Ubisoft touts strong Q3 sales, further delays Haze

French publisher's quarterly revenue leaps up 44 percent after Assassin's Creed ships 5M units; Free Radical's futuristic PS3 shooter pushed back yet again; new Prince of Persia game coming.

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Ubisoft has once again reported a solid sales quarter. Its third fiscal quarter, which ended December 31, 2007, brought in €450 million (approximately $655 million), a 44 percent increase over the same period in 2006.

Sales for the first nine months of its financial year so far total €711 million ($1.04 billion), compared to €483 million ($703 million) for the year before. The company lauded Assassin's Creed, as well as its Imagine series, Petz series, and MyCoach series as having excellent sales. Ubisoft claims Assassin's Creed has now shipped 5 million units worldwide, with the Imagine series hitting 2.5 million.

For its fourth financial quarter, which ends March 2008, Ubisoft's main releases will be Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3), Assassin's Creed (PC and DS), Lost: Via Domus (PC, PS3, 360), and some as-yet-unnamed casual games for Nintendo's platforms.

During its 2008-09 fiscal year, Ubisoft will be launching several new brands, including Tom Clancy's End War, a Shaun White snowboard game, a Tom Clancy air combat game, and an as-yet unnamed game. The company will also be releasing Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction (PC, 360), Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway (PC, PS3, 360), Far Cry 2 (PC, PS3, 360), and new games in the Prince of Persia and Anno series. Ubisoft's casual catalog will also be expanded, with more titles coming to the Petz, Imagine, and MyCoach franchises. There was no mention of a sequel to Red Steel, Ubisoft Paris' controversial action game.

Unfortunately, the news was not all good: Haze, the PS3-exclusive shooter from Free Radical, has been delayed once again. Originally set for release in early 2007, the game is now down in the schedule to ship sometime in Ubisoft's 2008-09 fiscal year--meaning the game could launch as late as March 31, 2009.

Ubisoft expects sales for its fourth quarter to total around €165 million ($240 million), 16 percent down from the same period in fiscal 2006-07. However, for the full year ending March 31, the company has raised its sales target to €875 million ($1.3 billion), up from a previous estimate made on December 13 for €840 million ($1.2 billion). At the same time, due to the delay of Haze once more, the 2008-09 sales target has been raised to approx €1 billion ($1.5 billion) from €975 million ($1.4 billion).

Ubisoft's fourth quarter results are due on April 24, following the end of trading on the Paris Bourse.

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