Ubisoft had a good sales year, but its finances don’t show it. The French publisher posted a net loss of $74 million on sales of $1.4 billion for the last year–its second yearly loss in a row. However, out of the financial wreckage, CEO Yves Guillemot gave us a few hints at Ubisoft’s strategy going forward. The plan: yearly sequels to major franchises, more casual games, and a secret PC game. Guillemot is also very excited about Nintendo’s next console, which will be officially debuted at this year’s E3.
Assassin’s Creed for all
Publishers are always looking for reliable, easy, cheap hits. Assassin’s Creed has proven to be a cash machine for Ubisoft, continuing to sell strongly despite the fact that the company has released nine versions of it since 2007, with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations on the way later this year. Looking to replicate the massive success EA has with sports titles and Activision has had with Call of Duty, Ubisoft will attempt to turn more of its franchises into yearly endeavors, reports GiantBomb.
“What is impressive with the release year after year of Assassin’s Creed is our ability to deliver every time with a high level of innovation and creativity in a large and very diverse open world,” bragged Guillemot. “There is no other open world console game that is coming on a yearly basis. This is achieved through great execution by providing more resources and by putting in place a very compelling network of leads and associate studios…We are applying the very [same] product template to our other strong franchises to bring them back to Assassin’s Creed blockbuster profitable status.”
Ubisoft has already stated that it is not planning to develop any new IPs (Intellectual Properties) until the next generation of consoles (although it will still act as publisher for several), so it looks like we can expect a lot more Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Far Cry, Driver, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six titles in the near future.
Casual games and a secret
Guillemot also reaffirmed Ubisoft’s commitment to casual games, claiming that sales of its dance titles have helped boost revenue significantly. It also revealed a number of upcoming online releases, reports GameSpy: Beyond Good & Evil (PSN), Child of Eden (Kinect), Cubic Ninja (3DS), The Michael Jackson Experience (Move and Kinect), Might & Magic Clash of Heroes (PSN and XBLA), and Outland (PSN and XBLA).
The CEO also spoke about a secret PC game Ubisoft plans to reveal soon. “In the coming days, we will officially announce an ambitious project on PC based on one of our top gamer franchises that will illustrate our capacity to take advantage of new business models,” he said. Any idea what this game could be?
Nintendo Wii 2 / Project Cafe
Finally, in an investor’s call later in the day yesterday, Guillemot spoke highly of Nintendo’s upcoming console, reports Eurogamer.
“The platform Nintendo is coming with is really a fantastic platform. We think it will be extremely successful,” said Guillemot. “What we see is that we will be able to leverage a lot of the work we do for Xbox 360 and PS3 while we create games for the platform. So we will not have to redo completely the games that we create. We’ll be able to use all the capacity the console is giving but also use all the work we do for the other platforms.”
This suggests that the Wii 2 is on par, or even slightly more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo may also be taking steps to smooth the porting process so that, unlike the Wii, developers can easily bring multiplatform titles to its next console. Though development is much cheaper on Wii than the PS3 and X360, due to their difference in power and the Wii’s motion control, many developer’s have had to spend considerable resources making unique experiences for the system. This strategy has made the Wii, like most Nintendo systems before it, into a console where only games developed by Nintendo itself, sell excessively well. There aren’t a lot of notable 3rd party Wii games to get excited about.
If only he could tell us how many screens the controllers have.