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Ubisoft Entertainment (formerly Ubi Soft) is a computer and video game publisher and developer with headquarters in Montreuil, France. The company has facilities in over 20 countries, including development studios in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada; Barcelona, Spain; Shanghai, China; North Carolina, USA; Düsseldorf, Germany; Sofia, Bulgaria; Bucharest, Romania; Casablanca, Morocco and Milan, Italy, amongst other locations. As of 2004, it is the third-largest independent video game publisher in Europe, and the seventh largest in the US. The "Ubi" in Ubisoft is sometimes pronounced [juːbi] or more often [u'bi], in French it is pronounced [y'bi]. (See IPA phonetic notation.) Ubisoft is the publisher of the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon media franchise.

HistoryEdit

The five brothers of the Guillemot family founded Ubisoft as a computer game publisher in 1986 in France. Yves Guillemot soon made deals with Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line, and Microprose to distribute their games in France. By the end of the decade, Ubisoft began expanding to other markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

In the early 1990s, Ubisoft initiated its in-house game development program which led to the 1994 opening of a studio in Montreuil, France, which later became their headquarters. That same year, Michel Ancel created the Rayman character, a character which still stars in new video games as of 2006. Ubisoft became a publicly traded company in 1996 and continued to expand to offices around the globe, opening locations in Shanghai and Montreal. Ubisoft's revenue for 2002-2003 was €453 million; for fiscal year 2003-2004, this grew to €508 million. As of 2004, Ubisoft employs more than 2,350 people, of which over 1700 are classed as working in production. Yves Guillemot, a founding brother, is the chairman and CEO.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ubisoft committed itself to online games by getting behind Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, The Matrix Online, and the European and Chinese operation of EverQuest. The publisher established ubi.com as its online division. But in February 2004, Ubisoft cancelled the online portion of Uru and backed out of the publishing deal on The Matrix Online. Regardless, only a week later the company announced its acquisition of Wolfpack Studios, developers of fantasy MMORPG Shadowbane, and in July 2004, its Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow was released for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 with what some considered a revolutionary online multiplayer feature.

On December 20, 2004 Electronic Arts (EA) purchased a 19.9% stake in the firm. At the time, Ubisoft released a statement saying they considered the purchase "hostile" until they had further information on EA's intent.[1]

On March 2005 Ubisoft acquired MC2-Microïds (Microïds Canada) and integrated it into Ubisoft's Montréal studios.[2]

Ubisoft also bought the Driver franchise from Atari in July 2006, for a sum of €19 million (USD$24 million) in cash for the franchise, technology rights, and most assets. Additionally, though Ubisoft is not acquiring the studio outright, the 80 members of Driver developer Reflections Interactive will become employees of Ubisoft.

On April 11, 2007, Ubisoft announced that it had acquired Sunflowers.[3].

Starforce ControversyEdit

Ubisoft had, for a time, used the controversial StarForce copy protection technology that installs drivers on a system and is suspected to cause some hardware problems and compatibility issues with certain operating systems, starting with the game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, which was not compatible with Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for quite some time until a patch was released by the makers of StarForce.[4]

On April 14, 2006 Ubisoft confirmed that they would stop using Starforce on their games citing complaints from customers.[5]

PRegScheduler MFC ApplicationEdit

When Ubisoft software is installed a product registration application called "PRegScheduler MFC Application" is copied as "PowerReg Scheduler.exe" outside of its specified installation directories. It is placed directly in the Startup folder rather than linking to the Ubisoft folder. [6] PowerReg Scheduler.exe may show up as "PowerREGISTER" in your task list. Examination of the programs properties shows the "Company Name" to be blank, even though the rest of the property information is available. The inability to identify this application by installation directory or by company information has resulted in reports of alarm that an unknown program by an unidentified company has been placed in their startup folder for unknown purpose.[7]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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