Console market "not supporting full range of products," says Ubisoft
"Games that are not triple-A are not profitable"; publisher cautious of new IP as console cycle has peaked
The home console market is no longer supporting alternative products for big publishers, leaving only blockbuster titles to break the top ten and become profitable.
Thatís according to Ubisoft Euro MD Alain Corre, who told GamesIndustry.biz that itís safer to invest in one AAA title rather than hedge bets on a handful of smaller productions.
"The games that are not triple-A are not profitable anymore," said Corre in an interview published today. "And thatís changed in the last 18 months.
"When you have a triple-A blockbuster it costs more money to develop, but at the end of the day thereís also the chance of a good return on it because thereís a concentration at the top of the charts. To a certain extent it becomes less risky to invest more in a single game or franchise than spreading your investment between three or four games. Because if those three or four games are not at the right quality level, you are sure to lose money," said Corre.
"So the business model has changed and weíre changing our way of making hardcore games. With hardcore games that weíre not sure are reaching the right level, we stop work on them. And thatís why we concentrate more on key franchises, because thatís what the market wants - something new with huge quality production behind it. The market is not supporting the full range of product that it used to anymore."
Although the French publisher has brought new IP to market successfully this generation with Assassinís Creed, Corre said that upcoming strategy game RUSE might be the last new franchise from Ubisoft until a new generation of home consoles, as establishing new brands is proving too expensive.
"It is more difficult now. To launch a new IP you have to invest much, much more marketing to establish it, and if you add up the huge costs of development plus the investment in marketing you cannot be 100 per cent sure the target audience youíd expect, which is needed for the comeback on the investment.
"Especially in this part of the cycle of the consoles, we are cautious now to introduce new brands. Weíll concentrate on the ones we have and make sure we bring them to the next level in terms of quality."
The full interview with Alain Corre, where he also discusses his view on monetising console multiplayer, can be read here.