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Killer instinct: Ubi is vindicated by Brotherhood boom

Franchise hits 20m and is firm’s fastest-selling European game  Ten-year plan for the brand

by Michael French EUROPEAN sales of

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood have led the brand past the 20m milestone – and proved wrong those doubters at retail, says Ubisoft. Speaking last week as MCVuk.comrevealed the game hit 1m copies sold across Europe (‘Brotherhood makes a killing in Europe’, MCV Newsflash, November 26th, Newslfash), EMEA sales and marketing chief Geoffroy

Assassin’s Creed is our biggest franchise. We will continue to invest in it.

“ Geoffroy Sardin, Ubisoft

Sardin said the success silenced those who thought the third game wasn’t a true sequel to last year’s ACII. “At first retailers were unsure – they didn’t realise it was a full sequel, not just ‘AC2.5’,” he said.

“But slowly through PR and discussions with them we have proven this is a new Assassin’s Creedand a completely sequel, not just an add-on. The sales bear that out now, and retailers tell us they are very confident in it.” Brotherhoodsold over 1m copies across Europe in less than a week, making it the publisher’s fastest-selling game ever in the territory, and its biggest franchise overall.

Now the publisher wants to maintain the momentum behind the franchise – DLC packs will increase the excitement around Brotherhood’s multiplayer modes as the wait for a follow-up begins. “We will have good surprises for players in the weeks and months to come,” said Sardin. “And next year we will have another big Assassin’s Creedgame. “Assassin’s Creedis our biggest franchise now, and we will invest to keep it big for the next few years – and maybe the next ten years.”



WHEN Satoru Iwata said that the Wii controller would spark a ‘revolution’ in video games, he wasn’t wrong. The motion-controller shook the industry, upended people’s attitude towards Nintendo and reached out to thousands of non- gamers and anti-gamers.

Such was the speed of this revolution, that Sony and Microsoft were left for dust – they are only now catching up, with their impressive-in-their-own-way Move and Kinect. The revolution hit everyone. Everyone except retail, that is.

Sure, stores saw greater footfall from the Wii and DS boom, but not much was done to keep them there. The ranges stayed the same – racks and racks of games, sorted by a chart or, worse, a messy mix of face-out and spine-out displays. It’s hugely unwelcoming to the untrained eye. Nintendo’s right to point out this weak link. It could have (rightly so!) come out this week with much harder comments on how its Wii and DS ranges are mistreated. But instead it has come out of the game with a solution from the off. For one thing, it wants to install touch screen devices in retail spaces, introducing the innovation it pioneered over five years ago to store shelves. Genius move – and hopefully something retailers will quickly listen to, and learn from.


CUT BOTH WAYS I DON’T think anyone in the industry is kidding themselves as to the challenges retailers have faced in 2010. Every interview I’ve conducted of late starts with a dour acknowledgement of the pressures in the market. So I’m sure everyone appreciates the fears mounting at every level over January’s VAT hike.

Unfortunately, retailers can’t have their cake and eat it.

As one of those very interview subjects (anonymously, mind) says on the cover – they can’t be crying foul over supposed silence around the VAT rise, when a large chunk didn’t pass saving on when VAT was temporarily cut. Yes, the 20 per cent rise is permanent – but that calls for retailers and publishers to thrash out a likewise long-term permanent solution, not assume the worst.


December 3rd 2010 5

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