Ubisoft full year financial results: Assassin’s Creed II sells 9 million as profits fall

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Ubisoft LogoUbisoft has released its full fiscal year financial results for the 12 months ending March 31st, reporting a 17.7 percent drop in sales compared to last year, down to $1.08 billion (€871 million), with an additional drop in profits, down by 5 percent to $54.02 million (€43.7 million) compared to the year previous.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot blamed “[the] global economic crisis” for poorer than expected performance, which he reckons had “a pronounced impact on the video game industry in 2009, which contracted by nearly 10 percent year-on-year.”

“Ubisoft’s sales were hit particularly hard,” Guillemot continued, “falling 18 percent over the full year despite a stabilization in the second half of the year, when figures came in on a par with the corresponding period of 2008-09.”

Sales in the fourth quarter were down to $247.32 million (€200 million) compared with the same period last year, but as of March 31st, Ubisoft’s Just Dance for the Wii had sold 3 million units, while Assassin’s Creed II had sold a gob-smacking 9 million copies worldwide.

Sales of Red Steel 2 are said to be in line with the company’s forecasts, while sales of Avatar exceeded forecasts, Ubisoft said, with notable performance on the Wii. While these two titles (Red Steel 2 and Avatar on the Wii) are performing acceptably in the market, and the publisher will continue to support the platform, Ubisoft says that it may move towards creating more family-friendly titles for the console:

“Wii is a more mass market machine now,” said Guillemot. “There [will] still be lots of casual games like [Just] Dance : that will sell very well because of the number of machines installed.”

For the next three months, Ubisoft expects the first quarter of the current fiscal year (ending June 2010) to return sales of $179.29 million (€145 million), which will represent a 75 percent increase compared to the same period last year, with Splinter Cell: Conviction to be the dominant sales driver (which has sold 1.8 million units since release).

In the future, Guillemot says that Ubisoft “will continue to reorganize our studios and enhance our development teams’ productivity. These reorganisational moves will enable us to release new iterations of our major franchises on a more regular basis, and guarantee high quality levels.”

“This will allow us to secure a level of highly profitable recurring sales while continuing to tap the new growth opportunities in our industry.”

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