Ubisoft’s competitive multiplayer hostage-rescuing shooter Rainbow Six: Siege has already had 25 million players, but the publisher wants even more people to check it out. Siege is getting a free weekend starting Thursday that will last through Sunday. Through this period and into next week, Ubisoft is also cutting Siege’s price by 60 percent, so you can get the $40 Standard Edition for $16.
Players on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC can all participate in the free weekend. If you give it a shot and decide to buy in, your progress carries over. This also comes as Ubisoft is launching Operation White Noise, its latest content update, which includes a new map and more at no additional charge.
The free weekend is a growing trend in the gaming industry due to the increased popularity of the live-service business model. Many games have drifted away from campaigns that fans can rush through and finish in a couple of days. Instead, something like Rainbow Six: Siege (or Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and more) have long-lasting multiplayer modes that people are supposed to go back to again and again for weeks, months, or even years.
That model has worked for Siege, which had a somewhat muted debut in 2015 before slowly growing into a juggernaut over the last two years. Now, with the free weekend, players can find out what all the buzz is about and why this game has brought in so many players. And the only cost? A hit on your Comcast data cap.
The free weekend is also just one piece of Ubisoft’s marketing strategy for its games. Rainbow Six: Siege also has a thriving esports scene, and it’s possible that getting people to try the game now could feed into that competitive pro league. In turn, the more fans that professional Siege has, the more popular the game is and the more revenue it can generate from microtransactions for cosmetic items.