The New Trackmania Has A Yearly Access Model

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The New Trackmania Has A Yearly Access Model

We’re used to publishers trying all sorts of unusual things when it comes to monetising games. But turning Trackmania into some kind of subscription-esque, timed access model wasn’t on my 2020 bingo card.

Trackmania Nations Forever is one of the most remarkable games you can play for free, so it’s natural that Ubisoft would want to update it for modern audiences. That’s the idea behind the Trackmania reboot, which was due out already but was delayed to July 1 because of the ongoing pandemic.

So like Trackmania Nations Forever, you can play the new Trackmania for free. But that won’t give you access to everything: you’ll only get 25 tracks, access to casual competitions, and you won’t have full access to the skins, replay or track editors, with only one save slot for user-created tracks. If you want more access or more save slots, you’ll have to pay for “Standard Access” or “Club Access”.

Here’s the pricing, and what you get with each tier:

Starter Access: Free for players to race solo or multiplayer on quarterly renewed official campaigns, including 25 tracks, allowing players to earn medals and record scores in the regional rankings. Players will be able to enjoy other player’s creations on the Arcade Channel, try various editors (tracks, replays and skins) and map review servers. The weekly Nations League is also available for casual competitions.

Standard Access: In addition to the free content, Standard Access expands the content available with player creations, including the “Track of the Day” selection, and full access to replay, track editors and map review servers. Additionally, players can participate in daily competitions and keep every “Track of the Day” and “Official” campaign track. One year of standard access is available for $US9.99.

Club Access: Including the above, Club Access allows players to join their favourite clubs to access exclusive content and activities such as skin customisation, special campaigns, online rooms, training tracks and competitions. They can also create their own club to share their creations and organise events. Players can participate in the Open Grand League, organised by Ubisoft Nadeo, and try to qualify for the Trackmania Grand League. One year of the Club Access is available for $US29.99 or three years for $US59.99.

Obviously, Trackmania fans immediately tagged this as a subscription model. They’re the ones who want and need full access to all the editors and competitions, because without them, Trackmania wouldn’t be a community at all. And not everyone was against the idea: some fans prefer a subscription model instead of microtransactions, and others acknowledged it’s hard trying to keep the lights on. (Remember that time Trackmania had a Quake spin-off, ShootMania Storm?)

But in what is this week’s most bizarre contortion of the English language, Ubisoft Nadeo has tried to explain that, no, Trackmania isn’t a subscription model. You’re simply paying multiple times to access the game:

The differentiation the Ubisoft Nadeo dev is making here is that after your standard or club access times out, your account will be reset back to the starter level. “You keep official maps, tracks of the day and maps built. It’s not possible to pause your access,” the developer wrote.

I mean … that’s a subscription. It’s functionally no different than Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. I might not lose access to what’s accrued in my account, but once my access runs out, I lose access to the things that payment enabled. That’s a subscription. Plain and simple. Trying to defend it or work around it just looks bizarre, especially when some of the Trackmania community is being pretty understanding about it all.

Video games is a hard business. There’s more games out there than ever, more things vying for attention and your time, and it’s difficult to make a living when there are so many wonderful experiences available for free, or cheaply. So Trackmania‘s in a weird spot, and situations like those mean publishers often have to think of creative solutions to get a project greenlit.

But maybe just call a spade a spade. There’s enough waffling and linguistic backflips in the world as-is. And if Ubisoft Nadeo feels like it has clarify and defend their business model to this degree, one might suggest that other business models could be a better fit. Would free-to-play access and paid battle passes for creators and competitors be such a bad thing, compared to a yearly subscription model?

Trackmania is out on July 1 through uPlay and the Epic Games Store.

Comments

  • The amount of free content that has that’s come from the various Trackmania games over the years has been kind of absurd. I can’t really fault them for wanting to make a little more income from it

    • Was thinking the same thing. I dont mind the $10 level, thats not a whole lot for a years access to whats a very active community. $30 really isnt much either, but you dont really get much more for that extra lobster.

      I expect most will suck it up and pay the $10 though, theres just too much content to create in the Trackmania world for fans to miss out on.

  • I still dont understand, it is a subscription, why are they trying to say it isn’t? It’s just unnecessarily confusing

  • Ubisoft, stop being retarded and just call it a subscription.

    You going out of your way to not call it one only brings more attention to it.

    Streisand effect Ubisoft, Learn about it.

