From the beginning, Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division had a hefty goal set for itself: Not just to sell copies to the point of solid profit and establish a robust playerbase that could be relied for future purchases and other monetization options, but to hit the much more specific target of dethroning Destiny as the top game in their burgeoning genre and as the top new IP in gaming. That's no easy task in a console generation marked by consumer reticence and slow sales for even established, long-entrenched franchises.
However, Ubisoft's strategy now seems to have paid off. The Division has become the video game industry’s best-selling new game franchise within its opening week.
Yves Guillemot, CEO and Co-Founder of Ubisoft, praised the company's success at launching the bold new title; a game that places players in command of an armed response team that enters a quarantined Manhattan Island to search for the source of a viral contagion that has led to the city being sealed off from the mainland (and left to the mercy of violent gangs and ruthless vigilante militias):
“The Division taking the top spot in the industry for first week sales of a new franchise is a tremendous achievement. We are very proud of our teams, and humbled by and thankful for the millions of players who are giving us their feedback and support."
"The Division is the latest example yet of our unique ability to deliver immersive gaming playgrounds that keeps players engaged and that they eagerly share with their friends and community.”
In addition, The Division can add to its list of accomplishments breaking player engagement records for Ubisoft, surpassing 1.2 million peak concurrent users over the weekend - small wonder that Ubisoft's servers could hardly keep up. That means that players in the game's first week spent more than 100 million hours playing the game online - again, not surprising, considering that the title has been praised for the diverse and varied gameplay that it offers players. That includes, missions that relay the game's cutting-edge urban-combat storyline and the opportunity to combat one another in the much-hyped "Dark Zone" mode.
Said Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft's V.P. of Online Services:
“On top of record breaking sales, player engagement is the highest ever for any Ubisoft title, demonstrating, among other things, that our investments in our online infrastructure and services are paying off.”
“We are delivering an online experience that’s on par with the best in the industry, and that matches the quality and connectivity demanded by The Division and its players.”
The game was the number one viewed title on the popular game-streaming service Twitch over its first week, and has been a consistent fixture in the top five since. 57 million views were also racked up on YouTube in the same period, between live-streaming sessions and clips. Despite these accomplishments, the game has also incurred a fair deal of criticism concerning its themes, with more than a few players and game critics noting the title's emphasis on the military solution and what some claim is an overly-simplistic presentation of the dynamics of "looters" in an urban-decay scenario - which some have called potentially irresponsible in a time when allegations of overreaction by police during protest situations in poor/damaged cities is a recurring newsworthy topic. Still, it's worth noting that the game technically casts the players as "tactical agents" rather than a strictly law-enforcement or military-aligned faction.
The Division is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.