Ubisoft Responds To Fortnite's Massive Popularity, Teases It May Follow The Trend
"What we see is it has an impact."
Like other publishers before it, Ubisoft has now responded to the massive, worldwide success of Epic's free-to-play battle royale game Fortnite. During an earnings call today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot started off by confirming that Fortnite--and other battle royale games--have indeed had some kind of impact on Ubisoft. However, this is nothing new in gaming, Guillemot pointed out, and more importantly, it hasn't stopped Ubisoft's business from performing well.
"What we see is it has an impact," Guillemot said about the rise in popularity of battle royale games. "It happens when other games are launched, like when Call of Duty is coming. It has an impact on all the games we have. But it doesn't stop us to have record revenues and a record number of players playing. We see that all the games we are doing continue to perform very well."
Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez added that Rainbow Six Siege had a record number of players during the last quarter, while the team-based shooter also enjoyed "excellent revenue" performance.
For his part, Guillemot added that Fortnite is good for gaming overall and Ubisoft specifically. This is because the game is bringing in new players to gaming, and in particular to the shooter space where Ubisoft does a lot of its business. [It is] good to have new innovation like that," Guillemot said about Fortnite and other battle royale games. "Showing that we can have even more players playing shooter games."
As for whether or not Ubisoft might make its own battle royale game or add a battle royale to an existing Ubisoft game, Guillemot teased that it might be in the works. Guillemot said he is aware that battle royale as a mode is "working well for the competition," adding that Ubisoft's teams are always "looking at innovation coming from competitors" and thinking about how it can operate in that space as well.
"We are working to make sure we take advantage of it," Guillemot said about the battle royale experience. "We are working hard to make sure our players can have the benefit of that type of experience."
He added that Ubisoft's game engines are "adaptable" and technically capable of delivering a battle royale experience. Right now, Ubisoft is taking time to ensure that the engines can "deliver the technical needs of those types of games."
"We can't tell you exactly when it's coming, and how it will come, but we like when people come with new innovation like this because they show new opportunities for the industry and for our the experiences and worlds that we create," he said.
Martinez added that it is important for Ubisoft to blaze new trailers, too, and create its own innovation beyond battle royale. He confirmed that Ubisoft's teams are working on "many projects" in this area because Ubisoft doesn't want to be a "copy-cat," but instead create entirely new game modes and player experiences.
Ubisoft's comments about Fortnite come after those from GTA and Red Dead parent publisher Take-Two, whose CEO said the game has unquestionably had an impact on the gaming industry overall.