A defiant Ubisoft united at E3 last week as the threat of a Vivendi takeover increases.
At the end of the firm’s pre-E3 press conference, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot took to the stage – flanked by several of his biggest developers – and told the assembled media that the freedom he gives his studios is what got us here today and that is what will drive us for another 30 years.”
It follows hostile activity from Vivendi, which has now secured a 20.1 per cent stake in Ubisoft. The firm insists it is not ‘considering the launch of a public tender’ on Ubisoft, but it did complete an unwanted takeover of mobile games creators Gameloft last month – a company run by Yves Guillemot’s brother Michel.
Speaking to MCV at the show, EMEA boss Alain Corre did not reference Vivendi directly. But he told MCV that ‘large industrial conglomerates’ threaten the creative freedom of a company
What our creative teams enjoy at Ubisoft is the certain freedom to innovate, create and to be independent,” he told MCV. Also, the decisions we are able to take sometimes are ones that are good for the games. When we decided to postpone The Division, twice, it was a very complicated, painful decision in terms of financial implications. But we felt it was a necessity for the game to be really polished and for it make a big strike and put a smile on the faces of fans who bought it day one.
Our creative teams know the games will not be ruined by short term obligations. They feel confident, they feel they can express themselves – within a certain frame – so that we can win in the end. That is a uniqueness of Ubisoft and its culture.”
He added: For big conglomerates, for big industrial groups, for sure it is not the case [that they put the games before financial targets]. But for us, and our shareholders, it is very important. The decision to postpone The Division into March was questioned by our shareholders, but they believed we knew what we were doing and that, at the end of the day, it would be beneficial for them. We created a fantastic franchise, more than 10m people have played it now, and everybody has been very happy – including our shareholders.
We are all gamers, we share this passion, but also we are trying to create value for our shareholders, which is something we have been doing for the past 20 years.
Last week, we had a finance conference, and our shareholders are very confident in our strategy. That is reassuring and shows that the way Ubisoft is being managed is the best way for everybody.”