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On Ubisoft's Independence

Game maker Ubisoft fights back (thanks Mike Martinez) describes how Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot is asking the board of directors to resist further overtures from EA (story), owner of 20% of the company (story). Here's word on their quest to remain independent:

"We prefer by far to remain independent as we will be able to double our value in the next two years as we will double our effort," said Mr Guillemot.

"The profits of the company will grow fast because the products are selling well and generating lots of revenue."

"If our shareholders are happy with what we do they will not sell their shares, they will keep them as it is a great investment for them," he said.

Ubisoft's sales have risen fast over the past five years, hitting 537m euros (£389m) in the 2004-2005 financial year.

Eight of its games, such as Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia, sold more than 17 million copies worldwide.

"We are in a business of creation," said Mr Guillemot, "we need to keep the creativity and that is the value of the company."

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24. I can't resist May 31, 2005, 09:45 Creston
 
"as we will double our effort"

(Ominous Voice) : I hope so, CEO, for your sake. EA is not as ... forgiving, as I am.

Btw, in what world does double effort = double value? Is that like a guarantee or something? A law of physics?

And ehm, what creativity is he talking about here? Ubi does nothing but release sequel upon sequel upon sequel. That these are good or even great games, sure, but I wouldn't necessarily call it creative.

Creston


 
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23. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 31, 2005, 08:02 The Half Elf
 
I hardly agree with you on several points. Sierra/Dynamix/Vivendi went to hell cause of problems Vivendi was having and was trying to sell off the gaming portion of it's company. The problem was noone wanted Sierra/Dynamix, they wanted Blizzard out of it, which Vivendi either wanted way too much money for or wouldn't sell.

And there are quite a few 'large masses' of gamers who want these games and want them for the PC, the problem comes down to money. Ubisoft doesn't want to invest the money to produce these products on the PC where a) it's expensive to do QA for all the system specs out there, and b) piracy, and c) shelf life and money to made on the shelf life is alot more for console products then pc software. And I'm sure there is some sort of money they also get for rentals and the game being resold.

And Ubisoft didn't take a ton of risk's with Crytek. They saw what the rest of us saw a few years ago with their dinosaur demo (x-demo I think it is) And now Far Cry is coming out on consoles and more then likely stay there. Splinter Cell started out on the PC, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon did as well and look what's happening to them?
No information about the PC version of Rainbow Six 4 for the PC even with E3 just gone by, Ghost Recon was canned, and the majority of the titles Ubisoft has planned are console games first, PC Games if they feel like it.

And Rayman isn't really a good example, considering it was and is first and foremost a CONSOLE TITLE.

At this point in time Ubisoft really should just come straight out and say 'Guess what folks, we are going to a console only market' and so the people who use to enjoy good SOLID franchises on the PC can better spend our time not looking through their forums trying to find out information about games that have been canceled.

 
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22. Re: No subject May 31, 2005, 02:33 Cochonou
 
It's actually to be pronounced [ybi], and not [ubi] (in international phonetic alphabet- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet).
That means the U of ubi is not really the sound "oo", but rather a sound that is quite uncommon (if not absent) in english. If you want to hear it, check http://www3.unileon.es/dp/dfm/flenet/courstourdumonde/HotPhonetique/yex1b.mp3 - it's in the first word (out of three) of the audio file.

The "i" is indeed pronounced "ee".

This comment was edited on May 31, 02:36.
 
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21. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 31, 2005, 01:10  Rob 
 
Don't blame the players, they're playing by the rules. Blame the game, namely capitalism, that they're all playing. In Capitalism, it's okay to screw everyone except the government, so long as you can justify it with profit.

Not entirely accurate, when it gets out of hand the antitrust laws kick in (that point it always a mystery). These laws are clearly “anti-capitalist” but they serve to keep capitalism from cannibalizing itself, which it will do if left unchecked. So, the players are playing by the rules, but only until the referee says they're not.

 
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20. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 31, 2005, 00:05 Sty
 
In Mother Russia, game plays you.

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19. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 23:09 G-Man
 
---Quote---
Gone are the good pubs like Microprose, the old Sierra/Dynamix, SSI, Origin/Jane's, and the old Lucasarts. They knew how to make good games on smaller budgets, then they were lured into the console-dev/pub world of million-unit-selling titles.
---End Quote---

Either those companies went out of business or they were about to and they decided to change their business model to save their britches. Unfortunately the games that most people in this thread seem to want aren't wanted by large masses of gamers, so it's tough to make a succesful company based on them. There is a niche there to fill though, and Ubi is one of the few publishers even trying to fill that niche these days. So those of you here should try and encourage them a bit as opposed to bash them (which most of you seem to be doing, despite liking the niche that they are attempting to support)

---Quote---
Almost all sims are made in Eastern Europe now! The devs in the US and UK are making console games or have left the biz.
---End Quote---

I've been working in the industry for over four years in a game acquistion role, and I can tell you first hand that most european developers/publishers don't have the slightest clue on how to make a game that will be succesful here in North America. Some come close and develop games that will be modest successes (Il-2 for example) and due to the cheaper labor in certain parts of europe it will make a publisher some money here in North America.

