Ubisoft earnings revision, part trois

French publisher again raises full-year forecast to more than $1.45 billion on Assassin's Creed, "better than expected" sales of 2M for Rainbow Six Vegas 2.

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The financial markets regarded Ubisoft with favor last week, with the French publisher's stock spiking more than 10 percent on news that the company had secured in full Tom Clancy's vast military-media empire. The deal gives Ubisoft the rights to continue creating games in Clancy's universe royalty-free, as well as opens the company to new venues of expansion, including book publishing and film production. In addition to its standard array of Tom Clancy-branded tactical shooters, Ubisoft has thus far said it would be exploring the real-time strategy genre with EndWar and the space combat genre with an air combat game, and has even hinted at a massively multiplayer online installment in the franchise.

While the future remains rosy for the publisher, the past is making the present a delightful period for investors as well. Ubisoft said today that more than 2 million units of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 have been sold to retailers since it went on sale March 18, a number CEO Yves Guillemot called "better than expected." Combined with continued strong sales of last year's critically lionized action adventure Assassin's Creed, the publisher today said it would once again be raising its fiscal 2008 full-year outlook.

With the publisher's first revision coming in December and a subsequent upward assessment following in January, Ubisoft today said it expects its full-year haul to amount to €920 million (about $1.45 billion), up from previous projections of €875 million (about $1.38 billion). Operating income saw a similar boost and is now expected to amount to 14 percent of the publisher's full-year revenues, up from 13 percent. Likewise, Ubisoft raised its estimates for the quarter ended March 31 to €210 million (about $331 million), up from €165 million (about $260 million).

In a statement, Guillemot commented on the earnings revisions, saying, "As expected, 2008 is off to be a record year for the video game market and our games have performed remarkably well in this context. Assassin's Creed and our Games For Everyone brands continued their strong performance and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 had a better than expected start."

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