Nadeo, the developer behind Trackmania, has announced changes to the game’s business model after realizing the current approach is not sustainable. The 2020 version of Trackmania, which marked a soft reboot for the series, adopted a free-to-play model. Players could access many of the game’s features for free, with the option to subscribe for additional community content. This subscription came in two forms: ‘standard’ access for approximately $10 per year and ‘club’ access for $25 per year.
Although this model, combined with the requirement for a Ubisoft account, seemed generous, it has attracted criticism over time. However, even after three years since the game’s release and its recent launch on various consoles in May, Nadeo is now acknowledging its generosity was unsustainable.
In a recent post on the game’s website, Nadeo explained that the console release had exceeded their expectations in terms of player numbers and playtime. As a result, they’ve decided to adjust the amount of free content offered with ‘Starter Access,’ implying that they were giving away too much. Nadeo stated that they needed to be realistic and consider their efforts as a studio.
Starting from the winter 2024 update, which is scheduled for January 9, 2024, the ‘starter’ edition will provide access to the first 10 campaign tracks per season (each season includes 25 tracks), as well as royal and ranked modes and the community-focused arcade channel.
Nadeo expressed an understanding that many players had gotten used to playing the full campaign for free and wished they could have kept it that way. However, their primary goal is to keep Trackmania active for as long as possible, striking a balance between free and paying players.
In response to these changes, the current ‘standard’ and ‘club’ tiers will be merged into a new ‘club access’ subscription priced at $19.99 per year, also starting with the winter 2024 update. Nadeo noted that the game’s 20th anniversary is approaching in November but didn’t reveal any in-game celebration plans.
This decision is influenced by Ubisoft, which has owned Nadeo since 2009. However, in this instance, Ubisoft’s role has been relatively hands-off, allowing Nadeo to focus on developing Trackmania games.