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Ubisoft Moving Focus Away From Licensed Products

One would think that after so many years of lackluster sales for mediocre games based on movies or TV shows, publishers would shift their focus.

Well, it has taken a while but Ubisoft has finally seen the light. Last year's Avatar: The Game actually sold pretty well despite a barely lukewarm reception by the critics. However, the 2.5 million copies is only half of Ubisoft's initial expectations and when a game falls that far short, a publisher is bound to make some changes. Now, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the company has decided to produce fewer licensed products and pursue more of their own IPs. Said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot:

"Our plan is to take more care of our high end franchises, we will leave less place for licensed games. ...it doesn't mean we will stop but we're going to spend less in licenses in the future."

That's probably a good idea. We've seen a steady increase in quality in games based on films over the past few years but in general, they still fall short of expectations. Ubisoft has plenty of great franchises in their stable already, all of which are capable of raking in big numbers with each new installment. Therefore, they'll just focus on those. Oh, and it seems GI.biz has gone subscription-based; i.e., you gotta sign up to read the full articles. Maybe PSXE should do that...sounds like a good idea, huh?

...oh, calm down. Just kidding. ;)

Related Game(s): Avatar: The Game

1/20/2010 12:22:11 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (41 posts)

fluffer nutter
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:38:56 PM
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I'm wondering when the day will come where no one will put out a crappy movie-compliment game. Maybe this will get the big wigs noticing that gamers aren't into this crap that comes out just because it will bring in some money. I don't see it happening but I can wish!

Oh! I almost forgot. Do NOT ever go subscription based. You guys are too good here to do that. That's a reason I don't go to many other sites for news. Paid subscriptions to read articles that I can find elsewhere on the net? Really? No thank you. And I wouldn't suspect this site to ever do that to the loyalists. ;)

Last edited by fluffer nutter on 1/20/2010 12:40:42 PM

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yak4life85
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:40:14 PM
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Paying uh?

I would pay to access full articles on PSXE. If you guys need the money then why not. Just keep the quality the same, keep the same authors and we'll be good.

$10 max per year just saying but I know Ben was just kidding.

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Alienange
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 1:36:22 PM

To hell with that!

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:34:39 PM

I'm pretty sure their costs are covered and then some by the advertising that's prevalent on this site.

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Deleted User
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:43:32 PM
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That's good to hear. A few less mediocre movie-based games can't hurt. Maybe if other companies did the same...

Films are for watching, games are for playing. Games based on movies always have that uneasy combination working against them.

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lMephisto
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:46:46 PM

Well said! Unless that game is Metal Gear, of course, which blends the two worlds perfectly ;)

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B-RadGfromOV
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 2:28:27 PM

Now all that remains is to see what becomes of all this movies-based-on-games stuff. I'm crossing my fingers that it DOES work the other way around. (PoP, Uncharted)

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Vitron
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 6:42:35 PM

still, took them long enough...

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Buckeyestar
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:47:55 PM
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Good news to me. They have real winners with IPs like Assassin's Creed, they don't need to bother with licensed properties. Movie tie-ins always suffer due to being leashed to the movie plot and inevitably being rushed out the door to coincide with a theatrical release.

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Silent_J
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 12:47:55 PM
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oh I was about to freak out lol.

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SvenMD
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 1:15:30 PM
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2.5 million in sales for a game like this seems pretty dang good to me.

Still, I'm glad that they are sticking to their own franchises - WHICH ROCK!

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 7:01:53 PM

I know. I am not sure why they expected more then 2.5 million in sales.

Way to high of expectations.

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lMephisto
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 1:35:33 PM
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2.5m are bad numbers? Damn... maybe I've been living under a rock... but there was a time when reaching a million was worth a Platinum Hit.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:10:00 PM

I suppose it is if you projected 5+ Million.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:38:31 PM

Whoever predicted 5million needs a new job.

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tridon
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 1:35:59 PM
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GOOD!

Maybe instead of wasting time and money on crappy film-to-game adaptations, you can actually put some people on BEYOND GOOD & EVIL 2. You know... a game fans are actually asking for!

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Alienange
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 1:42:21 PM
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Selling 2.5 million copies doesn't mean anything if you've been fleeced by Cameron. Profits are swallowed up by the cost of licencing fees. Fees that were promised to bring about huge dividends but have obviously fallen considerably short. Good on Ubisoft for learning their lesson early.

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darxed
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 2:08:18 PM
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Uhmm maybe, you know, make good licensed games? Maybe if they all weren't half baked rushed in games, people would buy them... The problem is not that they are licensed, is that they are of very poor quality.

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D1g1tal5torm
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 2:40:04 PM
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Predicted sales of 5m, for a rubbish tie-in.

Maybe Ubi have wised-up to the fact that the gaming fraternity are no longer swayed by sales figures in a different media genre.

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Kowhoho
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 3:02:51 PM
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2.5 million may seem like a lot to some, especially for a licensed game, but you must remember that it's being sold across many platforms. PS3, Xbox, PC, PSP, DS, Wii. 2.5/6=.417 million for each platform. I know it's on most if not all of those platforms.

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 3:22:18 PM
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Well, Ubisoft could have made a better movie game.

Hopefully this is the beginning of gaming companies will quit trying to cash in on movies with sub-par games.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:08:18 PM
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Movie games suck, let's hope Ubi doesn't make Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: The Movie: The Game.

Though I suppose still doing licensed products with less money and focus on them will only make them worse.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:37:16 PM

LOL a game based on a movie that's based on a game franchise. There is hope!

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piratedrunk
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 7:51:22 PM

anyone remember street fighter: the movie for 3DO? I wish I didn't.

