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Ubisoft CEO stresses creative independence as Vivendi takeover threat looms

Ubisoft CEO stresses creative independence as Vivendi takeover threat looms

June 13, 2016 | By Kris Graft

June 13, 2016 | By Kris Graft
More: Business/Marketing, E3

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot took a moment to stress the importance of creative freedom at the end of his company’s E3 conference in L.A. today, an apparent gesture of defiance as media conglomerate Vivendi threatens to take over the game publisher.

“This year Ubisoft celebrates our 30-years birthday,” Guillemot said, flanked by game development teams on stage. “That means 30 years in the best industry in the world."

"I love video games because the real innovation and magic comes when our teams and players are free to create. Free to innovate. Free to express themselves. Free to take risks and have fun," he added. "That's what got us here today, and that's what will drive us for another thirty years and beyond.”

While Guillemot didn’t mention Vivendi by name (though he has openly talked about his disdain regarding a Vivendi takeover), it’s apparent that it’s Vivendi’s advances that prompted such public commentary about creative freedom.

The Guillemot family founded France-based Ubisoft and also Gameloft, a mobile game publisher. Just last month, Vivendi succeeded in a hostile takeover of that company, which was run by Yves Guillemot’s brother Michel Guillemot. Michel will reportedly help his brother prepare to fend off another expected takeover attempt by Vivendi, which has claimed it’s not currently interested in such a move but does own 18 percent of Ubisoft’s capital.

Ubisoft not only owns some of the biggest properties in video games such as Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, and Watch Dogs, but it is also moving quickly into big-budget film production, adapting its game properties into movies.

The publisher today at E3 showcased a new virtual reality game in Star Trek Bridge Crew, sequels and expansions to major franchises such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, and upcoming new properties including the melee-battle game For Honor and the extreme mountain sports game Steep.

"When you are free, there is no failure,” Guillemot said. “There is only forward."

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