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Ubisoft on next-gen portable dev: 3DS / PSP2 first, 'the other machines' next

After some success getting in on the ground floor with Kinect – Ubisoft was gunning to be the "top third-party publisher" – it's looking to repeat that formula with the upcoming 3DS, dropping six games for the portable's European launch. But with increasingly competent smartphones eating away at the dedicated handheld gaming market, what's Ubisoft's long-term plan for supporting the new portable landscape?

While the PSP had, at one point, been a solid platform for Ubisoft – Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines has sold roughly 500,000 units, a Ubi exec noted on this afternoon's earnings call – "today it's a bit more difficult as you have the PSP at the end of its cycle," CEO Yves Guillemot said. With a stated goal to invest in "future consoles, notably the 3DS and the NGP," Ubisoft is hoping to extend the lifespan of its portable productions by focusing on two phases of release.

"We are working to make sure that the games we create for the portable machines can be adapted for those platforms so that after making good revenue on 3DS or PSP2," Guillemot said, "we can go to a second phase which is going at a lower-price to the other machines." The other machines he's referring to here are the gaming smartphone platforms, typified by the iPhone and its hyper-competitive (and budget-priced!) App Store offerings.

Publishers are eager to capitalize on new hardware, and the excitement that inevitably follows, but want to continue to invest in the potentially lucrative phone ecosystems. This two-phase solution might allow them to have it both ways.