Ubisoft acquires Owlient

French publisher expands its free-to-play developer stable with purchase of tween-targeted Howrse maker.

Ubisoft has pursued a "why build what can be bought" strategy for amping up its online presence in recent years, and the next move in that gambit occurred today. The publisher said that it has purchased Owlient, a Parisian game development studio specializing in free-to-play games. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Ubisoft's Ponyz now has a stable mate in Hawrse.

Founded in 2005, Owlient boasts a development team of 40 and specializes in creating online communities and monetizing free-to-play games. The studio's development expertise lines up with Ubisoft's tween-targeted Imagine and Petz line of games, having created such online titles as Howrse, Babydow, and Fashiown. Ubisoft noted that Owlient's Howrse brand has nearly 2 million monthly active users.

Owlient is just the latest in a growing number of online-focused acquisitions made by Ubisoft. In 2008, Ubisoft acquired World in Conflict studio Massive Entertainment, charging it with creating and aiding in the development of "several ambitious unannounced projects."

A year later, Ubisoft picked up TrackMania creator Nadeo. Last November, the publisher bought Quazal, better known as the studio behind Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's online multiplayer technology.

Ubisoft said that it expects to close on Owlient sometime during its second fiscal quarter.

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Discussion

16 comments
BurstNovify
BurstNovify

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure that most of the people here probably never even once tried Howrse out, so allow me to help clear up some of the problems in the comments:

 

-"wow ubisoft, you bought a horse game."

Wrong. Ubisoft inherited more than just Howrse- they also came to own Fashiown and Babydow, the games that helped Owilent reach over 25 Million users.

 

-"this is game stupid, ubisoft should just make another game instead of wasting they're money on this."

If you even bothered playing Howrse, you will find that there are *TONS* of promotions in which players must spend real life money to get "passes" (The game's second currency) to advance. Ubisoft is infact, NOT losing money, but gaining it.

 

-"howrse? what kind of name is that! you can't even pronounce it"

It's a trademarked name. Take the "Ow" in Owilent, and combine it with "Horse", and there you have "Howrse." This also applies for Babydow and Fashiown. Also, I myself pronounce the name as 'how-rse', but I believe others simply call it , Horse.

 

-"this game is stupid."

Before you start calling something 'stupid', take the time to actually *play* the game.

 

At least try a game out before you decide to bash on it.

 

That is all I have to say for now.

 

-B.N.

 

DirtyBoots
DirtyBoots

I'm going to very safely assume half of the people that had somthing bad to say probably don't even know what a horse is (I'd be suprised if you did). I'm going to make a few comments here.

 

To those that believe Ubisoft buying Howrse is a bad investment, think again. This game makes millions every year off of the loyal players who love horses.

 

The reason Howrse is called what it is is because of one simple reason that should have been obvious. Take the "Ow" out of Owlient and you add it into the word horse. Therefore, making the game known by so many "Howrse". It was people being midly creative and trying to add a spin. I mean, who forgets a name like Howrse? And who wouldn't do a double take if they say how oddly it was spelt? It was meant to be an eye catcher basically.

 

Howrse was a game made to help those people who didn't have the means to own the animal they love. It aims itself at younger children but many adults also find themselves hooked to this game. It is not only a game that requires intelligence, but also tests your money handling skills, your social skills and many other things. It isn't just some silly childs game that morons want to make it out to be. It is EXTREMELY difficult to get the hang of and even harder to be successful in the game. And you don't have to spend the money if you don't want to and still be successful, it just makes it more challenging if you arn't a pass buyer.

 

Howrse itself is more than just a simple game. Children or adults who can't have a horse settle for this game and a few others because its all they have. Think of it this way, if you couldn't have something you loved but you had a game that helped make it somewhat like you did, would you play it? I'm almost entirely sure you would.

 

So in all, before you go trouncing around like an idiot, try to see other views on this.

 

And thats all I have to say.

Loyal Howrse Player, Loving horse owner

DirtyBoots

GarGx1
GarGx1

the peeps playing howrse and the like spend more money on the game than your average monthly mmo subsciption and costs a fraction of the money to run and maintain you get 50% of your subscribers paying £20 a month and all you need to do is maintain a few servers, that's some good clear profits

kweeni
kweeni

Instead of wasting their money on horses they should spend it to make a Prince of Persia like the ones from last gen or some other awesome new game.

z50macdaddy
z50macdaddy

Activision got Bungie EA got PopCap and Ubisoft got a horse. Has the world gone crazy?

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

What happened to you Ubisoft? You used to be cool. Now your fannying around like a howrses arse.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Howrse? What person thought of that ridiculous, unpronounceable name?

okassar
okassar

I slapped myself pretty hard when I realized I've been missing out on the Howrse Maker all these years.

Peyj
Peyj

Stuff like this is why we're not getting Beyond Good & Evil 2 this gen.

axelat0r
axelat0r ranger

Is it Howrse or Hawrse?

