Consumers ready for always-on, says Yannis Mallat

Consumers ready for always-on, says Yannis Mallat
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

April 16th 2013 at 7:46AM

Ubisoft Montreal CEO says his team and the gaming public is prepared for always-on future

Yannis Mallat says the core component of next-gen consoles isn't the rise in specs, but the increase in connectivity.

The Ubisoft Monreal CEO told The Guardian that his company has been working with high-end PCs to get ready for the PS4 even before they knew the specs. What has been more challenging has been getting the team in the proper "mindset" of next-gen consoles.

"It will be more about the connected experience, and all the services that go with that, says Mallat.

"From a creator's perspective then it's about how we craft the connected experiences that are going to represent new ways of playing. This is where we rely on the studio's strength, which is to empower the developers and the creative minds, and allow them to come up with their own vision of the next generation."

"This is what we've been able to propose with Watch Dogs and other titles – new connected experiences for the next generation. "

The Ubisoft CEO explained that his studio doesn't see itself as competing against other games, but rather for leisure time. This means creating experiences geared towards the new way the audience consumes entertainment.

"For example, with the online multiplayer aspects of a game, we can say – and this is true already of Watch Dogs – that the next generation will help us to blur the lines between on and offline play and between single and multiplayer," said Mallat.

"It will be a totally new way to play."

But this rise in connectivity - and the possibility of an always-on internet requirement in the future for consoles - hasn't been without detracors.

The internet has been blazing with firey critiques of what "always-on" could cost consumers, and burning condemnations from those who see nay-sayers as holding up progress.

For Mallat, this simply means the industry has to make the case for the positive aspects of the new services that increased connectivity will bring.

"As soon as players don't have to worry, then they will only take into account the benefits that those services bring," he said.

"And I agree, these services need to provide clear benefits. It's important to be able to provide direct connections between us and our consumers, whether that's extra content or online services, a lot of successful games have that."

The Guardian, certainly backed by many doubtful consumers, asked wether Mallat thought the market was ready for the move to always-on.

"Well, that's a question you should put to Microsoft and Sony!" he answered.

"I would say that a lot of people are already always online through other devices – I would suspect that the audience is ready."