"As you can see, the gaming market in Asian countries is growing very fast, and Ubisoft wants to take its place both in China and in the rest of Asia. And yes, our key projects already show excellent growth there, which is very important for us, as this region can be called the key for the future of the company ", – Yves Guillemot in an official interview, which took place already after the fact, is expressed even less emotionally than with informal communication in Shanghai, where he was amazed at the pace with which the Chinese market is growing in recent years.
The Ubisoft division in Shanghai has already turned 21 years old (yes, the French played a huge lead, opening the studio there in 1996), and despite the fact that the real industry in China is picking up only now, the company has to This turn of events was ready. This division, originally created as a studio-assistant for racing games Ubisoft, ported the first Splinter Cell on the Xbox and performed the most different work for the "big" games Ubisoft, now became the most important in the mobile direction.
" Creed There are no translations available. and Heroes 3 have already entered the market and, we think, will quickly gain momentum; we are actively working in conjunction with KetchApp Games creating new shareware games. The mobile games industry is important for us, and we want Ubisoft to become a great player on this field ", the legends of console and PC games were not in vain talking about the contribution to" small forms ". It's all in the same China: now mobile games bring Ubisoft only 10% of global profits, but given the size of the market and the popularity in the Middle Kingdom of shareware games (already this segment brings the company more money in China than in the US) The French will only invest more in this area. Including through cooperation with local developers who are licensed to Assassin's Creed and Might and Magic, as well as Rabbids, Hungry Shark and many others.
Please note that the top ten most popular games in the Chinese rating for iOS are local applications
Chinese, by the way, by their preferences may seem to us very "native" – in addition to the craving for mobile shareware games (this is, as you know, the most important industry for domestic developers), there is also a nostalgic smile that evokes a love for Heroes of Might and Magic. For many Chinese gamers, as for us, the third "Heroes" turned out to be the most important game of youth, which until now remains not only a recognizable brand, but also brilliantly sold. In Europe and the United States, this turn-based strategy is already half-forgotten.
In China, not only sales of the failed Heroes VI and VII do not leave much to be desired, so various mobile games for domestic consumption, such as Might and Magic Dynasty, are constantly coming out.
A brief portrait of a Chinese player
Another familiar to us all the time – general piracy. For example, mobile games on Assassin's Creed, as well as related products with symbols, bring Ubisoft a lot of money, and the Ezio Auditor Chinese audience knows as well as we do – while officially playing Assassin's Creed appeared in China only recently. But informally – a very long time. For example, the Chinese audience of Black Flag today is estimated at 5 million users – most of whom, of course, pirates. This is the "free" promotion of the brand, which Ubisoft is now trying to monetize. At the moment, China is the sixth largest market for the company. Although the console there is still not too popular, and Steam is in the "gray" zone – the platform itself is not banned, but you can not go online without using VPN in "Steam". So if you meet a Chinese person somewhere in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds or H1Z1 – you know, he's sitting through VPN.
And yes, here it is, another common feature of China and Russia – twisting nuts on the Internet. Here, of course, nothing new is enough to open a news line and read about new laws and lawsuits, and also about the fact that in 2015 our countries signed an agreement on the exchange of experience in this regard. True, our situation is softer than there.
A small sketch on this topic. I managed to visit those days at the Shanghai exhibition Chinajoy 2017 – the Chinese "IgroMire" or Gamescom, only the Chinese scale and specifics: the cost of the exhibition is 100 million dollars, a huge exhibition complex with a minimum of familiar names for the western player, queues for stands with mobile games (not a joke), Tencent and Perfect World in the role of locomotives, and Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Sony and Microsoft with relatively small stands huddling close to each other.
We talked with the secretary general of the Chinajoy organizing committee, Han Zhihai, and it was a very strange conversation.
The most typical picture of Chinajoy 2017
Han Jihai did not hesitate to speak not only about the huge volume of the Chinese market, but also about censorship. Doing, of course, focus on protecting youth from excessive violence – in the games published in China, as you know, you can not show, for example, blood. Or from erotic content. However, at the same exhibition, of course, most of the Chinese games represented some or other variations on the theme of war and violence. And almost every booth was not just booth babes, and there were whole beauty contests with a lot of not-so-chaste dressed participants. Photos from the exhibition – to your attention.
