Monday, 13 August 2007

Live blog - Yves Guillemot

(Everything not in brackets is a direct quote).

I'm today here to speak more about at the market. The good news is the market is booming. It is very interesting time for the market. We have lots of new customers coming, which we have to look after properly.

Ubisoft reckon the market is to grow 50% in the next four years, due to new technology powerful consoles, accessibility focused consoles and web 2.0's ability to give creative power to individuals.

(Aside: Interesting that he's treating the Wii as a separate category. Wonder if this bodes well for Wii gamers).

All of us have to be careful on the internet. We'll have two lives: one life on the internet and one is real life. We have to give consumers the tools to manage this.

(Powerful consoles) The feel of immersion is more important and this is making people buy more games. These new machines will take this business to another level.

There will continue to be lots of competition between those two guys [Microsoft and Sony].

(User friendly consoles) There are lots of people that couldn't play games. [He tells anecdote about cab driver - games are too difficult]. We will be able to recruit new people who never played games and these new machines will be able to [help these people play].

These new types of machines are bringing new customers. In last year alone we sold 3.5 million (missed the name of the game) and Nintendo sold 8.5 million brain trainig games.

(The internet) Our avatar will be very important for us in the future. We have a huge opportunity as an industry to give people to express who they are, how creative they are and build their community of friends online. Games give you a way to do something that people can recognize.

(Managing growth) Our next challenge is to secure and build upon that 50% growth (Aside: He's sensibly talking about giving new consumers good quality as well as what they want).

(AAA Blockbuster titles) We need 120 - 200 people to create next generation products, they need to be very talented people and consumers are now used to very high quality games. We need also to keep lots of flexibility to ensure we keep creativity. Its difficult to make sure every [in a large development team] contributes creatively.

We need to recruit movie professionals to learn their techniques. We need to re-use engines, to share assets and teams on a world-wide basis.

(Family friendly games) Its a first approach - its the beginning of this. We have to create games that will please these new non-gamers. This requires lots of testing to know what they want: users want totally different things because they are from all ages. This is a lot more complex than normal games development. My wife plays games: she's happy to play [Wii] tennis. It really changed the way the machine was perceived even in my family.

"It takes the family back together" (Aside: its clear that he's not a native speaker of English while he's easily understood - he makes these kind of ESL mistakes).

(Internet) Our avatar will be more and more important in the future and we need to bring creative tools to this. You are the star in the gaming industry, either for yourself or a small circle of your friends. I come from a small village of 35 people, and I would go outside and play with my friend in the village square and that's what I miss in the big city. I think that the Internet and games with the Internet is giving us this back. You can go to your site, you can see your friends playing and you can go back and play with them. More and more [we have to make] this easy, and there's a lot to do there, so that we can speak, we can see each other. Microsoft is doing great on that front, and Sony is coming. We need to give more incentives [like this] to bring people to our industry.

We have to give people small games quickly: easy to download, easy to play, we need to work on making these products.

(What does Ubisoft bring) We can supply small teams, multi-platform games, and flexibility to the world wide market. We can use the internet to react fast to the demand.

To make sure we can make blockbuster products we are recruiting about 500 people are year, and plan to go to 600 to 900 in the next few years. We can't recruit this many people, so we have to develop them. We have a campus in Montreal, and will open campuses elsewhere (china etc) to allow us to develop people so that they can go straight to developing games. We need to have the possibility to take risks and to fail. The more risk you take the more chance you have to develop better products.

We are creating a CGI studio in Montreal and elsewhere. [Talks about cross-pollination of CGI movie professionals and games industry]

To expand the audience, we need to create games that are easy to pick up. We want the taxi driver to be able to play again. We will continue to make complex games, but also easy games. We are considering putting a monitoring program in games, so that if you fail, someone will come and help you. If you are stuck in a game, we will help you find solutions. If someone helps you a few times, you'll want to help him and play games with him (Aside: I think he's talking about help from your gaming peers as opposed to running an improved game helpdesk. However, it does suggest 'remote support/shared play' tools).

[We have created a new group for a quality and family friendly porfolio for expanding the Wii and DS Market.] We do five times more testing in this group, and try to recruit an audience so that all the people who are user interface specialists so that we can understand faster what the needs are in creating these games to understand the steps that make them happy to play.

[Example of raving rabbits as a family game] We're announcing a new game in the next few weeks for the family to play together. We have created the Imagine brand for young girls and the My Life Coach brand that are easy to unerstand. We continue to take specialists from all the fields to ensure that we gain know-how from those guys and make sure they stay within the company to ensure that we keep the knowledge.

We think people will learn 5 times faster than a book, using a Nintendo DS. If we ensure that the content is interesting and the right match for the user.

(Internet) A creative experience, judged by your friends. All these elements will help this person to feel he is good at creating things and his friends will recognise it. He will come back because he is familiar with our tools. We are working with online elements to ensure that games continue while the user is not there.

We are working on a VIP program and community to allow you to play with your friends and share your community across games. (Aside: I think he says that Ubisoft is working on allowing you to play games on multiple machines ala steam. [Edit: In retrospect this is more likely he's talking about preserving the same user's community across multiple platforms]).

(from slide)Our competition is not just video games, but books, films, the internet, theatre and music. We have to make sure that we do well to keep [the people who are coming to gaming] for the long term. We have to make sure our industry image is improved to allow us to attract new talent. (He's talking about development talent here, but I suspect also gamers). We have to allow you to be creative at home, the ability to create in your garage content that will be creative and allow you to come to publishers [like Ubisoft] to distribute this content.

We need as an industry to allow our consumers to be stars when they are stars: not just in games, but on the Internet, tv and radio (Aside: I think he's talking about professional gaming. Its clear that Y has a lot of ideas, as he isn't really reading from the slides, but thinking while he's talking).

1 comment:

Derel said...

Cheers Andrew for this. Will link your live blog to my take on Yes' talk. Thanks again.