Case Study

Ubisoft brings press demos forward

The Parsec solution might very well be part of the future of major video game events.

-Pascal Nguyen, Associate Director, International Events

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With marquee releases Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion scheduled for holiday releases, 2020 was set to be a banner year for Ubisoft. But typical release programming, like showing off games in the world’s favorite conference halls, would need to be rethought as the world adjusted to life from home. Ubisoft developed the idea of putting together its own conference, Ubisoft Forward, where they could present their games on their own terms. The only problem? Actually helping people play them.

The Challenge

Ubisoft needed technology that would allow VIPs, influencers, and media professionals to play two of the most graphically intense games of this generation. These demos would take place on a global scale, across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

That would require globally consistent performance that would need to feel like it was being tested locally. And they needed to make sure each demoer had an equally fantastic experience. After all, these demos would be among the first impressions the world would have of these two titles.

Evaluating Criteria

Parsec was the ideal partner for making these hands-on sessions possible. When it came to Ubisoft’s most important criteria, Parsec rose to the challenge.

  • Latency: These technical behemoths needed to come off as good as possible. Even though journalists would know the game was streaming, their opinion could be skewed if the image quality wasn’t high enough.

  • Input Latency: If a button press didn’t work, a player would have no way of knowing whether it was the game or the technology being unresponsive.

  • Flexibility: Parsec’s SDK allowed Ubisoft to brand their own application, letting them control the experience VIPs had.

  • Security: Demos in person aren’t risky because studio staff is in the same physical room, ensuring no one peeks at code or records IP. Parsec’s SDK allowed Ubisoft to create an application that limited access to only the game.

  • Ease of Use: VIPs and media partners needed to be able to focus on the game they were playing, not the technology powering it. The application needed to get out of the way so that the incredible game play could speak for itself.

The Solution

Hosting Zones
Host machines staffed by a guide were installed at a dozen Ubisoft sites around the world.

Player Capability
Short questionnaires were sent to VIPs to ensure they had strong enough internet and compatible controllers.

Guest Invites
Each VIP received an invitation instructing them to install Parsec, after which, they were invited to a private session.

Observe & Troubleshoot
Staff was able to fix any technical problems players ran into, and properly introduce different gameplay segments.

The Result

Ubisoft pulled off hands-on sessions that rivaled the success of in-person demos. Across the board, press gushed at how the streaming experience was barely visible. They were able to deliver their impressions of the game — not the novel set-up.

  • 1,500+
    demos given over three weeks

  • 2x+ increase
    in demos given (vs. a major in-person conference)

  • 30 countries
    represented amongst VIPs and media professionals

  • 1,200 miles
    the maximum distance between a player and a Hosting Zone

  • 15,000,000 impressions
    from Ubisoft Forward coverage

A Way Forward

Thanks to Parsec, Ubisoft successfully brought the thrill and excitement of playing a highly anticipated game for the first time despite the impossibility of attending a physical event. Ubisoft Forward also brought more kinds of media professionals into the mix, addressing people unable to travel big distances due to ability or means. Events like Ubisoft Forward are changing how we approach the event experience, and when physical events return, Parsec will be there to power them along the way.

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