Ubisoft

Ubisoft Entertainment SA (/ˈjuːbisɒft, -sɔːft/; French: [ybisɔft];[4] formerly Ubi Soft Entertainment SA) is a French video game company headquartered in Montreuil with several development studios across the world. It is known for publishing games for several acclaimed video game franchises, including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Raving Rabbids, and Tom Clancy's. As of March 2018, Ubisoft is the fourth largest publicly traded game company in the Americas and Europe after Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive in terms of revenue and market capitalisation.[5]

Ubisoft Entertainment SA
Formerly
  • Ubi Soft Entertainment SA
  • (1986–2003)
Public
Traded as
ISINFR0000054470
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded28 March 1986
Founders
  • Christian Guillemot
  • Claude Guillemot
  • Gérard Guillemot
  • Michel Guillemot
  • Yves Guillemot
Headquarters,
France
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
ProductsList of Ubisoft games
BrandsAnno, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Imagine, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Raving Rabbids, Tom Clancy's, Watch Dogs
ServicesUplay
RevenueIncrease 1,731.894 million[2] (2018)
Increase €222.317 million[2] (2018)
Increase €139.452 million[2] (2018)
Total assetsIncrease €2,805.122 million[2] (2018)
Total equityIncrease €889.330 million[2] (2018)
Owner
Number of employees
13,742[2] (2018)
SubsidiariesList of Ubisoft subsidiaries
Websiteubisoft.com

History

Origins and first decade (1986–1996)

The Guillemot family had established themselves as a farming support business for farmers in the Brittany province in northwest France and nearby regions, including into the United Kingdom. The five sons of the family – Christian, Claude, Gérard, Michel and Yves – helped with the sales, distribution, accounting and management of the company with their parents prior to university. All five gained business experience while at university, which they brought back to the family business to help improve it, at a time where farming businesses were starting to wane. The brothers came up with the idea of diversification to sell other products of use to farmers; Claude began with selling CD audio media, and later the brothers expanded to computers and additional software which included video games.[6]

In the early 1980s, they saw that the costs of buying computers and software from a French supplier was more expensive than buying the same materials in the United Kingdom and shipping to France, and came upon the idea of a mail-order business around computers and software. Their mother said they could start their own business this way as long as they managed it themselves and equally split its shares between the five of them. Their first business was Guillemot Informatique, founded in 1984.[7] They originally only sold through mail order, but soon were getting orders from French retailers, since they were able to undercut other suppliers by up to 50% of the cost of new titles. By 1986, this company was earning about 40 million French francs.[7] In 1985, the brothers established Guillemot Corporation for similar distribution of computer hardware.[7] As demand continued, the brothers recognised that video game software was becoming a lucrative property, and decided that they needed to get into the development side of the industry, already having insight on the publication and distribution side.[6] Ubi Soft (formally named Ubi Soft Entertainment S.A.) was founded by the brothers on 28 March 1986.[8][9] The name "Ubi Soft" was selected to represent "ubiquitous" software.[10]

Ubi Soft initially operated out of offices in Paris, moving to Créteil by June 1986.[11][12] The brothers used the chateau in France's Brittany region as the primary space for development, hoping the setting would lure developers, as well as to have a better way to manage expectations of their developers.[6] The company hired Nathalie Saloud as manager, Sylvie Hugonnier as director of marketing and public relations, as well as several programmers, though Hugonnier had left the company by May 1986 to join Elite Software.[13] Games published by Ubi Soft in 1986 include Zombi, Ciné Clap, Fer et Flamme, and Masque, as well as Graphic City, a sprite editing programme.[14][15][16][17] As their first-ever game, Zombi became a critical and commercial success, and had sold five thousand copies by January 1987.[18][17] Ubi Soft also entered into distribution partnerships for the game to be released in Spain and West Germany.[17] Ubi Soft started importing products from abroad for distribution in France, with 1987 releases including Elite Software's Commando and Ikari Warriors, the former of which had sold 15,000 copies by January 1987.[17][19] In 1988, Yves Guillemot was appointed as Ubi Soft's chief executive officer.[9]

Around 1988, the costs of maintaining the chateau were too expensive, and the developers, about a half-dozen at the time, were given the option to relocate to Paris. One of Ubi Soft's first hires was Michel Ancel who was only a teenager at the time, but had been noticed by the brothers for his animation skills, and he and his family relocated to Brittany. However, with the chateau's closure, Ancel's family could not afford the cost of living in Paris, and returned to Montpellier in southern France, while the Guillemot brothers told Ancel to keep them abreast of anything he might come up with there.[6] Ancel came back later with Frédéric Houde with a prototype of a game with highly animated features which caught the brothers' interest. Michel Guillemot decided to make the project a key one for the company, establishing a studio in Montreuil to house over 100 developers in 1994, and targeting the new line of fifth generation consoles like the Atari Jaguar and PlayStation. Their game, Rayman, was released in 1995 to critical success, and is considered the game that put Ubi Soft in the worldwide spotlight.[6] Alongside this, Yves managed Guillemot Informatique, making deals with Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line and MicroProse to distribute their games in France. By the end of the decade, Guillemot Informatique began expanding to other markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. They entered the video game distribution and wholesale markets, and by 1993 they had become the largest distributor of video games in France.[20]

Worldwide growth (1996–2003)

In 1996, Ubi Soft listed its initial public offering and raised over US$80 million in funds to help them to expand the company.[6] Within two years, the company established worldwide studios in Annecy (1996), Shanghai (1996), Montreal (1997), and Milan (1998).

