At the 2019 Taipei Game Show, we were lucky to have met the Ubisoft management team for Asia. They are Steve Miller, the managing director and his colleague, Julius.
When asked about whether Ubisoft games will be on the Epic Games Store or back on Steam again, Miller said it is only for The Division 2. They do not see any Ubisoft game back in either stores in the foreseeable future. Miller is not the technical person but from what he understands, Ubisoft is planning to increase its presence in Asia. The market in Asia is getting bigger so everything, such as network infrastructure and servers, has to be increased eventually.
Julius added that there will not only be one server in their server structure and infrastructure in Asia. They have learnt from The Division 1 that their capacity was clearly not enough to manage the number of players in Asia. Miller assured that The Division 2 will do much better in that aspect. Julius mentioned that there is a big tower centre close to the original one to manage the traffic so servers are bound to do much better this time around. He also added that there are no servers in Malaysia yet at the moment. Good news is, Miller’s expression during that moment gave us a hint that there might be Ubisoft servers in Malaysia soon, hopefully!
When asked about voice localization, Miller said that they only do that for Japan since they are ‘picky’. Though, they have done small bits of localization for some small games. When their games become too big, it is difficult to carry out localizations in different Asian languages. However, they have to do Chinese text localization because the already-huge Chinese market is growing rapidly. Thus, it is only fair to treat the Chinese consumers better. To improve themselves, Miller mentioned that they are always paying attention to their competitors, what consumers want and most importantly, the cost.
They said that they cannot comment on the Prince of Persia rumours. After Far Cry 3 Remastered, they have been working on other Remaster titles. Miller added that Ubisoft would also be happy to listen to ideas from consumers. Julius said one of the difficult tasks in South East Asia is the marketing aspect. Every country is different so they have to implement different strategies for different countries.
In Asia, Ubisoft has a big studio in Singapore and kind of a spinoff studio in the Philippines. Julius added that they are always searching for new venues to build more studios in Asia. However, sufficient resources and hiring talented people come first. When asked about having a studio in Malaysia, Julius said it sounds interesting and that might be possible. He again, commented on the recruitment of talented people if a studio in Malaysia is to come as developing a game is a complex structure.
Miller stated that it is ‘risky’ for Ubisoft to continue working on indie games like they did in the past. He added that they used to treat small team inside their studios as small indie developers. As Ubisoft became more known for creating big open worlds, it would be tough to make the finances work if they were to continue on the development of indie games. Though, he said that he likes the philosophy of the indies but unfortunately, it is a complicated investment.
It is a part of their mandate to do more esports in SEA and Ubisoft is actively working on that. Rainbow 6 is undoubtedly Ubisoft’s main title when it comes to esports. Besides Rainbow 6, there is also Just Dance, which is a combination of sports and esports. Although it is not a classical esports game like Rainbow 6, the Just Dance community in Malaysia is strong, according to Julius. He added that they might organize future local events which could develop into an interesting business for them.
When asked about whether they have anything to say to Malaysian gamers, Miller said “Malaysian gamers, we love you.”, in a cheerful tone before ending the interview session by telling us to keep an eye on Ubisoft in 2019.
Watch the full interview here:
Special thanks to Ubisoft for inviting us to Taipei Game Show 2019!