Ubisoft sales hit $1.5B, Ghost Recon 4 in Q1 '10

Shaun White sells 3M, HAWX hits 1M, new Wii sports franchise in Q4; Call of Juarez due by June, Splinter Cell Conviction coming by holiday '09.

Ubisoft continues to navigate the hostile global economic environment with aplomb. Reporting its full-year financial results today, the publisher said that revenues for the 12-month period ended March 31, 2009, reached €1.05 billion ($1.50 billion). The sales figure represents a healthy 14 percent (18.4 percent at constant exchange rates) climb over its previous fiscal year's €928 million ($1.3 billion) haul. Ubisoft also said that its cash position now stands at €155 million ($220 million).

Sam Fisher's coming…eventually.

Unfortunately, as is typical for the French publisher, Ubisoft did not reveal its take in profit for the period. However, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot did indicate that the company's margins were among the best in the industry, saying in a statement, "In a highly competitive environment, Ubisoft reported full-year sales growth of 18 percent at constant exchange rates in 2008-09, as well as the second-best profitability among comparable companies in its industry."

Guillemot trumpeted a number of other wins for the publisher during the year. Sales for Ubisoft's Far Cry and Rayman Raving Rabbids franchises were up 50 percent during the period. The publisher's casual label also experienced significant growth, with Guillemot saying that the segment was up 40 percent on the strength of games for Nintendo's platforms. The executive also noted that Ubisoft hired 1,300 employees during the year, having opened up new studios in Kiev, Ukraine, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as making a number of acquisitions throughout the year.

While full-year sales were up, Ubisoft did see a dip in sales during its post-holiday quarter. For the January-March period, revenues slid 5.1 percent (2.3 percent at constant exchange rates) to €206 million ($292 million), a figure which fell in line with investor guidance. Top performers for the period included Tom Clancy's HAWX, which Ubisoft said achieved its 1 million shipped target, as well as "strong showings" from Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party and Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip for the Wii.

Ubisoft also laid out its financial targets for the coming fiscal year. Though the publisher expects to launch Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as a number of casual games during its in-progress March-June quarter, Ubisoft said that revenues should dive 44 percent to €95 million ($134 million).

However, the publisher still projects to see some growth over its full fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, thanks to second-half sales that are projected to rise 23 percent year-over-year. In total, sales for the 12-month period are expected to hit €1.1 billion ($1.56 billion). The publisher expects to see earnings from its franchise games Assassin's Creed 2, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction, Rabbids Go Home, Red Steel 2, and Dawn of Discovery. Licensed games expected to launch during the period include James Cameron's Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Arthur and the Invisibles. first revealed back in January.

Tom Clancy fans were also excited by the specific calling out of Ghost Recon 4, due out during the first calendar quarter of 2010. The game was initially revealed simply as "a new Ghost Recon" title back in January, when its launch window was also set.

As part of a postearnings conference call, Guillemot confirmed that the Shaun White franchise has sold 3 million units across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, DS, and PC. "You can expect more Shaun White in the future," the executive said.

Guillemot also noted that the four-years-in-development Splinter Cell: Conviction will finally arrive for the Xbox 360 this holiday season, along with the recently teased Red Steel 2 and a new sports franchise for the Wii.

The executive also briefly touched upon the as-yet-announced new Ghost Recon game, saying that it should arrive during the company's January-March 2010 quarter. The publisher also expects to launch new franchises Ruse and I Am Alive during that same quarter.

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