One difficulty that the brothers found was the lack of an intellectual property that would have a foothold in the United States market; games like Rayman did well in Europe but not overseas.[6] When widespread growth of the Internet arrived around 1999, the brothers decided to take advantage of this by founding game studios aimed at online free-to-play titles, including GameLoft; this allowed them to licence the rights to Ubi Soft properties to these companies, increasing the share value of Ubi Soft five-fold. With the extra infusion of €170 million, they were able to then purchase Red Storm Entertainment in 2000, giving them access to the Tom Clancy's series of stealth and spy games, highly popular in the United States.[6] Ubi Soft helped with Red Storm to continue to expand the series, bringing titles like Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series.[6] The company got a strong foothold in the United States when it worked with Microsoft to develop Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, an Xbox-exclusive title released in 2002 to challenge the PlayStation-exclusive Metal Gear Solid series, by combining elements of Tom Clancy's series with elements of an in-house developed game called The Drift. Splinter Cell helped not only to sell the Xbox 360 console, but established both Ubi Soft and its Montreal studio as important players in the video game market.[6]

In March 2001, Gores Technology Group sold The Learning Company's entertainment division (which includes games originally published by Brøderbund, Mattel Interactive, Mindscape and Strategic Simulations) to them. The sale included the rights to intellectual properties such as the Myst and Prince of Persia series.[21] Ubisoft Montreal developed the Prince of Persia title into Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, released in 2003, another critically successful title.[6] At the same time, Ubi Soft also released Beyond Good & Evil, Ancel's project after Rayman; it was one of Ubi Soft's first commercial "flop", as while it has gained an appreciation over time, it was met with lukewarm reception at its release alongside a competitive 2003 release market.[6]

Continued expansion (2003–2015)

Ubisoft logo evolution
The evolution of the Ubisoft logo. The initial logo was created on the company's founding in 1986. With publication of Rayman, the company used the rainbow shape to show their shift from distributor to publisher in 1995. The blue "swirl" was introduced in 2003 with the rebranding from "Ubi Soft" to "Ubisoft" as to represent a more mature company, alongside their acquisition of the Tom Clancy license. The minimalistic swirl was introduced in 2017, designed to appear as windows into their game worlds while retaining a grain de folie (touch of madness).[22]

On 9 September 2003, Ubi Soft announced that they would change their name to simply Ubisoft, and introduced a new logo known as "the swirl".[23][24] In December 2004, rival gaming corporation Electronic Arts purchased a 19.9% stake in the firm. Ubisoft referred to the purchase as "hostile" on EA's part.[25] Ubisoft's brothers recognised they had not considered themselves within a competitive market, and employees had feared that an EA takeover would drastically alter the environment within Ubisoft. EA's CEO at the time, John Riccitiello, assured Ubisoft the purchase was not meant as a hostile manoeuvre, and EA ended up selling the shares in 2010.[6]

Ubisoft established another new IP, Assassin's Creed, first launched in 2007; Assassin's Creed was originally developed by Ubisoft Montreal as a sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time but instead transitioned to a story about Assassins and the Templar Knights.[6] In July 2006, Ubisoft bought the Driver franchise from Atari for a sum of €19 million in cash for the franchise, technology rights, and most assets. In July 2008, Ubisoft made the acquisition of Hybride Technologies, a Piedmont-based studio renowned for its expertise in the creation of visual effects for cinema, television and advertising. In November 2008, Ubisoft acquired Massive Entertainment from Activision.[26] In January 2013, Ubisoft acquired South Park: The Stick of Truth from THQ for $3.265 million.

Ubisoft announced plans in 2013 to invest $373 million into its Quebec operations over seven years, a move that is expected to generate 500 additional jobs in the province. The publisher is investing in the expansion of its motion capture technologies, and consolidating its online games operations and infrastructure in Montreal. By 2020, the company will employ more than 3,500 staff at its studios in Montreal and Quebec City.[27]

In March 2015, the company set up a Consumer Relationship Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The centre is intended to integrate consumer support teams and community managers. Consumer Support and Community Management teams at the CRC are operational seven days a week.[28]

Attempted takeover by Vivendi (2015–2018)

Since around 2015, the French mass media company Vivendi has been seeking to expand its media properties through acquisitions and other business deals. In addition to advertising firm Havas, Ubisoft was one of the first target properties identified by Vivendi, which as of September 2017 has an estimated valuation of $6.4 billion.[29][30] Vivendi, in two separate actions during October 2015, bought shares in Ubisoft stock, giving them a 10.4% stake in Ubisoft, an action that Yves Guillemot considered "unwelcome" and feared a hostile takeover.[31] In a presentation during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016, Yves Guillemot stressed the importance that Ubisoft remain an independent company to maintain its creative freedom.[32] Guillemot later described the need to fight off the takeover: "...when you're attacked with a company that has a different philosophy, you know it can affect what you've been creating from scratch. So you fight with a lot of energy to make sure it can't be destroyed."[33] Vice-President of Live Operations, Anne Blondel-Jouin, expressed similar sentiment in an interview with PCGamesN, stating that Ubisoft's success was (partly) due to "...being super independent, being very autonomous."[34][35]

