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PS3 and 360 close in capability, says Guillemot

Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft, has stated his belief that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are very close in terms of what is possible from a development perspective.

Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft, has stated his belief that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are very close in terms of what is possible from a development perspective.

He told the BMO Capital Markets conference yesterday that the two next-generation machines were "close in what we can do with them" and that while the PS3 has some elements that are better, the Xbox 360 has other advantages.

He also commented that he thought that the rest of this year "should be a great year for the PS3" in light of the price cut, a move he welcomed as one which would have a positive effect on sales.

Additionally he explained that in Ubisoft's experience, translating a game from the Xbox 360 platform to the PS3 took no extra effort than doing it the other way around.

"What we do now is create for the PS3 and 360 at the same time, and it doesn't cost more than 10 per cent extra to develop for the other machine.

"Before it was costing us more, about 20 per cent, just because it was difficult to learn the PS3 hardware, but now our engines are done and we can easily develop for both machines."

The company's chief financial officer, Alain Martinez, added some more detail on the cost of production and potential profits between the next-gen platforms and the Nintendo DS, which the company has been continuing to support heavily.

He explained that while titles for the Xbox 360 and PS3 might sell for around EUR 11 more than DS titles, they cost EUR 15-17 million to produce compared to an average of about EUR 500,000 for a DS game.

That means that while the company only needs to sell around 100,000 units to hit its average 22 per cent margin on direct costs for DS games, it needs to sell around 1.3 million for the same result with a next-gen game - even though gross margins on the DS are 6 per cent lower than for next-gen titles.

On the subject of in-game advertising, Guillemot believes that such revenue sources could account for up to 15 per cent of development costs in the future - although he wouldn't be drawn on whether or not that would affect the final price point of games.