Ubisoft CEO on Avatar’s sales

It’s unfortunate when a videogame doesn’t live up to its potential. Look at Avatar. While no one expected it to be a smashing critical success, which it wasn’t, it’s kind of surprising that the blockbuster-based game didn’t sell as much as it should have. According to publisher Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot, the reason behind the title’s commercial failure was the inconvenient late holiday season release that led to a trend Ubisoft thought they could break. “We thought the game could continue to sell after the new year,” said Guillemot, who unfortunately saw the title suffer a post-holiday sales drop off that plagues most games.

As a result of Avatar‘s low sales, Guillemot says Ubisoft will be more cautious when investing in licenses, especially those attached to holiday movie releases. “We want to make sure with those kinds of games, we have time to polish as much as we want. The pressure of the release of the movie is always difficult in our industry, so I would say our goal in the future is to make sure we can have those games ready a long time in advance.”

At least this time he (sort of) brings the quality of the game into the discussion, although he also implies that the shortened development cycle made that lack of quality inevitable. I’m a little confused at this, since even though we knew Avatar was coming a long, long time ago and even though the very first trailer just screamed “videogame adaptation,” it’s also true that good games take well over a year (or two) to develop. How exactly did Guillemot plan on having a quality game ready in advance?

The only solution for this is for more developers to go the Ghostbusters route and create movie-based games that are not tied to a film’s release date. Either that or perhaps Ubisoft could have had the game ready in time for the highly anticipated Avatar Blu-ray release. Maybe PS3 owners could purchase the movie and the game in a bundle with bonus materials. Now we’re talking.