Vivendi also acquired stake in mobile game publisher Gameloft, also owned by the Guillemots, at the same time it started acquiring Ubisoft shares.[36][31] In the following February, Vivendi acquired €500 million worth of shares in Gameloft, gaining more than 30% of the shares and requiring the company under French law to make a public tender offer; this action enabled Vivendi to complete the hostile takeover of Gameloft by June 2016.[37][38][39] Following Vivendi's actions with Gameloft in February 2016, the Guillemots asked for more Canadian investors in the following February to fend off a similar Vivendi takeover;[40][41][42] by this point, Vivendi had increased their share in Ubisoft to 15%, exceeding the estimated 9% that the Guillemots owned.[38][40] By mid-June 2016, Vivendi had increased its shares to 20.1%, but denied it was in the process of a takeover.[43]

By the time of Ubisoft's annual board meeting in September 2016, Vivendi has gained 23% of the shares, while Guillemots were able to increase their voting share to 20%. A request was made at the board meeting to place Vivendi representatives on Ubisoft's board, given the size of their share holdings. The Guillemots argued strongly against this, reiterating that Vivendi should be seen as a competitor, and succeeded in swaying other voting members to deny any board seats to Vivendi.[44]

Vivendi continued to buy shares in Ubisoft, approaching the 30% mark that could trigger a hostile takeover; as of December 2016, Vivendi held a 27.15% stake in Ubisoft.[45] Reuters reported in April 2017 that Vivendi's takeover of Ubisoft would likely happen that year,[29] and Bloomberg Businessweek observed that some of Vivendi's shares would reach the two-year holding mark, which would grant them double voting power, and would likely meet or exceed the 30% threshold.[46] The Guillemot family has since raised their stake in Ubisoft; as of June 2017, the family now held 13.6 percent of Ubisoft's share capital, and 20.02 percent of the company's voting rights.[47] In October 2017, Ubisoft announced it reached a deal with an "investment services provider" to help them purchase back 4 million shares by the end of the year, preventing others, specifically Vivendi, from buying these.[48]

In the week just before Vivendi would gain double-voting rights for previously purchased shares, which would have likely pushed their ownership over 30%, the company, in quarterly results published in November 2017, that it has no plans to acquire Ubisoft for the next six months, nor will seek board positions due to the shares they hold during that time, and that it "will ensure that its interest in Ubisoft will not exceed the threshold of 30% through the doubling of its voting rights." Vivendi remained committed to expanding in the video game sector, identifying that their investment in Ubisoft could represent a capital gain of over 1 billion euros.[49]

On 20 March 2018, Ubisoft and Vivendi struck a deal ending any potential takeover, with Vivendi agreeing to sell all of its shares, over 30 million, to other parties and agreeing to not buy any Ubisoft shares for five years. Some of those shares were sold to Tencent, which after the transaction held about 5.6 million shares of Ubisoft (approximately 5% of all shares).[50] the same day, Ubisoft announced a partnership with Tencent to help bring their games into the Chinese market.[51] Vivendi completely divested its shares in Ubisoft by March 2019.[52][53]

Subsidiaries

Current

Name Location Founded Acquired Ref.
1492 Studio Vailhauquès, France 2014 March 2018 [54]
Blue Byte Düsseldorf, Germany October 1988 January 2001
Blue Mammoth Games Atlanta, Georgia, United States 2009 March 2018 [55]
Future Games of London London, England 2009 October 2013
Ivory Tower Villeurbanne, France September 2007 October 2015
Ketchapp Paris, France March 2014 September 2016 [56]
Massive Entertainment Malmö, Sweden 1997 November 2008
Nadeo Paris, France November 2000 October 2009
Owlient Paris, France 2005 2011
Red Storm Entertainment Cary, North Carolina, United States May 1996 August 2000
RedLynx Helsinki, Finland August 2000 November 2011
Ubisoft Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates October 2011 N/A
Ubisoft Annecy Annecy, France 1996
Ubisoft Barcelona Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain 1998
Ubisoft Barcelona Mobile Barcelona, Spain 2002 September 2013
Ubisoft Belgrade Belgrade, Serbia November 2016 N/A [57]
Ubisoft Berlin Berlin, Germany January 2018 [58]
Ubisoft Bordeaux Bordeaux, France April 2017 [59]
Ubisoft Bucharest Bucharest, Romania 1992
Ubisoft Chengdu Chengdu, China 2008
Ubisoft Halifax Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 2003 October 2015
Ubisoft Kiev Kiev, Ukraine April 2008 N/A
Ubisoft Leamington Leamington Spa, England November 2002 January 2017
Ubisoft Milan Milan, Italy 1998 N/A
Ubisoft Montpellier Castelnau-le-Lez, France 1994
Ubisoft Montreal Montreal, Quebec, Canada 1997
Ubisoft Mumbai Mumbai, India June 2018 [60]
Ubisoft Odesa Odessa, Ukraine March 2018 [60]
Ubisoft Osaka Osaka, Japan 1996 2008
Ubisoft Paris Montreuil, France 1992 N/A
Ubisoft Paris Mobile Montreuil, France 2013
Ubisoft Philippines Santa Rosa, Philippines March 2016
Ubisoft Pune Pune, India 2000 2008
Ubisoft Quebec Quebec City, Quebec, Canada June 2005 N/A
Ubisoft Reflections Newcastle upon Tyne, England July 1984 July 2006
Ubisoft Saguenay Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada February 2018 N/A
Ubisoft San Francisco San Francisco, California, United States 2009
Ubisoft Shanghai Shanghai, China 1996
Ubisoft Singapore Singapore July 2008
Ubisoft Sofia Sofia, Bulgaria 2006
Ubisoft Stockholm Stockholm, Sweden 2017
Ubisoft Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 2010
Ubisoft Winnipeg Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada April 2018

