Ubisoft Acquires Owlient and Howrse BrandUbisoft  announced  the  acquisition  of  free-to-play game developer Owlient.  The team at Owlient has extensive expertise in the management of online  game-playing  communities,  and  their  Howrse  brand  has  almost  two million monthly active users.

Founded in Paris in 2005, Owlient and their 40 team members is a forerunner in creating free-to-play  games.  The  company  set  itself  apart  for  its  ability  to  develop  the  expertise  and technology necessary to manage and entertain an online game community.

"We are thrilled to welcome the talented team at Owlient to Ubisoft.  Over the last five years they  have  developed  an  architecture  dedicated  to  delivering  and  monetizing  games  as  a service,  as  well  as  the  skills  of  attracting  and  retaining  online  communities,”  said  Yves Guillemot,  chief  executive  officer  at  Ubisoft.    “This  acquisition  is  the  next  step  in  the acceleration  of Ubisoft’s  free-to-play  strategy  following  last  year’s  launch  of  Settlers Online, CSI Crime City and Heroes Kingdoms, as well as the recent beta launch of our ambitious title Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online.”

"Joining the Ubisoft team will allow us to accelerate our  international business and to expand our  expertise  and  our  games  to  new  platforms.    It  also  lets  us  integrate  our  proven  online services  architecture with  Ubisoft’s  so  that we  can  help  grow  their  brands  online,”  affirmed Olivier  Issaly,  chief  executive  officer  of  Owlient.  “We  are  proud  of  what  our  team  has accomplished and  confident  that  joining Ubisoft will allow us  to continue  that success.   We’d also  like  to  thank  our  shareholder  Innovacom, who has  accompanied  the Owlient  team  over the years as we developed.”

Following  acquisitions  of  Massive  Entertainment,  Nadeo  and  Quazal,  Owlient  represents  the continuation of Ubisoft’s focus on expanding its online expertise and infrastructure in order to expand its portfolio using new online business models.  The recent launch of AAA project Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online in closed beta, the enthusiasm of the TrackMania community, the success of The Settlers Online in Germany and the Uplay online services platform are the most recent realizations of this strategy.

Previous Ubisoft acquisitions in the online segment:

  • November 2008: acquisition of Massive Entertainment,  renowned  for  their specialty  in creating  multiplayer  games.  Massive  is  collaborating  on  or  responsible  for  the development of several ambitious unannounced projects.
  • October  2009:  acquisition  of  Nadeo,  creator  of  cult  hit  multiplayer  driving  game, TrackMania. TrackMania 2 Canyon and ManiaPlanet will be launched in 2011.
  • November  2010:  acquisition  of  Quazal,  a  leader  in  the  creation  of  online  technical solutions.  Assassin’s  Creed  implements  Quazal  technology  for  its  multiplayer  mode, which received the Game Critics Award for "Best Online Game" at E3 2010.

The  acquisition  is  subject  to  customary  closing  conditions  and  is  expected  to  close  in Ubisoft’s second quarter of fiscal 2012.