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Ubisoft

Ubisoft Entertainment S.A. ( ;[1] ) is a French global video game publisher and developer, with headquarters in Montreuil, France. The company has a worldwide presence with 25 studios in 17 countries and subsidiaries in 26 countries.[2]

As of now, it is the third largest independent game publisher in Europe, and the third largest in the United States.[2] The company's largest development studio is Ubisoft Montreal, which currently employs roughly 2,100 people.[3] Yves Guillemot, a founding brother, is the chairman and CEO. As for 2008 2009 fiscal year, Ubisoft's revenue was 1.058 billion, reaching the 1 billion euro milestone for the first time in its history. Ubisoft has created its own film division called Ubisoft Motion Pictures which will create shows and films based on its games.[4]

Contents


History

The head office, in Montreuil near Paris The five brothers of the Guillemot family founded Ubisoft as a computer game publisher in March 1986 in France (Brittany) [5] Yves Guillemot soon made deals with Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line, and MicroProse to distribute their games in France. By the end of the decade, Ubisoft began expanding to other markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.[6]

In the early 90s, Ubisoft initiated its in-house game development program which led to the 1994 opening of a studio in Montreuil, France, which later became their headquarters. Ubisoft became a publicly traded company in 1996 and continued to expand to offices around the globe, opening locations in Shanghai and Montreal.

In 2000, Ubisoft acquired Red Storm Entertainment.[7]

In February 2001, they acquired D sseldorf, Germany based Blue Byte Software.[8]

In March 2001, Gores Technology Group sold The Learning Company's entertainment division (which includes games originally published by Br derbund Software, Mattel, Mindscape and Strategic Simulations, Inc.) to them. The sale included the rights to IPs such as the Myst and Prince of Persia series.[9]

In October 2001, they acquired Gamebusters and moved them to the German Offices.[10]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ubisoft committed itself to online games by getting behind Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, The Matrix Online, and the European and Chinese operation of EverQuest. The publisher established ubi.com as its online division. However, in February 2004, Ubisoft cancelled the online portion of Uru and backed out of the publishing deal on The Matrix Online. Nevertheless, a mere week later, the company announced its acquisition of Wolfpack Studios, developer of Shadowbane.

In December 2004, rival gaming corporation Electronic Arts purchased a 19.9% stake in the firm, an action Ubisoft referred to as "hostile" on EA's part.[11]

In March 2005, Ubisoft acquired part of MC2-Micro ds (Micro ds Canada) and integrated it into Ubisoft Montreal.[12]

In July 2006 Ubisoft also bought the Driver franchise from Atari for a sum of 19 million (US$24 million) in cash for the franchise, technology rights, and most assets. Additionally, though Ubisoft is not acquiring the studio outright, the members of Driver developer Reflections Interactive became employees of Ubisoft. As a result, Reflections Interactive was subsequently renamed Ubisoft Reflections.

On 11 April 2007, Ubisoft announced that it had acquired German game developer Sunflowers,[13] followed by an acquisition of Japanese developer Digital Kids that November.[14]

Ubisoft is also responsible for publishing famous franchises produced by other important studios for some specific platforms, such as Resident Evil 4 for PC, which is a Capcom production, and Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon for PlayStation 2 and Harvest Moon On 8 July 2008, Ubisoft made the acquisition of Hybride Technologies, a Montreal-based studio renowned for its expertise in the creation of visual effects for cinema, television and advertising. Created over 15 years ago, Hybride employs 100 team members. The studio's many films include 300, Frank Miller's Sin City, Avatar and the Spy Kids series. On 10 November 2008, Ubisoft acquired Massive Entertainment from Activision.[15] In 2009 Ubisoft Inc. acquired the domain Imaginetown.com from S. J. Crowley, writer, illustrator, former Walt Disney Imagineer and creator of The Ghostniks Haunted Adventure Series.