Former

Name Location Founded Acquired Closed Ref.
Game Studios Los Angeles, California, United States January 2001 March 2001 March 2001 [61][62][63]
Microïds Canada Montreal, Quebec, Canada N/A March 2005 March 2005 [64]
Related Designs Mainz, Germany 1995 April 2013 June 2014 [65][66]
Sinister Games Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States 1997 May 2000 2003 [67][68][69]
Southlogic Studios Porto Alegre, Brazil 1996 January 2009 January 2009 [70]
Sunflowers Interactive Heusenstamm, Germany 1993 April 2007 April 2007 [71]
THQ Montreal Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 2010 January 2013 January 2013 [72][73]
Tiwak Montpellier, France August 2000 December 2003 March 2011 [74][75][76]
Ubi Studios Oxford, England N/A May 2000 N/A [77][68][78]
Ubisoft Casablanca Casablanca, Morocco April 1998 N/A June 2016 [79]
Ubisoft Sao Paulo São Paulo, Brazil July 2008 N/A 2010 [80][81]
Ubisoft Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 2006 February 2009 January 2012 [82][83]
Ubisoft Zurich Thalwil, Switzerland August 2011 N/A October 2013 [84][85]
Wolfpack Studios Round Rock, Texas, United States 1999 March 2004 May 2006 [86][87][88]

Games

Games as a service

Ubisoft noticed that connected sandbox experiences, with seamless switches between single and multiplayer modes provided the players with more fun, leading the company to switch from pursuing single-player only games to internet connected online experiences.[89] According to Guillemot, Ubisoft internally refers to its reimagined self as 'before The Division' and an 'after The Division'.[89]

In an interview with The Verge, Anne Blondel-Jouin, executive producer of The Crew turned vice-president of live operations,[89][90] noted that The Crew was an early game of Ubisoft's to require a persistent internet connection in order to play.[89] This raised initial concerns for gamers, hampering the game's initial success and sparked concerns internally at the company.[89]

Technology

Uplay

Uplay is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications service for PC created by Ubisoft. Ubisoft Club is a reward program connected to Uplay Members earn rewards by completing certain actions while playing games published by Ubisoft. Completing an action gives you a certain number of Units, which members can use to unlock those rewards or to get a discount on games from the Uplay Store.

AnvilNext

AnvilNext, formerly named Scimitar, is a proprietary game engine developed wholly within Ubisoft Montreal in 2007 for the development of the first Assassin's Creed game, and since expanded and used for nearly all other Assassin's Creed titles and other Ubisoft games.

Dunia Engine

The Dunia Engine is a software fork of the CryEngine that was originally developed by Crytek, with modifications made by Ubisoft Montreal. The CryEngine was unique at the time as it could render large outdoor environmental spaces. Crytek had created a demo of their engine called X-Isle: Dinosaur Island which they had demonstrated at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 1999. Ubisoft saw the demo, and had Crytek build out the demo into a full title, becoming the first Far Cry, released in 2004.[91] That same year, Electronic Arts established a deal with Crytek to build a wholly different title with an improved version of the CryEngine, leaving them unable to continue work on Far Cry.[92] Ubisoft assigned Ubisoft Montreal to develop console versions of Far Cry, and arranging with Crytek to have all rights to the Far Cry series as well as a perpetual licence on the CryEngine.[93]

In developing Far Cry 2, Ubisoft Montreal modified the CryEngine to include destructable environments and a more realistic physics engine. This modified version became the Dunia Engine, which premiered with Far Cry 2 in 2008.[94][95] The Dunia Engine continued to be improved, such as adding weather systems, and used of the basis of all future Far Cry games, as well as James Cameron's Avatar: The Game, also developed by Ubisoft Montreal.[96][97] According to Remi Quenin, one of the engine's architect at Ubisoft Montreal, the state of the Dunia Engine as of 2017 includes "vegetation, fire simulation, destruction, vehicles, systemic AI, wildlife, weather, day/night cycles, [and] non linear storytelling" which are all fundamental elements of the Far Cry games, and little of the original CryEngine code remained in the current version.[98]

Controversies

2000s

Ubisoft used the controversial "StarForce" copy protection technology which is able to install drivers on a system and is known to cause hardware and compatibility issues with certain operating systems. In April 2006, Ubisoft confirmed that they would stop using StarForce on their games, citing complaints from customers.[99]