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Alienange
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:08:27 PM
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Considering the movie was slow and boring for about 2 hours and thirty minutes I'd say Ubi should actually be happy with those numbers, even if they were all just the result of hype and overconfident marketing.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 4:36:38 PM

Ya so boring its generated tons of repeat viewings including my 5 so far.

:)

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Alienange
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 5:49:43 PM

Get your views in now while it's still 3D because once that's out of the picture you're left with Rain Man.

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darxed
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 9:31:21 PM

Yeah, the movie was good, to me at least. It reminded me of how I think a Final Fantasy movie should be, with epic final battle against a badass villain and everything...

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 11:18:09 AM

I think you mean Dances with Wolves. Either way it was an amazing experience in 3D and a better movie experience than The Dark Knight.

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geovanwitdakick
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 5:01:41 PM
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hmm, Splinter Cell: Conviction got it's fourth delay, & that should definetely be one of their "high end franchises". & they're dropping potential opportunites with games that need licenses, to focus on such games as the aformentioned game. Hmm, smells like a timed-exclusive.

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Banky A
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 6:46:51 PM
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Damn, 2.5 million sold? Why couldn't that go towards awesome games like PS3 exclusives :D

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booze925
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 7:25:19 PM
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ubisoft has great imagination. licenced stuff just isnt their business.

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CH1N00K
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 8:36:09 PM
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Ubisoft has their hands into enough successful franchises that they shouldn't need to worry about a movie spin off. Isn't it working the other way around for then anyways? I thought I heard a rumor somewhere of someone writing a script for an Assassin's Creed movie..Maybe I just dreamed that though, I have been playing that game a lot lately..lol.

Between AC and having their hand in the Tom Clancy franchise..plus opening a new office in Toronto, I don't think Ubisoft needs to worry about movie based games.

Although I have to admit, While I was watching Avatar, the whole time I was thinking this would have made a great video game, I would really like to play something like this. Then when I saw the colorful dragons, the glowing trees and an ex-soldier..I thought, wait a second, I have played something like this, except it was called Final Fantasy when I played it...

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Robochic
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 @ 11:30:55 PM
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There was a Avatar game? I hate Movies that get turned into video games and games that get turned into movies it just doesn't do well either way!

I just hope the Prince of Persia movie just kill the game franchise, still floored that they would use Jake Gyllenhaal for the main character, we'll see how this turns out.

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___________
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 12:31:44 AM
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what the hell did they expect?
you make a crappy game like this of course its going to sell poorly.
well i would hardly call 2.5M poor, thats fu**ing fantastic! its a bloody miracle it got that far.
they should know to have a shitty game sell 5M+ you need to hype the sh*t out of it.
you need to get it out there as the second coming of christ so every man and his dog knows about it.
ala GTAIV, MW, MW2, halo 3 and halo ODST.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 3:33:11 AM
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Wait, a douche game get 2.5M??!?!!?

My rocket.......what is wrong with the world.

How can a crap game sell 2.5M when some AAA games(looking at some PS3 exclusives) doesn't even reach 2M???

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mbg77
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 4:08:28 AM

Well as it was said earlier it is a multiplatform (6 versions) and it is going downhill the price ladder as we speak - it's already below 1/2 price here in UK.

Take care.

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mbg77
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 4:01:42 AM
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I'm starting to wonder, why are games based on movies crappy in so many ways (from presentation to gameplay and everything in between).

After all the developers like Ubisoft have plenty of experience with making great multiplatform titles (i'm looking at you ACII). So they have the tools (the engine and the gameplay mechanics). Why can't they incorporate the story into this mix.
I think there would be more people enjoying ACII style game with Avatar story than what we have been offered. Why do they invent the wheel over and over again. They have the winning formula jet they are not satisfied with it or what.

Imagine Naughty Dog doing Avatar - from what I've seen of Avatar on YouTube they could just use the environments from Uncharted Drake's Fortune and put this blue guy in Nathan's place.

Why do they frak these games on so many levels?
Is it just because of the time pressure. Maybe Ben could answer - how much time was Avatar The Game in development? Or maybe there are other factors - like J.Cameron's vision of the game and the experience.

Take care.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 4:07:19 AM

The only explanation I got when I asked this question before was because developers didn't spend enough time on the game to make it great.

They had to finish it before the film release.

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___________
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 6:14:24 AM

time and budget are normally what brings licensed games down.
that and licensing restrictions.
coincidence that the 2 best movie based games actually came out after the movie.
xmen origins wolverine, and batman AA.
i know batman AA has nothing to do with AA but thats what inspired rocksteady to do a batman game.
time is a fickle thing, most licensed games need to be released as the movie thus they dont have enough time to polish the games.
most movie games are not bad because of the gameplay or what not, there normally bad because they lack polish.
the avatar just plain sucked full stop, in fact i think we have a new contender for worst video game ever created.
yes worse than rouge warrior.

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Richy
Thursday, January 21, 2010 @ 9:33:08 AM
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hello ...

movie-based games could be great if ONLY they did take their time & release a real addon to one or the other.

why can't they treat them just as any other games, i'll certainly go for it if worth it.

some mistakes again are the fact that movie-based games doesn't always imply the main characters. when you go to the movies, you do put yourself in the main character's skin, then you feel like & for them .. when you go for a game or a movie & you have some new faces, it changes the vision & acceptance.

Game developers have to be aware of the psychological aspects of things. Never kill a main character that didn't die in a movie or vice versa & never give alternate endings too. Either stick to same story, except this time it's interactive with better option or create side stories that are great but with same base characters.

well i guess this won't be possible, i don't buy any movie-based games unless they get a rating of 8+ on most sites, i.e. almost never!

cheers!

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