The new clothing product creation platform developed by Ultracine Studios, with the help of Vestechpro, aims to revolutionize the consumer’s relationship to fashion shopping by allowing them to create their own clothing sets, and observe what their choices might look like on a realistic avatar in real-time. Discover Nicolas Pajot, founder, and CEO.
- What Are the Premises of Ultracine Studios Great Adventure?
I have nearly 25 years’ experience in the video game industry. Some of the notable positions I have held include Producer and Manager of Online Operations at Ubisoft, Vice-president technology at Ludia, a video game company founded in 2008 that I have helped to become a global leader in the field. I was also co-founder and vice-president at Gameloft, a world leader in publishing digital and social games. With this background, I decided to launch my own studio in 2018.
My market analysis has also enabled me to seize opportunities. I have observed that fashion games are very popular. For example, Nintendo has released "Style Savvy", which is in the company's top 25 licenses. Already, in 1996, Digital Domain's Barbie Fashion Designer game was a commercial success with sales of almost CAN$19 million the year of its release.
Mobile fashion games are a huge success: the first fashion game, “Covet Fashion,” represents more than 150 fashion brands, and has 2.5 million active users per day who play between 30 to 60 minutes per day on average. Meanwhile, the game “I love Nicky” has generated an annual turnover of CAN$190 million in 2018.
It therefore became apparent to me that there was very real development potential, both in terms of the market and the technology developed until then to animate clothing. I was interested in going further in the existing animation technology with the challenge of offering real-time functions and choosing mobile as a game medium.
- What Was or What Are Your Greatest Challenges?
Our first challenge was to understand the complex world of fashion. This is also the reason why, right from the start of the process, we brought in the expertise of Vestechpro, a clothing research and innovation centre, to develop our mobile game.
In fact, making patterns in a mobile game is quite new to the fashion gaming industry. We wanted to use the same tools that are used in the fashion industry to make clothes as realistic as possible.
The second challenge is to meet with and encourage video game publishers to participate in the adventure in order to publish, distribute and make our game project profitable.
- What Are the Next Steps for Ultracine Studios?
First, we will launch our mobile game at the start of 2021 and secondly, we will develop fashion marketing strategies through our game, in particular, with the presentation and marketing of banners, collections, and different styles of clothing.
- Is the Quebec Fashion Industry Ready to Go Digital?
I’m not sure that industry players are ready for the digital shift; however, they will have no other choice but to move towards new practices in the coming years.
For the moment, the digital shift has largely been initiated among luxury brands and thanks to immersive technologies (integration of virtual content into the physical environment allowing the user to interact naturally with mixed reality), virtual reality (VR), or even the creation of incubators for the development of avant-garde solutions that are decidedly focused on new technologies.
These strategies definitely require substantial investments. Without having the necessary financial means, it seems important to me to integrate innovation into the long-term vision of companies and also day-to-day problem-solving.One of the challenges is answering the need for mass customization, and it is likely that the shift to digital technologies will be crucial in addressing this question. I'm also thinking about the benefits of automated production lines, for example.
- Do Educational Institutions Have a Role to Play in Promoting the Digital Shift?
We have been lagging behind in Quebec in this regard, while commercially speaking, the video game and digital fashion sectors have been developing at high speed. There is real potential in developing innovative programs that will create a new focus of interest for the next generation interested in a clothing industry career.
The anticipated acceleration of the digital transformation of the clothing industry has prompted leading international fashion schools to offer training in this direction to better prepare the next generation for the new needs of the industry. In New York, the Fashion Institute, and the Parsons School of Design, as well as the London College of Fashion in England, have already followed in the wake of this trend.
- Will Fashion and Video Games Have a Lasting Relationship?
I believe that this complementarity will spark a real revolution within the fashion industry and the video game world. We are already seeing the influence of fashion in games like “Grand Theft Auto” for which prestigious names associated with fashion and television are sought after. “Fortnite,” which has become a real social network with more than 250 million accounts created around the world since 2017 (Twitter has 310 million active accounts), allows its users to buy virtual clothes and generate character animations based on these. This demonstrates that clothing has real economic value in a gaming context! Decision-makers will need to pay particular attention to Generation Z and their needs, while they constitute the first market for this type of content.
Thank you, Nicolas, for participating in this interview. We are delighted to have been able to support Ultracine Studios in the production of its “Fashion Crafters” game. Would you like to learn more about Ultracine Studios? Visit its website.