Ubisoft Entertainment SA (/ˈjuːbiˌsɒft/;
French: [ybisɔft]; formerly Ubi Soft Entertainment SA) is a
French video game publisher headquartered in Montreuil. It is known
for publishing games for several acclaimed video game franchises
including Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, Prince of Persia,
Rayman, and Tom Clancy's. It is the fourth largest publicly-traded
game company in the Americas and Europe after
Electronic Arts, and
Take-Two Interactive in terms of revenue and
1.1 Attempted takeover by Vivendi
3.1 Games as a Service
7 External links
On 12 March 1986, Christian, Claude, Gérard, Michel and Yves
Guillemot, five brothers of the Guillemot family, founded Ubi Soft in
Carentoir, a small village located in the
Morbihan department of
Brittany region. Yves Guillemot soon made deals with
Sierra On-Line and
MicroProse to distribute their
games in France. By the end of the decade, Ubi Soft 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. In the early 1990s, Ubi Soft initiated its
in-house game development program, which led to the 1994 opening of a
studio in Montreuil, which later became their primary operating
offices. Ubi Soft became a publicly traded company in 1996 and
continued its expansion around the globe, opening locations in Annecy
Montreal (1997), and
In March 2001, Gores Technology Group sold The Learning Company's
entertainment division (which includes games originally published by
Mindscape and Strategic Simulations) to them. The
sale included the rights to intellectual properties such as the Myst
Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia series. 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
Massive Entertainment from Activision. In January 2013,
Ubisoft acquired South Park: The Stick of Truth from
On 9 September 2003, Ubi Soft announced that that they would change
their name to simply Ubisoft, and introduced a new logo known as "the
In December 2004, rival gaming corporation
Electronic Arts purchased a
19.9% stake in the firm, an action
Ubisoft referred to as "hostile" on
Ubisoft announced plans in 2013 to invest $373 million into its
Quebec operations over seven years, a move that will 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. The
significant investment is expected to generate 500 jobs in
a seven-year period. By 2020, the company will employ more than 3,500
staff at its studios in
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.
In May 2017,
Ubisoft announced that they had changed their logo to a
simplistic, minimalistic version of the former representation.
Attempted takeover by Vivendi
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. 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. In a presentation during the
Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016, Yves Guillemot stressed the
Ubisoft remain an independent company to maintain its
creative freedom. 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."
Vivendi also acquired stake in mobile game publisher Gameloft, also
owned by the Guillemots, at the same time it started acquiring Ubisoft
shares. In the following February,
€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. Following
Vivendi's actions with
Gameloft in February 2016, the Guillemots asked
for more Canadian investors in the following February to fend off a
Vivendi takeover; by this point,
increased their share in
Ubisoft to 15%, exceeding the estimated 9%
that the Guillemots owned. By mid-June 2016,
increased its shares to 20.1%, but denied it was in the process of a
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 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.
Reuters reported in April 2017
that Vivendi's takeover of
Ubisoft would likely happen that year,
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.
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. In
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
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
represent a capital gain of over 1 billion euros.
On 20 March 2018,
Vivendi struck a deal ending any
potential takeover, with
Vivendi selling all of its shares, over 30
million, to other parties and agreeing to not buy any
for five years. Some of those shares were sold to Tencent, which after
the transaction held about 5.6 million shares of Ubisoft; the same
Ubisoft announced a partnership with
Tencent to help bring their
games into the Chinese market.
Main article: List of
Blue Mammoth Games
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Future Games of London
Red Storm Entertainment
Cary, North Carolina, United States
Ubisoft Abu Dhabi
twofour54, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain
Ubisoft Barcelona Mobile
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Santa Rosa, Philippines
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Saguenay, Quebec, Canada
Ubisoft San Francisco
San Francisco, California, United States
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Ubisoft Sao Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Austin, Texas, United States
Main article: List of
Besides publishing their own games,
Ubisoft is also publishing famous
franchises produced by other important studios for some specific
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.
According to Guillemot,
Ubisoft internally refers to its reimagined
self as 'before The Division' and an 'after The Division.' "'
In an interview with The Verge, Anne Blondel-Jouin, executive producer
of The Crew turned vice-president of live operations, noted
that The Crew was an early game of Ubisoft's to require a persistent
internet connection in order to play. This raised initial concerns
for gamers, hampering the game's initial success and sparked concerns
internally at the company.
Main article: Uplay
Uplay is a digital distribution, digital rights management,
multiplayer and communications service for PC created by Ubisoft.
Ubisoft Club is a reward program. 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
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the
article's neutral point of view of the subject. Please integrate the
section's contents into the article as a whole, or rewrite the
material. (December 2016)
Ubisoft had, for a time, used the controversial
protection technology that installs drivers on a system and is known
to cause hardware and compatibility issues with certain operating
systems. On 14 April 2006,
Ubisoft confirmed that they would stop
StarForce on their games, citing complaints from customers.
In August 2008,
Ubisoft was criticized by an antiwar group for its
role as a developer of propaganda and recruitment tools for the U.S.
Department of Defense.
In January 2010,
Ubisoft announced the online services platform Uplay,
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 meaning that, should
Ubisoft's servers go down, the game will be unplayable. In 2010,
review versions of
Assassin's Creed II and
Settlers 7 for the 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. However, subsequent
Assassin's Creed II allow the player to continue playing
once their connection has been restored without lost progress.
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.
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. In August 2011, Ubisoft
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.
In the February 2008 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly,
editor-in-chief Dan "EGMShoe" Hsu asserted that
Ubisoft had ceased to
Ubisoft titles to EGM for coverage purposes as a result of
prior critical previews and negative reviews. 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." The company's use of
Aaron Priceman, also known as Mr. Caffeine by the internet, as a
spokesman at E3 2011 was criticized for his reliance on popular
internet references, 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.
On 2 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. 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.
Assassin's Creed Unity at Electronic Entertainment
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. 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. 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
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.
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. 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.
In December 2014,
Ubisoft offered a free game from their catalog 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.
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