Vivendi continues to buy up more stakes in Ubisoft, despite Yves Guillemot's protests | PCGamesN

Vivendi continues to buy up more stakes in Ubisoft, despite Yves Guillemot's protests

Vivendi buying up Ubisoft stocks

Over the last few days, a drama has been playing out over at Ubisoft. Vivendi, the company that once owned Activision before it was bought out in a multi-billion dollar deal, acquired 6.6% of shares in Ubisoft. This was seen by Ubisoft as “unsolicited and unwelcome,” according to an internal email, and since then CEO Yves Guillemot has stated that the publisher would fight for independence. 

In response, Vivendi has purchased even more.

This is all a bit evocative of David and Goliath, if David was also a big, powerful giant rather than a sympathetic young man. reported the equity acquisition last week, after which Guillemot sent out an email to employees explaining that the purchase was not welcome. A takeover is what the CEO fears, and in a second email he explained that, if Ubisoft was acquired by Vivendi, it would be "managed by people who don't understand our expertise and what it takes to succeed in this industry."

Of course Vivendi is far from an industry outsider. Until 2013, it was the majority shareholder in Activision Blizzard, and before that it had its own game publishing division.

"Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today," Guillemot said in a statement.

"We're going to fight to preserve our independence. We should not let this situation - nor any future actions by Vivendi or others - distract us from our goals. Our best defence is to stay focused on what we have always done best - deliver the most original and memorable gaming experiences."

While Guillemot was noting Ubisoft’s history as a risk taker and an innovator, the publisher was primed to release the ninth game in the main Assassin’s Creed series since 2007, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. 

It doesn’t look like Vivendi is particularly concerned about not being welcomed by Ubisoft, because the media company has gobbled up even great equity stake in the publisher, increasing what it holds to 10.39%. It’s unlikely that it will stop there. 

“The Group reserves the right to increase its stake in these two companies [the second company is Gameloft] depending on market conditions and the possibility, in due time, to be represented on their board.”

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unwanted avatarNihlusGreen avatarMatanuska avatarMrJinxed avatarDroniac avatarjon_hill987 avatar+1
Matanuska Avatar
2 Years ago

Well I doubt Ubisoft could get much worst. Even if it does, it's not a big loss to me, considering I haven't bought any games from Ubisoft since From Dust.

unwanted Avatar
2 Years ago

Vivendi: All of the money, none of the work.

NihlusGreen Avatar
2 Years ago

Might be the shake up Ubi needs!!!

MrJinxed Avatar
2 Years ago

Haha this is hilarious. If only Vivendi was doing this to put a stop to the yearly milking. Alas, that'll never stop regardless of who owns the brand.

Ubisoft. Taking chances since.. hmm.

Droniac Avatar
2 Years ago

Wow I'm amazed that anyone could applaud a takeover by Vivendi. You people really need to read up on that company, because every prior acquisition of theirs has turned out disastrously for gamers and the acquired publishers themselves.

Just know that the current state of UbiSoft, however much you may dislike it, is still far too risk-taking and innovative by (past) Vivendi standards. Games like The Division, Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor, Far Cry 3, Anno 2070, Call of Juarez Gunslinger, even Anno 2205 would likely not be made under Vivendi control.

jon_hill987 Avatar
2 Years ago

"We're going to fight to preserve our independence"

That is not how a PLC works...

AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

I see that Ubi is exercising its irony muscle! Were they actually even remotely capable of taking risks we would've had a continuation of the Beyond Good & Evil story right now (the one that was left hanging all those years ago). One that kept the soul and style of the original game, in opposition to their approach now which appears to be an effort to make it as close to photorealistic and gritty as possible for an audience that wouldn't even know it had a predecessor.

Even their UbiArt games have been terrible, by and large. Child of Light was obscenely safe in both its story and familiar gameplay, the only thing I ended up appreciating about it was its lovely prose. I was almost offended by how much its nasty animation overrided the almost lovely aesthetic it had going.

There's a soulless, corporate touch to it that they couldn't iron out. It felt like... I don't know. Artwork designed by committee, it felt exactly like that. As if they put a bunch of suits in a room and asked them to figure out what art was, and one of them was okay at drawing pretty backgrounds, another had a grasp of prose...

It didn't fit together. It wasn't cohesive. Undertale, made by one person, is so much lovelier on every level.

The only games they've put out that aren't at all like that are -- can you guess? -- the Rayman series. But even then, there are sickly, cloying hints of by committee design going on, like they're trying to methodically make a 'game for a niche audience' rather than putting passionate people in charge who just want to craft a genuinely clever and fun gaming experience.

UbiArt even has felt more like the science of marketing than anything else. I've felt more than a little patronised by it, to say the least. I don't think Ubisoft understands how to be original or to take risks, any more. I don't think they know how to even approach a work that could be considered artisanal. Like I said, Rayman does have parts that come close, but...

I doubt I'd see much of a difference if Ubisoft was owned by Vivendi. In my mind's eye, I just see a different group of suits doing the same thing, and putting out sequel after samey sequel in an effort to maximise their profits.

I think this is why I've gravitated more and more towards indie. Undertale is the most genuinely fun thing I've played all year, and The Beginner's Guide was as illuminating as it was brilliant. I don't think I'm compatible with corporate design.

I think it's just making me intellectually ill. Not unlike food design by committee, loaded up with all sorts of chemicals and nasties, does the same thing. I think that one's brain can become as laden with fat, chemicals, and lethargy as one's body.

Even though I'm poor, I've been making an effort to eat properly and I won't accept anything with an even slightly long ingredients list. I've sought out food from smaller companies and farmers, as opposed to the supermarket trash I'd prior eaten due to money constraints. And I think the same is true of one's mind.

If you it in front of the Calls of Duty and the Creeds of Assassins all day long, your mind will accrue just as much sickness as your body would if you were on a constant meal of microwave dinners. It's worth actually branching out and seeing what else is out there. I don't think that Ubisoft has much in the way of anything I'd want any more.

TL;DR: It wouldn't make any difference to the end product if Ubisoft was owned by Vivendi or not. It'd still be the same 'designed by committee' brain rot they've been putting out for years. So why do we care?

It's like worrying that the megacorp that puts out a certain kind of TV dinner is changing hands. It just doesn't matter. The end result won't change one bit.