Ubisoft backing off new IP as holiday sales slip

Publisher scaling back development of new properties, declares PS3 Motion Controller support, reconfirms Oct.-Dec. earnings fell 3 percent to $682 million.

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In recent years, Ubisoft has launched a bevy of new series with varying degrees of success. Since 2006, the publisher has introduced gamers to Assassin's Creed, Shaun White Snowboarding, EndWar, HAWX, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Call of Juarez, and Haze, among others.

Assassin's Creed paid off for Ubisoft, but the publisher's looking to take fewer risks of that sort in the future.

The flow of original intellectual properties from Ubisoft will be stemmed in the coming years, as the publisher is shifting its focus away from new franchises. In reporting its final results for the third fiscal quarter (three months ended December 31, 2009), Ubisoft confirmed "a reduction in new creations investments."

The scaling back on new franchises is one part of a Ubisoft plan to ultimately have its major franchises seeing more frequent and regular releases. Delays have plagued a number of the publisher's sequels, most recently affecting Splinter Cell: Conviction, Red Steel 2, and the just-named Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

In a postearnings conference call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot positioned the move as a reaction to the current economic climate. Given the state of the market, he said it is time for the publisher to take advantage of the new brands it made from 2006 to 2008 and take on fewer risky new projects.

That doesn't mean Ubisoft is ceasing production on new franchises entirely. Guillemot said the company has unspecified projects that have been in development for some time and will be launched in the publisher's next two fiscal years. Though he didn't mention them by name, I Am Alive and R.U.S.E. are the two most significant announced original intellectual properties on Ubisoft's slate.

Ubisoft may be scaling back on new franchises, but it's committing itself to new technologies. Guillemot told analysts that Ubisoft was working on a number of titles for Microsoft's Project Natal and Sony's motion-sensing controller, as well as games for the social networking site Facebook.

As for its financial results, Ubisoft's final numbers matched up with its preannounced earnings from last month. Revenues for the holiday quarter totaled €495 million ($682 million), down nearly 3 percent from the previous year. For the full year ending March 31, 2010, the company expects to post an operating loss of €50 million ($69 million) off sales of €860 million ($1.19 billion).

Discussion

36 comments
Reyveign
Reyveign

@Meritocrat I agree with you 100% man. I'm a HUGE fan of MGS, but MGS4 felt like it should've been a movie instead of a video game. Other game companies should spend more time developing VIDEO GAMES instead of MOTION PICTURES with a little bit of gameplay thrown in there.

Madluke
Madluke

Not suprising really. I think they can't blame anyone but themselves for low sales either when they give us so little info, such as is the case with I Am Alive.

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Doesn't have anything to do with the economic downturn. The games that do poorly just aren't that good. Make good games, and they sell.

tonyf55
tonyf55

Been waiting for some info on I Am Alive forever...

Meritocrat
Meritocrat

This doesn't exactly come as a surprise. I just hope know the management realise they are just swapping a short term risk for a long term one. They can still explore other options for new IP - developing it through lower budget indie-developer-scaled-projects for release through the likes of Steam or XBox live arcade for example. It would mean less cinematic games perhaps but that sounds like a welcome change frankly. I don't need another 10 hours of my live spent on vanity cut scenes (YES THIS MEANS YOU MGS4).

ozzmarkk
ozzmarkk

Here's hoping for a true sequel to Far Cry. FC2 was horrible.

bjwoll75
bjwoll75

Scaling back on original IPs is a big mistake. Seriously, how many Splinter Cells can you play until the whole premise gets tiring? I loved Assassin's Creed II, but AC III is not something I'm eagerly waiting for. Been there, done that. Give me new stuff. That said, I hope I Am Am Alive lives on. I have been very intrigued by the trailer since I first saw it a few months ago.

SAF64WII
SAF64WII

Ubisoft reminds me Rareware in their golden Nintendo days .... very much talented guys indeed.... Anyway .... where's RAYMAN 3D? I'm dying for a class "A" + "a la Mario/Rayman/Banjo-Kazooie" fine 3D platformer !!! for God sake!

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

You know whats funny about this article. Right above it is an article that say "Assassins Creed II(new ip just over 2yrs ago) sells 8 million copies. I don't think of all companies, Ubisoft would be so quick to back off new ip. If they did that with Assassins Creed, they would have missed out on a gold mine.

bigjoe8181
bigjoe8181

UBISOFT....(sigh)...you're not rockstar are you? point made

taylormadederek
taylormadederek

Oh good no originality. \ \ How about less crap new Wii IP's and more good new IP's than maybe you will make more money.

Ghoulish_Visage
Ghoulish_Visage

I just want I Am Alive, but it looks like any news on it is stagnant.

mikal91
mikal91

wonder what happened to rayman (the main games not the rabbids spin off). the 2 3d rayman games were well gd (specially number 2 on the dc)

MissMorphine
MissMorphine

this sucks. i was really hoping to get I Am Alive this year. bummer.

FallenAngel
FallenAngel

Nice to see Ubisoft's buying into EA and Activision's philosophy of more frequently released crappy, half finished sequels.

firedrakes
firedrakes

yeah whats funny is every game dev wants to make their own engine and that cost lots of money.

bryan220
bryan220

well..i'm just hoping for Beyond Good and Evil 2.

-Fromage-
-Fromage-

Well I guess it can be a good idea. If they put more effort into lesser new projects there's more room for success.

tyco_ex
tyco_ex

Never good news. Great games like Assassin's Creed would not exist if they had done their earlier. Always sad to hear less new IP's and more sequels.

bigg_p
bigg_p

I want a new Rainbow 6, with split-screen co-op campaign! One of the best games to play with your GF :)

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

Here goes a small list of IPs from Ubisoft Beyond Good & Evil XIII Splinter Cell I am Alive Assassin's Creed Rainbow Six Prince of Persia HAWK Myst Ghost Recon Far Cry End War Call of Juarez R.U.S.E. Brothers in Arms

travisstaggs
travisstaggs

I kinda want Beyond Good and Evil 2 but to be honest I'd be more anticipated for Assassins Creed 3, AC 2 is so awesome.

usdcovertop
usdcovertop

as long as they stick with assassin's creed 3 then they can do whatever they want with their other IPs

atopp399
atopp399

I would rather them cut back on motion gimmicks and continue with the new IP's.

HyruleanLink
HyruleanLink

Sounds like a smart company decision to me.

SquareEnixFan13
SquareEnixFan13

I just want I Am Alive, please just make sure it hits the market.

kbaily
kbaily

Why will devs support PS3 and 360 motion controls and not Wii motion controls? Then again this is the #1 perveyor of crappy cash in games like Petz and the overmilking of screaming deformed rabbits.

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

I really like you Ubisoft.. great company with great games!

Clutch22
Clutch22

ubisoft has always brought deadly games, not upset they are cutting back on making new ones just as long as they keep bringing out sequels to there already awesome lineup of games!

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@Barighm were talking about tech, not sports teams. I would compare it more to seeing 90% sequels of movies each year. It gets old, i like new movies with innovative and new plots, not just rehash continuations.

Barighm
Barighm

You don't need a big slew of new IP's. Just one or two every now and again is enough, sort of like how you rarely see sports teams run around with teams full of rookies. Instead, they have one or two every season. If every developer did it like this, we'd still have a good number of new IP's every year.

fkbwii
fkbwii

Keep it up, Ubisoft! You have the ability to produce excellent games!