Ubisoft’s bets big on convergence

Posted by awolfe :: Company News-M&A | Hollywood & Video Games

Assassin_creed Ubisoft announced on Friday that it will take advantage of some tax incentives from the Canadian government to expand its Quebec studios by an additional 1,000 staffers by 2013.  Clearly part of the reason is the additional programming hours required by next generation systems, but mostly Ubisoft seems to be planning for a convergence of digital entertainment.

Of the 1,000 new staffers, 500 will be video game positions.   The other 500 will be CGI programmers and film/television producers.  The plan is to become a CGI movie studio by building on the content of their games.  Ubisoft will start will start with short films (first up is Assassin's Creed this fall), then move into longer forms and other programming.

Why the push into movies?  According to this Hollywood Reporter article, Ubisoft is building its resources for the next-next-generation consoles, which will look more like movies and less like games.  The thought is that the distinction between games and movies will fade, and some sort of interactive digital entertainment will emerge.

It’s not just Hollywood getting into the action, but Madison Avenue will be there as well.  Ubisoft plans on funding much of the new CGI content through in-game advertising (or in-experience advertising?), and the movies will act as a marketing tool for its games.

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