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 Ghost Recon , digital growth driving Ubisoft revenues

Ghost Recon, digital growth driving Ubisoft revenues

November 6, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Ubisoft reported bigger revenues than it predicted for the last quarter, thanks to Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Just Dance 4, and considerable growth in its online, mobile, and console download businesses.

The Parisian publisher's total sales for the July to September period reached €148 million ($189.5 million), a slight increase over the €146 million ($186.9 million) reported during the same quarter last year, and well over its initial guidance of €110 million ($140.1 million).

Around half of that jump was attributed to higher than projected sales for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows. It was the best-selling title in the U.S in terms of both revenue and units in May and June.

Ubisoft's online segment -- which includes free-to-play PC, mobile, and console digital -- continues to play a key role in the company's earnings. Titles like Trials Evolution on XBLA, Rayman Jungle Run on mobile, and browser-based game Howrse helped deliver €28 million ($35.9 million) in online sales for the publisher's second quarter, a 59 percent year-over-year boost.

The company has several free-to-play and mobile titles based on its core franchises coming to keep this momentum going, too. On the free-to-play PC side, it will release Might & Magic: Heroes Online, Ghost Recon: Online, Silent Hunter: Online, and Anno Online. For mobile, Ubisoft will put out Assassin's Creed: Utopia and Might & Magic: Duel Champions (releasing for PC, too).

Sales for Just Dance 4, the latest entry for the company's popular dancing game franchise, also contributed to the publisher's high revenues. Though the title has suffered a double-digit drop in sales compared to Just Dance 3, Ubisoft expects those numbers to pick back up with the upcoming release of the Wii U version.

For the first half of its fiscal year, Ubisoft reported profits of €192.7 million ($246.8 million), compared to €158.4 million ($202.9 million) during the same period last year. Its operating income, though, also increased from €49.3 million (63.1 million) to €58.1 million ($74.4 million).

As for the company's profits during the first half of its fiscal year, Ubisoft's took a loss of 32.3 million ($41.3 million), which the company blamed on structure costs for its online segment, and large-scale marketing campaigns for marquee holiday titles like Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 -- it expects those investments to pay off with record sales for the second half of its fiscal year (ending March 2013).

The publisher is already off to a great start with Assassin's Creed 3, which is the fastest-selling entry for the franchise. It's so far sold an estimated 3.5 million units since releasing last week, a 100 percent increase over the last Assassin's Creed release.

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