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Mobile Gaming Europe 2012: How Ubisoft expects to prosper in mobile gaming

Mobile Gaming Europe 2012: How Ubisoft expects to prosper  in mobile gaming
Mobile is a challenge for many traditional console publishers, but it's one that they are committed to overcoming; that was the message from Sophie Pendaries, who's the operations and marketing director at Ubisoft Mobile.

Talking about how to make the most of IP at the Mobile Gaming Europe conference in London, she laid out how the French publisher views the opportunities for console-branded mobile games and new IP.

Know your audience

If you're looking to launch new IP in mobile, you need an innovative and differentiated game to attract the audience, she said.

This has only been enabled with the rise of free-to-play games, which enables potential players to try such games without paying.

In contrast, when you're launching mobile games based on existing game IP (such as Rayman), you have to focus on adding to those well understood and loved experiences.

The ways to play

"For us, mobile is part of the global gaming ecosystem," Pendaries explained. "We have moved from a console-centric focus to a user-centric focus - how do they want to play?"

In this way, Ubisoft views its mobile games in two distinct ways.

The first is releasing companion games, which tie into its existing PC and console brands. This is all about the user experience.

It's about the second screen - device shifting, both in terms of simultaneous and complementarity usage, Pendaries said.

This can boil down to 'helper apps', which open up some aspect of a more complex console game, or true cross-platform games such as Ubisoft's Might & Magic: Duel of Companions online card game, which works in exactly the same way across PC and mobile.

Ubisoft is also expecting big things from its new Watch Dogs brand - both on console and mobile.

"Everything is connected. We're creating in-game and out-of-game the same experience," Pendaries said.

Although full details of this connectivity has yet been announced, anyone will be able to play the mobile app, whether they play the console game or not, and all activity will enrich the overall gameplay experience.

New worlds

As for Ubisoft's philosophy in terms of standalone titles - the second part of its view - here the challenge is about 'being faithful to brand values while adapting to the grammar of mobile gaming'.

Yet, what's most important is that mobile is 'an opportunity for us to bring our brands to new audiences'.

"I love the historical nature of the Assassin's Creed world but I can't play the console version. It's too complex," Pendaries explains.

"That's why I'm looking forward to the mobile version of the game [AC: Utopia] we're developing with GREE."

Yet she confessed Ubisoft is only at the start of its process to succeed in mobile gaming.

We have lots of things to learn, she said.
editor-at-large

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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