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Ubisoft to 'refocus' on Xbox 360, PS3 and 'major franchises'


As Ubisoft today sent its financial forecast soaring downward for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, CEO Yves Guillemot pledged to steer the company away from the suffering casual market. Specifically, "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 Xbox 360 and PS3, the two consoles which are expected to see sales growth in games for gamers in 2010," Guillemot said.

For the fiscal 2009-10 year, Ubisoft has revised its sales target to €860 million (roughly $1.25 billion) -- down from an estimated €1,040 million -- resulting in an anticiapted €50 million operating loss. The publisher cited a near 50 percent year-over-year drop in casual game sales as the leading cause for the revised financial target, despite "robust" sales of casual Wii games (especially sales of Just Dance). Poor retail performances by James Cameron's Avatar: The Game and unspecified "non-casual" Wii titles, along with weak back catalog sales, were also to blame. The last-minute delays of Splinter Cell: Conviction and R.U.S.E. affect the current fiscal year, as well.

As for fiscal 2010-11, Ubisoft has indeed planned a lineup of "major" franchises, including the aforementioned Splinter Cell game, along with new entries in the Ghost Recon and Prince of Persia series, in addition to a newly announced Assassin's Creed "episode," and Rabbids and Driver installments. "The 2010-11 line-up -- which is stronger in franchises for Xbox 360 and PS3 -- reflects our refocusing efforts and should enable us to both win market share and enhance our profitability," Guillemot concluded.

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