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Splinter Cell, Rayman failed to hit sales targets

Ubisoft puts Blacklist and Legends in the frame for negative revision of fiscal year expectations

Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rayman Legends both failed to meet Ubisoft's internal sales expectations.

While the French publisher did not release specific figures, it admitted that the performance of both titles was a factor in the need to revise its revenue and operating income expectations for the fiscal year.

Yesterday, Ubisoft set a new revenue target of between €995 million and €1,045 million, down more than €400 million on its previous expectations. The initial forecast of between €110 million and €125 million in operating income is now an expected operating loss of between €40 million and €70 million.

The principal reason for Ubisoft's gloomier outlook was the need to delay Watch_Dogs and The Crew until Spring 2014, meaning that both games will fall into the accounting period for the next fiscal year.

However, in an investor call following the announcement, Ubisoft said that Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the first game from the company's rapidly growing Toronto studio, and Rayman Legends, from Michel Ancel's Ubisoft Montpellier, were also important factors.

This will be a bitter outcome for Ubisoft Montpellier, which protested the initial decision to delay the Wii U version of Rayman Legends to fall in line with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launches. With Nintendo's console faltering at market, Ubisoft wanted to increase the game's chances of success, and Michel Ancel's team spent the intervening time adding new content to the game.

And the performance of Splinter Cell: Blacklist marks an inauspicious start for Ubisoft Toronto, which is driving towards a headcount of 800 under the guidance of Assassin's Creed producer Jade Raymond. Ubisoft has pledged $500 million for the studio's development, along with around $263 million in investment from the Ontario government.

Thanks, CVG.

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Latest comments (12)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
Ubisoft mishandled both titles. First there was the Rayman debacle. But I don't think we need to address that dead horse any further. With Splinter Cell, it was a poorly timed launch with little marketing push...coupled with a dose of franchise fatigue.
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Kenneth Bruton Producer 3 years ago
Watch Dogs delay is a downer (both fiscally and emotionally) I was looking forward to playing that (possibly) next month. Ubisoft needs to stop shooting itself. As far as Splinter Cell goes, I was looking forward to it, but then I learned of the casting change, and it made it hard to want to pick it up (I fear the same may happen with Metal Gear Solid 5). Rayman...as much as I like a good platformer, I was not particularly compelled this time...though this game did have the fanfare, unlike Splinter Cell which came in with a whimper instead of a roar. Perhaps 2014 will see a turnaround for Ubisoft, hopefully.
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Anthony Shelton Writer and Podcaster, BeefJack3 years ago
Ubisoft didn't understand that Rayman Legends could sell Wii U's. That's not their concern, naturally, but people would have been more open to sending money on a Wii U earlier in the year than around the time GTA V launched.
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Show all comments (12)
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 3 years ago
This is bad news, i wanted both games to succeed, especially rayman, which I think is an outstanding example of creativity and aesthetics. I havent purchased my copy simply because I want to purchase it on wiiU and I have yet to purchase a WiiU, may purchase it before i get the console though...

Im thinking maybe companies should develope games with lower sales expectations, in any case I hope we see another Rayman game.

Splinter Cel hardly had any marketing exposure. Well not that I remember of.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 16th October 2013 5:27pm

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Pete Thompson Editor 3 years ago
Absolutely loved SplinterCell Blacklist, for me it was the best in the series to date, I must admit I am surprised it didn't do better with sales..

6 Titles over 11 years with just 3 titles on last gen & 3 on current gen is not really franchise fatigue.. I really hope they don't can the franchise as EA has done with the superb Medal of Honor series.. I suspect that multiplayer being bolted onto everything with a pegi rating may have some bearing on a decline in sales as publishers seem to think that a multiplayer component is wanted & needed by everyone and it will lead to an increase in sales, Hopefully developers will start to take a leaf out of Skyrims book and include more single player content, and maybe also add more co-op modes to games.. Playing the entire game in co-op with friends would have been the icing on the cake..

Splintercell had 28 trailers released, which is a decent amount of exposure

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Pete Thompson on 16th October 2013 7:52pm

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Jamie Read 3D Artist, Neon Play Ltd3 years ago
I am going to buy a copy of Rayman when I get a Wii U if that's any help?
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Paul Smith Dev 3 years ago
Why didn't Ubisoft learn anything from Conviction? They should have made a true sequel to Chaos Theory but instead they took it even further and dumped Ironside, totally Crazy.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 17th October 2013 12:38am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
Splintercell had 28 trailers released, which is a decent amount of exposure
Perhaps they erred on the side of over-exposure? :o To be honest, I didn't even know it was out until a couple of weeks after its release-date - I saw trailer-after-trailer, but no big push when it was finally released.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
As the console game industry collapses it is concentrating into fewer and fewer blockbusters.
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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd3 years ago
@Bruce: but isn't mobile about the few blockbusters versus the hundreds of thousand unsuccessful games? And not that I'm knocking mobile at all, just an observation.

High risk, high reward.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
@ Keldon Alleyne
Globally vastly more digitally distributed games make a profit than boxed physical games do.
An alien arriving on earth with perfect knowledge would definitely avoid the console market if investing in games.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 3 years ago
Now there's a pitch for the most boring X-Files episode ever
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