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Ubisoft is betting on Wii's success, and hoping to 'beat' EA.


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#1 Oops! I did it again.

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 05:19 PM

http://today.reuters...pc=66&type=qcna

French video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA (UBIP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) is making a big bet that Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s (7974.OS: Quote, NEWS, Research) unconventional Wii game player will be a breakout hit in the next-generation console wars of the $30 billion video game market.

World No. 1 video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS.O: Quote, Profile, Research), known as EA, holds a roughly 20 percent stake in Ubisoft, known for its "Splinter Cell" and "Prince of Persia" games. The company wants to boost its No. 4 ranking while remaining independent.

"Our goal is not to sell to EA but to beat EA," Laurent Detoc, who leads Ubisoft's North America business, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

One way the company hopes to do that is by making an early investment in the Wii, a video game machine that is the underdog to Sony Corp's (6758.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) upcoming PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox 360.

It and the PlayStation 3 will debut in the United States in November, just in time for the all-important holiday season. But Nintendo's Wii, pronounced "We" is only as powerful as Microsoft's last console but arguably is more innovate in its remote, the "Wiimote" controller.

The "Wiimote" works like a television remote and matches a player's movements to the action on the screen. For example, a gamer would swing the Wii remote to vanquish rivals on the tennis court, golf course or in a sword battle.

Ubisoft's upcoming racing games "GT Pro Series" and "Monster 4X4 World Circuit" will include a plastic steering wheel that cradles the wireless "Wiimote."

"You get it right away," Detoc said of the Wii controller.

Ubisoft expects to have eight games available within a month of the Wii's mid-November launch, a move Detoc said will give the company a competitive advantage on the console that is predicted to be an immediate mass-market hit this holiday season.

Among its marquee Wii titles will be an exclusive first-person shooter called "Red Steel," which bucks the broadly held wisdom that shoot-em-up games are only fit for Microsoft and market leader Sony's consoles.

Detoc said "Red Steel" should fill the gap between Nintendo's traditional youth market and the girls and senior citizens the Japanese game maker has pulled in with new titles like "Nintendogs" and "Brain Age."

Detoc, a fan of the popular James Bond-inspired shooter "GoldenEye 007" on the older Nintendo 64 console, is aiming to replicate that game's success.

UNDERDOG RISES UP

For Detoc, backing the Wii was a simple decision: Nintendo had ample resources and a reputation for turning out high-quality games and creating iconic characters like the Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong.

In the early days of the new console war, his was a minority view.

Before word of the "Wiimote" surfaced, industry analysts were writing off Nintendo's new console. Some even went so far as to suggest that the company, once the market leader, should give up its console business and focus on making games.

But Nintendo is winning over critics with its fun, intuitive play and its $250 price, which is about half that of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

"The Wii is unlikely not to succeed," said Detoc. "The curiosity factor is going to help them and it's an impulse buy for most people."


Great to see a developer like Ubisoft, along with the other developers that have openly voiced support and weight in Nintendo's next-generation of console, placing so much stock in Wii's expected success.

#2 ryanbph

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 05:30 PM

while it is great for the 3rd party support, nintendo diehards usually don't buy/support 3rd party titles. I don't think ubi fully supporting the wii, will change there position. And it is not like ea isn't supporting the wii. The other thing is the last couple of sentences...saying the wii is half the cost of the ps3 and 360. It is only $50 more then the 360. Regardless if you think the core is useless, it is still a 360 at only $50 more then the wii

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#3 Kaijufan

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 03:55 AM

I'm going to get Red Steel and Rayman at launch, so I'll be doing my part to support UbiSoft.
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#4 maigoyume

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 04:09 AM

I'm going to get Red Steel and Rayman at launch, so I'll be doing my part to support UbiSoft.

yea me too, red steel for sure, rayman seems like it could be good, but i'm gonna have to wait a bit before i jump on that one
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#5 Sir_Fragalot

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 04:09 AM

Actually back in the 64 days Nintendo has some moderate support from third party developers. The gamecube days really put a halt to third party games probably due to no online support and they just didn't do it compared to first party. Wii will change this.
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#6 evanft

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:01 PM

If Ubisoft really wanted people to buy their Wii games, they should focus on original titles and not crappy ports with tacked-on Wiimote features.

#7 PenguinMaster

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:14 PM

Ubisoft Montreal happens to be my favorite developer but I'm not getting a Wii anytime soon so I'm still hoping their best games are on other systems (360 specifically). So far this looks to be true. Red Steel looks pretty good but nothing else excites me too much.

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#8 VulSuck

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:48 PM

If Ubisoft really wanted people to buy their Wii games, they should focus on original titles and not crappy ports with tacked-on Wiimote features.


Err...heard of Red Steel? Also, it looks like Rayman: Raving Rabbids is not being developed as though it's a port. All the footage I've seen makes it look like everything there was developed specifically for the Wii. Of course, it appears to be mostly minigames.
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#9 62t

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:55 PM

Actually back in the 64 days Nintendo has some moderate support from third party developers. The gamecube days really put a halt to third party games probably due to no online support and they just didn't do it compared to first party. Wii will change this.

i would say gamecube got stronger thrid party support than n64

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#10 the3rdkey

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 06:09 PM

The third party games are gonna be fun because of the way they play!!! Oh Fuck it rhymes.
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#11 strayfoxx

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:19 PM

Most editors concur that the E3 build of Red Steel was horrendous. I've heard Ubisoft's reasoning for that, and apparently they've improved it since then, but from May to November is a relatively short period of time...

Glad to hear a major company is putting stake in Nintendo though. Hopefully, it pays off. Hell even when Soul Calibur sold the most on Gamecube, Nintendo didnt see much payoffs.

#12 FriskyTanuki

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 01:44 AM

Err...heard of Red Steel? Also, it looks like Rayman: Raving Rabbids is not being developed as though it's a port. All the footage I've seen makes it look like everything there was developed specifically for the Wii. Of course, it appears to be mostly minigames.

That juice minigame looks hilarious with the needed motions (looks like you pretend to jerk off to pump juice into the rabbits' mouths).

#13 David85

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 03:31 AM

It sounds great but making 11 shitty games is not the way to go.
"It (Wii) would be a complete failure if we didn't sell more units than the Nintendo GameCube". - Satoru Iwata 2005

"If you asked me if Sony's strength in hardware was in decline, right now I guess I would have to say that might be true." - Ken Kutaragi 9-9-06

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#14 Corvin

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:49 AM

Err...heard of Red Steel? Also, it looks like Rayman: Raving Rabbids is not being developed as though it's a port. All the footage I've seen makes it look like everything there was developed specifically for the Wii. Of course, it appears to be mostly minigames.


Exactly. They have around 8 launch titles right? Only two of them have any buzz going on, Red Steel & Rayman. Why? Because they are new and they focus on the controller design.

I just hope they don't take the dismal sales of the rest of their titles(ports) and change their mind as it seems they are on the right track with new titles.

I am doing my part by picking up Rayman. :)