'Ghost Recon Network' Ubisoft's free take on Call of Duty Elite
Ubisoft has announced Ghost Recon Network, a free companion service allowing players to interact with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
and the series' other games on their smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.
The service is similar to Call of Duty Elite, which serves as a social network for Activision's own shooter franchise and also enables users to stay engaged with the Call of Duty
games even when they're not playing them. That platform is free, but it has paid a subscription option for premium features.
Many other publishers have been eager to implement similar services
in the last year (Microsoft's Halo Waypoint app being another example) to integrate more social elements in their titles -- an approach that coule be key, as a growing number of teens reportedly believe
games without those features can be "a waste of time."
Ubisoft has taken a number of steps to ensure that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
extends beyond traditional consoles, such as working with John Romero's social game studio Loot Drop
to produce an accompanying mobile title, and the series' first Facebook release.
Ghost Recon Network will allow players to customize and share their in-game weapons, manage their squads, track their history and friends' in-game status, and receive exclusive rewards in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
. It has been built to support future Ghost Recon
Ubisoft will make its beta Ghost Recon Network Android app and website available to users participating in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
's multiplayer beta (running from April 19 to May 2). It will put out the final versions of those, as well as a Ghost Recon Network iOS app, when the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game releases next month.