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Ubisoft Announcements Abound!

Splinter Cell and R.U.S.E. get delayed; Assassin's Creed gets multiplayer.

Earnings calls can be a real gamble. Most of the time, you spend 45 minutes basically listening to a spreadsheet. It's probably riveting to investors and business-types, but if all you really care about are the games, it couldn't be dryer. Occasionally, though, the bean-counters end up slipping in some announcements that are relevant to the end user, and today's Ubisoft call was just one of those occasions.

The general theme of the call was the lowering of sales projections for fiscal 2009-2010, due in part to the fact that both Splinter Cell: Conviction and R.U.S.E. would not make their previously announced release dates. This is another in a long string of delays for Conviction, though this one's pretty minor in the grand scheme, pushing the date back to April 2010.

Perhaps the most startling bit of news to come out of the call was the revelation that there is another Assassin's Creed "episode" in the works for this year that will feature an online multiplayer mode. I might say that sounds like a categorically bad idea, but I've dug the way Ubisoft has handled multiplayer in its Splinter Cell games, and I'm intrigued by the promise of both assassinating another assassin and team-based assassinations.

It was also mentioned that Ubisoft has plans for new Ghost Recon and Raving Rabbids games, though no further details were given. I'm personally hoping for a sequel to Rabbids Go Home, rather than the worn-out mini-game collections those looney vermin were previously associated with.

Here's a press release that was posted as a companion piece to the earnings call. Enjoy!

Paris, January 13, 2010 – Today, Ubisoft updated its 2009-10 targets.

The sales targets for third-quarter and full-year 2009-10 have been revised downwards to €495 million and around €860 million respectively, from the previously announced figures of €540 million and €1,040 million.

These downward revisions are due to the following factors:

- A further correction in the market for DS titles. After several years of very strong growth, the significant correction of the DS market in 2009 particularly affected Ubisoft. As a result, despite relatively robust sales for Wii casual games, and particularly the success of Just Dance, sales in the casual segment are expected to be down for the full year by around €160 million, representing a drop of around 50%.

- Further market concentration towards AAA high-quality games. Ubisoft has demonstrated its ability to react to this trend through the success of Assassin’s Creed 2, which has achieved sell-through sales topping 6 million. However, not all of the Company’s games have reaped the full benefits of the measures implemented, with James Cameron’s Avatar™: The game and several non-casual Wii titles reporting lower-than-expected sales.

- Underperformance by back catalog titles due to both of the above-mentioned trends.

- The postponed release dates for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™ and R.U.S.E™, which were previously scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009-10, and will now be released in 2010-11. Splinter Cell Conviction™ is now expected to hit the stores in April 2010.

In addition, Ubisoft now expects to end the year with a current operating loss before stock-based compensation of around €50 million, rather than the previously announced target of current operating income amounting to at least €70 million. This negative swing reflects the following:
- Lost earnings due to lower-than-expected sales.
- Additional depreciation and impairment charges for:
o under-performing products and back-catalog titles,
o abandoned projects, as well as certain games scheduled for release in future periods,
o write-downs of inventories.
- The postponed release dates for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™ and R.U.S.E™.

Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer, stated "Despite a number of highly successful titles, such as Assassin’s Creed 2 – which is expected to reach 9 million sell-in units by the end of March 2010 – and Just Dance – our great Wii success during the holiday season – Ubisoft has not met its financial targets. The considerable contraction in the DS market during the year particularly affected Ubisoft, leading to a €160 million, or almost 50%, year-on-year drop in the Company’s casual segment sales. At the same time, like in 2008, the year 2009 saw the release of many more very high-quality games than in the past. Against this backdrop and with a view to further reducing our exposure to the DS, we intend to continue to refocus our development resources on our major franchises and on the Xbox360 and PS3, the two consoles which are expected to see sales growth in games for gamers in 2010. Ubisoft has already demonstrated its capacity for success in the high-end games market thanks to Assassin’s Creed 2, with sales 40% higher than for the first title. The 2010-11 line-up – which is stronger in franchises for Xbox360 and PS3 – reflects our refocusing efforts and should enable us to both win market share and enhance our profitability.”

Initial information on the 2010-11 line-up

The 2010-11 fiscal year will see a greater number of franchise releases than in 2009-10, including Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction™, a new game in the Tom Clancy™’s Ghost Recon® series, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands™, Driver®, Raving Rabbids™ 4 and a new episode of Assassin’s Creed®, which will be the first in the series to have an online multiplayer mode. The 2010-11 line-up will be more focused on the Xbox 360® and PLAYSTATION® 3, the consoles which are expected to experience sustained sales growth in games for gamers in calendar 2010. Other new franchises and innovations will also be announced throughout the year.

