Ubisoft has recently hit a rough patch. The once-well-known Ubisoft has started to disintegrate in the wake of claims of pervasive toxic mismanagement at the organisation, which led to multiple high-ranking departures and firings.
The publisher released fewer games last year, and those that did, such as Rainbow Six Extraction, Roller Champions, and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, did not do well. In addition, Ubisoft today announced the cancellation of a further slew of unannounced games and a further delay for the problematic open-world pirate game Skull & Bones.
There have been rumours that Ubisoft is seeking for a buyer amid these issues, and according to renowned insider Jeff Grubb, this is indeed the case.
Ubisoft definitely already did the rounds proposing acquisitions and mergers with other similar companies, and it mostly got laughed at. It's just too unwieldy. Its strength was its distributed development structure, and now that is an albatross.
— Grubb (@JeffGrubb) January 11, 2023
Ubisoft “made the rounds” of various companies in the tech and entertainment industries, offering an acquisition or merger, but according to Grubb, they “mostly got laughed at.” Unknown is whether this was as a result of potential buyers failing to recognise Ubisoft’s value or because management was merely demanding too much for the business.
Ubisoft definitely already did the rounds proposing acquisitions and mergers with other similar companies, and it mostly got laughed at. It’s just too unwieldy. Its strength was its distributed development structure, and now that is an albatross.
I hope it tries to ride it out because I think it might hold onto more people than if it tried to “slim down” for an M&A. Either way, though, it seems grim. Making games is a rough business.”
That said, it’s obvious that things aren’t going well for Ubisoft, and Grubb’s remarks that the company’s awkward scattered structure is actually a negative when game comes to a sale have a ring of truth to them. Ubisoft was created with a specific financial strategy in mind, one that was centred on releasing a consistent stream of open-world games, but the industry is evolving.
The days of producing AAA open-world games with the quality and polish people would expect in two or three years are quickly coming to an end. The future viability of Ubisoft’s economic model depends on their ability to change or find somebody to take the whole mess off their hands.