Ubisoft first-half sales down 52 percent

Call of Juarez shipments approaching 900,000, but Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and TMNT: Smash-Up fall short of expectations.

Over the summer, Ubisoft reported disappointing sales figures for its first fiscal quarter, down 51 percent year-over-year. An industry-wide sales slump played into the numbers, but so did a dry release schedule that saw only a single major title, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, released in the waning days of the three-month stretch.

Call of Juarez 2 was one of Ubisoft's few strong titles for the first half.

The publisher today reported revenues for the first half of its fiscal year, and the story was much the same. Sales are down 52 percent overall but are still in line with Ubisoft's lowered guidance. At this point last year, the publisher had raked in €344 million ($511 million), compared to the current campaign's €166 million ($247 million).

Sales for the July-September quarter were driven by Call of Juarez, which Ubisoft said had shipped nearly 900,000 copies to retailers. Dawn of Discovery, the latest in Ubisoft's Anno franchise for the PC, Wii, and DS, was also cited as a good performer. However, in a post-earnings conference call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said some of the publisher's other big releases underperformed, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and Academy of Champions.

Even if those titles lived up to expectations, sales could have had difficulty measuring up to Ubisoft's previous year lineup. The April-September period in 2008 included continuing sales of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway, Soulcalibur IV (which Ubisoft distributed in Europe), and Haze.

It wasn't all gloomy news from Ubisoft. The publisher called its current quarter "the most important in Ubisoft's history," and expects a lineup spearheaded by Assassin's Creed 2, Avatar: The Game, and Rabbids Go Home to rake in €540 million ($803 million). If Ubisoft hits that revenue target, its holiday sales would be up 6 percent over 2008's October to December stretch.

Guillemot also said one DS title in particular had been overperforming, but he did not refer to it by name. As one of the reasons for its success, the executive pointed to a new antipiracy measure Ubisoft incorporated into the title.

Elsewhere in the earnings call, Guillemot gave a "mid-2010" release window on TrackMania 2, the next project from its recent acquisition Nadeo. He also updated investors on Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms, saying the massively multiplayer online role-playing game is currently in beta testing and should be an early 2010 release internationally.

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Discussion

84 comments
vadagar1
vadagar1

dam I was hopping for heros 6 well guess that ain't gona happen :(

snared04
snared04

I'd think one of the primary rules for a game company would be "Don't buy the rights for, or make video games based on movies". The success of those things is like 1 out of 10, and the failures are so looming it's hilarious. E.T. for the Atari anyone? They ended up burying the few million cartridges they couldn't sell out in Arizona somewhere, you can have your own copy for the low low price of a car ride and a shovel. Street Fighter The Movie: The Game.... C'mon Ubisoft, use your brain.

AlnilamE
AlnilamE

I guess that's because I only bought Prince of Persia in the 3rd quarter... I'm not sure I qualify as a casual gamer or not, but I definitely heard about AC II (on XBox Live), and I do intend to get it.

tig1979
tig1979

A decent follow up to R6 Vegas would be nice, the cover system worked so well, and the idea was excellent, iron out the bugs and it could be fantastic!!

zeniftan
zeniftan

@SalarianChemist: Granted AC 1 had good graphics and Ubisoft did a very good job of creating an atmoshpere. BUT, the gameplay and story were terrible. And the ending was so anti-climactic that I did actually wander around as desmond and try to find out what to do next. Then while I was doing this the credits start to come up. Sloppy, very sloppy. Now Ubisoft look set to change this with the new one and it seems to be looking VERY nice. But, unfortunately for Ubisoft, they didn't do themselves any favour's when they made a lackluster beginning to the trilogy. The casual section of the games market haven't really seen or heard much about this sequel. And those that have, are going to remember the first game and skip this one to save there cash for something else, something that to there knowledge is better. Who would blame them? To there knowledge, this one will be just as slow and boring as the first one. Ah well. SC: Conviction is looking to be frick'n Awesome anyway so I'll wait around a bit for that game instead.

Richterman
Richterman

@Waldkrieger I for one like to know how a game company is doing in terms of it's profits, it's current equity, and all that "nonsense." Company's not doing well? Maybe they'll cancel/delay my "good" games. That's me. I can understand why you might not find this type of update appealing and Gamespot will continue to appeal to the both of us with the different ways they give updates on games.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

In my personal opinion, Ubisoft are one of only a very few developers that consistently push out quality games that are unique and original, from SC, BG&E, AC, Rayman, R6, as opposed to many other devs that simply take the 'safe' option by constantly regurgatating the same games over and over again eg. Fifa, Maden, NFS, Mario, SF, Tekken.... you get the picture, thats not to say these are bad games, my point being that the lack of imagination seems to be the key factor. They are without a doubt one of the best game developers in the world IMO.

Joesocwork
Joesocwork

In other words, it was the "casual games" that let them down.

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

Assassins Creed was and is a great game. Haze...That game was and is a poor game. This is a perfect example of a game with high sales representing high quality and getting a sequel.

shamarke
shamarke

Assassin Creed II will sale good enough for them lol.

shamarke
shamarke

Call of Juarez had a fun gameplay but didnt like the story...

Nkenobi
Nkenobi

@ blkstr89 Trust me, it has been a long time since a developer was that smart...

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Quick! Send Jade Raymond to do a shoot for Maxim or something!

