The Blue Byte Acquisition
The people from Ubi Soft sent us a transcript of a Q&A with Yves Guillemot (the big head honcho) on what they (Ubi Soft) are planning with German developer Blue Byte.
What made Ubi Soft decide to acquire Blue Byte rather than another company? In other words, what makes Blue Byte special?
Yves Guillemot : Blue Byte has much the same philosophy on the industry as Ubi Soft does, and that is always an important factor in our decision to acquire any company. It makes integration into the Ubi Soft group that much easier. Blue Byte, having been around since 1988, is a pioneer in the industry much like Ubi Soft. Moreover, Blue Byte has remained true to what we at Ubi Soft feel is the key to remaining competitive in the industry in the long-term : quality game play that is always designed with the gamer in mind. Finally, Blue Byte has been a long-time partner of Ubi Soft, dating back to our collaboration in 1989 on Pro Tennis Tour, for which Ubi Soft was the publisher and the game was an instant hit ! And since the early ¡¥90s, Ubi Soft has been the sole publisher for Blue Byte products in France. We now have the opportunity to work even closer together.
Were you looking specifically for a company in the German market?
Yves Guillemot : We are seeking to find partners and companies around the world. Germany, however, and the position of Blue Byte in the German market is particularly interesting for us for the following reasons. Germany represents, first and foremost, one of the top four gaming markets in the Western world. Additionally it is the second largest PC market in the world. Given that this is a transitional year in the console market, Ubi Soft hopes to have a strong return on its investments in PC game development to balance out what we think will be progressive growth in software sales on the consoles this year. Adding Blue Byte to our portfolio promises to help in that respect, while also augmenting our overall turnover. Another interesting aspect of this deal is what Blue Byte brings to us in terms of cultural currency. They have both a specific know-how for designing games which are created with the German-speaking market in mind, and also an unmatched talent for constructing intricate strategy games that please gamers around the world.
How will Blue Byte¡¦s catalogue of games most enrich the Ubi Soft collection ?
Yves Guillemot : Our acquisition of Blue Byte was also decided upon in light of our plans to expand the adult gamer portion of our lineup. With the addition of Red Storm in August 2000, Ubi Soft made a strong statement to the gamers and investors alike: we make entertaining, innovative, and smart games for players of all ages. The addition of Blue Byte to our group confirms this idea with a strong line-up of games for adults and strategy game fans. Also important to Ubi Soft and to our collection of games is Blue Byte¡¦s commitment to online gaming and the well-established online gaming community that they bring with them.
What will Blue Byte gain from being a part of the Ubi Soft group?
Yves Guillemot : Ubi Soft will be investing in Blue Byte in an effort to make available to the Blue Byte team every possible resource to help expand the launch of their best brands on a truly global level, as well as to assure the quick development of their star titles on new platforms such as PlayStation„¥2, GameCube… We will accompany this monetary investment with our technological expertise and our worldwide distribution channels. This strategy should allow Blue Byte to quickly broaden their targets, and at the same time, benefit from the broader distribution tools needed to penetrate them.
How will this impact Ubi Soft?
Ybes Guillemot : I am very pleased to say that the acquisition of Blue Byte is positive immediately for both parties in this case. Ubi Soft¡¦s earnings both at the operational and the net income will benefit from this acquisition from the very first year of Blue Byte¡¦s integration into our group.
What will the Blue Byte deal mean for Ubi Soft in terms of already existing Ubi Soft Germany Operations?
Yvbes Guillemot : Ubi Soft is currently number ten in terms of market share in Germany. Our acquisition of Blue Byte will help bring us even further up the scale to number five. Our operations in Germany will also be ¡§more German¡¨ because we will no longer only benefit from Germany as a marketplace but also as a hotbed of creativity that will add immensely to our current collection.