Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood ships 7.2 million, Ubisoft teases 'ambitious' PC announcement
French publisher posts 19% revenue growth during fiscal 2011 to $1.87 billion; reveal of online title in "top gamer franchise" coming in days.
The Assassin's Creed franchise continues to make a killing for Ubisoft. As part of the French publisher's 2011 fiscal year earnings report today, Ubisoft announced that Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has shipped 7.2 million units through March 31. That figure comes in at 1.8 million units fewer than Assassin's Creed II during the same period of time, and franchise shipments now stand at 29 million units.
As for the rest of Ubisoft's 2011 fiscal year earnings report, the publisher said revenues came in at €1.31 billion ($1.87 billion), up 19 percent year-over-year. Despite the revenue spike, Ubisoft posted a net loss of €52.1 million ($74.36 million) for the 12-month period, falling 5 percent from the year prior.
Ubisoft attributed this loss to a number of non-recurring charges. The bulk of these charges dealt with a reorganization across its stable of internal studios, which resulted in the elimination of 30 to 40 jobs and terminated a number of unspecified projects. Ubisoft said that the goal of this reorganization was to "adapt its structure to major changes in the industry." Big-budget, non-Assassin's Creed games also negatively impacted profitability.
The publisher went on to note that stronger sell-through at retail during the holiday quarter helped ameliorate those losses, as it was able to keep prices at a higher-than-expected level. Ubisoft also said that it saw a rebound in the casual gaming segment during the year, aided primarily by the booming dance market. Specifically, the Just Dance franchise has now shipped 14 million units, while its Michael Jackson The Experience game has sold-in 3 million units.
In fact, Ubisoft provided shipment updates for all of its key franchises. The Rayman/Raving Rabbids line remains Ubisoft's best-selling franchise with 31 million units shipped, followed by Assassin's Creed (29 million units), Petz (23 million units), and Rainbox Six (23 million units). Splinter Cell closely follows its Tom Clancy cousin with 22 million units, while Ghost Recon has shipped 18 million units.
From there, Prince of Persia has shipped 17 million units, followed closely by Driver's 15 million units and the aforementioned Just Dance. The Settlers franchise has shipped 8 million units, while Brothers in Arms and Far Cry have both sold-in 7 million units. Rounding out the list were the Anno and Your Shape franchises, at 5 million units and 2 million units, respectively.
Looking ahead, Ubisoft expects to post similar revenue during its 2012 fiscal year, with sales expected to stand at €1.04 billion ($1.48 billion) and €1.08 billion ($1.54 billion). Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also offered a tantalizing look at the days ahead, saying that the publisher's online segment will announce "an ambitious project on PC based on one of our top gamer franchises that will illustrate our capacity to take advantage of new business models."
Guillemot also noted that Trackmania 2 Canyon will enter a closed beta test in the coming months.
In a post-earnings conference call, Ubisoft also addressed the ongoing PlayStation Network outage, saying that while the impact on its business has been minimal, it is still significant.
"It is affecting the games that we launched, and it's affecting some games that we wanted to launch," Guillemot said. "We have a game that's been launched on XBLA, but has been delayed on PSN. The impact is still small because our revenue on this platform is not huge. Altogether, the cost will be minimal. It's important that they restore the system quickly because lots of our products are multiplayer games."
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