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Yves Guillemot

The Ubisoft CEO explains how the company is gearing up to be ready for new consoles and technology

With an amazing rate of growth and a portfolio of key core and casual titles, Ubisoft has been one of the industry's greatest success stories in the past decade.

But the past twelve months has proven tricky for the industry, so how has the French publisher fared? Here CEO Yves Guillemot explains why the company continues to open new studios and hire more staff, when others are doing the very opposite.

GamesIndustry.biz It's been a turbulent twelve months for the industry, during which time a number of publishers have made cuts to their business - yet Ubisoft responds by setting up a new studio in Singapore to grow to 400 staff, and another in Toronto to grow to 700... how is it such a different path to others?
Yves Guillemot

Well, it's not everyone else. Activision is growing fast, and there are some other publishers that are growing. So we try to be in that league, with the guys that create high quality games.

What we've seen is that there are still lots of opportunities in this industry, and we have to get ready for the next generation of consoles. I know each time I say that, everybody says that we don't know when they will come... but what we've seen is that when you don't actually have enough creators to make the games when the new consoles start, you can't take the time or have enough energy to use the capacity of those consoles.

So the goal is really to try to be there with a good team that's capable of using all the potential of those new consoles.

GamesIndustry.biz Obviously you'll talk to the platform holders about their future plans, but isn't there a risk that - particularly in the current climate - new consoles coming to market could be delayed, and you then have to bear that ramp-up cost for longer?
Yves Guillemot

For sure, it's a risk. What I've seen all the way in this industry is that without risk you have less success. You have to take risk to have a chance to succeed.

I believe that this industry will continue to grow fast, and that it will be a very large industry. I think it interactive entertainment will grow in picking up the businesses that are around, like the movie industry did a long time ago.

That's why we believe it's time to invest, because it's the right time to continue to expand the brands we're creating, and to make better games. Because we wanted to come here this year with another level of quality.

On some products last year we were not as happy as we wanted, so this time we've been investing more to make sure that everybody will be happy with the games that we launch.

GamesIndustry.biz How important is it that you have talent from all across the world? A number of publishers and developers have studios in different markets, but what's the draw for Ubisoft?
Yves Guillemot

It's extremely important first - because being influenced from the UK, from Germany, from North America... it's crucial in the games we create. Everybody is bringing their sensibilities and we see that more and more in the way that we do business and create games.

So there are some new tools or engines that are invented in one place that can be used in another, and you have people that can move from one place to another to create new projects.

And on some games we now create the main game in one place and parts of that game in other places. This gives us the chance to give more in a game - because our competitors are improving their quality all the time, so we have to be able to cope with that competition.

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