Ubisoft will release its final sales figures for the third quarter of 2009-10 in February.

67 CommentsRefresh
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Avatar image for achievementsarefun
Posted By AchievementsAreFun

Skeptical on the AC II online mode, but we will see what that is like.
Avatar image for maddprodigy
Posted By MaddProdigy

but we make really good games cuz assazins creed done gone and sold so well
but were really good cuz assazins creed 2 beat the first game by 40 percent

Avatar image for little_socrates
Posted By Little_Socrates

Wow, I think my friend and I might actually be right about how AC is gonna go down. Sick.

Avatar image for daryl
Posted By Daryl

Assassins Creed 3: Conviction. 
Heard it here first. 

Avatar image for kyreo
Posted By Kyreo
@phrosnite said:
" Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Splinter Ceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelll!  Grrr! What are you doing Ubisoft? Where's Beyond Good and Evil 2? I want info! "
Avatar image for evinco
Posted By Evinco

Assassin's Creed is just one of the games that doesn't need multiplayer.

Avatar image for itssexytime

Yes it did, but I've played plenty of other amazing games that sold like shit.  What sets demon souls apart is it was a niche title with a strong enough following to spread the word and have a substantial influence on the market.

Avatar image for natemio
Posted By Natemio

Awesome news but then again i didn't read them lol

Avatar image for jimbo
Posted By Jimbo

Great to see Assassin's Creed still selling so well.
I could see some co-op AC being very satisfying, but not really interested in competitive.

Avatar image for john
Posted By John

I believe this multiplayer AC is it's own thang. Not part of our beloved AC2. Witch btw... what the fuck is the dlc going to go live? Were starting the later half of the Jan and still nothing.

Avatar image for phrosnite
Edited By phrosnite

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Splinter Ceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelll!
Grrr! What are you doing Ubisoft? Where's Beyond Good and Evil 2? I want info!

Avatar image for jacksukeru
Posted By jacksukeru

Man I love the Rabbids, I always feel kind of bad for never playing any of their games.

Avatar image for xeiphyer
Posted By Xeiphyer

If they execute the AC2 multiplayer properly, it could be amazing. I would love to play some assassiny stuff with a buddy. I am officially intrigued.
Also, this is the way to do bad news, couple it with good news.

Avatar image for machofantastico
Posted By MachoFantastico

All for more Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Assassins Creed. I'd be more for Prince of Persia if it weren't based on the movie. Whatever happened to the new image for the franchise?

Avatar image for stephen_von_cloud
Edited By Stephen_Von_Cloud

Didn't realize that Assassin's Creed deal was this year.  That could be troubling.  "Multiplayer" I see being co-op, which would be awesome.

Avatar image for capt_ventris
Posted By capt_ventris


Avatar image for claude
Posted By Claude

  GAAAAAAAAAAAMES! What are those? Oh yeah, good for me.

Avatar image for jayzilla
Posted By Jayzilla

ac2 was amazing. will the players react to me throwing gold on the ground like the NPC's do?

Avatar image for kagekage
Posted By kagekage
@ITSSEXYTIME: Demon's Souls sold because it was an amazing game and deserved it.
Avatar image for blackout62
Posted By Blackout62

Wait... yeah I can see how they could do AS multiplayer, but it would need new animations.

Avatar image for sly_ry
Posted By Sly_Ry

Dude GRAW 3, hell yes.
Avatar image for masterchieflopez
Posted By MasterChiefLopez

I got 1000 achievement points in AC2 in just a couple days.  I'm done with that game. 

Avatar image for jiujitsuka85
Posted By JiuJitsuka85

Remember that Flag run against a CPU? Lets hope multiplayer is a bit more then that:P

Avatar image for foggel
Posted By foggel

Oh, I thought conviction was delayed like all the way until christmas. This is alright, and suits me just fine so I can focus on my studies :P

Avatar image for set
Posted By Set

beyond good and evil 2 pleaaaaaaase

Avatar image for luce
Posted By luce

dang son..Assassin's Creed II sold 6 million 

Avatar image for itssexytime

It's because Assassin's Creed has always had a very strong marketing force behind it.

