Ubi lowers sales projections

Ubisoft has revised its earnings projections for its third quarter – citing a slowdown in the DS market, slow back catalogue sales and a move towards triple-A titles.

The firm’s sales targets for third-quarter and full-year 2009-10 have been revised downwards to €495m and around €860m respectively, from the previously announced figures of €540m and €1,040m.

The firm has also pushed two key titles due this financial year, Splinter Cell: Conviction and RTS RUSE back into the next financial year. The former has been pushed back to months from February to April this year.

In addition, the firm said it now expects to end the year with a current operating loss before stock-based compensation of around €50m, rather than the previously announced target of current operating income amounting to at least €70 million.

"Despite a number of highly successful titles, such as Assassin’s Creed 2 – which is expected to reach 9 million sell-in units by the end of March 2010 – and Just Dance – our great Wii success during the holiday season – Ubisoft has not met its financial targets," CEO Yves Guillemot said in a note to investors.

"The considerable contraction in the DS market during the year particularly affected Ubisoft, leading to a €160 million, or almost 50 per cent, year-on-year drop in the Company’s casual segment sales. At the same time, like in 2008, the year 2009 saw the release of many more very high-quality games than in the past.

"Against this backdrop and with a view to further reducing our exposure to the DS, we intend to continue to refocus our development resources on our major franchises and on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the two consoles which are expected to see sales growth in games for gamers in 2010.

"Ubisoft has already demonstrated its capacity for success in the high-end games market thanks to Assassin’s Creed 2, with sales 40 per cent higher than for the first title.

"The 2010-11 line-up – which is stronger in franchises for 360 and PS3 – reflects our refocusing efforts and should enable us to both win market share and enhance our profitability.”

Ubisoft confirmed that a new episode in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands, Driver, Raving Rabbids 4 and a new Assassin’s Creed II will form the bulk of that strong line-up.

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