Kajiuro
Kajiuro

Maybe if they'd release something worth buying...

imborg007
imborg007

No Rainbow 6. No Ghost Recon. No surprise.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Understandable. There were no AAA games from Ubisoft so far this year

beer_tree
beer_tree

I cant wait for Trackmania 2!!!!

blkstr89
blkstr89

:-) so u have decided to release Assassin's Creed II for the pc this november to help ur profits. right?

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

@ Waldkrieger - just because you don't find it news doesn't mean others don't.... as an adult gamer who works in finance, I find little news tidbits like this very interesting. If you don't find the article useful, don't read it, it's really that simple. As for Ubi, they have been lackluster this past couple of years, with the exception of the first AC game... AC 2 looks like a massive improvement, which is saying something considering how good the first was. I hope AC 2 and the new Splinter Cell put them back where they should be, maybe then they can get to giving us Beyond Good & Evil 2, which lets face it, is what most of us want to see from them.

khallus
khallus

Good god after that first totally overhyped worst ever heap of crap Assassin's Creed,Do I hell want Assassin's Creed 2.Just bring on splinter cell conviction and all is forgiven Ubi.

guardofdead
guardofdead

make a new rainbow six and make splinter cell for the ps3 and support the games longer then 2 days and i wont say your a terrible company ubisoft

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

they'll have a strong second half with Assassin's Creed 2.

ednamod15
ednamod15

@ Waldkrieger: same, except when companys earn insane amounts like actision-blizzard getting over a billion in revenue thats just insane

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

And here we go with more profit nonsense updates. We don't care. Gamespot, we only care about good games, not how much the company makes, doesn't make, predicts, or analyzes. Really, it has no effect on me. I buy things just the same, so what's the point?

firehawk998
firehawk998

Despite Call of Juarez being released in the first half of the year. Ubisoft didnt have anything huge like AC series or the Tom Clancy series to increase sales. This wouldnt be a surprise to anyone. However with the later release of AC2 and Spintercell it will be a different picture for the 2nd half of this year and the first half of next year.

suicidalblues
suicidalblues

They should finish up Beyond Good and Evil 2. Anyone who has seen the footage knows that game is sick looking and needs to be released ASAP.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

This has been a bad year for most game companies.

Janpieterzun
Janpieterzun

EA creeps away and Ubi falls further into irrelevance. Sad really. Wasted time with games like Haze, should return to its roots. Remember when the Xbox fanbase made them relevant with splinter cell?

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

the release of AC2 alone is enough to blow the profit made out of proportion (only second....maybe to MW2)

programexpert
programexpert

Is that surprising? Make good games = get good profit. 1+1-grade cause-effect relation to me.

NuKkU
NuKkU

were they really expecting TMNT to sell that well lol but hey cant wait for ACII

Shawcross
Shawcross

@BigNalive I personally think their best known games is the Splinter Cell series even though Assassins Creed is very good. Kind of sad to see them struggling since Ubisoft usually releases pretty decent games. Not sure why they thought Clowdy With a Chance of Meatballs would do well since most movie games don't sell high numbers and they usually suck.

jasongm
jasongm

No, Well, yes & no. Ubisoft is best known for its Splinter Cell & Rainbow 6 games.

BigNalive
BigNalive

Ubisoft, hum? I think his principal and most known game is Assasin Creed.... is it?

wolf0
wolf0

make more good games like Call of Juarez and you will be ok

YoungSinatra25
YoungSinatra25

If they'd just release some info on Ghost Recon 4 they could go ahead and take my money. They aren't releasing AAA games so why is it surprising their not making money...

M212
M212

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs didn't sell well because it was a stupid movie game. And everyone knows that movie games never get good reviews(except King Kong for the Xbox 360, Gamecube, Xbox, and PS2). I mean seriously, theres not much you can do with a game like that. Though I am suprised COJ Bound in Blood didn't sell well.

monson21502
monson21502

Call of Juarez was a good game. those other 2 not so much. not sure why devs think we will buy crap games. specaily on ps3 and 360 where alot of people that own them are older and know better then buy games like cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

robfield
robfield

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and TMNT: Smash-Up fall short of expectations." Wow, they actually did worse than 'none'?

SirCroft
SirCroft

What did they expect from a game based on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

Well, once AC2 and SC:Conviction are released Ubisoft should be one happy company, guaranteed they sell tons of copies. I want Beyond Good & Evil 2.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

As much as I hate what they did to Red Storm, this is one of the few mega-publishers I don't despise, so let's hope Assassin's Creed 2 and Conviction go the distance.

dewwy
dewwy

Ubisoft is slipping in my opinion. I remember there was a day where I would buy, not just rent or play, but buy a Ubisoft game every 4/5 months. This was when Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, and Prince of Persia were at the top of the ladder. They kept coming out with new installments of these franchises and I would happily buy them because they were fun and of high quality. What have they done recently? a Ninja Turtles remake? Call of Jaurez 2? HAWX?!?! Compare that to the recent (ie. 1 year) portfolio's of other large developers/publishers like EA, including EAP, (Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, Need for Speed: Shift, etc) and Activision (Guitar Hero 5, MW2 in a few days, Prototype, DJ Hero) and Ubisoft is a dwarf in comparison. I really hope Ubisoft can pull it together because they're one of my favorite developers. Assassin's Creed II will probably be a hit, sure, but 1 hit every year isn't enough for a large international company like Ubisoft to stay economically viable. Unless they reduce themselves to pumping out nintendogs and shovelware for the Wii...

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Splinter Cell will sell a lot of copies both for 360 and PC

general_helix
general_helix

Assassins Creed II and SC: Conviction will change all that. :)