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Ubisoft enters football market backed by Pelé

Publisher signs football icon for Wii title as it continues to push into sports genre

French publisher Ubisoft has signed sports icon Pelé to front its first entry into the lucrative football genre.

Academy of Champions is a football title for Nintendo's Wii, and highlights the continued efforts by Ubisoft to take a chunk of the market currently dominated by Electronic Arts' FIFA and Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer brands.

"We made our mark in the sports genre last year with the global success of Shaun White Snowboarding," offered Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft. "Now, with Academy of Champions, Ubisoft offers another sports game with a fresh approach that has something unique to offer young gamers and sports fans."

Breaking into new genres is central to Ubisoft's growth plans. Its Shaun White Snowboarding title has notched up over 2 million units sales to date.

The signing of Brazil's national hero Pelé will help market the arcade sports title, which also uses the Wii Balance Board and Wii MotionPlus, and has been developed internally at Ubisoft Vancouver.

"Football is a sport that is universally celebrated by all citizens of the world," added Pelé. "Working with Ubisoft to continue to promote the sport has been a wonderful experience. It is a thrill to continue to inspire a new generation of fans through an entertainment medium that introduces them to the exciting world of football."

The game is due for release in 2009.

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