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Ubisoft looks to  Watch Dogs ,  Far Cry 4  to bolster weak sales

Ubisoft looks to Watch Dogs, Far Cry 4 to bolster weak sales

May 15, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Today French publisher Ubisoft announced the sales figures for the final quarter of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and while the company reported a modest improvement in its quarterly sales year-over-year, Ubisoft's sales over the fiscal year were down due, among other reasons, to the fact that Watch Dogs had been delayed to launch in the next fiscal year.

Profits were down overall, as the company reported a 49.3 million (~$67.6 million USD) loss in net income for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot acknowledged the loss and promised that the company would swing back to profitability in the year to come on the back of its upcoming AAA releases.

"2014-2015 should see a return to double-digit profitability," stated Guillemot in the company's yearly earnings report. "Our ambitious games line-up should land three of our titles in the top ten best-selling games of the year for consoles and PC."

For the fiscal year that was, Ubisoft reported a total of just over 1 billion in sales (~$1.37 billion USD). That's down nearly 20 percent from the 1.26 billion (~$1.72 billion USD) the company reported at the close of the prior fiscal year, though it is still within the company's original projected sales target range of 995 million to 1.05 billion for the year.

The company also reported 194 million (~$265 million USD) in sales for the fourth quarter of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which is actually about 11 percent higher than the 175 (~$239 million USD) million in sales Ubisoft recorded in the same quarter during the prior fiscal year. The growth is attributed to strong sales of South Park: The Stick of Truth during the quarter.

Ubisoft acknowledges that the comparative year-over-year drop in sales reflects the fact that the company released only two games for "core gamers" in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, compared to three such games in the year prior.

The company also reported a 24 percent drop in sales year-over-year of what it considers to be "casual" games, down to 249 million (~$342 million USD) in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Looking to the fiscal year ahead, Ubisoft is counting on big games like Watch Dogs and Far Cry 4 -- announced in tandem with today's financial report -- to give the company a big sales boost.

"The years performance will be led by five games Assassins Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, Just Dance, The Crew and Watch Dogs," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated in his outlook for the 2014-2015 fiscal year in the company's financial report. "Watch Dogs pre-orders are at record levels and it is perfectly positioned to become the industrys most successful new IP in history."

You may notice that Ubisoft's upcoming third-person shooter The Division is not on that list, despite being announced as a 2014 release during the company's E3 2013 press conference.

"The Division is announced for next year," Guillemot said during a conference call following today's earnings report, and sure enough, an update was published on the game's website shortly thereafter confirming that the game will be available sometime in 2015, "when it's ready."

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