Mobile Mavens

Does the Vivendi-proposed Gameloft-Ubisoft merger make sense?

Our Mavens talk triple French

Does the Vivendi-proposed Gameloft-Ubisoft merger make sense?

When news that French media company Vivendi had taken a more than 6 percent stake in French game developers Ubisoft and Gameloft, its reasoning was unclear.

Since then, however, it's increased its stake in both companies to more than 10 percent.

And more significantly, stated that it's all part of "a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi's content and platforms on one hand and the Ubisoft and Gameloft productions in video games on the other".

So, narrowing down the move to its game components, we asked our Mavens:

  • "Would a Gameloft-Ubisoft merger make sense?"


William D. Volk Chief Futurist Forward Reality

Gameloft and Ubisoft both have strong portfolios of titles.

I have heard that Gameloft has decent efficiency in terms of launching mobile games.

There could be some cost efficiencies with the merger OR this may be more about fending off a Electronics Arts acquisition of Ubisoft, given EA’s surprise purchase of 20% of Ubisoft's outstanding stock.

Christopher Kassulke CEO / Owner HandyGames

As a Gameloft shareholder, I’d be happy if they joined.
Christopher Kassulke

Why a Ubisoft and Gameloft merger? Vivendi has been active in the games and mobile business for ages. They have and had shares in EA, Activision Blizzard, etc.

They see it as investment and they’ll sell those shares again if it makes sense.

Games and mobile are hot topics and both Ubisoft and Gameloft were quite cheap compared to some other companies on the stock market plus they are also French.

As a Gameloft shareholder, I’d be happy if they joined.

I am also quite sure we will see more investments and M&A moves the next couple of months.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

As I understand it, the family 'fun' between the two companies has always been interesting.

I also remember doing a lot with the third team of the group called AMA...

Gameloft always did a great job of bringing their own versions of classic gaming ideas to mobile and that included Ubisoft titles for a while; but then Ubisoft started using AMA to publish those titles and eventually decided to take that inhouse.

I'm not sure that went as well as hoped initially but I think those guys learned a lot about the mobile space.

The trouble is I suspect that part of what makes Gameloft work is that internal rivalry and the position of being a mobile publisher first.

As to whether the Vivendi would force a merger - I've no idea.

But if my experience negotiating with Gameloft back in the day is anything to go by then I'd definitely not count them out yet ;0)

Harry Holmwood European CEO Marvelous Europe

A 20-year veteran of video games and online space, Harry is European CEO of Marvelous AQL, a Japanese developer and publisher of social, mobile and console games, known for console games like No More Heroes and Harvest Moon, but now highly successful in the free-to-play mobile and web space in Japan and Asia.

A games programmer before joining Sony’s early PlayStation team in 1994, he then founded developer Pure Entertainment, which IPO’d and launched a free-to-play online gaming service way back in 1999.

He was also a director of pioneering motion gaming startup In2Games, which was sold to a US group in 2008.

Along the way, he’s been a corporate VP, troubleshooter, and non-exec to a variety of companies and investors in and around the games sector.

Sounds like some silly people showing off and playing Gordon Gekko to me.

But maybe I'm just getting old.

Jon Jordan Contributing Editor Steel Media Ltd

Surely Monsieur Gekko? Or is Bruno Bonnell back in town?

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.