Ubi sees sales jump 57%

Sales for the first six months of the 2010-11 financial year, a period ending September 30th, came to €260m – up 56.7% (or 46.0% taking into account exchange rate variance) on the €166m recorded for the same period last year.

Gross profit stood at €146.2m. Losses did increase overall – partly due to one-off costs associated with a €61m spent on reorganising studios.

The sales were led by strong back catalogue sales, plus a doubling of sales from digital games, plus new HD games. Although the firm said that key releases Tom Clancy: HAWX 2 and R.U.S.E. ultimately underperformed.

Ubisoft expects third quarter sales of around €520m, up some 5 per cent year on year. Key titles for this are Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Just Dance 2 and Just Dance: Kids, Raving Rabbids Travel In Time, Michael Jackson: The Experience and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.

Yves Guillemot, CEO, said: "Ubisoft continued to win market share during the first nine months of 2010.

"Our sales figure for the first half of fiscal 2010-11 was boosted by a greater number of releases of high-definition games, solid back-catalog sales and very positive revenue momentum from our digital activities.

"The market environment continues to be tough and, although our gross profit rose sharply, the increase was lower than we expected and we had to accelerate depreciations on certain released titles."

He added: "Ubisoft’s outlook is extremely encouraging for the upcoming Christmas period. Just Dance 2, launched in mid-October, is the Wii phenomenon of the moment, with sales up 75%.

"Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood has the potential to outstrip the exceptional performance of the previous episodes, with pre-orders up 25% over Assassin’s Creed II. The initial reviews have been extremely positive, praising the breadth of the single-player experience as well as the game’s revolutionary multiplayer mode. Both Just Dance 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood testify to the creative power of our teams and the impact of the promotional campaigns put in place by our marketing teams.

"Michael Jackson The Experience and Raving Rabbids Travel in Time are also expected to contribute to our success in the coming quarter, which looks set to see record performances.

"We are also encouraged by the very positive early performance of Kinect and the good showing of our games for this system, especially Your Shape: Fitness Evolved which is the best selling third-party game for Kinect in the United States."

Yves Guillemot continued, "For full-year 2010-11 we are standing by our targets of achieving sales growth, a return to profitability and positive cash flow generation, a significant improvement on 2009-10. Current operating income breakeven point is now estimated at around €960 million. Our cost structure has been impacted by accelerated write-downs recorded on titles launched in the first half of the year, fluctuations in exchange rates, growth of digital expenses, and a product mix more biased towards casual games, which require more marketing and royalty payments.

"Based on currently available information and taking into account the positive signs for the Christmas period and our significantly higher forecasts for the casual segment, we expect our sales to come in above €960 million for the full year."

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