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To stay hip, Ubisoft buys Owlient, a free-to-play games developer


Zynga is making a lot of money publishing social games on Facebook like FarmVille and now everyone wants a piece of the action. Not content to be outdone by the likes of EA and Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft is now purchasing Owlient, a French developer specializing in Internet free-to-play games, reports the AP. Like its competitors, Ubisoft is having a go at publishing free online games that are filled with microtransactions. Owlient has built an infrastructure to help them do that.

“We are thrilled to welcome the talented team at Owlient to Ubisoft,” said Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot. “Over the last five years they have developed an architecture dedicated to delivering and monetizing games as a service, as well as the skills of attracting and retaining online communities…This acquisition is the next step in the acceleration of Ubisoft’s free-to-play strategy following last year’s launch of Settlers OnlineCSI Crime City and Heroes Kingdoms, as well as the recent beta launch of our ambitious title Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online.”

Owlient’s is also predictably excited about the deal: “Joining the Ubisoft team will allow us to accelerate our international business and to expand our expertise and our games to new platforms. It also lets us integrate our proven online services architecture with Ubisoft’s so that we can help grow their brands online,” said Olivier Issaly, CEO of Owlient. “We are proud of what our team has accomplished and confident that joining Ubisoft will allow us to continue that success. We’d also like to thank our shareholder Innovacom, who has accompanied the Owlient team over the years as we developed.”

Owlient is an interesting purchase. The company has gathered a userbase of 25 million to its self-titled service, which is headlined by games like Howrse, which lets you train and race ponies until they die of old age and are sent to heaven. We have not tested any of the publisher’s games, but if you’ve played any of Owlient’s titles, please let us know what you think. Is this a good move for Owlient? Ubisoft?

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