Ubisoft expands to Abu Dhabi

Ubisoft will open a studio in Abu Dhabi by year's end, making it the first major video game company with a presence in the region. Expected to open in December, with a core team of Ubi veterans heading up initial training, the studio will also contribute to the "twofour54 gaming academy."

The twofour54 is the "Media Zone Authority" in Abu Dhabi, an initiative by the Abu Dhabi government to create an Arabic media and entertainment hub for the Middle East and North Africa. The gaming academy is a new, full-time game development academy run by the authority. The studio is expected to create 100 new jobs over the next 5 years.

Ubisoft is no stranger to opening studios in exotic locations like Casablanca and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Whether it'll stick around when there's a hiccup is a whole other story.

[Base image from Tom Cummins / Shutterstock]
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Studio to create 100 new jobs over next 5 years

London, UK – October 25, 2011 – Today Ubisoft and twofour54 Abu Dhabi announced the upcoming opening of a new Ubisoft development studio in Abu Dhabi. This marks the first time a major games publisher has established a direct presence in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC.)

Ubisoft is one of the world's leading video game publishers and the developers of brands such as Tom Clancy®'s Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed® and Prince of Persia®. twofour54 is the Media Zone Authority in Abu Dhabi, an initiative by the Abu Dhabi government to create an Arabic media & entertainment hub for the Middle East & North Africa.

Slated to open its doors in December this year with a core team of Ubisoft veterans who will help to train an initial team of local recruits, the studio will also contribute their expertise to the 'twofour54 gaming academy' a new, full-time game development academy run by twofour54 tadreeb, twofour54's media training arm in partnership with Ubisoft.

Abu Dhabi's excellent technological infrastructure and quality training institutions and its long-term commitment to create a thriving regional media and entertainment industry were key factors in the decision for Ubisoft to establish a new studio in the Middle East .

"We are excited by the partnership with twofour54. Their commitment to developing a strong regional gaming industry and their knowledge of the region were the perfect foundation on which to continue building our development teams," said Christine Burgess-Quémard, executive director, worldwide studios at Ubisoft. "The demographics and the pool of skilled technical talent in the Middle East and North Africa region are key factors that will contribute to the success of this new studio."

Ubisoft's Abu Dhabi studio will start by working on online gaming titles in collaboration with other Ubisoft studios, and will eventually create original titles that will appeal to local and international audiences alike.

"Digital gaming has always been a priority sector for twofour54 and to partner with an international market leader such as Ubisoft is great news for the region's gaming industry," commented Wayne Borg, Deputy CEO & Chief Operating Officer, twofour54. "The digital games played by Arabs have traditionally been developed outside the region, which means that they rarely have a direct relevance to Arab gamers. Our agreement with Ubisoft will benefit the region in that it will enable the development of titles that resonate with the local population, whilst also building the skills of young Arabs to allow the region to create its own games and developing a gaming industry base here at twofour54."

Yannick Theler, a ten-year veteran at Ubisoft has been chosen to manage the new studio. Yannick's experience at Ubisoft began at Ubisoft Switzerland as Marketing & Sales Director before being appointed Vice President of Business Development for Ubisoft's China activities and most recently served as Human Resources Director of Ubisoft Shanghai.

More information on opportunities with the new Ubisoft studio in Abu Dhabi, please contact abudhabi@ubisoft.com.

About Ubisoft
Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified line-up of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 26 countries and has sales in more than 55 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. For the 2010–11 fiscal year Ubisoft generated sales of 1.039 billion euros. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com

About twofour54
An Abu Dhabi Government initiative, twofour54 is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's leading media and entertainment hub. twofour54's unique campus environment offers media and entertainment businesses the tools they need to succeed. These include 100% company ownership in a stable tax-free environment, facilitated business networking, easy licensing and business set-up services, broadcast and production facilities, and access to professional media talent and industry experts. twofour54 is also home to the world's first 'Cartoon Network Animation Academy' as well as the 'twofour54 gaming academy in partnership with ubisoft'.

twofour54 delivers its advanced cohesive infrastructure through three key pillars: twofour54 tadreeb (the media training academy), twofour54 ibtikar (venture capital investment fund for Arab media and entertainment businesses) and twofour54 intaj (a state-of-the-art production complex including digital and post production facilities, broadcast and distribution facilities and the region's only 3D stereoscopic lab). These services are supported by twofour54 tawasol, facilitating easy business set-up and providing on-going support services.

twofour54 has already attracted over 130 companies, which are now based at the Abu Dhabi campus. These include several of the region's and world's largest and most influential content creation companies, including Ubisoft, Sky News Arabia, Fox Intl Channels, CNN, BBC, Financial Times, Viacom, C Sky Pictures, Thomson Reuters, Cartoon Network, PyraMedia, Bloomberg, Blink Studios, Charisma, VERITAS Films, Tahadi and Jawaker. Each of these partners has recognised the vast opportunity that the Arab world represents for growth, and has committed significant investment and resources to business initiatives that are led out of twofour54.

The name twofour54 is taken from Abu Dhabi's geographical coordinates, which are latitude 24 north, longitude 54 east. This name was chosen to symbolise Abu Dhabi's strategic position within MENA, and its central role in driving the development of the region's growing media and entertainment industries.

To learn more, please visit www.twofour54.com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.