Well, these are the Asian allegories on the control of the market and users. Nevertheless, market volumes compel Western companies to wade through restrictive measures, negotiate with local operators and adapt to the situation. Very revealing, for example, the story of For Honor . I could not ask Yves Guillaume about the situation with this good game in many respects, which currently has difficult positions in the West. At the same time, the Ubisoft booth on Chinajoy attracted a large For Honor banner.
For 1945 1945 Honor – one of our most popular games in the Asian region, it has a strong position in Japan and many other Asian countries. We continue to work on it, we will add new heroes and new maps to the game. This will help us with sales around the world, but at the moment we already have a lot of players in Asia, more than in many other games "said Yves Guimo. At the same time about the situation in China, I had to ask an additional question. The fact is that, despite the interest of the public and the promotion of the game on Chinajoy, to play online in it without using VPN is impossible, without its application, only a single game is available. And here it is an ordinary situation – as in Russia we buy "gray" Chinese smartphones, so in China gamers buy "gray" games, which at the same time quite self-promoted publishers. At the same time, yes, Steam is available to any Chinese and can buy the game completely freely.
The space business center, which houses the subdivision of Ubisoft Singapore
A completely different situation, of course, in Singapore is the (semi) island of economic freedom and Western capital in South Asia. Studio Ubisoft Singapore was founded in 2008 – and after many years of support work for the "big" studios, it finally works on its own project. It's about Skull & Bones.
To be honest, this trip at first seemed like a great chance to get acquainted with this pirate game closer, but in fact to find out some radically new things about what was shown on E3 2017 failed – demo was exactly the same as at the California exhibition: a duel in the "5 by 5" format.
However, a few details cleared up. The game uses a very powerful engine, responsible for dynamic wind changes – the ability to competently use air flows will have a healthy impact on the gameplay. In the game there will be not only maps for team fights, but an open world full of historical characters as well as "hunting grounds" in which you can chase with friends. If you want an active PvP, then you can find it, if you want the adventure – then this option will be (in Skull & Bones there will be a story campaign). Ubisoft traditionally adheres to its philosophy of "the game as a service", trying to please everyone. How successful will this "sandbox", which targets both online and offline players – find out in 2018. One can already say for sure that the sea battles of Ubisoft Singapore are getting excellent, for example, the "pirate" part Assassin's Creed Black Flag well, what you have seen in Skull & Bones to date.
It's funny how much the "water" theme is closely connected with the Singapore studio – part of the team is working in this direction for Assassin's Creed Origins, where, of course, there will be swimmers on boats and an underwater world for research. In particular, we were shown that there are several types of water in Origins, and how much the swimming experience differs, for example, in turbid and pure water. Also in Singapore are working on individual locations.
By the way, the above-mentioned Shanghai studio is engaged in everything related to the animal world of Assassin's Creed (and not only) – the front of the work in Ubisoft is divided very carefully. For example, over Skull & Bones, along with Ubisoft Singapore, which plays the role of the main developer there, there are working divisions in the Philippines (opened in 2016), in Chengdu (opened in 2008) and the Berlin studio Blue Byte.
Let's return to the interview with Yves Guillaume – I, of course, asked him a few questions concerning not only the Asian market and the behavior of Ubisoft on it.
On the current stage of work on new projects by Michelle Ansel (Beyond Good and Evil 2, Rayman universe): " I can not say much more than on E3, but Michelle is working on something that might surprise you, give a new experience and that will be very different from what we saw in the first part. And we are encouraged by the fact that the team working on Beyond Good and Evil 2, was able to reach to the present moment. As for Rayman we have a remaster ready for us Rayman Legends for ] Nintendo Switch with a certain number of new chips – it will be released in the middle of September. Regarding the new parts Rayman I can not say anything yet .
About Mario + Rabbids and possible new cooperation with other companies: " About crossovers with other companies – we again can not answer. As for Mario + Rabbids – as we announced on the Gamescom we plan to support the game, add additional content to it and allow players to stay in it for a long time. Versions for the PC and other consoles are not planned – Mario belongs to Nintendo and will remain on Nintendo ».
About the situation with Vivendi : " The best way for us is to succeed, continue to produce good games that will increase income and profits Ubisoft – and, accordingly, to be more even more attractive to shareholders. For today, we feel good support from shareholders – and for us this is the best difference to external companies . "
About the internal "indie games" like Child of Light or Valiant Hearts (my most personal question): " Yes, we are working on several similar games in this moment, but we can not say anything more concrete. We are working on new ideas – and soon you will probably hear about them . "