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Sony Should Buy Ubisoft and Here is Why

October 9th, 2008 by Derrick Schommer · No Comments

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Sony’s been putting a lot of effort (read: money) into the PlayStation 3 product line with very little impact in the market. They’ve got this “10 year plan” but haven’t really executed a strong plan for their first two years of said plan. Sony’s plan seems to be “outlive the competition’s technology” while all of its competition stomps on their sales and market share with older and a bit “outdated” products.

Thus far there have been five spins of the PlayStation 3 hardware with price cuts only coming as a result of a “fire sale” of old hardware revisions. Sony, like many, believes the Nintendo Wii isn’t a direct competitor in their space; the outstanding sales of the Wii probably haven’t impacted the PlayStation 3 sales too much. The Xbox 360, however, has definitely cut them deep in all regions of sales.

Microsoft has built some unexpected momentum in Japan with Square-Enix making them a few console seller titles and the price cuts in Europe boosted sales over 200% all while the US continues to buy into the 360 hardware despite its most obvious red-ringing flaws. Microsoft has great partnerships with some fabulous companies, Bungie and Epic for instance, to build them exclusives that move even more 360 units.

Motorstorm is one of the PlayStation 3’s best games, selling over 3-million copies. While, as of January 2008, Halo 3 sold 8.1 million units for the Xbox 360. Now, Metal Gear Solid 4 has sold roughly 3.94 million copies since August of 2008 yet unsubstantiated rumors exist stating MGS4 could make its way to the 360. Combined awesome titles for the PlayStation 3 may not even exceed one of the competitors best selling products; where is the PS3 excitement?

Little Big Planet, Rachet and Clank, Resistance 2 and, someday, Massive Action Game (MAG) could produce some buzz around the PS3. By far, Little Big Planet has been the gold nugget Sony has been looking for and was published by Sony so they’re able to take full glory of this might-be console mover. What else do they have up their sleeve?

One or two blockbuster titles would compete well in a smaller market like last generation, but with Microsoft dragging in huge sales in all regions, Sony is going to need a real momentum killer. They’re already stating we’ll have no price cuts in 2008 leaving us asking, “why am I going to invest in a PlayStation 3?” Sony needs to figure out a long term battle plan and that involves blockbuster game titles which cannot be played on another console.

If Sony is willing to throw money out the window to keep the PlayStation 3 alive in this competitive market, why not spend it on their future? With a 10-year plan in place, that plan should involve picking up a company like Ubisoft. Ubisoft is a well respected public developer and publisher founded in 1986 and now consists of many well established smaller studios whom they’ve picked up along the way.

Ubisoft has some huge titles, Assassins Creed, Brothers in Arms, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, Rayman, Rainbow Six, Driver and has published many great titles for smaller studios. Imagine a Heroes of Might and Magic exclusive on the PlayStation 3 or a graphically intense exclusive Prince of Persia. Sony could steal titles away from the Wii such as Rayman and all his raving rabbids. Even 30% of these popular titles, being produced as exclusives for the PlayStation 3, could turn around this console.

Sure, Sony could pay for console exclusives on a handful of these great titles but, at this point, they’re going to pay out the nose to try to hold even a timed exclusive considering how many of these titles would arrive on the 360 in order for Ubisoft to recoup development costs for such a small PS3 audience.

Could Sony drive Ubisoft into the ground by limiting their exposure in the game industry to a single console? Indeed. There is always room for fatal errors when acquiring talent and executing them against your own 10-year plan. It would have to be a very aggressive attack with a very strong plan of execution in order to turn titles around on the PlayStation 3 in fast succession and with large PR hype.

Sony has shown they are willing to spend endless amounts of money all while turning their cheek to the obvious 360 domination. Why not take some of that money and re-invest it in the future of your 10-year plan by buying a company like Ubisoft before someone like EA does it first. With the huge market decline and the US bringing down the global economy, times may be ripe to grab a company and grow them to your own.

The real question would be, could Sony hold the talent at Ubisoft if they were to be purchased by such a large company with a sub-par sale standard console? Throw more money at the problem and bribe the talent to stick around for a few years and perhaps you’ve got a plan.

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Tags: Editorial · playstation 3 · Sony · ubisoft

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