With four launch titles for Nintendo's newest handheld and more in the development pipe, Ubisoft is all up in that tasty 3DS action.
The French developer Ubisoft launch titles for Nintendo's 3DS handheld are Rayman 3D, Asphalt, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars and there is Rabbids and Combat of Giants: Dinosaur 3D coming out next week as well as Driver: Renegade and James Noir's Hollywood Crimes dropping in just a few months. Ubisoft has always has a good relationship with Nintendo, but Murray Pannell, Ubisoft's UK marketing director, explains why a third party publisher would support an untested new system so readily. The short answer: to make as much money as possible.
"Ubisoft has historically had a very good relationship with Nintendo and it's fair to say that as a third party publisher we've seen great success on both the Wii and DS platforms in recent years," Pannell said. "We believe that a strong commitment to new platform launches puts Ubisoft in an advantageous position, not just in terms of immediate sales potential, but also in terms of creating longer-term standout of our games in consumers' minds."
What about the risks of spending so much time developing games for a system with untested technology like the 3DS? "I firmly believe that the benefits of having a broad range of good quality titles far outweigh any risks. We fully expect Nintendo to do a great job in creating demand for their new hardware platform, across a wide range of audiences, so catering for this demand makes good business sense to us."
Nintendo software seems to outsell third party games on their own systems nearly three to one. Did Ubisoft consider that? "There is always an expectation that first party will spend large," Pannell said. "But in the case of 3DS I genuinely believe that Nintendo will be focusing on ensuring that the overall 3DS platform is a success."
What do you think? When I first beheld the 3DS in all its glory at last year's E3, I thought it was going to be a first day purchase for me but the high pricepoint and lack of decent launch titles has given me pause. Is Ubisoft blowing its load too early on trying to release nearly 7 games in the handheld's first three months on the market? Would it have been better to wait until its developers had more experience making games that best use the 3D capability?