Ubisoft Opens Singapore Studio, Australia Looks On Longingly

ubisoft_left.jpgUpdate: The press release for this story has been updated. Apparently the old one was for internal use by Ubisoft. All the facts remain the same.

Turns out Montreal isn't enough for good old Ubisoft, as the publisher has decided to set up shop in warm reaches of Singapore. No, it's not a local office, but a fully-fledged games development house.

According to the release, Ubisoft was tempted by Singapore's "excellent technological infrastructure, thriving local game development industry and quality of its universities and training institutions". The government was also more than happy to provide the publisher with its support.

The release goes on to say that the building itself is still under construction, but once complete, 300 developers will call Ubisoft Singapore home.

New studios are always great news, but it's impossible not to think that if Australia had a willing government, high-tech infrastructure and financial incentives, this could have been a post about an Australia studio.

Press release after the jump.

UBISOFT’S ASIAN EXPANSION GAINS STEAM

Publisher to open New Development Studio in Singapore

Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announces the opening of its 18th internal development studio in Singapore.

The decision to establish the studio in Singapore was largely influenced by the country’s excellent technological infrastructure, thriving local game development industry and quality of its universities and training institutions. The Singapore government’s demonstrated willingness to work closely with industry actors and its strong support were also key factors.

The studio will open its doors early this summer in the new Fusionopolis, a state-of-the-art infocomms & media hub that is still under construction. A core team of Ubisoft veterans will train the initial team, with a goal of becoming 300-people strong in the years to come. This studio builds on the group’s recent reinforced presence in Asia, including the opening of a development and testing studio in Chengdu, China announced last September.

“Singapore’s demonstrated interest and support for the video game industry made it a clear choice for Ubisoft’s continued international expansion. Not only is it capable of ensuring the training and continued development of a highly skilled workforce specialised in interactive digital media, its quality of life and level of industrialisation makes it uniquely positioned to attract and retain talent from throughout the region,” said Christine Burgess-Quémard, Executive Director, Worldwide Studios at Ubisoft.

"The Digital Media industry is key for Singapore and the development of high-growth, innovation-intensive sectors such as videogames is of significant priority to us" said Mr Manohar Khiatani, Assistant Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board. "We are delighted that Ubisoft, one of the world's leading video game publishers and developers, has chosen Singapore as a site for the largest games studio in the region. We are confident that Ubisoft will be able to tap Singapore's talent base and unique cosmopolitan mix to design creative games for the global markets."

After an initial training period, Ubisoft’s Singapore studio will work closely with other Ubisoft studios on the development of titles for portable and home consoles.

Olivier de Rotalier, who has served for the past four years as the company’s Director of Cost Control for its International Production studios, has been appointed Managing Director of the new studio. A graduate of the leading French business school ESCP-EAP, his past 8 years with Ubisoft has provided him with extensive knowledge of the company’s processes and a broad vision of game development and studio operations.

The Economic Development Board of Singapore will host a media information session on Monday, February 18th at 2pm local time, during which Mr. de Rotalier will present the Ubisoft group and its plans for the new studio. More information on job opportunities with the new Singapore studio, as well as its other worldwide studios, will also be available at Ubisoft’s booth in the Career Pavillion (#525) at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, February 18th – 22nd, or by contacting [email protected]

About Ubisoft Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified line-up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 23 countries and sales in more than 50 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. For the 2007-08 fiscal year Ubisoft forecasts generated sales of 875 million Euros. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.

About the Singapore Economic Development Board The Economic Development Board (EDB) is the lead government agency responsible for planning and executing economic strategies to enhance Singapore’s position as a global hub for business and investment. We are the one-stop agency that facilitates and supports local and foreign investors in both the manufacturing and services sectors as they seek more value-creating operations, higher sustainable returns and new business opportunities. Singapore commands global leadership positions in many areas. EDB is expanding and extending existing industry clusters, as well as exploring new growth areas to create good jobs and secure Singapore’s future competitiveness. Our emphasis is on capital-intensive, knowledge-intensive and innovation-intensive activities. EDB is constantly identifying new business areas to develop both in terms of new technologies as well as new consumer demands, such as our 'clean and green' focus - environmental technologies, urban solutions and clean energy, lifestyle, healthcare and wellness. EDB is also expanding our geographical reach, such as Middle East, in addition to North America, Europe, Japan, China, India and ASEAN. For more information on how EDB can help in your business and investment, please visit www.sedb.com


Comments

    But Kevin Rudd is a giant nerd, he can fix our games industry. He'd like video games right?

    Right?

    *Breaks down and cries*

    This is exactly what the Australian games industry has been saying will happen for a while. The large publishers despite making money hand over fist can only really afford to set up large development houses in a limited number of places. Australia would be an attractive spot to set up if the economic climate wasn't so grim. The lack of a tax incentive combined with the weak US and strong Australian dollar results in us missing out.

    Unfortunately I really can't see it changing any time soon, either. Games are a convenient whipping boy for society's wrongs. Additionally and more importantly there is a generation gap involved. The industry as a whole is in its late stage of adolescence, trying desperately to prove itself as a legitimate artform. Those of us in the gamer demographic (25-30 and under) who grew up playing games and watching them evolve generally agree on the significance of games. The problem is that our leaders are generally 40+. They didn't grow up with games, though they may have dabbled a little over the years, just enough to form an opinion. What's more, a lot of them very likely have children. They know their kids play video games, and I think that ends up harming their perceptions. It reinforces the perception that games are aimed at children, and when they see the content going into games that actually aren't aimed at children they are hesitant to support them. In the back of their mind they're thinking of games as they were, not as they are. Their perceptions are built around an understanding which is outdated, and because of that they don't understand how far we've come. Is Pong art? That would be a pretty tough argument. But is Shadow of the Colossus art? You'd be hard pressed to argue that it isn't. The trouble is that the generation leading our country thinks of games more as the former than as the latter.

    The industry isn't ever going to get support until we have leaders that grew up with an understanding of modern gaming, and that's unlikely to happen for at least another 5-10 years. The cool thing is that those gamers like myself that are in that 20-30 age bracket are probably going to be the generation that really ushers in that change in thinking, and with it I think we'll see games finally gain recognition as legitimate artforms. Though it may be difficult to be an Australian developer for the next few years, it sure is an exciting time to be a gamer.

    So, who's moving to Singapore with me?

    I hope that when Ubisoft Singapore finally releases some games, we in Singapore will be able to get them at cheaper prices and at earlier release dates.

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