Ubisoft raises guidance, lacks Conviction

Publisher ups full-year outlook after 26 percent climb in Q1 sales to $264 million; Splinter Cell now due before March 31, 2010.


Ubisoft made a number of poor predictions concerning its fiscal-year outlook in 2007. Fortunately for the publisher, those goofs were due to conservative expectations in regard to its total revenue, and Ubisoft raised its guidance several times before finally reporting €928.3 million ($1.5 billion) in full-year earnings. On the back of a strong first quarter, the publisher said today that it would be kicking off fiscal year 2009 with another mea culpa, revising its guidance upward for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

Beating its initial guidance of €154 million ($241 million), Ubisoft said today that its fiscal first-quarter sales hit €169 million ($264 million) for the period ended June 30. That figure marks a nearly 26 percent climb over the same period last year, when the publisher posted revenues of €134 million ($210 million).

Ubisoft attributed the success to a number of factors, including continued strong sales of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Assassin's Creed, and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, as well as another strong showing from its casual Games for Everyone lineup. The publisher noted that its Petz, Imagine, and MyCoach series accounted for a full third of the company's first-quarter sales, up from 11 percent a year ago.

"Ubisoft delivered a very robust showing in the first quarter of 2008-09 against a particularly dynamic market backdrop," said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. "This achievement was especially fueled by ongoing strong growth for our Games for Everyone range, where we are continuing to strengthen our leadership position. We are notably very pleased to see our latest work, My Weight Loss Coach, ranked among the best-sellers for the Nintendo DS."

The publisher's track record notwithstanding, Ubisoft took a stab at projecting its second-quarter performance, saying that revenues would see a similar 26 percent hike to €160 million ($250 million). The publisher believes that growth will be driven for the quarter by the launch of Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3, casual games for the Nintendo DS and Wii, as well as the release of Soulcalibur IV (which Ubisoft is publishing in Europe).

As mentioned, Ubisoft also said today that it has raised its guidance for its fiscal full-year sales. Previously pegged at €1 billion ($1.56 billion), the publisher now believes that sales will hit €1.02 billion ($1.59 billion), thanks to gaming-industry market conditions, its first-quarter performance, and the reception of its upcoming games that the publisher received during this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.

One game that will not be contributing to that growth will be the oft-delayed Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. As part of its financial report, the publisher noted that Sam Fisher's next excursion has once again stalled. Ubisoft now expects the game to arrive during its 2009-2010 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

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