French publisher Ubisoft is beefing up its casual games strategy with a new internal development team and plans to work with third-party studios for new content.

Now Ubisoft enters casual games development arena

The news follows similar announcements from games publisher Eidos and VOIP firm Skype in recent weeks.

Ubisoft has invested a "significant" amount in its new casual games effort, forming an internal development group to support it. The division is headed by Ghost Recon and Rayman producer Pauline Jacquey. The team’s first projects are My Coach (My Word Coach – pictured – and My Life Coach) titles for the Wii and DS and planned new titles in the Petz line.

At the same time Jacquey will be making sure that the division also partners with third-party developers to publish casual game titles alongside its internally-made projects.

“Ubisoft’s vision for this business is unique,” said Jacquey. “We are developing projects that make people feel that playing games is worth their while, allowing them to spend quality time with family and friends, learn a new skill, or improve their daily lives. By creating games with real-life benefits, we are creating games that appeal to everyone.”

Added Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO: “Ubisoft has a proven track record of publishing and creating video games for non-traditional gaming audiences, with multimillion-selling brands like Petz and Rayman. The timing is right for us to leverage our creativity and to open up the video games market to new consumers who will be attracted by content that can help them learn, grow and feel better in an entertaining way.”

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