Ubisoft

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Ubisoft Entertainment S.A.
Type Société anonyme
Traded as EuronextUBI
Industry Video games
Interactive entertainment
Founded 1986
Headquarters Montreuil[1], France
Key people Yves Guillemot
(Chairman & CEO)
Products Assassin's Creed series
Beyond Good & Evil series
Brothers in Arms series
Call of Juarez series
Driver series
Far Cry series
Just Dance series
Prince of Persia series
Rayman series
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Settlers series
Tom Clancy's The Division
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series
Trials series
Watch Dogs
Revenue Decrease 1.007 billion (2013)[2]
Operating income Decrease €-75 million (2013)[2]
Net income Decrease €-66 million (2013)[2]
Employees 9,200 (2013)[1]
Divisions Ubisoft Motion Pictures
Subsidiaries List of Ubisoft's subsidiaries
Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft Montpellier
Ubisoft Milan
Ubisoft Red Storm
Ubisoft Reflections
Ubisoft Massive
RedLynx
Ubisoft Paris
Ubisoft Annecy
Ubisoft Blue Byte
Ubisoft Toronto
Ubisoft Shanghai
Website www.ubi.com
www.ubisoftgroup.com

Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. (/ˈjuːbsɒft/ YOO-bee-soft EuronextUBI) is a French multinational video game developer and publisher, headquartered in Montreuil, France.[1] It is known for developing games for several acclaimed video game franchises including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Ghost Recon, Just Dance, Rainbow Six, Prince Of Persia, Rayman and Splinter Cell.

Company details[edit]

Ubisoft is the third-largest independent game publisher in the world, trailing Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA).[1] Ubisoft Entertainment S.A’s worldwide presence includes 29 studios in 19 countries.[1] The company has subsidiaries in 26 countries.[3] Ubisoft's largest development studio is Ubisoft Montreal in Canada, which employs about 2,100 people.[4]

In Ubisoft’s 2008–2009 fiscal year, the company’s revenue was €1.256 billion, reaching the 1 billion euro milestone for the first time in the company’s history. Ubisoft created its own film division, called Ubisoft Motion Pictures, which creates shows and films based on the company’s games.[5]

History[edit]

The head office in Montreuil, near Paris

In March 1986, five brothers of the Guillemot family founded a computer game publisher, Ubisoft, in Carentoir, a small village located in the Morbihan department of the Brittany region, in France.[6] Yves Guillemot soon made deals with Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line, and MicroProse to distribute their games in France. By the end of the decade, Ubisoft began expanding to other markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.[7] They also entered the video game distribution and wholesale markets, and by 1993 they had become the largest distributor of video games in France.[8] In the early 90s, Ubisoft initiated its in-house game development program, which led to the 1994 opening of a studio in Montreuil, France. It later became their administrative and commercial head office, even as the company continues to register its headquarters in Rennes. Ubisoft became a publicly traded company in 1996 and continued its expansion around the globe, opening locations in Annecy, Shanghai, Montreal and Milan.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ubisoft committed itself to online games by supporting Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, The Matrix Online, and the European and Chinese operation of EverQuest. The publisher established an online division. However, in February 2004, Ubisoft cancelled the online portion of Uru and backed out of the publishing deal on The Matrix Online.

The company is noted for its teams of female game developers/testers, known as the Frag Dolls.

In March 2001, Gores Technology Group sold The Learning Company’s entertainment division (which includes games originally published by Brøderbund, Mattel, Mindscape and Strategic Simulations, Inc.) to them. The sale included the rights to Intellectual properties such as the Myst and Prince of Persia series.[9] In July 2006, Ubisoft bought the Driver franchise from Atari for a sum of €19 million (US$24 million) in cash for the franchise, technology rights, and most assets. In July 2008, Ubisoft made the acquisition of Hybride Technologies, a Montreal-based studio renowned for its expertise in the creation of visual effects for cinema, television and advertising. In November 2008, Ubisoft acquired Massive Entertainment from Activision.[10] In January 2013, Ubisoft acquired South Park: The Stick of Truth from THQ for $3.265 million.

In December 2004, rival gaming corporation Electronic Arts purchased a 19.9% stake in the firm, an action Ubisoft referred to as "hostile" on EA’s part.[11]

Ubisoft announced plans in 2013 to invest $373 million into its Quebec operations over seven years, a move that will generate 500 additional jobs in the province.

