Ubisoft President Talks Nintendo, Strategy

The June 2006 issue of Fast Company has a nice little interview with Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft. In it, he talks Nintendo, why he likes them, and why’s he’s betting their exclusive Wii title, Red Steel, will be the company’s next big hit.

From the interview: “…This year, we’ll be the only publisher besides Nintendo that’ll have an exclusive title–Red Steel, a first-person shooter game–released for the new Wii console when it debuts [in November]. People think this is crazy. Nobody is paying attention to Nintendo. Everyone has been obsessed with the Xbox 360 and Sony’s [upcoming] PlayStation 3.

But a year ago, we decided that the Revolution could be a huge product. Nintendo invented video games and consoles as we know them today. People look at Nintendo, they think of the GameCube [which didn’t succeed], or they think of a bunch of Japanese guys who don’t understand the U.S. market. The partnership with Nintendo didn’t come easy, but we stuck with it, because Nintendo offers something different. The two other consoles compete for the same customer, and they’re heavy on processing capacity. Nintendo is saying, ‘I’ll let these two big guys fight this battle while I focus on good old-fashioned game-play fun.’ Its portable business has been very healthy lately: Nintendogs for the DS handheld has sold 6 million units so far. And the Wii’s new cordless hand controller means a whole new way of playing games. It seemed like a good place to put our money. For my competition, it’s too late to have a game out for the Wii by Christmas. They can’t do it. But we did it. We will be there. Maybe Wii will fail, and I’ll look like an idiot. But if it succeeds, then we will have a new brand on our hands that could be worth up to $100 million.”

[NOTE: being print media, we changed the outdated “Revolution” to “Wii”]