Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says the next 12 months will be a ‘turning point’ year for the publisher
Fledgling free-to-play projects stood side-by-side with big budget blockbusters and even more Just Dance at Ubisoft’s E3 showcase this week. CEO Yves Guillemot tells Christopher Dring why a combination of online and core games is making 2012 one of the publisher’s most exciting years so far
JUST OVER one year ago, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot fired a warning shot at EA and Activision. The resolute yet softly-spoken
Frenchmen told MCVthat Ubisoft was on a trajectory to become the No.1 publisher in the world. Today, he’s not so sure. “The market is changing,” he says.
“We now have a lot of new players coming in. What we see is that the overall industry is growing fast, so it is very important to expand in these different fields. I said [we could be No.1] when we had a specific market. But today we are re-examining. Maybe we will be No.1. I don’t know. I have to look at this ‘new world’ to see what we can do there.” This isn’t Guillemot giving up on that No.1 dream. But rather an
16 June 8th 2012 “
We have been dancing for thousands of years, so there’s no reason the Just Dance series will slow down.
Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft
admission that today his competitors aren’t just Activision and EA. It is Zynga. Bigpoint. Rovio. He adds: “It is good to have more competition and more potential. These companies will help this industry attract more customers. We have been waiting a long time to hit mass market, and it’s happened. We now build machines that are accessible. Look at Wii U, iPhone and Samsung Note, all of these devices reach more people and are easy to play on. There are a ton of opportunities out there thanks to them.”
Indeed, Guillemot is in a buoyant mood ahead of his E3 conference. If he – like many in the games industry – is feeling the pressure from an
uncertain games market, he’s doing an impressive job of hiding it. Part of his positivity comes from the £30m profit Ubisoft made in its fiscal year. Not bad for a firm that made several commercial and critical risks last year, from psychedelic shooter Child of Eden and stylish 2D platformer Rayman Origins, to new downloadable IP From Dustand I Am Alive. But that was last year. It’s the next 12 months that will act as a ‘turning point’ for Ubisoft. “A lot of the work we have been doing over the past couple of years is really coming to life now,” he says. “We have good quality and lots of diversity in the portfolio, which is targeting more people than before. That is what is helping the company