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  • Colin de Korsak

[Success story] Ubisoft: the family business that became a world leader in video games

Ubisoft, developer and publisher of video games, is one of the world leaders in its sector. In addition to its famous games, which have lulled the teenage years of several generations, the company has managed to diversify and establish itself in recent trends. Find out how this French family company has developed its business and influence.

Founded in 1986, Ubisoft is the brainchild of the Guillemot brothers, who seized an opportunity in software development, a booming sector at the time. The company started out as a games creator and distributor. In its early days, the company focused mainly on the French market. In the 90s, the company expanded internationally to Romania, Canada and China. Today, Ubisoft is present in some fifty countries through its 45 studios and subsidiaries.

Ubisoft's strategy: varied gaming experiences

Over the years, Ubisoft's strategy has developed around the diversification of an advanced gaming experience. The studio has made gamers dance by developing and publishing the cult game Just Dance, but has also immersed them in fictional worlds through games such as Assassins Creed and Watch Dogs. By offering advanced and different gaming experiences, Ubisoft has aimed high and satisfied a large number of gamers. For example, the acquisition of shooter studio Red Storm Entertainment in 2000 gave Ubisoft expertise in tactical shooters. As a result, the company has sought to innovate in the way it creates video games.

By focusing on graphics, storylines and game mechanics, the company has established itself as a strong force in the video game industry. This approach has resulted in a loyal base of demanding gamers.

Innovation at the heart of Ubisoft

One of the reasons for Ubisoft's success is its ability to anticipate market trends and innovate. The company has invested heavily in new technologies and took an early interest in virtual reality with games such as Eagle Flight. The company was also quick to adopt the online gaming model. Renowned titles such as Rainbow Six Siege have demonstrated Ubisoft's commitment to creating enduring gaming experiences that evolve over time to meet the expectations of gamers.

To stay at the forefront of innovation in its sector, Ubisoft has launched programmes for entrepreneurs. The games developer supports entertainment start-ups. Ubisoft has set up four programmes to support start-ups, one in Paris in partnership with Station F, two in Canada (Quebec and Ontario), and one in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

What's more, Ubisoft doesn't stop at video games. The French company is involved in culture through film and television, thanks to its Ubisoft Film & Television branch. Its aim is to promote its award-winning games in other areas of entertainment by working on original films and television projects. For example, Ubisoft participated in the production of the film "Tom Clancy's The Division" and the series "Rabbids: Invasion", all of which are available on Netflix.

Ubisoft looks to the future

The emergence of new games consoles and advances in cloud gaming offer the company opportunities for growth. That's why the company has created its own video games platform: Ubisoft +, where it offers players a monthly subscription to access all Ubisoft games on the day they are released. The publisher has also developed its own gamer network: Ubisoft Connect.

In 2023, Ubisoft will employ more than 19,000 people. In the first half of 2023, the company achieved sales of €836 million, well above the targets set by management. Recent game releases and successful partnerships have contributed to this figure," explains co-founder Yves Guillemot in a press release.

What's more, in October 2023 Ubisoft affirmed its positioning on the cloud gaming market, which is on the rise. As a result, Ubisoft has acquired the streaming rights to a number of well-known games, reinforcing its role as a major player in the sector.

Difficulties and scandals

However, Ubisoft has faced a major crisis in recent years, and has even been forced to postpone the release of some games. The company has been marked by a massive strike, due to planned savings and redundancies. The company's shares even plummeted on the stock market following the announcement of some downgraded results. Ubisoft, like other video game companies, is facing difficulties in its sector.

What's more, in 2021 the publisher was rocked by a sexual harassment scandal within its teams following numerous testimonies and a collective complaint by the Solidaire informatique collective, reports Le Monde. Several executives were taken into police custody in October 2023, but no charges were brought.

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