Ubisoft’s ‘Scalar’ cloud platform will create ‘new types of games and massively social experiences’

Ubisoft has announced Scalar, a new cloud-native technology that it says is “changing the way games are created and experienced.”

Scalar is led by Ubisoft Stockholm in Sweden in collaboration with teams from Malmö, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Bucharest, Romania and kyiv, Ukraine.

According to Ubisoft, Scalar will reduce reliance on game engines, which are used to create games, to open up possibilities for game development. The company says this will allow developers to avoid traditional production constraints to focus on game design and player experience.

Using a microservices architecture, Scalar decomposes the components and systems of traditional game engines, like AI and physics, independently in the cloud. This creates a distributed model on a “potentially unlimited” number of machines. In theory, this can then allow developers to leverage a “virtually infinite” amount of computing power to create digital worlds that “were previously unachievable”.

Additionally, Ubisoft claims the technology is able to dynamically start and stop services based on player and developer activity, so it only uses the required computing power in real time. This saves developers from having to recalculate what has already been calculated.

Given that it’s still early days, it’s unclear how this might affect specific Ubisoft games, like Assassin’s Creed or even the next Burst cell remake. On a broader level, however, Ubisoft explained how this can impact the player experience.

On the one hand, Scalar will allow developers to update and improve a service without affecting others, or add features to a game while people are playing, no downloads required. Additionally, the company explained how this could impact social gaming.

“Natively cross-platform and scalable, [Scalar] allow [players] to come together in the millions in a singular, shared virtual environment for new types of games and massively social experiences,” says Ubisoft. “And with cloud-accelerated systems, game worlds are also reaching a new level of persistence where player actions can have an immediate and lasting impact on their surroundings, opening doors for emerging new forms of gameplay.”

For now, Ubisoft says its Stockholm studio is using Scalar to create an all-new IP, though it’s gradually rolling out the technology to all of its studios. The publishing giant has a significant Canadian presence, with major studios in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, in particular.

Companies are increasingly investing in game streaming technology. In addition to streaming-only platforms Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now, Xbox and PlayStation offer optional streaming services, Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Now, respectively. Nintendo is also leveraging the cloud to bring select games to the Switch, including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and theKingdom Hearts series.