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Chris Early: Ubisoft has grown social talent, not bought it

Digital VP says find people who want to make social titles

Ubisoft's vice president of digital publishing, Chris Early, has made a taken a thinly veiled swing at EA's acquisition of Playfish and Popcap by championing Ubisoft's policy of growing existing studios into social developers instead of paying to buy external ones.

Speaking to Venturebeat, Early espoused the policies which have lead to the imminent release of Ghost Recon Commander on Facebook to accompany the PC and console release of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

"More than a dozen," Early replied when asked how many Facebook games the publisher had produced. "And I say that with the proud bruises that go along with that because most of those games were learning experiences for us.

"We've taken a route with Ubisoft of building our talents from within. We haven't gone out and spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying a company or something along those lines. We've used our 26 studios around the world that we have; we've found out who's interested in making these kinds of games. Some were interested at one point but aren't anymore because they realize it takes a different mentality making a console game than it is making a game that's a service, like a Facebook game should be.

"Yet there are some studios that are doing it well - that like it. They've helped us move forward with that. It's been a learning process for us, both from a development standpoint and from the operational side of things."

Nonetheless, Ubisoft did hire an external studio to make Commander, contracting John Romero and Linda Brathwaite's Loot Drop to build the game.

"About half of the games we make are made internally and about half of them are made with external partners," Early continued.

"What that really brings us is the ability to develop the talents internally - from a development standpoint and certainly from an operational standpoint - and still get the freshest amount of influx that we can from people who are experts in the field. In the case of Loot Drop, I think we're very fortunate because we have a company that has solid social gaming skills and has a deep background in hardcore games. For us, they were the perfect match."

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