Ubisoft announced a somewhat unusual pricing scheme for the upcoming Trackmania Nations reboot last week: The base game will be free, but full access to the track editor (which is a major part of Trackmania’s appeal) costs $10 per year, while full-on “Club Access,” which includes admission to special racing leagues, exclusive skins, and that sort of thing, is $30 per year.
Predictably, some of those who were looking forward to the game are not happy about the scheme. Trackmania fans in this Reddit thread said they’d rather pay full price to own the game permanently, or that they’re unhappy with subscription-based pricing as a matter of general principle.
In response to complaints, Ubisoft has posted a message on the Maniaplanet forums stating that Trackmania doesn’t use subscription pricing at all.
“Actually it’s not a subscription model but an access to the game for a limited time. You pay for having access to the game for one period and that’s it,” a Ubisoft rep wrote. “When the time is over, you have to buy the game again for the time that you want to access it again.”
It’s a very creative way to describe a subscription without calling it a subscription, and predictably it hasn’t smoothed the waters: Several redditors in this thread equate the response to EA’s 2019 description of loot boxes in videogames as “surprise mechanics.”
But there also appears to be some confusion as to what is and isn’t included at the free tier, which is contributing to the upset. For one, the initial post in that thread states that the track editor is only available at the $10 tier, but the pricing FAQ states that the full editor is included at no charge—the limitation is that it’s restricted to saving just one track.
It also isn’t clear how exactly server access will be restricted. The pricing page says free players will be able to “try” map review servers, but those who pay for standard access will have “full access” to them. I’ve emailed Ubisoft for more information and will update if I receive a reply.
The Trackmania reboot is set to come out on July 1. You can find out more about the game at trackmania.com.