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Vivendi Goes Universal

Vivendi Goes Universal
Once written off by some hacks as a lazy licence spin-off, Vivendi proved with its decision to delay Radical’s Scarface that it’s not a publisher ready to compromise quality and potential in favour of ease and quick profits. Its decision to grant the game an extra year in development resulted in one of the critical hits of 2006.

The firm has made a similar decision with regard to former Atari property TimeShift – an extra 12 months in development has seen it transform from FPS schedule-filler to a genuine market-leading contender.

It’s this willingness to take the time to do things right that Vivendi is vowing to apply to its portfolio across the board – and it’s a line-up that the firm intends to make as broad as possible.

“For years people have embraced the young affluent male audience,” UK MD Adam Roberts tells MCV. “But recently people have realised there are a lot more people out there. Females, 30s and 40s gamers – they’re all interested too. If you’re turning your back on those people you’re denying both yourselves and them an opportunity. If we can provide products for all ages and demographics then that’s part of the battle won.”

Vivendi’s wide spread of games under its Sierra label for the rest of the year includes Xbox 360 and PC FPS TimeShift, PC RTS duo World in Conflict and Empire Earth III, the Wii adaptation of Scarface, platformer Crash of the Titans and PSP action title SWAT Target Liberty.

“Our range is very varied – it’s not all kids, it’s not all adult,” Roberts adds. “There’s a good blend of games for everyone, and we’ll be introducing more titles to the ’07 line-up as the year goes on, which is stunning. The show and tell is just beginning. Last year was incredibly successful for us in the UK, and globally. Making 2007 into as much of a success is what excites me about this business.”

As much as Roberts may appear to be the perfect picture of calm, the theme of excitement is one that recurrs throughout his talk with MCV. With the next-gen now firmly embedded on the UK High Street, the Vivendi boss senses that great times are around the corner:

“I’m very excited at the moment. It’s been a tough transition, but we’re probably in our third of fourth attempt at this kind of adjustment, and every time people are learning a bit more about how to cope. At Vivendi UK we’ve coped really well in that we didn’t go crazy on any platform – we’ll support every platform, but we’ll only do it with very high quality titles.”

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