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Ubisoft seeks to capitalize on 'social game benefits' of next-gen consoles

Ubisoft seeks to capitalize on 'social game benefits' of next-gen consoles

May 15, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Though Microsoft and Sony haven't revealed any details of their next-generation consoles to the public yet, Ubisoft says it's preparing to take advantage of expected social game features in the platforms.

The publisher predicts that console makers have paid attention to the explosive growth and success of social games in recent years -- particularly the free-to-play business model -- and accommodated features from that space on their next-generation systems.

"Ubisoft is positioning itself to capitalize on the forthcoming arrival of the next generation of consoles which will be increasingly connected and will strongly boost the market thanks to a new qualitative leap and the integration of social games benefits and the item based model," says CEO Yves Guillemot.

He continues, "These major opportunities will enable us to extend our global reach, increase our average revenue per user (ARPU) and therefore raise the profitability potential of each of our brands."

The company also predicts strong growth in the free-to-play market for PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Guillemot says Ubisoft has prepared for future opportunities by ramping up the online expertise of its teams, as well as recruiting and acquiring talent with online experience (e.g. Howrse creator Owlient).

Ubisoft's online and digital segment has become a critical segment for the company -- it generated €80 million ($102.3 million) from sales in that category during it last fiscal year (ending March), an increase of 110.8 percent, thanks to free-to-play titles like The Settlers Online and Howrse.

David Polfeldt, managing director at the publisher's subsidiary Ubisoft Massive, recently talked with Gamasutra about his expectations for next-generation consoles. He agreed with other developers that console makers need to make their platforms more open so studios can update their games on the fly, as they can with web and social games.

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