It looks like not everyone has been affected by the global economic slump. Ubisoft is reporting that third-quarter sales, ending December 31, 2008, were up 13% to €508 million.
Ubisoft is also projecting a rosy fourth-quarter with 5%-10% market share increase, and they have clarified their upcoming release schedule. Main releases for fourth-quarter include Tom Clancy’s Hawx for the Xbox 360, PC, and PLAYSTATION 3, Tom Clancy’s EndWar for PC, Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game for the Nintendo DS, Wii, and PC, and new casual games for the Nintendo DS and Wii, including Imagine, Petz, and Jake Power titles.
Best of all, the next Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, and Ghost Recon titles are in the works for 2009-2010.
Ubisoft honcho, Yves Guillemot, stated that “2009-10 looks very promising and our teams are working flat-out to provide gamers with the best the industry has to offer. Our line-up comprises several potential blockbusters with the launch of 7 franchises, including Assassin’s Creed®, Splinter Cell® and Ghost Recon®, as well as 4 license-based games including James Cameron’s Avatar, 3 new brands and a further-enhanced casual games portfolio. Although we have to be cautious in light of the current economic environment, we expect Ubisoft to once again be one of the most dynamic and profitable publishers in the games industry in 2009.”
Sales for the third quarter of 2008-09 came to €508 million, up 12.9%, or 17.0% at constant exchange rates, compared with the €450 million recorded for the same period of 2007-08. For the first nine months of fiscal 2008-09 sales totaled €852 million versus €711 million in the corresponding prior-year period, representing an increase of 19.8%, or 24.8% at constant exchange rates.
Third-quarter sales came in slightly higher than the guidance of approximately €500 million issued when Ubisoft released its sales figures for the second quarter of 2008-09. This performance was primarily attributable to:
The diversity and quality of Ubisoft’s games line-up for the holiday period, with a targeted offering for each type of consumer.
A solid showing from franchise titles launched during the quarter, particularly Far Cry® 2 and Rayman Raving Rabbids® TV Party which generated sell-in sales of 2.9 million and 1.5 million units respectively and offset the impact of a slower take-off for Prince of Persia® (2.2 million units).
The creation of a new multi-million units selling franchise – Shaun White Snowboarding – which was the quarter’s number two sports game in the United States and recorded 2.3 million units sell-in worldwide.
The ongoing success of the Group’s casual games, notably the very robust performance turned in by the Imagine® range fueled by the success of Imagine Teacher and Imagine Wedding Designer. For 2008, Ubisoft’s market share for Nintendo DSTM games is 13.5% in Europe and 12,0% in the United States.
Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer, stated: “The Christmas period proved to be even more competitive than we expected. Against this backdrop, our sales figures demonstrate the strength of Ubisoft’s business model which is based on competitive development costs, a varied range of owned brands, constant innovation and a great capacity for responsiveness. We posted strong growth on the Nintendo consoles which accounted for 44% of our sales, with two particularly successful titles for the Wii – Shaun White Snowboarding and Rayman Raving Rabbids® TV Party. However, as some of our games did not meet the required quality levels to achieve their full potential they need more sales promotions than anticipated. We have adjusted our targets for full-year 2008-09 in order to take into account both these additional promotions and the need for a prudent approach as we start the fourth fiscal quarter.”