Ubisoft Claims to be Top Kinect Third Party Developer

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Ubisoft is known for many things including, Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Far Cry and of course this list wouldn't be complete without mention of the Rayman franchise. Now Ubisoft seems to be making a big push towards being known for one more: the top third party developer for Microsoft's Kinect. Beating NPD's release of their 2010 year end video game sales data, Ubisoft has self-proclaimed itself as the leader in sales of third party developed games for the Kinect. Its Kinect titles include Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, MotionSports, and Fighters Uncaged.Interestingly, this claim may not be 100% true. Harmonix could have claimed this crown for itself with Dance Central. According to VGChartz, and as of this, writing the numbers don't quite add up in worldwide sales:

Ubisoft (number of copies sold)

  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved: 586,081
  • MotionSports: 319,351
  • Fighters Uncaged: 283,457
  • Total: 1,188,889

Harmonix (number of copies sold)

  • Dance Central: 1,480,597

Similarly, the numbers also don't add up in North American Sales:

Ubisoft (number of copies sold)

  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved: 405,942 copies
  • MotionSports: 162,387 copies
  • Fighters Uncaged: 172,381 copies
  • Total: 740,710 copies

Harmonix (number of copies sold)

  • Dance Central: 1,088,586 copies

While Ubisoft may have potentially goofed here, their dedication to motion control gaming has been something to be admired. As the Kinect neared launch, Ubisoft was already expressing a strong desire to be the leading third party developer. At a Kinect specific event held by Ubisoft in San Fransisco on Oct 5, 2010, president Laurent Detoc and Senior VP of Marketting and Sales, Tony Key had a lot to say about Unisoft's vested interest in motion gaming, and in particular the Kinect.

Detoc told a story which explained how, in 2007 at the San Fransisco Game Developer's Conference, Ubisoft was introduced to a then little known company called PrimeSense. PrimeSense was showing a 3D camera technology to publishers in the hopes that they would garner some interest for the product. Soon after that, Ubisoft would invite the PrimeSense guys to their France-based studios and began working with their technology. PrimeSense would later team up with Microsoft to help develop what would eventually become Kinect.

Key went on to explain how this relationship gave them the tools needed to be a strong development force for the Kinect:

"It wasn't Kinect that got us into 3D technology, we were already doing it. So Kinect came along and we felt like we were just a year ahead of all of the competition, and we were already working on this stuff."

This extra time has no doubt provided Ubisoft with plenty of insight into the technology and should help them stand out among the crowd in the first year of Kinect's lifecycle. Key went on to reflect on Ubisoft's dedication to new technology:

"I think that if you look back at Ubisoft, we've always been that company that has lots of titles at the beginning of a new system's launch. We were there for the DS; we were there for the Xbox; we were there, in a big way, on the Wii. We had more titles than any other third-party publisher and ended up having more market share in that first year."

Ubisoft has been consistently at the forefront with regards to new platforms. One of Xbox's most recognized franchises, Splinter Cell, was touted as being only possible on the Xbox because the competitors of that time (GameCube and PS2) just didn't have the computing power to render the incredible lighting effects that the game showcased. Rayman: Raving Rabids and Red Steel were there to support the Wii at launch as Ubisoft's showing of original content.

With the Wii, Ubisoft has seen incredible success in 2010. Just Dance 2 has become the highest selling third party title for the Wii with over 5 million copies sold in just 10 weeks. Just Dance also held it's own in worldwide sales, selling over 10 million copies of Just Dance, Just Dance: Kids, and Just Dance 2 collectively. This has made Just Dance the third largest gaming franchise of 2010 globally behind juggernaut Call of Duty, and soccer fanatic's favorite FIFAMicheal Jackson: The Experience has sold over 1.8 million copies on the Wii, and is slated for a Kinect and Move release on April 12, 2011. Key's statements echoed a desire to live up to these milestones:

"We feel like, on the Kinect, we can do that again. We intend to be the top third-party publisher on the system. We see this as an opportunity to create new brands; to create new ideas; gameplay mechanics; and get one step ahead of the competition. You only learn by doing and by creating these products and making the investments in R&D, we're taking our developers to the next level."

Here we come, full circle. Ubisoft's determination has been founded not just in this year, or last year, but perhaps well before the Kinect was first unveiled as Project Natal. If the success of their Wii titles is any indication, we can expect that Ubisoft will bring us plenty of high quality offerings for Kinect. With only Child of Eden and Michael Jackson: The Experience announced so far for release in 2011, Ubisoft must be planning on announcing more titles as the year progresses.

Source: Gamasutra, Joystiq, VGChartz

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