Ubisoft targets further studio growth

Ubisoft targets further studio growth
Michael French

By Michael French

August 18th 2008 at 6:00PM

But warns that Activision-Blizzard-style mass-scale merger 'can be very damaging to a global company'

In an interview with our sister magazine MCV, Ubisoft's executive director Alain Corre has said the company will keep growing its fast-expanding studio empire - but said it is wary of large acquisitions like Activision-Blizzard as they can be 'damaging'.

Corre provides a unique juxtaposition to fellow-French firm Vivendi's acquisition of Activision, which in turn created mega-publisher Activision-Blizzard and a vast studio network and portfolio of IPs.

Whereas Vivendi and Activision combined to exalt the status of World of Warcraft creator Blizzard, Ubisoft has taken a more explorative approach to development, opening up and acquiring studios in Japan, China, India and Brazil.

Commented Corre when asked about the growing size of the Ubisoft development portfolio, which is getting close to out-numbering EA's: "We have to increase the speed of our growth organically, and to do that you need to create more quality products and you need more talented people to do that. Our aim is to grow our studio network even more in the future because we feel that these are really the great assets of our company.

"To be able to manage with all these countries and cultures isn’t easy, but we have done very well over the last ten years. It’s working and it’s also one of our strengths to be able to motivate all these people differently, but ensure they also share a focus and spirit within the Ubisoft family. Growing the studios will be bringing us even more creativity and more great products."

Although acquisitions could fuel this growth, Corre added that he was sceptical about large-scale business combinations on a level of Activision Blizzard - and preferred producing better quality games as that was a better way to secure organic growth.

He said: "It’s true to say that we are looking at that [Activision Blizzard and the potential EA-Take TWo merger] carefully. You have two big ones with ambitions of between four and five billion dollars revenue this year. We have announced a €1 billion revenues target for this year. It’s Euros, which is obviously better than dollars, but still it’s number three and there’s a big difference between us and these two. But our idea is to increase the speed of growth organically and to look at other opportunities for external growth within certain limit. It’s sensible.

"We feel that mergers and integrations are something that can be very damaging to a global company. We have been doing limited acquisitions in recent times, which is what we want to do, but we feel that if we increase the quality of our products in this market, we will be able to sell more of each."