The publisher is investing in the expansion of its motion capture technologies, and consolidating its online games operations and infrastructure in Montreal.

The significant investment is expected to generate 500 jobs in Quebec over a seven year period. By 2020, the company will employ more than 3,500 staff at its studios in Montreal and Quebec City.[12]

Studios[edit]

As the world’s third largest independent video game company, Ubisoft studios employs the second largest amount of in-house development staff in the world and has several divisions and offices across the globe.[1] While some were founded by Ubisoft, others have been acquired over time:

Current
Defunct
  • Sinister Games, acquired in April 2000, closed in June 2003.[14]
  • Ubisoft São Paulo, started on 24 June 2008 and on 20 January 2009 they acquired Southlogic Studios and integrated it into this studio.[32] The studios were closed in late 2010 to focus on games distribution.[33]
  • Ubisoft Vancouver, started on 3 February 2009 after acquiring Action Pants Inc.[34] Closed in January 2012.[35]
  • Wolfpack Studios in Austin, Texas, United States, founded in 1999 and acquired on 1 March 2004. Closed in 2006.[36]
  • Ubisoft Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland, founded in Summer 2011[37] to develop a Free to Play MMO. Closed in October 2013.[38]

Games[edit]

Main article: List of Ubisoft games
Ukrainian Ubidays 2008 – Characters from Ubisoft "Rayman Raving Rabbids" series of games. Three of them dressed as characters from other Ubisoft games – "Prince of Persia: Prodigy", "Splinter Cell" and "Assassins Creed".

Besides publishing their own games, Ubisoft is also publishing famous franchises produced by other important studios for some specific platforms, such as Resident Evil 4 for PC and Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon for the PlayStation 2.

Uplay[edit]

Main article: Uplay

Uplay is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications service created by Ubisoft.

Controversies[edit]

Ubisoft had, for a time, used the controversial StarForce copy protection technology that installs drivers on a system and is known to cause hardware and compatibility issues with certain operating systems. On 14 April 2006, Ubisoft confirmed that they would stop using StarForce on their games, citing complaints from customers.[39]

In January 2010, Ubisoft announced the Online Services Platform, U-Play, which forces customers to not only authenticate on the first game launch, but to remain online continually while playing, with the game even pausing if network connection is lost. This makes it impossible to play the game offline, to resell it, and means that should Ubisoft’s servers go down, the game will be unplayable.[40] In 2010, review versions of Assassin’s Creed II and Settlers 7 for the PC contained this new DRM scheme, confirming that it is already in use, and that instead of pausing the game, it would discard all progress since the last checkpoint or save game.[41] However, subsequent patches for Assassin’s Creed II allow the player to continue playing once their connection has been restored without lost progress.[42]

In March 2010, outages to the Ubisoft DRM servers were reported, causing about 5% of legitimate buyers to be unable to play Assassin’s Creed II and Silent Hunter 5 games.[43][44] Ubisoft initially announced this was the result of the number of users attempting to access their servers to play, but later claimed that the real cause of the outages were denial-of-service attacks.[43][44][45] In August 2011, Ubisoft released From Dust with DRM protection, contrary to previous statements that the game would not have any DRM related restrictions. After several months, the DRM had still not been removed from copies of the game.[46]

In the February 2008 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, editor-in-chief Dan "Shoe" Hsu asserted that Ubisoft had ceased to provide Ubisoft titles to EGM for coverage purposes as a result of prior critical previews and negative reviews.[47][48] Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, was quoted in the company’s third-quarter 2008–09 sales report as saying "as some of our games did not meet the required quality levels to achieve their full potential, they need more sales promotions than anticipated."[49] The company’s use of Aaron Priceman, also known as Mr. Caffeine, as a spokesman at E3 2011 was criticized for his reliance on popular internet references, inability to pronounce Tom Clancy (he pronounced it Tom Culancy), sexual innuendos and imitations of video game sound effects with little to no response from the audience.[50]

