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Ubisoft Opens Abu Dhabi Studio

Ubisoft has opened a new studio in the Middle East. According to a job listing for an art director posted on Christmas Eve, Ubisoft Abu Dhabi is the newest of Ubisoft’s studios and is located in the United Arab Emirates.

The job listing notes that Ubisoft Abu Dhabi currently has 25 employees but “are aiming to be 100 between 3-5 years from now.” The listing notes that “Ubisoft Abu Dhabi studio has committed to Ubisoft’s global goal to strive for excellence, its focus is to develop worldwide leading online games as well as enter the online MENA market; all in one.”

The studio is aiming to “create online products for everyone” and to operate Ubisoft games in the Middle East, “to gain substantial market share and leadership in the online MENA landscape.” According to Ubisoft’s official site, the studio’s managing director is Yannick Theler, who previously served as human resources director at Ubisoft Shanghai.

No specific projects have been announced for the studio, but we’ve reached out to Ubisoft for more information and will update this article if we hear back.

Andrew Goldfarb is IGN’s associate news editor. Keep up with pictures of the latest food he’s been eating by following @garfep on Twitter or garfep on IGN.

By Andrew Goldfarb

Rumor: Sony Creating a “Multichannel TV Service”

Rivals to traditional cable have been sprouting up left and right over the last few years, with services like Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo and more convincing consumers to throw out their cable box and stream content from the ‘net. And if a new report from Variety is any indication, Sony is working on its own “multichannel TV service to rival cable.”

Variety terms Sony’s endeavor an MSO – or Multiple System Operator — and states that the company is seeking licensing for various channels and “that [the service] could roll out in the U.S. later this year.”

“Few specifics are known about the proposed service,” Variety admits, “but it would be a package of linear channels akin to what pay-TV distributors traditionally provide, only delivered via broadband connection. In contrast to the cable operators who are bound by a geographic footprint, a virtual MSO can conceivably offer TV service to any subscriber nationwide.”

Variety notes that “content and infrastructure” necessary for such an endeavor could cost Sony billions, money it doesn’t necessarily have at the ready considering its well-known (but improving) financial troubles. Then again, Sony has made investments even as the company was hemorrhaging money and laying off thousands of its employees, proven by its $380 million acquisition of cloud gaming firm Gaikai.

Interestingly, Variety reports that “it’s unclear whether Sony would have to create additional hardware to activate a multichannel service… or whether a deployment would even be restricted to Sony products.” However, should this rumor prove true, it’s safe to assume that, like Gaikai, Sony’s MSO is likely to be functional on Sony’s upcoming (but yet unannounced) new PlayStation console.

Though Variety got Sony’s standard “we don’t comment on rumors and speculation” line when they inquired for comment, we’ve reached out to Sony as well for clarification.

Colin Moriarty is an IGN PlayStation editor. You can follow him on Twitter and IGN and learn just how sad the life of a New York Islanders and New York Jets fan can be.

By Colin Moriarty

Final Fantasy XIV Beta Applications Open

Final Fantasy XIV image

Square Enix has unveiled the beta test application site for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is now open, meaning you should apply now if you want a chance to test the game ahead of its re-release later this year.

Applications are open for both the PC version of the game, which launched to a lacklustre reception back in 2010 and was closed in November 2012, as well as for testers wanting to try out the long-delayed PS3 version.

The application site comes in both North American and European flavours, so be sure to pick the one that’s relevant for where you live.

In addition to this, a new prologue trailer has been released showing the dawning of a new age in Eorzea. It’s the same as the one that was shown when the servers closed down last November for the most part, but with some pretty notable additions to the ending. You can check it out below.

Luke Karmali is IGN’s UK Editorial Assistant and lifelong Final Fantasy fan. You too can revel in mediocrity by following him on IGN and on Twitter.

By Luke Karmali