Ubisoft to Shut Down One of Its Development Studios

Ubisoft has announced the closure of some of its European sites, including Ubisoft Benelux, as a result of external elements influencing the sale of physical video games. Layoffs have been common in the gaming sector recently, and Ubisoft appears to have borne the brunt of it. This closure is just the most recent in a series of reductions the company has had to put into action.

At the beginning of the year, Ubisoft declared that they were aiming to restructure their company, and this included the public announcement of three games being canceled alongside four more beings put on hold. The much-delayed Skull & Bones has also been pushed back yet again. Ubisoft mentioned that people working on these projects would be transferred to other tasks, although it was later established that redundancies were taking place.

An investigation has been launched into the labor practices at Ubisoft Montreal, the developer behind the upcoming game “Beyond Good and Evil 2”.

Ubisoft’s mission to reduce its operating costs has recently been evidenced by its closure of several European sites. A leaked internal email verified the company’s decision to “shut down numerous subsidiaries in Europe,” including the Ubisoft Benelux office and the termination of “the majority” of the staff there commencing April 1.

To justify the closure of Ubisoft Benelux and other European Ubisoft locations, the company pinpointed “various issues due to external factors”. These include a decrease in the sales of physical games, transitioning to digital communication methods, a preference for free-to-play games over major retail releases and the prioritization of mobile and seasonal projects over physical products. To sum up, Ubisoft is focusing more on digital experiences which results in a lessened need for infrastructure related to physical products.

Ubisoft is shutting down a few of its locations, but it’s not certain what each of them was employed to do. It is believed, however, that Ubisoft Benelux was in charge of the markets of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, which included both marketing and distribution activities. Ubisoft has announced that it will be outsourcing the distribution of physical games in the Benelux region, and will name the distributor at a later point.

As the end of the fiscal year draws near, it’s yet to be determined if Ubisoft will continue its cost-cutting efforts beyond April. The French video game publisher’s transition to the online gaming market has had its drawbacks, particularly when some projects failed to catch on. But, if the recent leaks are anything to go by, it appears that Ubisoft might be shifting back to more classic AAA game releases. Here’s hoping that the company can find stability so it won’t have to make more cutbacks in the years to come.

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