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Ubisoft delays key titles as sales drop 50%

Decrease in DS and back catalogue blamed for EUR 83m Q1; Splinter Cell, Red Steel 2, Ghost Recon pushed back until 2010

Ubisoft has blamed a sharp decrease in the sale of DS games and its back catalogue of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 titles for a 50 per cent drop in sales for the first quarter.

Sales for the period were EUR 83 million, down 50.6 per cent compared to the EUR 169 million recorded for the same period in 2008/09, and down 12.6 per cent on guidance.

The company has also delayed key releases Splinter Cell: Conviction and Wii exclusive Red Steel 2 until the fourth quarter between January and March 2010, while the next Ghost Recon title and new IP I Am Alive have been pushed back into the 2010/2011 line-up.

"We are currently experiencing a very sharp slowdown in our sales for Nintendo DS as well as sales of back catalogue titles, in the context of a market that is tougher than anticipated," offered CEO Yves Guillemot.

"We are disappointed that we have to postpone the release of several major games but we consider that this choice is the best one in the long term interests of Ubisoft."

The publisher noted a strong performance for releases Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and Anno, and its Wii market share has grown in Europe to 7.2 per cent, compared to 4.6 per cent one year earlier.

Sales for the second quarter are now expected to come in at around EUR 80 million, down 54 per cent compared to the previous year.

For the full 2009/10 year, Ubisoft expects sales to be EUR 1.040 billion, compared to previous guidance of EUR 1.1 billion.

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