I posted an article
on Monday that talked about how the casual market is finally reaching its saturation point. Gameindustry.biz says Ubisoft
is feeling the winds of change too, because Ubi just reported a 50% sales drop in casual games, with sluggish DS business as the main offender. Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot says that his company will be redoubling their efforts on the PS3 and 360 with franchises like Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell and those crazy Rabbids, while focus is taken away from the DS.
I can't say I'm surprised by this turn of events--when you spam a platform with shallow homogeneous product the customers will lose interest, especially when the casual audience doesn't buy that many games to begin with. I'd like to see them put better product on the DS but I'm not sure there are that many core gamers on the platform anymore. I also wonder what this means for Ubi's high profile Wii titles like No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
or Red Steel 2
. They are both fantastic games and it would be a real shame if they didn't get the attention they deserve. No More Heroes 2 drops on the 26th and Red Steel 2 isn't far behind in March.
Don't get me wrong, I love Ubisoft and they publish some of my favorite game series. I can't blame them for re-evaluating their strategy under the current circumstances. Both the DS and Wii were kind of like a gold rush; lots of hype and initially most publishers took the path of least resistance. Unfortunately the result is a bored, over-saturated casual market and a core audience that has zippo respect for either console.
I'd like to think that both platforms can recover, with a concerted effort from publishers like Ubi and Capcom to make high quality software, but it's probable the Nintendo consoles have lost too much mindshare among core gamers to ever be considered serious gaming platforms again.