Ubisoft has big plans for mobile games in its future. According to its latest financial briefing with investors the company outlined a plan to bring its established console franchises to mobile to better appeal to a global market.
Ubisoft had a strong year financially, reaching record operating income at 446 million Euros. Looking towards the future, Ubisoft made it very clear that expanding its reach in Asia is a key strategy for growth. And the best way to get your foot in the door with Asia is through mobile.
CEO Yves Guillemot highlighted the "huge growing market" in Asia, particularly China, Japan, and Korea. Hoping to a reach a wider audience there, Ubisoft announced plans to increase PC offerings, and bring "established PC and console franchises to mobile."
Just off the top of my head, the core Ubisoft franchises include games like Assassin's Creed, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and Far Cry. Ubisoft has dabbled in mobile spinoffs before, but the plans Ubisoft outlined today sound more ambitious.
Companies like Activision are looking to bring fuller versions of its games to mobile, like Call of Duty and Diablo. Bethesda even released a new Elder Scrolls title on mobile recently, Elder Scrolls Blades. And it's not hard to imagine similar console-lite versions of Ubisoft games coming to smartphones.
There is some risk that announcing new, core mobile titles will open Ubisoft up to criticism from console and PC gamers, as seen with the overwhelming negative reaction to Diablo Immortal at last year's BlizzCon. But it's clear that mobile is a growing market for many triple-A video game companies.
However, mobile and Asia is just one part of Ubisoft's strategy for the future. The company is investing heavily into streaming and cloud gaming with partnerships with Google Stadia, as well as its Uplay store as part of a wider industry trend where game companies are choosing to launch their own stores than release games on Steam.