popular shooter at the moment, but it could be a future tactic for the developer.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Siege’s game director Leroy Athanassoff revealed that the team is keen on the idea once the game’s kinks are ironed out.
“It’s a company decision [to go free to play],” Athanassoff said. “I think on the development team we want that at some point. We want the game to be accessible to everyone.”
However, Athanassoff explained that, before Rainbow Six Siege free-to-play becomes a reality they would need to encorporate features to combat smurfing, the act of creating a new account to play against less-skilled players.
Smurfing allows high-tier players to go back and take on players who are inexperienced in the game; it’s a common albeit weird aspect of competitive play. Instead of playing against players in their same skill bracket – where there’s a chance of losing – they fight against those that have very little time in the game.
Athanassoff believes that smurfing creates a toxically unfair environment which turns new players away from the game. The situation is a major issue for Siege: with Rainbow Six’s inherently complex nature, Ubisoft’s game requires a lot of learning. It’s hard to learn when high-tier players are ruining your play time.
Athanassoff claims that Ubisoft is working on creating a system that can quickly track player still – such as kill-death ratios – to quickly combat smurfing in the future.
Rainbow Six Siege is currently slated to become a launch title for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Whether the game will be a free upgrade for Xbox Series X users, like Cyberpunk 2077, is unclear.