On 2 July 2013, Ubisoft announced a major breach in its network resulting in the potential exposure of up to 58 million accounts including usernames, email address and encrypted passwords. Although the firm denied any credit/debit card information could have been compromised, it issued directives to all registered users to change their account passwords and also recommended updating passwords on any other website or service where a same or similar password had been used.[51][52] All the users who registered were emailed by the Ubisoft company about the breach and a password change request. Ubisoft promised to keep the information safe.[53]

After revealing Assassin's Creed Unity at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014, Ubisoft came in for criticism from the gaming community shortly after revealing that the game would not support female characters in co-op gameplay. The criticism was inflamed after they explained the absence of a female co-op or playable character in Far Cry 4: according to Ubisoft Montreal, they were close to making it possible when the decision was taken that they didn't have the right animations for a female character.[54] Among the responses were comments from developers that the explanations given were not valid. Among them were the fact that the protagonists of Assassin's Creed III and its spin-off game Liberation shared a large amount of movement animations. There were also statements that characters in video games tended to move in a similar fashion regardless of gender.[55] An animation director for Assassin's Creed III also said that the stated reasons of workload and animation replacement didn't hold up, saying that it would be "a day or two's work" to create a female character model.[54]

Modder "TheWorse" of guru3d.com has discovered that the Ubisoft title Watch_Dogs still contains files from the graphically better E3 2012 demo. The files restore bloom and lens flare effects as well as new explosive effects.[56]

Lawsuits[edit]