DragonRift
DragonRift

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nurnberg
nurnberg

Is it me or 99% of the "free-to-play" games on the market are complete garbage? Most of them seem to rip off people's money and nothing else.

kazco100
kazco100

@DirtyBoots I will reply to your lovingly put description of howrse,

First off a bit about me, I have played howrse daily for over five years, I am an adult player ,I gained rank 1st on the uk version and got to rank 12th on the international version and have never lost karma.

Spending over £10,000 pounds on the game during that five years supporting what I thought was a genuine game,

 I have come to learn a lot on there, the game in my eyes is a scam, there is not over 2 million players on there and never has been, the game is dying less than 2000 players are actually online at any time on the international version now in 2013

New accounts are generated to pull more advertisers in, these accounts are opened and used to fill the equestrian centres positions as there are not enough real players to fill all the jobs, these accounts then become dormant as they never extend there job position and you can see they never logged back on the game but still show as another new account making howrse look good,

Admins and mods, did you know that when you pm a mod, the chances are they copy and paste your message  and show it off on msn to the top groups on the game, having a good laugh at you behind your back.I have seen this first hand...Not all mods are like this...

Have a problem with your game? Report it to admin, you will receive an nice automated reply nine times out of ten stating you need to clean your cookies and cache....It is you your computer or internet provider's fault your game is not running correctly, never howrse!!!

Want to blup your way to the top, forget it.. Unless you are besties with the current top groups and mods on there, I mean chat on msn to them etc...Yes mods freely tell top group members all the secrets of howrse to keep them top but they wouldn't tell you or me the single players or menials as we are called...

Top group members decide who goes into the test sites, it is who ow asks, if you leave the group you will not be invited back to a test site again, this has happened to me,, Once you leave the group they will start a bully campaign against you using multi accounts to try and get you to leave the game as they know you know to much. This happened to me,,

Top groups chat with Ow a lot in private forums, you and I the single players  have no say on anything and of course the top groups chat on msn to each other before replying to anything ow has asked which usually means what comes next on the game will be beneficial for the top groups.

Want to get a breed to top GP?

 For the more competitive players on howrse, the will to produce high gp breed is very common on there. After all we do get attached to our chosen breed of pixel howrse..  Bad news I am afraid, forget it,

Your howrse will stop gaining the correct gp and skillset once you get gp to close to top groups, this happened to me. unless your howrse breed has no threat of winning any of the prix comps, then you may get away with it for a little longer...

You may also find your game runs slower preventing you from bluping in your normal time , this happened to me,.

Howrse calls this a glitch and blames it once again on you not cleaning your cookies and cache...

If you get to close to top gp, the top groups will gang together and report you for scripting, multi accounting and various other game breaking rules,this includes them opening new multi accounts and getting friends to do the same.

You need more than one player to report another player before admins will look at it,,, This happened to me, They will even approach you to try and get a reaction from you  so they can report you for it in an attempt to get you banned...

Like I said I have never lost karma on the game,

When a mod pmed me stating it could be that my gp is to close to the top group and that is why my game is being restricted,

That was the day I stopped playing howrse.......

Top groups mainly same players different user names.

Some have over 30 multiple accounts at anyone time,

Some adult players pretend to be children on a multi account to groom real children and new players into there group to manipulate them to break howrse rules and do there dirty work for them by befriending them...

The children then lose there items equus & accounts because they have given these so called friends their password.

 Most are later  shunned and blocked from the groups msn / chat sites and blocked from pm ing them on the game, poor kids...

I have seen it all....

Howrse states it does not support groups on the game! Bull... 

Scam..yes it is a scam and they freely use the word random to get away with it..

Players have had there accounts stolen, passes horses bm's and  equus disappear,

Admin & Owlient deny all this..

Bullying on howrse, Yes I have been bullied on the game for over 12 months, admin did nothing, they didn't care, Imagine if that was your child?

Howrse helps you manage money lol

Clever children soon realise they have very little chance of becoming good at the game unless they are in a group, if they are unlucky enough to be granted into a top group, chances are they will be manipulated into giving the group there pass word thinking these players are there real friends, only to try and log on one day and there account bms  equus and passes have all been stolen.

The reality of howrse, teaches your child  to lie to there parents, steal money to get passes, teaches your child to bully others and think it is funny and clever, kids can be groomed on howrse by adults to do bad things on the game, just like in real life,

Would I let my child lose on howrse, not  on your life..,.Would you?

Final comment on howrse..

A wonderful game ruined by stupid naïve corrupt staff and a small group of idiot's...

My advice, play cautiously and never give them a penny, they don't deserve it and don't appreciate it, don't wait five years and waste thousands of pounds like I did before you realise what I have written above is true and has happened to you......

Former Loyal Howrse Player

kazco100