Ubisoft to cut licensing spend

Despite Avatar’s record-breaking performance at the box office, Ubisoft’s game of the film has failed to impress either critic or consumers – and now the French publisher is saying that it plans to rethink its licensing strategy.

The goal is to reduce the investment in licenses, and put more emphasis on making our brands bigger and to release them more often, with very high quality,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors.

It doesn’t mean we will stop, but we are going to spend less on licenses in the future.”

In particular, Guillemot went on to outline the specific challenges posed by movies targeted at the Christmas audience.

The fact that the movie was coming in December was a potential problem – and it did result in a problem,” he continued. We thought the game would continue to sell after the New Year. We knew we were taking a risk.

It will be difficult in the future to buy rights to a movie that comes in December, because it’s too risky, and it cannot capitalise on Christmas sales. It doesn’t work as well for a video game company.”

As for the game itself, Guillemot did allude to the fact that the title’s perceived lack of quality didn’t do its retail performance any favours.

We want to make sure with those kinds of games, we have time to polish as much as we want,” he confessed.

The pressure of the release of the movie is always difficult in our industry, so I would say our goal in the future is to make sure we can have those games ready a long time in advance.”

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