Ubisoft posts solid year-end numbers

France-based publisher tips hat to its Prince of Persia and Tom Clancy franchises as key revenue drivers--and has high hopes for Far Cry.

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French publisher Ubisoft announced strong financials today, boasting annual sales that climbed more than 22 percent above last year's levels. Even with the lackluster sales for the fiscal year's fourth quarter--which ended March 31 and were down 15 percent from the same quarter a year ago--the France-headquartered company reported more than 508 million euros ($608 million) in sales overall.

The company credited 3 million-plus-selling multiplatform titles as the primary boosters of the year's bottom line: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (1.7 million copies), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2.4 million), and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 (2.2 million). Ubi officials also gave credit to two other Tom Clancy titles, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder and Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm, which sold a combined 1.1 million copies, and trumpeted how the original Splinter Cell has sold more than 6 million units since its November 2002 release.

In addition to the solid sales numbers, Ubisoft saw the share of its sales in the key North American market increase to 47 percent, rising from 40 percent during the last fiscal year. And in spite of its most recent quarter's drop in sales, Ubi said it still ranked fifth among all third-party publishers in the United States and fourth in the United Kingdom for the period.

Acknowledging the full-year stats, Ubisoft president and CEO Yves Guillemot said, "This year we have succeeded in creating two new brands--Far Cry and Prince of Persia--in addition to the success of Rainbow Six 3 on consoles." Addressing the company's increasingly global aspirations, he said, "We are also going to strengthen our internal studios by hiring 400 talented people in our Chinese and Canadian studios, thus ensuring the steady growth of our business.”

On the platform front, the company demonstrated a clear departure from GameCube development, reducing development for that console by 20 percent and increasing development of PC titles by 17 percent, PlayStation 2 titles by 44 percent, and Xbox titles by 12 percent.

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