Ubisoft Chief Considers Game-Based Movies, Acquisitions

Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a French video-game publisher, is developing movies and television series based on its products and expects this to boost revenues and volume as of 2013.

Three films based on the “Assassin’s Creed,” “Splinter Cell” and “Ghost Recon” games are being discussed with studios, Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said today in an interview at the Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany. TV programs, including one based on Ubisoft’s “Rabbids” game, are about to be financed and the French company is completing deals with broadcasters that will be announced soon, he said.

“With movies and TV series, we can pick up new customers that get to know the characters of the games,” encouraging more people to play, Guillemot said.

Game developers are under pressure to seek new sources of income as revenue from products made for consoles stagnates. Ubisoft, based in the Paris suburb of Montreuil-Sous-Bois, said in July that it bought online-game developer Owlient, whose “Howrse” has about 2 million users and which is widening offerings on Facebook Inc.’s social-networking platform.

Looking at Acquisitions

Ubisoft is targeting the social, mobile and online games markets and is looking for acquisitions to boost revenue from those segments, Guillemot said. He declined to say how much the company could spend on acquisitions. A game on Facebook based on the recently released animated movie, The Smurfs, has 4 million average monthly users and is adding 200,000 players daily, making it the best-selling game in the last two weeks, he said.

Success for new game consoles such as Sony Corp.’s handheld Playstation Vita, due out in Japan later this year, or Nintendo Co.’s next-generation Wii U will depend strongly on the quality of the titles available when the units are introduced, Guillemot said.

“With the new generation of consoles, there are new interfaces, new ways to play,” he said “This alone will create new brands.”

Ubisoft has made six games for the Vita that will come out “around and after” the console’s introduction. The French company has five products in development for the Wii U, including versions of “Assassin’s Creed” and “Killer Freaks” as well as a dancing game, Guillemot said.

The company will continue to invest in games for consoles, but spending is “stabilizing” rather than increasing, he said.

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