Studios

As the fourth largest video game company in the world as of 2009, Ubisoft studios employs the second largest amount of in-house development staff in the world and has several divisions and offices throughout the world.[2] While some were founded by Ubisoft, others have been acquired over time:

Current

Defunct

  • Sinister Games, acquired in April 2000, closed in June 2003.[10]
  • Wolfpack Studios in Austin, Texas, U.S, founded in 1999 and acquired on 1 March 2004. Closed in 2006.[27]
  • Ubisoft Vancouver, started on 3 February 2009 after acquiring Action Pants Inc.[28] Closed in January 2012.[29]
  • Ubisoft S o Paulo, started on 24 June 2008 and on 20 January 2009 they acquired Southlogic Studios and integrated it into this studio.[30] The studios were closed in late 2010 to focus on games distribution.[31]

Brands

Upcoming games

2012

2013

TBA

Uplay

With the release of Assassin's Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft launched the Uplay network, which is activated either in-game or via the Uplay website.[35] Uplay allows players to connect with other gamers, and to earn rewards based on achievements (called "Actions") in Uplay enabled games, with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stating that "the more you play, the more free goods you will be able to have".[36]

Games

Hardware

Controversies

Ubisoft had, for a time, used the controversial StarForce copy protection technology that installs drivers on a system and is known to cause some hardware problems and compatibility issues with certain operating systems, starting with the game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, which was not compatible with Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for quite some time, until a patch was released by the makers of StarForce. On 14 April 2006, Ubisoft confirmed that they would stop using StarForce on their games, citing complaints from customers.[37]

In the February 2008 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), Editor-in-Chief Dan "Shoe" Hsu asserted that Ubisoft had ceased to provide all Ubisoft titles to the EGM for any coverage purposes as a result of prior critical previews and negative reviews.[38][39]

Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, was quoted in the company's third-quarter 2008-09 sales report as saying "as some of our games did not meet the required quality levels to achieve their full potential, they need more sales promotions than anticipated."[40]

In January 2010, Ubisoft has announced the Online Services Platform, which forces customers to not only authenticate on the first game launch, but to remain online continually while playing, with the game even pausing if network connection is lost. This makes it impossible to play the game offline, to resell it, and means that should Ubisoft's servers go down, the game will be unplayable.[41] In February 2010, review versions of Assassin's Creed II and Settlers 7 for PC contained this new DRM scheme, confirming that it is already in use, and that instead of pausing the game, it would discard all progress since the last checkpoint or save game.[42] However, subsequent patches for Assassin's Creed II allow the player to continue playing once their connection has been restored without lost progress.[43] In March 2010 outages to the Ubisoft DRM servers were reported, causing about 5% of legitimate buyers to be unable to play Assassin's Creed II and Silent Hunter 5 games.[44][45] Ubisoft initially said this was the result of the number of users attempting to access their servers to play, however Ubisoft later claimed that the real cause of the outages were denial-of-service attacks.[44][45][46]

The company's use of Aaron Priceman, also known as Mr. Caffeine, as a spokesman at E3 2011 was criticized for its reliance on witty remarks, inability to pronounce Tom Clancy (he pronounced it Tom Culancy), sexual innuendos and imitations of video game sound effects with little to no response from the audience.[47]

In August 2011, Ubisoft released From Dust with DRM protection, contrary to previous statements that the game would not have any DRM related restrictions. Though a promise was made to remove it, after several months the DRM had still not been removed from many if not all copies of the game. Also, the game was widely described as "badly ported" from consoles. Joystiq reports that "paying players will find a capped frame rate, limited resolutions for the windowed mode, no anti-aliasing and plenty of bugs".[48]

Lawsuits

In 2008, Ubisoft sued Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM), a DVD Duplication company for $25 million plus damages for the leak and distribution of the PC version of Assassin's Creed. The lawsuit claims that OEM did not take proper measures to protect its product as stated in its contract with Ubisoft. The complaint also alleges that OEM admitted to all the problems in the complaint.[49]

In April 2012, Ubisoft was sued by the author of the book "Link", John L. Beiswenger for copyright infringement for using the ideas that were used in the Assassin's Creed franchise like allowing the main character, Desmond, to travel back to the past of his ancestors by using the Animus and he also claimed that Ubisoft plagiarized his ideas on Good vs. Evil concept that were in his book that he claimed that were used in the Assassin's Creed games. He wished for $5.25 million in damages and wanted to stop the release of Assassin's Creed 3 that which is set to be released in October 2012 along with any future games that contain his ideas.[50] On 30 May 2012, Beiswenger dropped the lawsuit. Beiswenger was later quoted as saying he believes "authors should vigorously defend their rights in their creative works", and suggested that Ubisoft's motion to block future lawsuits from Beiswenger hints at their guilt.[51]

See also

References

External links

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