The CEOs of two of the largest video game publishers appeared to share completely contradictory views on one issue: the declining (or stable?) DS software sales market. Arguing one side was Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, who blamed his company's poor Q1 showing in part on a declining DS software market. On the other side is Brian Farrel, CEO of THQ, who seemingly responded directly to Guillemot's accusation saying that "it's not a bad market."
Guillemot claimed that piracy in Europe, particularly Spain, was in part to blame for the drop in DS sales. Farrell said, "I know there's been a lot of talk in Europe about piracy. We've been pleased with our DS, in particular, catalog sales. It's not a bad market." Both CEOs looked to the latest DS revision – the DSi – to ameliorate some of the piracy concerns. "For DSi, the piracy is a lot less than on the normal DS," Guillemot said. Farrell said, in keeping with his promising view of the DS market, "We think there's some growth coming with the DSi."
While the PSP has certainly had its fair share of piracy over the years, Guillemot praised Sony's evolution of the machine. "The PSP has always been a machine with lots of piracy, so it's a machine we were not developing too much on because it was pirated. Now there are new ways to control the piracy so we have reinvested on the machine." That reinvestment has obviously come in the form of Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines. "It'll be interesting to see how the PSP business continues with Sony's new entry," Farrell said, referring to the PSP go. "But we're not seeing any major trends in the handheld business between the DS, PSP, and even the iPhone that are affecting our overall outlook at this time."
Ubisoft, for its part, is looking for other, unique ways to curb piracy on platforms like the DS. "We are working to put new figurines and new elements in the box that will change [the impact of piracy] in the future but in the short term it's effecting us," Guillemot said. It'll effect you a lot less if you bundle some of those adorable Rabbid figurines with every game you ship. Just sayin'.