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Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot

The CEO talks making movies, Wii U and 25 years of Ubisoft

GamesIndustry.biz That's interesting because obviously we know AAA costs are incredibly high, what other kind of methods can you use to keep a handle on those development costs?
Yves Guillemot

The most important thing is to sell more, to have the chance to reach a larger audience. That's what we think is the best way to sell more. And to reach a larger audience if you have a TV series, and you have lots of other projects, or even if you go on a tablet or an iPhone they try your property there and they want to see more and get more into those universes. So you can take them to buy high end games.

GamesIndustry.biz So do you think development costs will continue to rise?
Yves Guillemot

Yes. I think so, on the high definition formats, yes. So we just have to make sure we get more revenue and diversify.

GamesIndustry.biz Going into movie and TV production, is that an admission that the AAA market isn't as profitable as it used to be?
Yves Guillemot

It has nothing to do with it. It's just we think that it's so easy to do, that it would be a shame not to try. The other thing which is important also is that when we do those movies or TV series, we take talent from that industry who are helping us to do a better job for the games. Really at the end of the day our goal is to make sure that we have better games with bigger worlds and universes and so on, and that we use all the many people around to achieve that goal.

GamesIndustry.biz Can I ask you about the current state of the European games market? Obviously you're a French publisher and have a much better insight than other publishers. What's your current assessment of the European games market in terms of console sales and software sales? Where are the strong regions, the slower regions?

I always like a new generation of consoles because it's really the best way for us to be more creative

Yves Guillemot

Yes, Europe has always been strong for Ubisoft. It has generally been more than 50 per cent, the US is generally the second market with a huge penetration and in Asia we are starting to grow there using the free to play model. That is allowing us to get rich new markets.

GamesIndustry.biz In Europe are there particular countries that are much stronger than others? Are there countries where sales have declined?
Yves Guillemot

The UK is declining quite fast. It's declining, if we don't take into account the digital revenue. When you take everything into account it's stable.

GamesIndustry.biz But the actual software, the boxed product...
Yves Guillemot

...is declining.

GamesIndustry.biz Do think there's anything console manufacturers can do to help that?
Yves Guillemot

I think it's really linked to quality of the games, the more new games we have the better. We need fresh machines from time to time so that people can go for it and like it.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you think a price cut on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 would help?
Yves Guillemot

This year they will continue to drop the price, I think so. Nintendo already announced that they will do price cuts...

GamesIndustry.biz With the Wii U coming out and PlayStation Vita, that's almost the start of a new generation of consoles. Are you ready for that move? Are you happy to be moving on to the new generation of consoles?
Yves Guillemot

I always like a new generation of consoles because it's really the best way for us to be more creative. It gives you lots of new ways to create. And also the gamers are more open to innovation when a new console is coming, they don't consider all the brands the same way, so they go after something completely new and they try it. When the machines have been there for a long time you can always improve and increase the quality, but you don't make revolutions in the way things are done.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you think the current market has become a little bit stagnant and it's time to move on...
Yves Guillemot

I think it is time, it is time. And that's why I'm very happy when Nintendo comes with a new console.

GamesIndustry.biz When do you think Sony and Microsoft might do something similar?
Yves Guillemot

I don't know, you should ask them. But I think they are going to get pressure from Nintendo.

GamesIndustry.biz I guess you're kind of investing in future technology as well, for future platforms although they've not been announced. You've got to have the money there to invest, is that the right assessment? That you've got money set aside to put in to creating new products for new technology.
Yves Guillemot

What we do is we always try to create a game that is going to help to create new technology. So it's always linked to a game or type of new game, new machine. So yes we are developing lots of technology, but that is all the time for the games we create.

GamesIndustry.biz Are you still interested in 3D? It seems to have lost a lot of buzz as a concept.
Yves Guillemot

Yes. Most of our games are going to be 3D.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you think 3D is pushing developers to be more creative in the products they make?
Yves Guillemot

I think the 3DS showed that you can have different experiences. It's just the beginning of the 3DS, it will take time because they didn't react as well as I thought they would react, because it has to be really tuned, but I think the experience when you can be more immersive is going to very interesting. Especially with characters, you feel the emotion in the characters you meet, 3D can help with that. So we'll see more and more 3D in the characters so that they can be more expressive and we can believe more in their emotion.

GamesIndustry.biz You're celebrating 25 years at Ubisoft this year, it's an incredible achievement, especially in such a volatile market. What has been the biggest achievements for Ubisoft over that time?
Yves Guillemot

I would say each console transition has been a challenge, each time. A challenge that also brought lots of new opportunities. And so each time a transition comes you know we don't only have the console changing but we have the iPad, the iPhone, Facebook and so on, and all those times have been challenging, but each time we were able to react and bring something that used all the capacities of the new possibilities, and I think that is what is the most interesting part of this industry. You have challenges and you have a team that is going after those challenges and succeeding in making different games that are taking all the possibilities or new ways of playing with your friends.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.