Ubisoft studio is gearing up for mobile drive after hiatus
Ubisoft Blue Byte has revealed plans to re-enter the mobile space after an abortive attempt a few years ago.
The studio has gained some experience since then with online and free-to-play titles, and managing director Odile Limpach tells Polygon that he thinks the market has grown enough to make this new push a success.
"At that time I think the market wasn't far enough [ahead], and we were too early," she said.
"But now I think it's the right time to do that, especially now that we have an expertise in the realm of free-to-play games and in marketing free-to-play games. So we think it's the right time now.”
The problem for mobile studios in recent years hasn't been finding users, but rather having users find the developer's products, but Limpach thinks that casting a wide net will help Blue Byte find an audience.
"We're trying different things. We know that the market is very big, but we know it is also very competitive. So we will try different ways,” she explained.
"We have [strategy] games players have to think and prepare, it's not just all action. We're going to port free-to-play games directly to mobile, one to one. We think also that now the market is mature enough to accept such high-quality titles, AAA quality for tablets. We think there's a market there."
By pushing into mobile and remaining flexible, Blue Byte hopes to remain relevant despite the rapid shifts in the mobile market.
"In this industry, it's dangerous to do only one thing," Limpach said.
"It can be obsolete very fast. I want the studio to do other things and try new things [like mobile]. You have to always be able to iterate, otherwise you stay and you die."
Limpach clarified a somewhat confusing statement that Blue Byte games would continue to focus on online play without neglecting offline elements by saying the approach was part of this strategy of remaining flexible and not offering consumers too much of any one thing.
"We have to be very careful that we do not forget that we make games for people, and we have to put that at the center of everything," she said.
Of course, catering to the player means finding them on whatever platform they choose – another reason for the renewed emphasis on mobile.
"Mobile is also a great way to get our games to where the people play,” Limpach said.
“We know our players do play on iPad and on mobile, on tablets, so we want to be there also."