In the February 2008 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, editor-in-chief Dan "EGMShoe" Hsu asserted that Ubisoft had ceased to provide Ubisoft titles to EGM for coverage purposes as a result of prior critical previews and negative reviews.[100][101] 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."[102]

In August 2008, Ubisoft was criticised by the antiwar group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) for its role as a developer of propaganda and recruitment tools for the United States Department of Defense.[103]

2010s

In January 2010, Ubisoft announced the online services platform Uplay, which requires customers to authenticate on the first game launch and to remain online continually while playing, with the game pausing if network connection is lost. This system prevent to play games offline, to resell them and in the case should Ubisoft's servers go down, games would be unplayable. In 2010, review versions of Assassin's Creed II and Settlers 7 for the PC contained this new DRM scheme and instead of pausing the game, it would discard all progress since the last checkpoint or save game.[104] However, subsequent patches for Assassin's Creed II allowed players to continue playing once their connection has been restored without loss of progress.[105]

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.[106][107] Ubisoft initially announced this was the result of the number of users attempting to access their servers to play, but later claimed that the real cause of the outages were denial-of-service attacks.[106][107] In August 2011, Ubisoft released From Dust with DRM protection, contrary to previous statements that the game would not have any DRM related restrictions. After several months, the DRM had still not been removed from copies of the game.[108]

The company's use of Aaron Priceman, also known as Mr. Caffeine by the internet, as a spokesman at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 was criticised for his reliance on popular internet references, inability to pronounce Tom Clancy (pronounced by Priceman as "Tom Culancy"), sexual innuendos and imitations of video game sound effects with little to no response from the audience.[109]

In July 2013, Ubisoft announced a major breach in its network resulting in the potential exposure of up to 58 million accounts including usernames, email address and encrypted passwords. Although the firm denied any credit/debit card information could have been compromised, it issued directives to all registered users to change their account passwords and also recommended updating passwords on any other website or service where a same or similar password had been used.[110] All the users who registered were emailed by the Ubisoft company about the breach and a password change request. Ubisoft promised to keep the information safe.[111]

After revealing Assassin's Creed Unity at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014, Ubisoft came in for criticism from the gaming community shortly after revealing that the game would not support female characters in co-op gameplay. The criticism was inflamed after they explained the absence of a female co-op or playable character in Far Cry 4: according to Ubisoft Montreal, they were close to making it possible when the decision was taken that they didn't have the right animations for a female character.[112] Among the responses were comments from developers that the explanations given were not valid. Among them were the fact that the protagonists of Assassin's Creed III and its spin-off game Liberation shared a large number of movement animations. There were also statements that characters in video games tended to move in a similar fashion regardless of gender.[113] An animation director for Assassin's Creed III also said that the stated reasons of workload and animation replacement didn't hold up, saying that it would be "a day or two's work" to create a female character model.[112]

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.[114]
  • In April 2012, Ubisoft was sued by the author of the book Link, John L. Beiswenger, who alleged a copyright infringement for using his ideas in the Assassin's Creed franchise and demanding $5.25 million in damages and wanted to stop the release of Assassin's Creed III that was set to be released in October 2012 along with any future games that allegedly contain his ideas.[115] 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.[116]
  • In December 2014, Ubisoft offered a free game from their catalogue of recently released titles to compensate the season pass owners of Assassin's Creed Unity due to its buggy launch. The terms offered with the free game revoked the user's right to sue Ubisoft for the buggy launch of the game.[117]

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External links

Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed is an action-adventure stealth video game franchise created by Patrice Désilets, Jade Raymond and Corey May, developed and published by Ubisoft using the game engine Anvil and its more advanced derivatives. It depicts a centuries-old struggle, now and then, between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction and characters, intertwined with real-world historical events and figures. For the majority of time players would control an Assassin in the past history, while they also play as Desmond Miles or an Assassin Initiate in the present day, who hunt down their Templar targets.

The video game series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, while building upon concepts from the Prince of Persia series. It begins with the self-titled game in 2007, and has featured eleven main games. The most recent released game is 2018's Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

A new story and time period are introduced in each entry, and gameplay elements evolve from the previous one. There are three story arcs in the series. For the first five main games, the framing story is set in 2012 and features series protagonist Desmond Miles who uses a machine called the Animus and relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. In games till Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Abstergo employees and Assassin initiates recorded genetic memories using the Helix software, helping the Templars and Assassins find new Pieces of Eden in the modern world. The latest two games, Assassin's Creed Origins and Assassin's Creed Odyssey follow ex-Abstergo employee Layla Hassan as she is recruited into the Assassin Order.

Main games of Assassin's Creed are set in an open world and presented from the third-person perspective where the protagonists take down targets using their combat and stealth skills with the exploitation of the environment. Players have freedom to explore the historical settings as they finish main and side quests. Apart from single-player missions, some games also provide competitive and cooperative multiplayer gameplay. While main games are produced for major consoles and desktop platforms, multiple spin-off games were also released in accompany for consoles, mobiles, and handhelds platforms.

