Ubisoft has been capturing attention at E3 with a number of new games and new IP for both existing and next-gen consoles. At a Ubisoft-sponsored dinner Sunday night, attended by GamesIndustry International, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and other executives spoke with assembled journalists and answered a number of questions about the company's plans.
One of the major areas of concern for journalists was the question of whether or not to restrict used game sales. We now know that Sony has no restrictions in place on used titles, but Guillemot was asked what he thought of Microsoft's decision to leave it up to publishers to possibly charge an additional fee for used games. "What I like is because they are not taking a fee, it will give us the option to work out what service we have to give," said Guillemot. "It's a good thing they are not taking any fee. We have not decided yet; we are waiting to see what Sony will do, and then we will decide after that. For us it is too early to take a position on that; we are really watching what the three players are doing."
Given that Guillemot had been waiting on Sony's stance towards used titles, we'd wager a guess that Ubisoft won't be making any plans to charge any fees.
Guillemot, however, doesn't see a problem with Microsoft's stance per se. "I think it's good Microsoft gave us their position, so we actually know what they are going to do," said Guillemot. When queried if Ubisoft had known about Microsoft's position in advance, he said they didn't know exactly what they would decide.
"I think it has been good for the industry; what we have to make sure is there has not been too much money lost in between"Yves Guillemot
People's reactions to the used games controversy have been fierce, but Guillemot said he understands it. "I think it's so intense because lots of people are buying a game, reselling it and buying another one. It has a very positive impact on the industry, because it keeps customers with the possibility of buying many games. Then it's not only two or three games they can buy, and they have an idea of the industry with only a few experiences. It gives them a chance to play more games, to be able to make some mistakes from time to time. I think it has been good for the industry; what we have to make sure is there has not been too much money lost in between.
GamesIndustry International also asked Guillemot if development costs for next-gen console games are increasing as much as some people had feared, or whether the tools are getting better and helping to keep those costs in check. "In the first two years I expect the costs to remain the same, because we will have the advantage of having better machines so we will not have to compress data as much," Guillemot noted. "We can take advantage of the of the power of those machines. But quickly, in two years we will have to spend more money to take advantage of all the possibilities of the machines. It can grow quite fast. What will be interesting is we will be able to create data that we will be able to use in other places, because we are getting closer and closer to what you can see on linear movies. I think we will have a chance to re-use data."
Guillemot sees the next-gen consoles as more than just better graphics, and that also means more costs down the road. "I am calling this generation the double evolution," Guillemot said. "We have one which is coming with graphics and power, and on the other side we have all the social elements, UGC (user generated content), tracking and better ways to let people get into the games."
Guillemot's vision for the future is using mobile platforms to let people access the games. "All those parts will be quite expensive as well to master and after the game is launched, to support," Guillemot pointed out. "So we will have lots of costs there, but this will bring far better quality in terms of the immersion, the capacity to play with your friends, and to have games that can last a lot longer."
Read what Guillemot says about Ubisoft's marketing spending and more at [a]list daily.