Ubisoft has a near-guaranteed winner in Assassin's Creed II if current estimates are to be believed -- the game's preorder count is up 10 to 20 percent from those of its 2007 predecessor, according to a note from Janco Partners.
Ubisoft Montreal's original Assassin's Creed far exceeded the publisher's expectations, going on to sell over 8 million units after originally being projected for just 3 million. It sold more than 2.5 million units in its first month alone.
Janco analyst Mike Hickey said the sequel is part of "a strong stable of owned and internally developed franchises," and has a positive long-term view of the French publisher, despite the company's recent downward revision of its fiscal 2010 outlook.
Though Ubisoft may be slightly down for the overall fiscal year, which ends in March 2010, Hickey sees games like Assassin's Creed II driving a slight year-over-year increase in revenue during its third fiscal quarter.
Other significant contributors are likely to be Rabbids Go Home, Shaun White Snowboarding 2, James Cameron's Avatar, and Academy of Champions.
And looking into next year, the firm expects United States video game industry sales to grow by more than 10 percent year over year in calendar 2010, following 2009's lackluster performance, with Ubisoft outperforming the rest of the market based on strong individual titles and unit sales.
Even further on, Hickey sees Ubisoft putting more emphasis on the MMO space, as it relates to both core gaming as well as the social and casual spheres.