News: Ubisoft on the Economies of Fail

Ubisoft To Offer the Wii U a Low Rent Launch Catalogue

It came as little surprise when Ubisoft were seen to be recently scathing of the longevity of the current generation. The company have carved for themselves a lucrative racket by waiting for a new console to launch, and then dumping a plethora of sub-standard ports onto early adopters at launch, before there is much in the way of quality competition to be had. Gamers saw this at the launch of the PS3, where quick Ubisoft ports of Xbox 360 games were found to be lacking many of the technical elements present in their 360 counterparts, and gamers will find that the same will hold true for the launch of Nintendo’s Wii U.

No one bilks like Guillemot!
No one milks like Guillemot!

This week Ubisoft kingpin, Yves Guillemot, has been surprisingly frank about just how incredibly cheap Ubisoft is being for the launch of the Wii U, when he claimed that Ubisoft “doesn’t have a huge investment” in the Wii U. Of the nine Ubisoft games that will be available at launch, seven of them will be ports. Guillemot claims that these seven games were ported to the Wii U at just over 1.2 million dollars a piece, Paving the way for mega ill-gotten profits.

Ubisoft is not just about the ports though, with the publisher planning on releasing two original pieces of software for Nintendo’s new system at launch, one of which is a completely original IP. One might have expected that at least these titles would constitute some form of significant investment on the part of Ubisoft, but not according to Guillemot: “As we’ve always said when there is such an innovation, the need is not to have big production value but to concentrate on innovation, this is what we are trying on Rayman and ZombiU”. What an amazing company.

Jade Raymond Opens Her Mouth, But Only Fart Noises Come Out

In other Ubisoft news, silly bint cum oblivious studio figurehead, Jade Raymond, has this week decided that an insurmountable obstacle to successful mainstream gaming is the onerous burden of having to use a perfectly intuitive controller. While that no doubt comes as a shock to the many millions of people who would consider themselves to be mainstream gamers (and who love their controllers), it nevertheless appears that the twenty+ million sales generated every year by the latest Call of Duty release is still insufficient to be deemed ‘mainstream gaming’ by the photogenic gamer girrrl head of Ubisoft Toronto. To Raymond, the controller is something that is feared by mainstream ‘gamers’, with its tyranny of buttons and analogue sticks; what this crowd really wants is something nice and simple like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s boggling array of motion control nick nacks.

Nine out of ten Teabaggers prefer Kinect.
Some scary buttons.

“I still think that one of the huge barriers is the controller, and even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can’t play games now – you have to master face buttons, triggers. So obviously we’re never going to get to that really mass-market place where we’re touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further. As more of a hardcore gamer I want to see that stuff integrated into hardcore games in a way that makes them better [Ed: a fine oxymoron] because as fun as all those are – I don’t really play exercise games; I can’t picture myself doing that – I’d love to be able to lean and look round the corner and just integrate more natural motions. The tech for those things isn’t quite there, but I hope it will soon.”

One gets the distinct impression that the homogenisation of AAA gaming which has occurred during the current generation is but the tip of the iceberg compared to what is in store for gamers going forward – which will be nothing less than the strong concerted push to compel core gamers to begin playing titles with varying amounts of crossover potential with the casual market. One has long noted the incredulity exhibited by corporate executives when discussing the fact that their bread and butter of core gamers refuse to play the same sort of games which sometimes ensnare the elusive and lucrative casual herd, denying them their rightful 7,000,000 plus unit sell-through, and well deserved mega-profits.

During the current generation there was not much that they could do about this, as gimmicky hardware was non-standard, yet, assuming that Kinect and Move are built into the next Microsoft and Sony platforms, then this degree of protection may suddenly vanish – leaving the world of core gaming exposed to feature-creep from the casual market. And why is any of this necessary? Because the moribund thinking of profit driven mega-publishers has lead to the erroneous belief that with but the right tools they will be able to coerce core gamers into consuming the same entertainment products as people who are too stupid or fearful to operate a standard dual-analogue gaming pad. The whole console gaming scene has become so depressing that one is sorely tempted to just sit out the next generation in favour of PC gaming…

Gabe Newell Bestows His Wisdom From on High

…Or rather one would if the PC was not beset with its own problems caused by Microsoft’s attempted cross-pollination of the Windows OS with a casual friendly smart phone interfaces. Designing Windows 8 as a smart phone operating system is great for all five of the people who want to buy a Windows smart phone, but even Apple, the undisputed leader in smart phone interfaces, is smart enough to know that a computer interface must be substantially different from that of a smart phone. Enter Gabe Newell – a man with so much inherent dignity and charisma that he does not even need to wear a hat, but does so anyway. Readers may have wondered at the point of Valve’s recent push toward Linux compatibility for their Steam platform, well as it turns out this is a harm minimisation strategy for the calamity that is to be Windows 8. Newell sees turbulent times ahead for companies that have traditionally operated within the Windows ecosystem, and presumably wishes Steam to become something of an open door to bridge the transition to a more accommodating operating system.

Not only would Chuck Norris defer to this Man - he would also ask for his autograph.
Gabe Newell AKA Western Sakaguchi.

When asked recently about Valve’s intentions for the Linux OS, Newell replied: “The big Problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behaviour. We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs [Ed: original equipment manufacturers] who will exit the market. I think that margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.”

If that is not a damning indictment to Microsoft’s approach, then one does not know what is. It is funny to think that in ten years time owners of shitty Windows operating systems may have to run Bootcamp just to play the latest games on their computers. One would also love to see a near future where new PC games uniformly carry bold stickers proclaiming: ‘not compatible with Windows 8’, whilst retailers continue to sell Windows 7 as the preferred operating system – though of course Microsoft will likely try their hardest to kill off their superior legacy operating system.


Comments are closed.