  • Some players were afraid of the classic subscription with us keeping the creadit card information and charging again on a regular basis, like you can have on the examples given. Season pass are not subscription for some, and yes you keep content, like here you can keep 465 tracks of one year forerever. But the goal was surely not to not call a spade a spade, people are more intelligent than that, it was simply to try to explain a little more the things.

    We made the 3 years access as well for people who dislike to pay on a regular basis, on be charged, to do it like that. Of course, having a lifetime would be better than 3 years, but there could be a lie in there, like we can not support a game for a “lifetime” and we want to shut it down and that the lifetime was bought 2 years before, it would be strange compared to the 3 years access. We try to align the players wishes to have support on their regular played game and the reality of the studio, without taking detour such as microstransactions, dlc, yearly sequels or else. All are probably valid according to the dev, but considering our primary activity at the studio, it is what seem the best balance. In this model, for example, you can not spend more than 59.99$ for 3 years because we want a top limit, especially because players are at the core of the power of the system and that we want to leave no one on the side of the track. This amount is a lot, and it’s not for everybody, but if it is one of your top 3 online activity, like if you were part of a club, then we consider that it is accessible at around 20$ per year.

    Many of our games have 10 years + release and we still have the servers being maintained and running. In Forever, there is no more updates. And in the upcoming Trackmania, if we intend to stop support and only keep servers, we may release a “forever” edition where there is no regular paiment. Players don’t want that to happen soon and seems to understand, for some, if I believe this post made by a player “How to make news out of nothing. You took the small part of community, which is Reddit, and focused on their opinion, ignoring the vast majority which is supportive of the new payment model. ”

    And again, we ask for a lot, and we work a lot. We are together since 17 years with Trackmania players and tried various model, like more episode approach with Maniaplanet or sequels with United after Sunrise. All have disadvantages, because money is money. Money is the 50% of the deal. The other part is that we work hard since so many years and we are so honored by players and their creations that we try to be as balanced as possible.

    Finally, for example, we are still running competitions on Stadium that was released 7 years ago at 9.99$ and I think it is easy to understand that there is more hope for a solid continuity if there is a fee for the year you would like to participate. And would it be each year, all day, it would be really like a subscription. 100% agree.

    • I get what you’re saying but this is a subscription, and trying to weasel out of it by playing word semantics just insults anyone interested in playing your game and supporting the developers.

  • Some players were afraid of the classic subscription with us keeping the credit card information and charging again on a regular basis, like you can have on the examples given. Season pass are not subscription for some, and yes you keep content, like here you can keep 465 tracks of one year forerever. But the goal was surely not to not call a spade a spade, people are more intelligent than that, it was simply to try to explain a little more the things.

    We made the 3 years access as well for people who dislike to pay on a regular basis, on be charged, to do it like that. Of course, having a lifetime would be better than 3 years, but there could be a lie in there, like we can not support a game for a “lifetime” and we want to shut it down and that the lifetime was bought 2 years before, it would be strange compared to the 3 years access. We try to align the players wishes to have support on their regular played game and the reality of the studio, without taking detour such as microstransactions, dlc, yearly sequels or else. All are probably valid according to the dev, but considering our primary activity at the studio, it is what seem the best balance. In this model, for example, you can not spend more than 59.99$ for 3 years because we want a top limit, especially because players are at the core of the power of the system and that we want to leave no one on the side of the track. This amount is a lot, and it’s not for everybody, but if it is one of your top 3 online activity, like if you were part of a club, then we consider that it is accessible at around 20$ per year.

    Many of our games have 10 years + release and we still have the servers being maintained and running. In Forever, there is no more updates. And in the upcoming Trackmania, if we intend to stop support and only keep servers, we may release a “forever” edition where there is no regular paiment. Players don’t want that to happen soon and seems to understand, for some, if I believe this post made by a player “How to make news out of nothing. You took the small part of community, which is Reddit, and focused on their opinion, ignoring the vast majority which is supportive of the new payment model. ”

    And again, we ask for a lot, and we work a lot. We are together since 17 years with Trackmania players and tried various model, like more episode approach with Maniaplanet or sequels with United after Sunrise. All have disadvantages, because money is money. Money is the 50% of the deal. The other part is that we work hard since so many years and we are so honored by players and their creations that we try to be as balanced as possible.

    Finally, for example, we are still running competitions on Stadium that was released 7 years ago at 9.99$ and I think it is easy to understand that there is more hope for a solid continuity if there is a fee for the year you would like to participate. And would it be each years, for last day to first, it would be even more like a subscription. 100% agree. The interesting question is more about the model than the name of it.

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