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How Ghost Recon Forms The Core Of Ubisoft's Digital Strategy

Gamasutra speaks to Ubisoft digital publishing VP Chris Early about how the Ghost Recon franchise will dominate the company's 2012 digital strategy with three connected games across five platforms.
Last week, Gamasutra got a chance to speak to Ubisoft VP of digital publishing Chris Early about the publisher's overarching digital strategy. There is one franchise that ties that strategy together for 2012: Ghost Recon. From the upcoming hardcore-targeted game Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC to the decidedly casual Facebook and mobile game Ghost Recon: Commander, alongside Ghost Recon Online, a free-to-play game for the PC (which is also due for the Wii U) the franchise is splaying out in all directions, and Early hopes that Ubi's digital strategy can bring players of these games together. Gaming Together with Ghost Recon Last year's Petz World, a casual MMO which has since been put on hiatus, was the original showpiece for Ubisoft's "Companion Gaming" strategy, in which multiple games feed back and forth to each other, letting players of one boost players of the other. This strategy has now shifted to the Ghost Recon franchise, where players will "essentially have a support team, if you're a hardcore gamer, of casual online Facebook gamers," Early told Gamasutra. Early has previously discussed with Gamasutra how these games will work together. Players will assist each other by playing the games in tandem -- and Early hopes it will attract a broader audience to the franchise, too. Ghost Recon Online Enters the Fray Though Ghost Recon Online was announced for Nintendo's upcoming Wii U at E3, Early offered no comment on whether the game will be free-to-play on the console. "It's partly that we can't and don't want to announce things for Nintendo," he told Gamasutra. Early feels "really strong" about Ghost Recon Online's chances against free-to-play shooter competition like EA's Battlefield: Play4Free and Valve's Team Fortress 2. "Our focus with Ghost Recon Online has been basically to create a triple-A game from the ground up and create it to be a triple-A game." In terms of development investment, he said, "it's a triple-A game... It's just not at a $60 price point at a retail store." Early believes the fact that his "centralized" digital group -- which oversees everything from console downloadable games to Facebook, mobile, and free-to-play titles -- makes pursuing this strategy possible. "It's actually one of the more exciting parts of what I do, because it lets us do things like companion gaming much easier, I think, than if we were all in individual silos."

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