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Ubisoft expanding rapidly, despite economic downturn

Businesses that have secure cash flow often see trying economic times as an opportunity to acquire smaller firms, and that seems to be thriving game publisher Ubisoft's strategy during the current global financial crunch.

The French-owned company, which already has studios scattered across the globe from China to Montreal, announced in late January its acquisition of longstanding independent Brazilian game maker SouthLOGIC Studios.

What's more, Ubisoft confirmed Tuesday its purchase of Vancouver-based Action Pants Inc., which employs over 100 game programmers and is on the verge of releasing its first title, a sports exclusive for the Wii. Indeed, it seems Ubisoft, which has been toying with getting into to the lucrative sports game market for some time, is finally gearing up for battle.

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Ubisoft's West Coast expansion comes as a slap in the face for competitor Electronic Arts, which has spent the last couple of months claiming that the global economic meltdown is forcing the gaming industry to batten down the hatches. The world's largest game publisher recently cancelled plans to open a new campus in Vancouver, said that they are closing their famed Black Box Studio (makers of the successful Need for Speed racing games) and moving its staff to another location, and have implemented a plan to cut 1,000 jobs as part of a global restructuring strategy.

Apparently the financial crisis isn't affecting all companies in the video game business equally.

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