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Ubisoft's Updated Release Schedule Reveals Delays

by Rainier on Dec. 13, 2007 @ 9:45 a.m. PST

Ubisoft raised its guidance for fiscal 2007-08, mainly due to Assassin's Creed's record sales performance, which is expected to sell 5 million units through next year, and updated its games release schedule to reveal delays for Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway, Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy's EndWar.

Assassin's Creed has greatly outstripped Ubisoft's sales expectations and currently ranks among the two or 3 best-selling games for the PS3 and Xbox360 in the vast majority of geographical regions. In less than four weeks Assassin’s Creed recorded more than two and a half million units in sell-through sales worldwide, and is the fastest-selling new video game intellectual property in the US ever. Consequently, Ubisoft now forecasts that it will sell a minimum of five million units of the game in 2007-08 compared with its previous estimate of approximately three million.

As a result of this outstanding sales performance and solid showings from Ubisoft’s other games – particularly its “casual” range – Ubisoft has significantly raised its forecasts for 2007-08. At the same time it has strengthened the line-up of games for next year, with titles such as Tom Clancy’s EndWar, Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway and Far Cry 2 now scheduled for release in fiscal 2008-09 rather than the fourth quarter of 2007-08.

The sales target for 2007-08 has been raised to more than €840 million, with around €410 million for the third quarter, versus previous forecasts of €825 million and €330 million respectively.

The target for current operating income before stock options has been significantly revised upwards to at least 12 percent of sales, compared with the previously announced forecast of at least 9 percent. This reflects the combined impact of the stellar performance turned in by Assassin’s Creed and the ensuing major leverage effect on profitability, as well as lower-than-anticipated research and development costs due to the postponed release dates for Tom Clancy's End War, Brothers in Arms and Far Cry 2.

Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft, stated: "With the exceptional performance of Assassin's Creed, the fastest-selling new video game intellectual property in the US ever, Ubisoft’s teams have once again demonstrated their expertise in creating and promoting major brands. These regular-sequel franchises are a source of very high profitability both in the short and long term. Drawing on its strong internal development capacities, Ubisoft is currently in an ideal position to continue to develop numerous new creations – an essential condition for winning market share and ensuring strong growth going forward."

Today Ubisoft announced its initial forecasts for fiscal 2008-09. The Company estimates that it will achieve sales of approximately €975 million and current operating income representing at least 11 percent of sales. These forecasts are notably based on the launch of (i) four new brands, including Tom Clancy's EndWar, (ii) seven franchises including Brothers in Arms, Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, and (iii) new games in the Imagine, Petz and MyCoach series. More details on Ubisoft’s games portfolio will be provided when the sales figures for third-quarter 2007-08 are released on January 23, 2008.

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