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Q&A: Ubisoft's Etienne-Charles Nobert On The Latin American Market

Following news of Ubisoft's intentions to open a Mexico City office to serve the Mexican market, we talk with Etienne-Charles Nobert, Ubisoft's Latin American area manager on the in
After maintaining an active presence in the Latin America region for the past two years, Ubisoft recently announced their intentions to open a business office in Mexico City. General manager of Ubisoft for Canada and Latin America Olivier Ernst describes the move as “a strategic decision”, and notes that “the Mexican market shows more stability than before” and that the company “believe it provides an amazing opportunity for growth in video games”. The office is set to be headed by Etienne-Charles Nobert, Ubisoft's Latin American area manager, with the company having already begun their push in the region with a showing at the Electronic Games Show in Mexico City from October 27 to 29. Gamasutra contacted Norbert to discuss the Latin American market and the company’s stronger presence in the region. What is your background in the games industry, and how did you become involved with Ubisoft? I joined Ubisoft's Canadian Sales and Partnerships team more than two years ago. Over this time, I have been in charge of various promotions and sales partnerships while overseeing sales in the Latin American market. Since then, sales figures for Mexico and Brazil have grown quite considerably. We have since made the decision to dedicate more resources toward the development of this emerging market. Before joining Ubisoft, I was in charge of Quebec's Economic Office in Panama. What has prompted Ubisoft to set up an office in Mexico? We have been active in the market for the last two years. Ubisoft's results in the region have been extremely encouraging to date and we feel the time is right to move in and tap into the growth. What is the history of the video game market in that region? It's still a very young market. Microsoft set up its office in Mexico back in 2003. Sony followed up in 2004 when it opened its first office in Latin America as well. Which consoles or handhelds are most popular in Mexico? From our experience, all the consoles are highly popular in Mexico. But this year, at the Electronic Game Show, Nintendo had a huge presence with the Wii and the consumers looked very excited. Ubisoft showed off its Wii line-up and the response was extremely positive. Which franchises are most popular? Ubisoft's most popular franchises in Latin America are the Prince of Persia series and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six are extremely popular in the region too. How much of a problem is piracy compared to other regions? We don't see piracy as a huge problem in Mexico. In our view, piracy isn't as big of an issue in Mexico as it is in other parts of the world. Why does Ubisoft believe the Mexican market has stabilised? We've been actively promoting our games over the past years and all indications are positive. Our market share in this market has been steadily growing and we strongly believe there is still room for improvement. We are dedicated to developing this market and adopt the same strategy we adopted with every market we've been developing in for the past 20 years. What prospects for growth are there within the Mexican market, and how is Ubisoft taking advantage of this? Without getting into the specifics, we believe in this market. With the arrival of the new consoles and our strong line up that covers all the platforms and a wide variety of genres, there is absolutely no reason for us to not be optimistic with our growth objectives. Which next-gen console do you believe will prove most successful in Mexico, and is this reflected in your marketing in the region? Our relationship with every manufacturer in Mexico is extremely positive. We are working in close partnership with the three main players and we are extremely confident each platform will be successful in Mexico. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was a huge success for the Xbox 360 earlier this year and we are expecting some great results from our PS3 and Wii line-ups over the next few months.

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