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Ubisoft convinced second-screen gaming is the future

And as we saw at E3, are going pretty heavily on trying it out.

Tldr:
-They have a 50 person dedicated team at Ubisoft Quebec making the tablet companion apps.
-They want both experiences (console and companion app) to feel fun and complete when played alone. This is an especially large concern for the tablet apps since they're often afterthoughts.
-They think the tablet apps will be more accessible to people who aren't as comfortable with a controller or maybe don't even have a console.
-They see this as the future of gaming (even at the CEO level) and thus it will be in most of their projects going forward.
-Currently they're focusing on PS4/XB1 with this, but will consider the Wii U if it makes sense. They said working on AC3's Wii U features was a big help in learning how to do this though.
-They feel that tablets are catching up to consoles pretty quickly so it will help them make companion apps easier as tablets can support next-gen engines.

---

GamesIndustry.biz said:
At an earlier interview with Ubisoft chief executive officer Yves Guillemot, GamesIndustry International had a chance to ask him about the company's second-screen experiment.

"I'm convinced it's the future," Guillemot told us. "What I like in second-screen play is its accessibility, which means different types of people can play. Those who don't know how to play with the [controller] or don't like to play with it can use touch. So that's the first good element."


"The second one is it gives you an opportunity to play from outside the home with your friends who are playing from their homes. So I'm in an airport, and I can play with my friends using my iPad if I have a good connection. We think this is going to open lots of new possibilities to the industry, and to the type of gameplay that can occur."
The publisher decided that for its next-generation second-screen effort to work, most of the work needed to be done at a single studio with the right expertise. That studio is Ubisoft Quebec, who's handling the second-screen apps for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, and The Division. We spoke with Ubisoft managing director Nicolas Rioux about the studio's new drive.

"In the last three years, we had this vision in mind," said Rioux. "The vision of the studio is to be a leader in the creation of mobile, online, and connected universes. For The Division, we were involved from the beginning of the project. This is really our key for success, for our team to be involved with the design team on the console project. If you want to have success with this kind of experience, you must be there early."
"The way we see it, it really gives the players the choice and opportunity to have a great experience when you want, where you want, at the time you want, on the device you want. For us it's a great feature, it's a must-have for the new generation of consoles," added Rioux.

"Some features and gameplay in these apps can provide you with a standalone experience. We believe in the benefits of connecting mobile players with console players in the same universe. It's really where we innovate, with this new generation of mobile applications connected with the console experience. We always mention second-screen, but we need to have in mind that for a lot of people, the games on tablets will be their first screen."
You don't need either the tablet or console part to have a full experience," he added. "For the person playing on the tablet, maybe for him that game is more accessible. Honestly, we give the players new opportunities. It's not a big issue for console players to play the tablet version to have a more complete experience. I'm a console player and a gamer on tablets; for me to have these new possibilities is not a constraint."

"With Assassin's Creed III, we were involved on the Wii U version. The Wii U was kind of the pioneer of the connected tablet interface. This gave us some ideas for the first iteration of tablets connected with console games," said Rioux.

Unfortunately, while the Wii U was the beginning, Ubisoft Quebec's current focus is creating a cohesive experience between the Xbox One/PlayStation 4 and mobile devices. The studio is not committed to bringing some of these new experiences to the Wii U platform.

"It's not confirmed yet, but if it's possible to do it and it makes sense, yes we will provide some kind of experience on the Wii U. Our focus is on the new generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles," explained Rioux.
"I expect maybe in three or four years from now to be able to have mostly the same engine running on tablet and the main console. On The Division, we are using the same assets on the console and the tablets. In the future, it will be easier for us to provide this kind of experience," he said.
Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articl...-convinced-second-screen-gaming-is-the-future

And here's an example of one of the tablet apps:

 

jwk94

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Sep 1, 2012
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Now let's hope they take advantage of Vita/PS4 Cross-Controller. That would be perfect for second-screen gaming.
 
