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Set-top boxes to become games platforms - Guillemot

Ubisoft CEO expects new interface developments, and more to come from Apple

Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, has revealed his belief that new technology will enable set-top boxes to become games platforms in the future, alongside new interface technology and new iterations of existing games consoles.

Speaking in an investor call following the full disclosure of the company's financial results, he first hinted at the possible changes to the platform landscape in one of the parts of the company's four-part plan: "Get ready for the future generation of consoles that are coming from many places."

When pushed on that statement he went on to explain further.

"Why I'm saying it's coming from many places is just because accessibility [is] something that a lot of people are working on," he said. "We will see more customers coming to the videogame industry, and they will not only come to the basic consoles like we have today, but they will start also to come on all the boxes that you see under the TVs.

"TV boxes will be more powerful, and with accessibility, will help to take more people. So we will see more consoles on which we will be able to put product.

"For the next generation of consoles, we can't give you approximate dates, but what we see is that there is lots of energy to improve the consoles that will be available in the next few years, and we are already working on some of the elements that will appear in the next few years."

And when asked to clarify his thoughts again, he added:

"What I wanted to say is that because you saw new interfaces with the Wii, with the Wiimote, and also with the DS, with the stylus, what we see for the future is that there will be also big announcements in interfaces. And it will not only happen on consoles, but it will also happen on those TV boxes as well. So this will help in fact games to be played on those boxes on top of the consoles that are available."

He also stated his belief that Apple will become a bigger player in the games business, over and above the iPhone platform.

"And on top we consider that there is a new entrant in the business, which is Apple with the iPhone, and we don't think they will stop there."

Ubisoft's headline financial information included profits that were down for the 2008 fiscal year by 37 per cent, on sales that were up by 14 per cent. The company's stock opened down just over 5 per cent this morning at EUR 13.93.

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