Ubisoft beats sales targets, delays four games

Publisher's revenues up 52 percent, but full-year expectations remain same following delay of mystery quartet to beyond Q1 2008.

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The work week is only two days old, but it has already seen more than a dozen game delays. Yesterday alone, Electronic Arts delayed Army of Two on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and THQ pushed back both versions of Destroy All Humans!: Path of the Furon, as well as the Wii and DS editions of de Blob, and the PS3 version of Frontlines: Fuel of War. That's in addition to Capcom's delays for Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law for the Wii, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable.

The list of postponements has grown a bit longer today. In its financial earnings report for the half-year ended September 30, Ubisoft announced that it has delayed four games into its next fiscal year, which begins in April of 2008. However, the publisher did not specify which projects have been pushed back and said only that one of the games is from a franchise, and that three of them are new brands. An Ubisoft representative confirmed for GameSpot that none of the delayed games have been announced yet. Ubisoft also added that an unannounced game in an existing franchise would also make it out before April.

One announced game appears to have suffered a delay. Nitrobike for the Wii was left off the publisher's updated release schedule for the holiday quarter. The publisher has "announced" delays in the past using the same method.

As for the cause of the delays, Ubisoft said the postponements were made as a result of "positive trends" in the first half of the company's fiscal year and a positive outlook for the holiday quarter. Sales for the first six months of the fiscal year totaled €261 million ($371.9 million), up more than 52 percent over the same period last year (or 55 percent at constant exchange rates, which is notable given the current weakness of the US dollar). The strong first-half performance will apparently cancel out the effect of the delays, given that Ubisoft left its full-year financial projections unchanged.

For the company's second quarter alone, Ubisoft reported sales of €127 million ($172.9 million), up 25 percent from the same period last year, or nearly 28 percent at constant exchange rates. That surpassed the publisher's expectation of €105 million ($142.9 million) in revenues.

Broken down by system, PS3 games accounted for more of Ubisoft's first-half sales than any other platform, accounting for 21 percent of the publisher's revenues. The DS was a close second, contributing 20 percent of Ubisoft's sales for the six-month period, followed by the Xbox 360 (15 percent), PC (12 percent), and PSP and Wii (10 percent each).

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