  • In 2008, Ubisoft sued Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM), a DVD duplication company for $25 million plus damages for the leak and distribution of the PC version of Assassin’s Creed. The lawsuit claims that OEM did not take proper measures to protect its product as stated in its contract with Ubisoft. The complaint also alleges that OEM admitted to all the problems in the complaint.[57]
  • In April 2012, Ubisoft was sued by the author of the book Link, John L. Beiswenger, who alleged a copyright infringement for using his ideas in the Assassin’s Creed franchise and demanding $5.25 million in damages and wanted to stop the release of Assassin’s Creed III that was set to be released in October 2012 along with any future games that allegedly contain his ideas.[58] On 30 May 2012, Beiswenger dropped the lawsuit. Beiswenger was later quoted as saying he believes "authors should vigorously defend their rights in their creative works," and suggested that Ubisoft’s motion to block future lawsuits from Beiswenger hints at their guilt.[59]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "About Ubisoft - Facts & Figures". Ubisoft Group. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ubisoft Group / Investor Center / Earnings & Sales". 
  3. ^ Les Grands Noms du jeux vidéo Numéro 2 : Michel Ancel : Biographie d'un créateur de jeux vidéo français Édition Pix'N Love
  4. ^ "Questions about Ubisoft Montreal – Topic Powered by eve community". 
  5. ^ Griffin, McElroy. "Ubisoft launching film studio focused on game adaptations". Joystiq. 
  6. ^ Games, Games and More Games. Start (Atarimagazines.com) 3 (8). March 1989. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "History". Ubisoft. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Behind the Screens at Ubi Soft of France!". Electronic Gaming Monthly (54) (EGM Media, LLC). January 1994. p. 174. 
  9. ^ "Ubi Soft Acquires The Learning Company’s Entertainment Division". GameZone. 7 March 2001. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Ubisoft acquires the assets of Massive Entertainment" (Press release). Ubisoft. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2009. 
  11. ^ Feldman, Curt (20 December 2004). "Electronic Arts buys stake in Ubisoft in "hostile" act". GameSpot. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  12. ^ Ubisoft investing $370m in Quebec operations | Latest news from the game development industry | Develop
  13. ^ "Ubisoft Acquires Future Games of London". Ubisoftgroup.com. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "History for Ubisoft Entertainment SA". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Ubisoft acquires Sunflowers, takes stake in Related Designs". Spong. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  16. ^ "Ubisoft Acquires SunFlowers, Anno Franchise". Gamasutra. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2007. 
  17. ^ a b Sliwinski, Alexander (26 October 2011). "Ubisoft expands to Abu Dhabi". Joystiq. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  18. ^ Ho, Jennifer (9 February 2001). "Ubi Soft acquires Blue Byte Software". Gamespot. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  19. ^ "Related Designs Software GmbH". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  20. ^ Ubisoft Opens Second China Shop – GameSpot
  21. ^ Chengdu Investment News
  22. ^ "Ubisoft Divertissements Inc.". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  23. ^ "Ubisoft Montreal enters into an agreement to acquire Microids Canada’s development operations". Ubisoft. 2 March 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  24. ^ "Ubisoft Nagoya – About Us" (in Japanese). Ubisoft Nagoya. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  25. ^ "UBISOFT OUVRE OFFICIELLEMENT SES PORTES À QUÉBEC" (in French). Ubisoft. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "Ubi Soft Acquires Red Storm Entertainment". Blue’s News. 29 August 2000. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  27. ^ Sharma, Money (17 June 2008). "Q & A with Ubisoft Singapore Managing Director Olivier de Rotalier". Animation Xpress. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  28. ^ "Ubisoft Extends Global Reach Opening New Studio In Toronto" (Press release). Ubisoft. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "Ubisoft Appoints Jade Raymond As Head of Toronto Studio" (Press release). Ubisoft. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  30. ^ Nutt, Christian (25 May 2010). "Ubisoft Unveils Toronto Studio, Splinter Cell Project". Gamasutra. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "Ubisoft brings online middleware dev Quazal into its brotherhood". Joystiq. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  32. ^ "Ubisoft São Paulo". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  33. ^ "Ubisoft fechará estúdios no Brasil até fim do ano e foca em distribuição e varejo" (in Portuguese). UOL Jogos. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  34. ^ "Academy of Champions Announced For Nintendo Wii". Gaming Union. 20 May 2009. 
  35. ^ "Ubisoft Vancouver Closes". 
  36. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (30 March 2006). "Wolfpack Studios being shut down". GameSpot. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  37. ^ Priest, Simon (23 August 2011). "Ubisoft Zurich is founded". Strategyinformer. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  38. ^ PRU (23 October 2013). "Ubisoft Zurich closes". 20 Minuten. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  39. ^ Thorsen, Tor (14 April 2006). "Ubisoft officially dumps Starforce". Gamespot. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  40. ^ "Online Services Platform Q&A". Ubisoft. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  41. ^ Francis, Tom (17 February 2010). "Constant net connection required to play Assassin’s Creed 2 on PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  42. ^ Yam, Marcus (5 March 2010). "Ubisoft Patch Makes its Internet DRM Less Painful". Tom’s Hardware. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  43. ^ a b Chalk, Andy (8 March 2010). "Ubisoft Blames DRM Outage on "Server Attack"". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  44. ^ a b Bramwell, Tom (8 March 2010). "Ubisoft DRM was "attacked" at weekend". Eurogamer. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  45. ^ "Ubisoft’s official Twitter post regarding attacks.". 
  46. ^ McElroy, Justin (18 August 2011). "From Dust PC players erupt in anger over port". Joystiq. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  47. ^ Plunkett, Luke (8 January 2008). "3 Companies Bar EGM From Coverage Following Poor Reviews". Kotaku. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  48. ^ Hsu, Dan (9 January 2008). "Banned". 1UP.com. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  49. ^ "Ubisoft 3rd-quarter 2008–09 sales report" (PDF). Ubisoft. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  50. ^ Sterling, Jim. "Are publishers doing E3 badly on purpose?". Destructoid. 
  51. ^ "Ubisoft warns millions of video gamers of hack attack". BBC News Technology. 2 July 2013. 
  52. ^ "Security update regarding your Ubisoft account - please create a new password". Ubisoft. 2 July 2013. 
  53. ^ Sarfraz, Danyal (4 July 2013). "Ubisoft breached by hackers". IGN. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  54. ^ a b Corriea, Alexa Ray (2014-06-11). "Far Cry 4 devs were 'inches away' from women as playable characters". Polygon. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  55. ^ LeJacq, Yannick (2014-06-11). "Ubisoft In Trouble Over Comments About Female Characters". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  56. ^ After hours testing... Watch Dogs (E3 Bloom effect working) - Guru3D.com Forums
  57. ^ Sung, Lydia (7 August 2008). "Ubisoft suing over Assassin’s Creed leak". Neoseeker. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  58. ^ Magder, Jason (25 April 2012). "Ubisoft target of $5-million copyright lawsuit". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  59. ^ Growcott, Mat (15 June 2012). "John Beiswenger on the Assassin’s Creed Lawsuit". zConnection. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 

External links[edit]