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Ubisoft: Services are key to next-gen market growth

Ubisoft: Services are key to next-gen market growth

Fri 12 Jul 2013 8:01am GMT / 4:01am EDT / 1:01am PDT
HardwareDevelopment

Yves Guillemot believes "criticised" multimedia services are vital for attracting new customers

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot believes that the multimedia and non-gaming services on the next generation of consoles will be the key to expanding the market.

In an interview with CVG, Guillemot acknowledged that the broad, service focus of the new console hardware, "has been criticised a lot." While Guillemot didn't mention any console by name, the Xbox One attracted fierce criticism for its launch event, in which games appeared to take a back-seat to the system's TV services.

"We have a good advantage," he said. "The fact that those machines are more open to a larger public can help. Because if you look at the introduction of the PS2, it came with a DVD player and at first the tie ratio was 1 or 1.3, and everyone was saying it was a problem. But very quickly those people who bought the machine to watch DVDs started to buy games.

"So if we can find a way to increase the penetration via the other functionalities of the new machines, then we know that later they will buy games. It can be good for the industry to have machines that are broad enough, because it will give us a chance to put enough money to exploit all of the capabilities that those machines have."

Guillemot also championed the importance of connectivity and the cloud to game development in the coming generation. Ultimately, the true benefit of this online infrastructure will not be felt for "five years," but the growth of the market will depend on using it to improve the quality of games.

"[Growing the market] depends very much on how good we are as developers," Guillemot said. "If we can take advantage of the quality those machines bring, and if we can spend money, then I think we can make the business grow very fast."

4 Comments

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
While Guillemot didn't mention any console by name, the Xbox One attracted fierce criticism for its launch event, in which games appeared to take a back-seat to the system's TV services.
I thought that criticism was half correct and half wrong. It was half correct because obviously gamers were going to be the ones taking off work to tune in to the reveal to check out the new system and the thing they cared about the most was games. But it's half wrong because around half teh people on Xbox live(including half my friends list) use the 360 for equal parts watching tv/movie apps(Netflix, Hula, Crackle, etc) and equal parts gaming. So Microsoft expanding on the non-gaming applications of the system shouldn't have necessarily been criticized by itself. But Microsoft should have perhaps saved the overwhelming tv presentation for a later date after the initial reveal.

Posted:A year ago

#1

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
So features that are only regionally available (and in most regions not available) and not present in any form on day 1 (seriously, MS doesn't even seem to know what they're shipping and Sony isn't implementing anything "new" at launch) are going to expand the market?

I'll believe it when I see it.

In my opinion, the problem with expanding the market isn't going to be solved by the end-point devices we want consumers to purchase. You don't get very many people going instantly from being a non-golfer to a "3-times a week country club member" very often... instead you get people going to the driving range and borrowing a club and balls from the company followed by incremental purchases (if they like the sport!) to the point where they are comfortable.

Mobile and tablets are the game industry's driving ranges - they generally provide short, cheap and "shallow" thrills that enable people to get into the gaming mentality. If they want to progress beyond that then maybe they buy a portable system or a cheap last gen console with lots of games packed in*. Then they get a mid-gen current console and start buying used or discounted (e.g. second releases of titles on Platinum label) games... then finally you get a month 1 buyer who is invested in an ecosystem or company.

The extra features like movie/TV series rentals et al. are bonuses to the gamer - not the other way around (i.e. gaming isn't a bonus to the non-gamer) - and if a non-gamer wants to have a system to watch movies and TV on then they can have cheaper options (already existing software on owned PC/tablet) and similarly priced options that offer other functionality that they would utilise (new purchase of a tablet or laptop with productivity software and quality internet browsing).

*Which is, by the way, a huge gap in the market which is currently only served by second hand sales...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 15th July 2013 7:08am

Posted:A year ago

#2

Heloise Thomson Research Analyst, Enders Analysis

3 6 2.0
But very quickly those people who bought the machine to watch DVDs started to buy games.
Perhaps that was true for the PS2, although it would be the first i'd heard of it, but i'm not so sure that applied to the PS3. Yes non-gamers bought the machine for it's VOD services and DVD/blu-ray player, but i'm highly sceptical that any of them transitioned into gaming. Why would they? There are no placed incentives on the dashboard to encourage non-gamers to become gamers (the PSStore is at the end of a long line of services), and all the games are far too expensive to experiment with. Non-gamers become gamers by trying out gaming on their friend's boxes. it doesn't just happen because you happen to have the hardware and you walk past COD in HMV and think "oh, why not?". The notion that anyone is going to buy the Xbox One or the PS4 for TV services and then decide to give gaming (beyond anything casual and cheap) a go is foolish nonsense.
So if we can find a way to increase the penetration via the other functionalities of the new machines, then we know that later they will buy games.
He can't possibly believe this!

Posted:A year ago

#3

David Serrano Freelancer

300 272 0.9
But very quickly those people who bought the machine to watch DVDs started to buy games.
Oh come on...that's absolute nonsense! In 2000, the price of a decent DVD player had dropped to $100 or less while a PS2 was $300. So why on earth would anyone who had no interest in games buy a game console which was three or four times more expensive... just to watch movies? Its like claiming people who can't drive will buy cars for the MP3 player.

Oy... *facepalm*

Posted:A year ago

#4

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