The main games in the Assassin's Creed video game series have received generally positive reviews for their ambition in visuals, game design, and narratives, with criticism towards the yearly release cycle and frequent bugs. The spin-off games received mixed to positive reviews. The video game series has received multiple awards and nominations, including Game of the Year awards. It is also commercially successful, selling over 100 million copies as of September 2016, becoming Ubisoft's best-selling franchise and one of the highest selling video game franchises of all time. Assassin's Creed was adapted by its self-titled film, which received negative reviews. A book series of art books, encyclopedias, comics, novelizations, and novels is also published. All of the media take place within the same continuity as the main video game series.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is an action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft. It is the 11th major installment, and 21st overall, in the Assassin's Creed series and the successor to 2017's Assassin's Creed Origins. Set in the year 431 BC, the plot tells a fictional history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Players control a male or female mercenary (Ancient Greek: μίσθιος misthios) who fights for both sides as they attempt to unite their family and uncover a malign cult.

The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and (in Japan only) for Nintendo Switch on October 5, 2018, with a Google Stadia version launching alongside the service in 2019. It received generally positive reviews, with praise for its open world, visuals, combat, story, and characters, while receiving criticism for some reliance on grinding, microtransactions, and for feeling bloated.

Far Cry

Far Cry is a franchise of first-person shooter video games, all of which have been published by Ubisoft. The first game, Far Cry, was developed by Crytek to premiere their CryEngine software, and released in March 2004. Subsequently, Ubisoft obtained the rights to the franchise and the bulk of the development is handled by Ubisoft Montreal with assistance from other Ubisoft satellite studios. The following games in the series have used a Ubisoft-modified version of the CryEngine, the Dunia Engine, allowing for open world gameplay. There have been five main games in the series, along with three standalone expansions; the first game, initially developed for Microsoft Windows, also saw a number of ports to video game consoles.

The Far Cry games, due to the history of their development, do not have any significant shared narrative elements, but instead share a theme of placing the player in a wilderness environment where they must help fight against one or more despots that control the region as well as surviving against wild animals that roam the open spaces. The Far Cry games feature a robust single-player campaign with later titles offering co-operative campaign support. The games also offer competitive multiplayer options and the ability for users to edit the games' maps for these matches.

The Far Cry games have generally been well-received and are considered commercial successes. Ubisoft reports that through 2014, lifetime sales of the Far Cry franchise has exceeded 20 million units.

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is the standalone successor to the 2014 video game Far Cry 4, and the fifth main installment in the Far Cry series. The game was released on March 27, 2018.

The game takes place in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana, United States. The main story revolves around the Project at Eden's Gate, a doomsday cult that has taken over the county at the command of its charismatic and powerful leader, Joseph Seed. Players control an unnamed junior deputy sheriff who becomes trapped in Hope County, and must work alongside factions of a resistance to liberate the county from the despotic rule of the Seeds and Eden's Gate. Gameplay focuses on combat and exploration; players battle enemy soldiers and dangerous wildlife using a wide array of weapons. The game features many elements found in role-playing games, such as a branching storyline and side quests. The game also features a map editor, a co-operative multiplayer mode, and a competitive multiplayer mode.

Announced in early 2017, development on Far Cry 5 was extensive. The team explored several concepts before settling on an American location. The game was heavily inspired by several socio-political events in modern history, such as the Cold War and the September 11 attacks. The development team sought to capture the despondent social climate after the events and re-purpose it for the game. Developed and published solely by Ubisoft, its competitive multiplayer mode was also created in-house, with the company's worldwide studios gaining more creative input for Far Cry 5.

Far Cry 5 was met with mostly positive critical reception upon release, although was the subject of controversy after being announced alongside a period of heightened political conflicts. Critics praised the open world design, visuals, and soundtrack, but directed criticisms towards its story and some of the characters. The game was a commercial success and became the fastest-selling title in the franchise, grossing over $310 million in its first week of sales. Several downloadable content packs have been released. A spin-off title and sequel to the narrative, Far Cry New Dawn, was released in February 15, 2019.

Google Stadia

Stadia is a cloud gaming service operated by Google, claimed to be capable of streaming video games up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with support for high-dynamic-range, to players via the company's numerous data centers across the globe, provided they are using a sufficiently high-speed Internet connection. It will be accessible through the Google Chrome web browser, and also on smartphones and tablets.

The service is integrated with YouTube and its "state share" feature allows viewers of a Stadia stream to launch a game on the service on the same save state as the streamer. This has been used as a selling point for the service. It is compatible with HID class USB controllers, though a proprietary controller manufactured by Google with a direct Wi-Fi link to data centers will be made available alongside the service. Stadia is not like Netflix, requiring users to purchase games to stream via Stadia rather than pay for access to a library of games. While the base service will be free, a Pro tier monthly subscription allows users to stream at higher rates for larger resolutions, and the offer of free games to add to their library.

Known in development as Project Stream, the service was debuted through a closed beta running Assassin's Creed Odyssey in October 2018, with a public release planned in November 2019 in select countries. It competes with Sony Interactive Entertainment's PlayStation Now service, and Microsoft's Xbox Project xCloud.

List of Nintendo DS games

This is a sortable list of video games on the Nintendo DS, DS Lite, and DSi handheld game consoles. This list does not include games released on DSiWare. The last game released for the Nintendo DS was Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay in October 2014. However, a Disney 2 Pack with two existing Disney games in one container was released for the DS in 2015.

