Ubisoft sales climb in recent quarter

French publisher claims it "outperforms the market" as it reports a 20 percent jump is sales.

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Splinter Cell publisher Ubisoft unleashed some firepower last quarter, reporting sales had jumped by almost 30 million euros ($37.6 million) compared to the same quarter a year ago.

But that growth, measured through December 31, 2003, could have been better. An Ubisoft statement today said due to the delay of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, it had lost out on an estimated 30 million euros in sales. Currently, that title is not due to retailers until March. Sales of Beyond Good and Evil and XIII were also mentioned as being less than expected. "In a very competitive year-end market, sales of new brands such as Beyond Good and Evil and XIII, products which had been heavily marketed, were lower than the early-December forecasts." According to the company's earnings report, "this had an impact of 10 million euros" ($12.5 million).

In the American market, Ubisoft's market share climbed 1 percent during the quarter, but over the past 12 months (ending December 31, 2003) its share grew by 42 percent. It now ranks itself as the seventh largest publisher based on revenues in the US. In Europe, Ubi says it is the second largest publisher in France, the third largest in Germany, and the sixth largest in the UK.

Top-sellers for the quarter included Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which sold 2 million units worldwide, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 which sold 1.3 million units.

Looking ahead, Ubisoft forecasts growth at a rate of at least 17 percent. To power that growth, Yves Guillemot, Chairman of Ubisoft Entertainment, said, "In order to speed up our creations on the next generation consoles and to strengthen our production capacity, we will strongly increase our Chinese and Canadian studios." And in a humble tone, Guillemot closed by saying, "We have learned from the launches of Beyond Good and Evil and XIII, two new brands launched in a very competitive market dominated by established brands."

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