D

Deleted member 1235

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will be pretty nice when this distraction is over. you simply can't make a tablet interact with a game console well, because I don't have an extra set of eyes on stalks to watch the second screen. wtf.
 

totowhoa

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I think it's a cool idea. It's a nice evolution of some experiments that Nintendo tried years ago by allowing smaller, portable games to link up and affect your console version, or allow them to control the game on the console. There's probably going to be a rocky road before it's figured out, but having a second screen player for co-op or having a mobile game that affects your console game is awesome, and I'm glad that this is going to be a feature more common in the future. There have been some cool second screen things in the past, and I'm excited to see the idea explored more.

I hate the idea of special content being locked behind this, which is already happening. The only case I'm OK with it is when it makes sense (as in, it couldn't be there otherwise).

I love the idea of my time-killer smartphone game affecting my console experience in a tangential way, though. I also like the idea of having a game where a kid can play with a touch screen to interact with a game in a way that won't hinder the adult playing, but would still feel gratifying to the kid.
 

Watashiwa

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So this means they're considering games for the 3DS right? Right?

*crickets*

I'll just go...

EDIT: Huh, just realized that if this kind of game takes off then Nintendo DID predict where the market's interest was going to go again, but failed to capitalize on it this time.
 

Squire

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-Currently they're focusing on PS4/XB1 with this, but will consider the Wii U if it makes sense. They said working on AC3's Wii U features was a big help in learning how to do this though.

This is amazing. You can forget about any Wii U-exclusive tablet stuff in Watch_Dogs.
 

ShroudOfFate

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Nov 8, 2012
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This could be okay. Maybe use a vita or tablet as an inventory screen or the camera in Beyond Good & Evil 2.

Tablets should be used sparingly though. Not every game needs to have a second screen.
 

onipex

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So they are not adding the mobile and tablet apps to the Wii U, but that doesn't mean no second screen interface... Thats how I read it anyway.
 
Sep 9, 2012
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They then charge $15 for the companion app to get the 'complete experience'.

Guessing if this is true, probably the reason why they're on "thinking" about the Wii U. Much harder to charge money for it on that platform when the screen is on the actual controller and not a separate device
 

Schnozberry

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Nov 9, 2012
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Yeah, if only the Wii U had the type of controller that would make this practical.

It probably has a lot to do with Wii U sales, but I'm guessing it's primarily because they see lots of cash in monetizing the tablet apps with micro transactions.
 

blindrocket

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The only way that I think I'd like it if it were

  1. Playing the main console game on the handheld with remote play
  2. Taking your main console save file and playing it on a handheld version of the game

I don't really like the "connected tablet" experience from what little I have read.
And I hope that the "second screen" version can support itself, because otherwise I could see it as taking resources away from the "main console" version of the game.
Like a throw-away multiplayer that nobody wants which in the end only took resources away from the core game.
 

Sylent01

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I wish developers would devote as much innovation and creative energy into good story telling and character development as they do into new tech. At the end of the day all I really want is a satisfying story- good gameplay is a given as well.
 

GamerJM

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...It's not really funny, just sad. I think it really captures a huge problem. The Wii U tablet has a ton of potential and in its several years of existence a lot of it probably won't get realized. I feel the same way about motion controls. So much could be done but it's getting pushed aside as a casual gimmick.

It's pretty frustrating too considering that using a tablet as a second screen alongside your controller is infinitely inferior.
 

Bishop89

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May 13, 2013
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"They have a 50 person dedicated team at Ubisoft Quebec making the tablet companion apps"
Mother of God, and we wonder why games cost millions upon millions to make.
 

Freezie KO

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-Currently they're focusing on PS4/XB1 with this, but will consider the Wii U if it makes sense. They said working on AC3's Wii U features was a big help in learning how to do this though.

:LOL

It is sad, but I can't help but laugh.

Nintendo is so fucked this gen. Even Ubisoft is giving them the burn. Anyway, I wonder if Ubi realizes that "second screen gaming" doesn't mean they can just port the same game to the second screen for double the money.
 