List of Ubisoft subsidiaries

Ubisoft is a French video game publisher headquartered in Montreuil, founded in March 1986 by the Guillemot brothers. Since its establishment, Ubisoft has become one of the largest video game publishers, and it has the largest in-house development team, with more than 14,000 employees working in over 40 studios.While Ubisoft set up many in-house studios itself, such as Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Montpellier and Ubisoft Paris, the company also acquired several studios, such as Massive Entertainment, Red Storm Entertainment, Reflections Interactive and FreeStyleGames. Ubisoft's studios often cooperate with each other in their projects, sharing different development duties. 2014's Assassin's Creed Unity saw ten studios worldwide work together.

List of backward compatible games for Xbox One

The Xbox One gaming console has received updates from Microsoft since its launch in 2013 that enable it to play select games from its two predecessor consoles, Xbox and Xbox 360. On June 15, 2015, backward compatibility with supported Xbox 360 games became available to eligible Xbox Preview program users with a beta update to the Xbox One system software. The dashboard update containing backward compatibility was released publicly on November 12, 2015. On October 24, 2017, another such update added games from the original Xbox library. The following is a list of all backward compatible games on Xbox One under this functionality.

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia is a video game franchise created by Jordan Mechner, originally developed and published by Brøderbund, then The Learning Company, and currently Ubisoft. The franchise is built around a series of action-adventure games focused on various incarnations of the eponymous prince. The first game in the series was designed by Mechner after the success of his previous game with Brøderbund, Karateka. The original title spawned two sequels. The series has been rebooted twice since its acquisition by Ubisoft, and has been made into a film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, penned in part by Mechner and released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2010. Since the first remake of Prince of Persia, the series has seen eight sequels on more than 10 different gaming platforms, from the Game Boy Advance to the PlayStation 3.

According to some sources, the Assassin's Creed video game series is inspired by Prince of Persia.Mechner has been involved with the series in varying capacities throughout its history. The games have been developed and published by several different companies. The first two games in the series, Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, were published by Brøderbund. Prince of Persia 3D, the first to use 3D computer graphics, was developed by Red Orb Entertainment and published by The Learning Company on PC, and developed by Avalanche Software and published by Mattel Interactive on Sega Dreamcast. Ubisoft began developing and publishing the series in 2003 with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Rayman

Rayman is a franchise of platform video games, published by Ubisoft. Since the release of the original Rayman, conceived by Michel Ancel in 1995, the series has produced a total of 44 games across multiple platforms.

The series is set in a fantastical, magical world which features a wide range of environments that are often based on certain themes, such as "the Eraser Plains", a landscape made entirely of stationery. The core games of the series are platformers, but there are several spin-off titles in other genres. The main protagonist of the series is the eponymous Rayman, a magical being renowned for his courage and determination who, with the help of his friends, must save his world from various villains.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is a series of military tactical shooter video games published by Ubisoft. In the series, the player is in charge of a fictional, newly conceived squad of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (5th SFG) stationed at Fort Bragg. Except for the "1st Battalion, 5th SFG" designation, this reconnaissance unit is entirely fictional, as Special Forces Battalions currently only support three Companies (A, B and C). They are often referred to as "the Ghosts". Their role is not unlike other real world special operations forces, in that their operations are kept highly classified. In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, it is shown that the Ghost's unit has multiple designations and is part of JSOC and is also known as the Group for Specialized Tactics (or GST—where the term "Ghost" comes from) much like real JSOC units like Delta Force (1st SFOD-D or CAG) and SEAL Team Six (or DEVGRU). Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon has also been novelized by Grant Blackwood under the pseudonym David Michaels.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (often shortened to Rainbow Six Siege) is an online tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on December 1, 2015. The game puts heavy emphasis on environmental destruction and cooperation between players. Each player assumes control of an attacker or a defender in different gameplay modes such as rescuing a hostage, defusing a bomb, and taking control of a capture point. The title has no campaign but features a series of short missions that can be played solo. These missions have a loose narrative, focusing on recruits going through training to prepare them for future encounters with the White Masks, a terrorist group that threatens the safety of the world.

It is an entry in the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series and the successor to Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots, a tactical shooter that had a larger focus on narrative. However, Patriots was eventually cancelled due to its technical shortcomings, and the team decided to reboot the franchise. The team evaluated the core of the Rainbow Six franchise and believed that letting players impersonate the top counter-terrorist operatives around the world suited the game most. To create authentic siege situations, the team consulted actual counter-terrorism units and looked at real-life examples of sieges. Powered by AnvilNext 2.0, the game also utilizes Ubisoft's RealBlast technology to create destructible environments.

Announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014, it received four nominations from Game Critics Awards including Best of Show. The game received an overall positive reception from critics, with praise mostly directed to the game's tense multiplayer and focus on tactics. However, the game was criticized for its progression system and its lack of content. Initial sales were weak, but the game's player base increased significantly as Ubisoft adopted a "games as a service" model for the game and subsequently released several packages of free downloadable content. Several years after the game's release, some critics regarded Siege as one of the best multiplayer games in the modern market due to the improvements brought by the post-launch updates. The company partnered with ESL to make Siege an esports game. In February 2019, the game surpassed 45 million registered players across all platforms.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a series of award-winning stealth video games, the first of which was released in 2002, and their tie-in novels. The protagonist, Sam Fisher, is a highly trained agent of a fictional black-ops sub-division within the NSA, dubbed "Third Echelon". The player controls Fisher to overcome his adversaries in levels (created using Unreal Engine and emphasising light and darkness as gameplay elements). All the console and PC games in the series were positively received, and the series is commercially successful. The series, along with Assassin's Creed, is considered to be one of Ubisoft's flagship franchises, selling more than 31 million copies as of 2011.

