Home News General News Ubisoft Acquires Tom Clancy... His Name I Mean
Ubisoft Acquires Tom Clancy... His Name I Mean PDF Print E-mail
Written by Starfox   
Friday, 21 March 2008 02:34
On a topic somewhat related to our review of Rainbow Six: Vegas, Ubisoft just announced yesterday that they signed an agreement with Mr Tom Clancy to acquire all the intellectual property rights on the Tom Clancy name for an unlimited time and free of all future royalty payments. This agreement includes use of the name in video games, related books, movies and marketing products.

Tom Clancy's Franchises

Well, considering that Ubisoft already holds the rights for Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six, as well as the two franchises to come Tom Clancy's Air Combat and Tom Clancy's End War this announcement should not come as a complete surprise. The exclusive rights to Tom Clancy's name branded products was already a de facto situation for about 10 years. The big deal for Ubisoft here is to free themselves from further royalty payments by just making a one-time big payment. It also guarantees that one can expect to see even more Tom Clancy's games in the future (possibly they will even open a special Wal-Mart for that).

This agreement had a price for Ubisoft though, price that the European publisher didn't wish to disclose, however they give some hint when stating that their net cash provision once the deal done will be of €130 millions instead of €150 millions (that's about a $31 millions difference on which of course one has to deduce legal fees but well, Tom Clancy is certainly pleased no matter what). And there will be some additional payments in fiscal 2008-09 and 2009-10. Who said that writing couldn't bring a lot of money?

As a direct result of the acquisition, Ubisoft already announced a $40-$50 millions MMO project based on Tom Clancy's universe, a project that couldn't have seen the light of day otherwise since the royalty cost would have been far too much. Well we're not interested in MMOs here so there's little chance for us to talk about that ever again. We also learn that Ubisoft has some plans for movies.

Yves Guillemot (Ubisoft CEO) is particularly enthusiast about the deal (hey, who wouldn't be at his place?).

After ten years of a highly successful collaboration which has seen the creation of blockbusters that set standards in the videogame industry, such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, today, acquiring the perpetual property rights of the Tom Clancy name for video games and related projects is a major event. The future of our industry lies in our capacity to create and develop brands that captivate consumers and that present a myriad of opportunities for the full spectrum of entertainment, be it video games, books, movies or other media. The Tom Clancy brand is recognized around the world for offering exciting video games, films and books. The most recent example of such value creation through brand management is the End War book, based on the video game story, which has been in the NY Times top 10 Paperback Mass Market Fiction bestseller list for the last four weeks. Capitalizing on the strong franchises that we’ve built over the past 10 years, we will take the Tom Clancy game brand to the next level of the global entertainment industry.

Somehow when you see the money involved in gaming deals today you can clearly see that the video game industry has nothing to be ashamed of compared to the movie industry. Both are entertainment with some big names and entertainment with big names can definitely generate big bucks.

So what could be my problem with this news? Well, none, except that focusing too much on some game franchises might put an end to some form of creativity (think about Eidos and Tomb Raider here and their deplorable handling of the Deus Ex franchise and somewhat less deplorable but still regrettable handling of the Thief one).

With the time helping, we'll see if Ubisoft still manage to make a perfect mix between the creativity factor and the "just bringing money" one. One can only hope...

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