Assassin's Creed delayed, GRAW 2 Confirmed, Ubisoft News

French publisher Ubisoft today released financial results for the first half of its 2006-07 fiscal year, revealing a largely positive performance for the company. Although second quarter sales fell seven percent, Ubisoft's first-half sales rose to 172 million euros ($215.8 million) from 153 million a year earlier, representing an overall increase of 13 percent.

The company's second quarter performance, while down year-over-year, was still 24 million euros higher than Ubisoft's original guidance. During the period, sales of 11 million euros were brought in by Kingdom Hearts II (which Ubi has been distributing for Square Enix in Australia, New Zealand, France, Benelux and Nordic territories) and Import Tuner Challenge. An additional 10 million euros were driven by Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Open Season, Enchanted Arms and back catalogue titles such as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Over G Fighter and Heroes of Might and Magic V. Furthermore, Ubisoft said that online activity revenues reached 3 million euros, exceeding forecasts by 1.7 million euros.

Of greater importance to gamers, however, is that Ubisoft has made some adjustments to its product release schedule, which have resulted in the highly anticipated Assassin's Creed being pushed back somewhat. In order to capitalize on GRAW's success (more than 2.4 millions copies sold), Ubisoft said that it will launch Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 during its fourth fiscal quarter. "This launch will take the place of Assassin's Creed and Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway, which will now strengthen fiscal year 2007-08," the company explained. That would mean the earliest we could see Assassin's Creed would be April 2007. The game had originally been slated for a March 2007 release. Ubisoft also noted that seven additional games will be available on the Wii, "including one non announced new brand, bringing the total number of games available to 14 by the end of March 2007." Looking forward, Ubisoft remains very optimistic about its next-gen strategy. The company is targeting third-quarter sales of around 270 million euros. Keep in mind that during the same quarter a year ago Ubisoft put up sales of 250 million euros, which was a record quarter. For the current fiscal year, the company is now anticipating sales growth of between 8 and 12 percent, up from a previous target of 5 to 10 percent. Moreover, for 2007/08, the group is now targeting sales growth of around 25 percent, which is up from its previous target of over 17 percent. View: Full Article @ GameDaily BIZ

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