Duxxy3

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I must admit that I like how they integrated a tablet into the division. A tablet doesn't have the input that a controller does, nor does it have the horsepower a console has, but it is much more accessible for a lot of people (particularly those casuals that used to play a wii).

I wish developers would devote as much innovation and creative energy into good story telling and character development as they do into new tech. At the end of the day all I really want is a satisfying story- good gameplay is a given as well.

It's the start of a new generation. This is when developers are trying new shit and seeing what sticks.
 
So they are not adding the mobile and tablet apps to the Wii U, but that doesn't mean no second screen interface... Thats how I read it anyway.

Well I'm sure any Wii U games will have a second screen interface of some sort at least. They have to put something on the gamepad.

That said, the things they're talking about are more like things two separate people would be doing (one on console and one on mobile), not the same person on both at the same time.
 

Parakeetman

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Feb 22, 2012
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Seeing how they are including it in some of their future titles, they sure better believe it or else the investors are going to have a fit
 

Bombadil

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It probably has a lot to do with Wii U sales, but I'm guessing it's primarily because they see lots of cash in monetizing the tablet apps with micro transactions.

If Ubisoft and EA are going to abandon the Wii U until it picks up in sales, it never will.

They're acting like fucking parasites.

It's called a "partnership." This means that you have to take risks along with Nintendo, not show up to the party if and when Nintendo succeeds.

I swear, if I was Nintendo, and somehow managed to make the Wii U phenomenally successful with first party games alone, and EA and Ubisoft knocked on my door asking to make games on the platform, I'd laugh in their executives' faces.
 

Willy Wanka

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A real kick in the baws for Reggie. I do like the idea of using the tablet to perform a completely different role from everybody else eg. a top down commader role. Using it as a companion app (ie for maps and inventory etc.) is obviously far less exciting - and inconvenient if you aren't using a Wii U gamepad.
 

Freezie KO

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That said, the things they're talking about are more like things two separate people would be doing (one on console and one on mobile), not the same person on both at the same time.

The asymmetric multiplayer applications are more interesting anyway, to be honest.

As a singleplayer experience, using the Wii U pad as a controller and a second screen requires you to look away from the screen and then back again. That "second screen" can be cumbersome.

But to take an idea from The Division, if I am out of my house waiting around somewhere, I might not have my 3DS with me. But I always have my phone. If I can hop into a game of Shooterbro with my friends, drop some bombs on them, and then hop out, that can be a fun portable gaming experience. Meanwhile, when I get home, I can then be the soldier and others can drop bombs on me.

Of course, the Wii U enables that gameplay natively and locally, but the same games likely won't be made for it. And while Nintendo has already offered this asymmetric multiplayer, they're so far behind the curve with putting their games online that this any momentum from this idea is about to be stolen from them.
 

Eusis

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But I only have two hands :(
And thus why I seriously, seriously hope that if they push this they also fully push PS4 crossplay, because I don't want to juggle a Tablet for this stuff. Just play on a Vita and get the best of PS4 and Wii U, rather than a messy tablet setup.

Though I guess if I can JUST use the tablet as a map or whatever I could use the Nexus 7 and a case that doubles as a stand, then just put it on a table or whatever.
 

fertygo

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Wii U Gamepad experience with better LED/Screen like iPad/Vita have would be incredible. I seriously hope the industry catering that.
 

shola

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wii u used as a stepping stone for the next gen consoles. at least it was put to some use.
 

SenatorBot

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It makes sense that they would consider only the PS4/Xbone for the apps. It seems their main goal is to ensure that the apps be used as a trojan to get people who normally don't play games like this to be able to download an app on IOS/Android and be able to play the game any time and anywhere. If they are interested enough in the title, they can buy the full game.

Whereas on the Wii U, the tablet controller being built in and not portable means that most people who would be interested in the apps in the first place wouldn't be the ones who own a Wii U.
 

Fredrik

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Lol this is hilarious if they seriously plan to add second screen features for PS4/XB1 but not WiiU, especially if the reason for no WiiU version is that it doesn't make sense lol