Ubisoft is celebrating its 35th anniversary with discounts and freebies

Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, was founded in France 35 years ago, on March 28, 1986. It appears that someone at modern-day Ubisoft has finally realized this, as the company has announced a number of 35th anniversary celebrations now that the anniversary has passed.

While it's easy to think of companies like Ubisoft as having always existed, the company grew out of a thriving computer mail-order business. The Guillemot brothers, a group of five brothers who are all co-founders, saw the growing demand for video game software and decided that, with their experience in publishing and distribution, they should branch out into development.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot (appointed in 1988) told Game Informer, "There was a specific business—you had to have the right game." "As the mail order business grew, we transitioned from mail order to selling to retailers who needed product at a reasonable price. When my brother discovered the price difference, he began importing the games, and we began selling them at half the price that other suppliers were charging customers. Ubisoft was founded in 1986 in this manner. 'OK, we really need to figure out how to make those games because we know how to buy them,' we said. We know what works because we enjoy making and playing those games, so we should organize ourselves to make them.'

As a result, Ubi Soft began as a shortened form of Ubiquitous Software, with a space between the words.

Ubisoft was a hit from the start, with its first game, Zombi, receiving positive reviews and selling well (it would later be reimagined as a launch title for the ill-fated Wii U). Rayman, the wildly successful 1995 platformer that continues to be an active series today, was what really put Ubisoft on the map. Rainbow Six and the Tom Clancy series in general, Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed (which grew out of a PoP prototype), Far Cry, and Just Dance are all important franchises in the company's history, and there are dozens more that could be added.

"We are turning 35 this year! 35 years of immersive worlds built with your enjoyment at heart," reads the company's announcement. "To celebrate we have two months of special events, gifts and retrospectives. Join us to discover new worlds and dive back into your favorites."

Confusingly though, for an event that begins by exhorting you to "open your presents!", there doesn't seem to be all that much going on beyond some discounts, a daily prize draw for Ubisoft store credit, and some Ghost Recon Breakpoint cosmetics. Upcoming are free weekends for the publisher's games, rewards linked to Ubisoft+ accounts and most interestingly some sort of game giveaway. It'll probably just be a copy of Far Cry 3 or something but hey, we can dream.

The celebration comes 16 months after the first serious allegations of abuse, harassment, and misconduct surfaced, and at a time when Ubisoft is facing tough questions about the working environment at its studios. Workers demanded more concessions from management this weekend after Activision appeared to do the same.