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Ubisoft to open studio in Toronto

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http://www.ruefrontenac.com/affaires/en ... ft-toronto

article in french but oh well...


Le géant français du jeu vidéo Ubisoft, déjà installé à Montréal et à Québec, a convoqué la presse lundi après-midi à Toronto pour, selon toute vraisemblance, annoncer son implantation dans la métropole canadienne.

L’annonce sera faite en présence du premier ministre ontarien, Dalton McGuinty, et de sa ministre du Développement économique et du Commerce, Sandra Pupatello. L’invitation à la conférence de presse, qui sera diffusée en direct sur Internet à 13h30 au http://www.toronto.ubisoft.com, parle d’ailleurs d’une «annonce stratégique», ce qui donne à penser que le nouveau studio d’Ubisoft bénéficierait d’une forme d’aide gouvernementale.

L’industrie ontarienne du jeu vidéo se plaint depuis plusieurs années déjà de la concurrence plus que féroce que lui livrent Montréal et

Vancouver, tous deux fortement aidés par des programmes de subventions provinciaux.

Plus de détails à venir...


Giant french Ubisoft video game company, already installed in Montreal and Quebec City, convened the press Monday afternoon in Toronto, is likely to announce its presence in the Canadian metropolis.

The announcement will be made in the presence of Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty and his Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello. The invitation to the press conference, which will be broadcast live at 13:30 on http://www.toronto.ubisoft.com, speaks to the "strategic announcement", which suggests that the new studio ' Ubisoft would benefit from government assistance.

The industry in Ontario video game complained for several years of competition as fierce as it engaged and Montreal

Vancouver, both strongly supported by provincial grant programs.

More details to come ...

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Curious to see what impacts this will have on our studio here. I can see many opportunities to work together on certain titles, only if they specialize in very specific aspects of a production.

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Stepp, the studio won't open until this autumn, which probably means the need for level designers will only start in around 6 months. And even then, they won't have a handful of projects to get themselves started at first. A test project, maybe two at the same time at the most.

We in Montreal are supposed to go there and help them get set up.

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Paris, France-headquartered Ubisoft said Monday that it is opening a new "full development studio" in Toronto, Ontario, marking the company's first development presence in the province and creating 800 new jobs in the next decade.

Ubisoft called the opening "significant", as the government of Ontario is investing CAD$263 million ($226 million) over ten years. Ubisoft said its own net investment will amount to over half a billion Canadian dollars in the new studio, whose operations will start in late 2009.

"Today's announcement marks a strategic move for Ubisoft as we continue to expand our internal development force," said Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft. "We are in an excellent position to grow and after extensive analysis we are thrilled to have reached an agreement with the government of Ontario to open our new studio in Toronto."

Guillemot called Toronto "one of North America's economic and cultural epicenters," and expressed excitement for the local talent pool.

The studio is already two years in the works, Toronto officials said during an unveiling in the city on Monday.

Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat will oversee the new studio. Ubisoft Toronto will work on "triple-A" games, the company said.

"Ontario wants a bigger piece of the action, and it doesn't get much bigger than Ubisoft," said Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario. "This is kind of like landing a major Hollywood studio, only the video game industry is growing faster [than movies]."

Part of Ubisoft's attraction to Toronto was the established film production industry in the city. Ubisoft Toronto will play a key role in the convergence of film and games, the publisher said.

"Ubisoft Toronto will contribute to Ubisoft's global plan of extending its brands to complementary platforms and mediums, including books, comics, short films and other products," Ubisoft said.

Mallat said, "Toronto's unique pool of experienced video game and film industry talent will allow us to develop a team with exceptional ability to help us realize our goals for creating brands with universal appeal that extend beyond the world of video games."

The studio is the fourth for Ubisoft in Canada, where Ubisoft employs over 2300 workers.

"It's about jobs," said McGuinty.

Interview with Yannis Mallatt: http://gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=24334

Thanks to Jeremy for tipping me off.

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