Tom Clancy's The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division is an online-only action role-playing video game developed by Massive Entertainment and published in 2016 by Ubisoft, with assistance from Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Annecy, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is set in a near future New York City in the aftermath of a viral pandemic; the player, a Special Agent of the Strategic Homeland Division, is tasked with helping the group rebuild its operations in Manhattan, investigate the nature of the outbreak, and combat criminal activity in its wake. The Division is structured with elements of role-playing games, as well as cooperative and player versus player online multiplayer.

Reviews for The Division were generally positive, with praise towards the combat, visuals, and post-apocalyptic-like setting, though it faced criticism for its lack of content at launch, bullet-sponge enemies, story, and technical bugs. The game was a commercial success, with Ubisoft stating that the game broke the company's record for highest number of first-day sales. Furthermore, one week after the game's release, Ubisoft stated that The Division was the company's best-selling game, and the industry's biggest first-week launch for a new game franchise, which generated an estimated amount of $330 million globally. A sequel, Tom Clancy's The Division 2, was released on March 15, 2019.

Ubisoft Montreal

Ubisoft Divertissements Inc., doing business as Ubisoft Montreal, is a Canadian video game developer and a subsidiary of Ubisoft based in Montreal, Quebec.

The studio was founded in April 1997 as part of Ubisoft's growth into worldwide markets, with subsidies from the governments of Montreal, Quebec, and Canada to help create new multimedia jobs. The studio's initial products were low-profile children's games based on existing intellectual property. Ubisoft Montreal's break-out titles was 2002's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and 2003's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Subsequently, the studio continued to develop sequels and related games in both series, and developing its own intellectual properties such as Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and For Honor.

The studio as of 2017 employs more than 3,500 staff, making it one of the largest game development studios in the world. The studio also helped to establish Montreal as a creative city, and brought other video game developers to establish studios there.

Ubisoft Motion Pictures

Ubisoft Motion Pictures SASU is a French film production company and a subsidiary of video game publisher Ubisoft based in Montreuil. Founded on 27 January 2011, Ubisoft Motion Pictures is in charge of producing films and television shows based on Ubisoft franchises.

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs (stylized as WATCH_DOGS) is an action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide on May 27, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. A Wii U version was released in November 2014. Set in a fictionalized, free-roam, open world version of Chicago, the single-player story follows hacker Aiden Pearce's search for revenge after the killing of his niece. The game is played from a third-person perspective, and the world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. An online multiplayer mode allows up to eight players to engage in cooperative and competitive gameplay.

Development of the game began in 2009, and continued for over five years. Duties were shared by many of Ubisoft's studios worldwide, with more than a thousand people involved. The developers visited Chicago to conduct field research on the setting, and used regional language for authenticity. Hacking features were created in consultation with the cyber-security company Kaspersky Lab, and the in-game control system was based on SCADA. The score was composed by Brian Reitzell, who infused it with krautrock.

Following its announcement in June 2012, Watch Dogs was widely anticipated. Upon release, it received a mixed reception; praise was directed at the game's hacking elements and mission variety, while criticism was expressed concerning the discrepancy in graphics quality between marketing and the real game, plot, and protagonist. Watch Dogs was a commercial success, breaking the record for the biggest first-day sales of a Ubisoft game and becoming the biggest launch of a new intellectual property in the United Kingdom at the time. The game has shipped over 10 million copies; its sequel, Watch Dogs 2, was released in November 2016. A third game, Watch Dogs: Legion, is slated for March 6, 2020.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 (stylized as WATCH_DOGS 2) is an action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the sequel to 2014's Watch Dogs and was released worldwide for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows in November 2016. Set within a fictionalized version of the San Francisco Bay Area, the game is played from a third-person perspective and its open world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle. Players control Marcus Holloway, a hacker who works with the hacking group DedSec to take down the city's advanced surveillance system known as ctOS. There are multiple ways to complete missions, and each successful assignment increases the follower count of DedSec. Cooperative multiplayer allows for competitive one-on-one combat and connecting with other players in order to neutralize a player who is causing havoc.

Ubisoft Montreal studied player feedback from the first game to assess what could be improved in Watch Dogs 2 and the setting was researched by making frequent trips to California. Ubisoft Reflections was responsible for overhauling the driving mechanic. Real hackers were consulted to validate scripts and game mechanics for authenticity and references to real life hacktivism were fictionalized, like the Project Chanology protest. The original soundtrack was composed by Hudson Mohawke. The game was released to overall positive reception from critics which praised the game for improving upon the original Watch Dogs in areas like the hacking, setting, characters and driving. However, character inconsistencies, firearms and frequent technical issues – later patched – were cited as imperfections. A sequel, Watch Dogs: Legion, is scheduled to be released on March 6, 2020.

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