Ubisoft remains refocused on Xbox 360, PS3 in new year

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Ubisoft remains refocused on Xbox 360, PS3 in new year
In January, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told investors that the company would "refocus"' its development efforts on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2010, with particular emphasis on iterating its major franchises on the HD consoles. Today, as Ubisoft reported its earnings (actually, losses) for the fiscal year ending March 31, the company remained committed to the ongoing strategy outlined earlier this year.

"We will have more 360 [and] PS3 revenue this [fiscal] year than we had last year," Guillemot said during an investor call today. "The big franchises -- seven of the eight franchises -- will be on 360; and six will be on PS3. And we will have around six or seven on the Wii."

CFO Alain Martinez put last fiscal year's combined sales from PS3 and Xbox 360 software at "about 45 percent" of revenue for the publisher, adding, "I wouldn't be surprised if we are over 50 percent on these two platforms" at the end of the current fiscal year (April 2010 – March 2011). Martinez noted that Wii software sales accounted for "about 26 percent" of revenue in the last fiscal year and hopes sales to be close to that percentage again this fiscal year. In total, Ubisoft is looking to draw "about 77 percent" of its revenue from the three console platforms over the next four quarters.
While the executives agreed that casual games sales will likely remain flat this fiscal year, they were optimistic about the revenue opportunities associated with the releases of Microsoft's Natal and Sony's Move. "We know that Microsoft and Sony are going to push those two new machines very strongly with huge marketing campaigns," Guillemot said. "We think those two products are revolutionary, and it is going in the right direction for the industry. That's why we invested a lot in those technologies." Ubisoft will have a number of Natal and Move products on display at E3 and to be released through the end of the year. The publisher is aiming to capture "a good market share" of software sales tied to these new Xbox 360 and PS3 technologies.

Part of that strategy includes the release of downloadable content for Natal and Move products, Guillemot confirmed -- without specifying if those DLC releases would include full games, add-ons, or both. In general, Ubisoft will expand the scope of its DLC strategy for Xbox Live and PSN. "We will have some original property that will be directly launched on Xbox Live [this fiscal year], for instance," Martinez noted. "Most of the games that we release [this] year will have, from the start, downloadable content available, and we are looking very carefully at what is being done by EA regarding what we call the 'Ten Dollar Solution' -- and we will probably follow that line at some time in the future."

Added Guillemot, "We have the system in place to actually generate more revenue on the secondhand market."

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