Ubi Soft is also a publisher that took a huge amount of risk paying Crytek to develop Far Cry. Crytek was a studio that had no games under it's belt, had never proven it could complete a game, yet Ubi went to bat for them and wrote them checks and fully supported Crytek because they recognized that they had something different that might just work out.

Though Ubi's lineup can sometimes be questioned (what exactly is Rayman anyway?) you can't question that they bring a diverse line-up to the table and they create some solid games (and they continue to support the niche strategy market as well).

This comment was edited on May 30, 23:10.
 
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18. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 21:05 sir
 
Sh3 was good, we'll see if there's an SH4 or anything.

Silent Hunter 4 has already been announced. Well, perhaps not officially, but I recall seeing something stating that wok was already underway on it in an Ubisoft press release.

This comment was edited on May 30, 21:06.
 
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17. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 19:19 aldo_14
 
Ubisoft is the next EA

Every publisher is the next EA - or wants to be........

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16. That's Right May 30, 2005, 18:08 Overon
 
As a general rule industry consolidation is not good for the consumer. Industry consolidation is when companies buy up their competitors and own them. So there are fewer players competing for your money. That's bad for the consumer, ie the gamer.

 
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15. No subject May 30, 2005, 18:02 Hump
 
anything to keep EA from getting anymore control in this industry is a good thing IMO.

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14. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 17:13 Jedi Master
 
Except they dropped Lock On. Pac Fighters was just an addon to Il-2 that grew too big for its britches and became a semi-sequel.
The upcoming Battle of Britain is the ONLY sim they have on their books now. Sh3 was good, we'll see if there's an SH4 or anything. I mean, I've yet to see SH3 at EB! It's at Walmart and Best Buy, though.
There's no doubt that both R6 and GR have been consolized to death--they are no longer going to be what made them famous on the PC, and later the consoles. They will instead be made-for-console crap.
EA has now removed coop and by extension any sort of decent SP from BF2...it will be like Joint Ops instead with SP only being "training."
I don't want EA to win, but I don't want Ubi to survive as is either. EA is typical "we're the top dog" crap and Ubi is "we'll fight to be top dog by doing the SAME crap as the top dog."
Gone are the good pubs like Microprose, the old Sierra/Dynamix, SSI, Origin/Jane's, and the old Lucasarts. They knew how to make good games on smaller budgets, then they were lured into the console-dev/pub world of million-unit-selling titles.

Almost all sims are made in Eastern Europe now! The devs in the US and UK are making console games or have left the biz.



The Jedi Master

 
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13. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 16:55 SquirrelZero
 
Stop pissing in our pools, EA

 
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12. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 16:06 Parallax Abstraction
 
What other publisher out there has released a sim in the last few years? Ubi developed one in house (SH3).

This is something I'll always give Ubisoft credit for. They also published Lock-On, Pacific Fighters and IL-2 Sturmovik. Yes, those games had their problems, but they were combat simulators and you don't see any other company putting those out. I agree with what some people are saying about how Ubisoft would gladly be the next EA if they could do it, but the fact is that competition benefits consumers. If EA takes over the world, expect prices to rise and quality and innovation to drop even lower (and I am quite sure we can go a lot lower yet.) The more companies there are vying for the casual gamer's dollar, the better.

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11. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 16:03 Parallax Abstraction
 
by the way how do you pronounce "ubi"? is U-B or U-BI?

You say it like "ooobee"

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10. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 15:39 4D-Boxing
 
The Half Elf,

You're 100% correct! I was going to post the same thing.

 
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9. Go Ubi May 30, 2005, 15:34 LG Orange Drink
 
Stay independent and come back around and kick EA's arse.

 
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8. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 15:11 DedEye
 
What other publisher out there has released a sim in the last few years? Ubi developed one in house (SH3).

On the topic of greed: corporations exist to make money. Don't blame the players, they're playing by the rules. Blame the game, namely capitalism, that they're all playing. In Capitalism, it's okay to screw everyone except the government, so long as you can justify it with profit.


 
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7. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 14:46 Fantaz
 
Even if EA gets Ubi, my money invested will still go up.

I still wouldn't like to see that happen as Ubisoft is one of the smartest game companies and EA would probably just dumb it down.

 
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6. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 14:45  famished 
 
Well they published Far Cry at least. Another company developed it.

 
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5. Re: Oh puhleeeze May 30, 2005, 14:44 Tehol
 
ghost recon was simplified version of rainbow six so what to destroy it?
if you are talking about gr2 for consoles then yes it was a betrayal but as a pc gamer get used to that. life would be much easy

by the way how do you pronounce "ubi"? is U-B or U-BI?

 
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