Your game doesn't have to be good to sell (although it certainly helps, word of mouth can work wonders such as the case with Demon Souls) it just needs a strong marketing campaign.  Just compare Left4dead 2's popularity to TF2 ( I mean even when it was release the orange box on consoles received almost no attention from anyone, nevermind post-class updates)  or even Left4Dead 2's popularity to Left4Dead 1.

Avatar image for toma
Posted By TomA

This makes me sad and happy at the same time. Sad because Conviction is my most anticipated title of the year, and happy because Assassins Creed online will be epic.

Avatar image for carlthenimrod
Posted By carlthenimrod

New Ghost Recon? Yesssssssssssssssssssss!

Avatar image for papercut
Posted By papercut

pleeeeeeeease no AC2 multiplayer achievements. PLEASE!

Avatar image for spike94
Posted By Spike94

I'm actually stoked about the multiplayer in ACII. Ubisoft is awesome, and I am intriguied as to how it will be handled. Hopefully dueling will be good. Guess we'll just find out when we find out. I'm pretty excited about it though.
Avatar image for davidsnakes
Posted By DavidSnakes

I maintain that Pandora Tomorrow's online is the best, most entertaining MP ever, so it bodes well for AC

Avatar image for meatsim
Posted By MeatSim

Can't say I would really care about any multiplayer in AC2.

Avatar image for inevpatoria
Posted By inevpatoria

I think the unanimous uproar over the news of an Assassin's Creed multiplayer component pretty much reflects my feelings on the matter, too. It's built so specifically to be a singleplayer experience, is the problem.

Avatar image for hatking
Posted By HatKing

I totally agree with Ryan on the AC multiplayer idea.  Normally it'd be awful to think of, but this is Ubisoft and I think they know how to do multiplayer without destroying the game.  On top of that it is just DLC it isn't like time of the development cycle for the game is being wasted on it, if it sucks just be glad they did this experiement on DLC and not with AC3.
Avatar image for hector
Posted By Hector


Avatar image for madeinfinland
Posted By MadeinFinland
@Rayfield said:

can't imagine how. Every male gamer should be interested in this.
Actually... wouldn't that be a great way to propose on someone's birthday or something..?
Buy them the 'imagine: wedding designer" and a ring. :D
Avatar image for fripplebubby
Posted By Fripplebubby
@Rayfield said:

That game cost $3 dollars to make (2 Euro, sorry) and sold four copies, so no, technically it didn't. 
Avatar image for clubsandwich
Posted By clubsandwich

SC: conviction demo please!! D:

Avatar image for moelarrycurly
Posted By moelarrycurly

Assassin's Creed II multiplayer: Co-op? Yes.  Competitive? No.  That would be a disaster.

Avatar image for nasher27
Posted By nasher27

"Yeahh, remember the ultra-great CTF game you had to play against a bot during the festival scene to get the golden mask? Yo dawg we're gonna make that TWO PLAYER!" Fuuck that.
However, I would be interested in any original modes they could come up with.
And I'm not surprised AC2 sold 6 million. That was a fucking great game, more power to them.

Avatar image for jedted
Posted By Jedted

I think the AC2 multiplayer focus on co-op assassination missions.  It sounds a little weird when you think about but i'm geussing Ubisoft wouldn't add it if it wasn't interesting. 
Avatar image for flipperdesert
Posted By FlipperDesert

Tom Clancy's Raving Rabbids.
Think about it, Ubisoft.

Avatar image for carnage1290
Posted By Carnage1290

Dammit, conviction needs to come out.  This is getting really old, but if the game is great I guess it will be worth the wait, but still, damn.

Avatar image for rayfield
Posted By Rayfield

Avatar image for synthballs
Posted By Synthballs

I think the Assassins Creed Multiplayer has potential. Having some Rooftop Races would be awesome. I don't know how you would do the combat though if it is a deathmatch. The swordplay comes down to waiting to counter and that wouldn't go over well. 

Avatar image for meteora
Posted By Meteora
@natetodamax said:
" AC2 sold 6 million copies? Holy crap. "
Yeah, its pretty fucking impressive for a relatively new series. MW2 sold about 10 million; if you wanted a comparison.
Avatar image for natetodamax
Posted By natetodamax

AC2 sold 6 million copies? Holy crap.

Avatar image for bubahula
Posted By Bubahula

hmmm i could be interested to see what the AC2 multilayer is like, splinter cell?

Avatar image for ch3burashka
Posted By ch3burashka

BG&E2 and I am Alive, por favor...

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