Ubisoft CEO Says VR Could Make Impact Similar to Wii and iPhone

Yves Guillemot believes the company's strength in creating open-worlds will help establish it as a leading VR developer.


Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot has said he believes the company's strong roots in creating immersive open-worlds will help its establish a foothold in the VR game space.

Speaking in an investor meeting, Guillemot was asked whether Ubisoft, which uses the open-world framework for most of its most popular properties, intends to pursue a new design model to define a different kind of gaming experience specific to VR.

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"We feel the people that create worlds will be the winners of the VR Industry for sure," he replied. "What's interesting is that in those worlds you'll have many ways to interact. The fact that we create worlds is a big plus. When they are [being created] you can have an experiences that adapt to different customers."

He continued: "As an example, if you go into the world of Assassin's Creed you'll be able to walk around and visit places or have something like an item hunt."

According to Guillemot, he believes VR could have the same draw that Nintendo's Wii and Apple's iPhone had thanks to its accessibility.

"VR has a lot more accessibility--a lot more than with a controller--because you can interact with the world just by moving your head or pushing a button. This means a lot more people can come to this industry, like it happened with the Wii and Apple's touchscreen.

"Bringing them to worlds in which they can choose what to do is a great opportunity," he added. "There's good potential, and the people that create worlds have an advantage in that."

The exec did, however, indicate that Ubisoft would still consider unique experiences designed specifically around VR.

"With all that being said, it doesn't mean there won't be specific experiences that will be created to [offer something that] doesn't exist in video games at the moment."

In early 2015, Guillemot confirmed Ubisoft has multiple VR games in development: "What we are doing is working on the different brands we have to see how we can take advantage of those new possibilities but in making sure also that we don't suffer from what comes with it, which is the difficulty to play a long time with those games."

At E3 2015 Trackmania Turbo was revealed for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. This is one of the games from Ubisoft that will feature VR functionality.

Ubisoft's vice president of creative, Lionel Raynaud, also previously said VR devices would need to sell something close to 1 million units to be "a leading indicator for growth and impact that could lead to success and adoption from the development community."

According to Raynaud, however, this number was "not a literal number that Ubisoft takes into consideration when looking at delivering game experiences and content for new platforms."

"Ubisoft is always excited about new hardware and platforms and creating innovative experiences," he said.

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