Ubisoft to shutter some European subsidiaries

Anonymous sources indicate that regional distribution centres will fall victim

Ubisoft to shutter some European subsidiaries

Unofficial sources state that Ubisoft will be closing its regional distribution centre in the Benelux.

An anonymous individual shared part of a letter received by Ubisoft employees on games industry forum Resetera stating the reasons for the closures. “As we all know, the market is constantly evolving and as an organisation we need to keep up with it. At this time, Ubisoft is facing several challenges due to external factors, such as the decline in sales volume of physical games in favour of digital sales, the centralization of marketing by digitising all our communication channels, the shift from major retail releases to F2P, mobile and seasonal games and less major physical shows.”

The text also states that, “To meet the challenges of the future, Ubisoft's management has decided to close a number of subsidiaries in Europe. Unfortunately, the Ubisoft Benelux entity is subject to the intended closure with most employees departing as of April 1st, 2023. Due to the closure, Ubisoft BV will fully outsource the current distribution of physical games in the Benelux to a distributor to be announced at a later stage.”

Physical to digital

Although the precise meaning of “Ubisoft Benelux” is unconfirmed, most speculate that this more than likely referrs to Ubisoft’s physical distribution centre in the area. These companies handle physical distribution of games in a localised area, Benelux being the union between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This would be consistent with the wording earlier in the statement about Ubisoft BV taking over distribution and the future outsourcing of the process.

Although the Benelux is a significant political-economic union, the actual game audience is likely limited as opposed to broader markets like Europe itself or America. Both Ubisoft specifically, and the game industry more broadly, have been moving towards digital distribution as their primary source of sales, making regional distribution offices less and less necessary. Ubisoft also recently dipped their toes into other distribution models, such as subscriptions, with their sequel to Valiant Hearts being published directly to Netflix Games.

Ubisoft has had a rocky year in 2022, after rumours it was actively pursuing distribution, however, it was more bullish on mobile releases in its latest financials. This move to shutter its Benelux office could indicate a greater shift towards digital distribution as their primary means of sales.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.