Ubisoft has made quite a name for itself in the triple-A gaming arena. The company is responsible for a slew of popular video game franchises including Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Assassin’s Creed, Rayman, and Far Cry, Now it appears that they’re looking at getting much more involved in mobile gaming, but they way they’re going about it raises an eyebrow or two.
For many, Ubisoft’s expansion on the mobile platform is a boon. After all, a brief glance around the mobile gaming landscape makes it evident that there’s a lack of triple-A quality. Maybe having another experienced, well-funded game developer throw their weight into mobile design will up the ante a bit. And they’ve done this by purchasing Ketchapp.
That’s right. Ubisoft has announced today that they bought the mobile studio Ketchapp, a company that – while not nefarious by any definition – has previously come under fire for some of their practices. You may be most familiar with Ketchapp’s 2014 smash hit “2048.” The game involves sliding tiles on a 4×4 grid to combine like numbers with the ultimate goal of achieving 2048. The simple, satisfying gameplay, minimalist graphics, and surprisingly nuanced difficulty made the game immensely popular for a while there.
You may not have been aware, but that game was essentially a clone of a puzzler called THREES by indie developer Asher Volmer. And Ketchapp has since developed something of a reputation for cribbing ideas. Risky Road is pretty similar to Owlchemy Labs’ Smuggle Truck, Gravity Switch is basically a trimmed down version of VVVVVV, Crazy Circle is a lot like Super Hexagon, and Stack looks an awful lot like Monument Valley.
So why would a production company with so much clout choose to throw in their lot with Ketchap, a developer who has kind of started rubbing other developers the wrong way.
“With Ketchapp, Ubisoft acquires a highly profitable publisher with a successful portfolio of free-to-play games for mobile,” Ubisoft mobile director Jean-Michel Detoc said. “This acquisition gives Ubisoft one of the world’s leading mobile game publishers and reinforces our advertising capabilities in mobile gaming.”
With Ketchapp, Ubisoft acquires a highly profitable publisher with a successful portfolio of free-to-play games for mobile.
There’s your answer right there. Regardless of how Ketchapp is perceived, the company does an astoundingly good job of cross-promoting their array of games within each of their apps. By focusing on addictive gameplay, no-risk entry, and natively marketing their other products, Ketchapp has developed a strong foothold in the mobile market. And now that foothold is Ubisoft’s.
It’s uncertain which direction Ubisoft will take with their newly achieved mobile presence. Indeed, we don’t even know what the price tag of Ketchapp was since Ubisoft’s fiscal quarter won’t end until the end of December. Previously, Ubisoft has had to lean on the success of their non-mobile franchises to boost mobile sales, so their releases have been essentially revisions or ports of non-mobile games. Theoretically, Ketchapp’s robust mobile platform will allow Ubisoft to launch games with built-in exposure thanks to Ketchapp’s massive userbase and successful crosspromoting, and this may open them up to start developing more novel mobile content.
What do you think of Ubisoft snagging Ketchapp? Let us know in the comments below!