Ubisoft gets casual

French publisher expands casual-game market presence with new My Coach series; more Petz titles to come.

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France-based publisher Ubisoft has announced it will be making a bigger push into the casual gaming space, starting with a new series of games on Nintendo platforms. In a statement, the company said it has made "significant investments" in the area, and has overhauled its internal development structure to dedicate resources to the genre.

It also announced a new series titled My Coach, described as "allowing players to improve themselves and learn in an interactive and stimulating way." The first two titles in the My Coach series will be My Word Coach and My Life Coach. My Word Coach will be available in "fall 2007" on the Wii and DS, and the aim of the game is to improve verbal communication and vocabulary; it will have both single and multiplayer modes. My Life Coach is coming exclusively to the DS for "Christmas 2007" and will be an electronic personal coach for "anybody concerned about their well being" to help with willpower in changing bad habits.

The new casual games division will be headed up by Pauline Jacquey, who joined Ubisoft in 1998 and has worked as a producer on a variety of game series, including Rayman and Tom Clancy Ghost Recon. Ubisoft's CEO, Yves Guillemot, commented, "The timing is right for us to leverage our creativity and to open up the video games market to new consumers who will be attracted by content that can help them learn, grow and feel better in an entertaining way."

Ubisoft also announced it is preparing new installments in the Petz virtual animal care series. However, it did not announce any specific new titles.

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