Assassin's Creed 3 first-week sales exceed 3.5 million copies, Ubisoft says

Ubisoft estimates it sold more than 3.5 million copies of Assassin's Creed 3 during the game's first week of availability, according to the company's financial report for the first half of its 2012-13 fiscal year.

The figure is more than double the number of sales from Assassin's Creed: Revelations' first week in 2011, the report said.

Ubisoft's first financial half-year ended on Sept. 30. So while the company's earnings report doesn't factor in Assassin's Creed 3 sales, the game's significant marketing costs — along with those for Ubisoft's other third-quarter releases, including Far Cry 3 — raised selling expenses and led to a current operating loss of €58.1 million ($74.4 million).

But Ubisoft believes that marketing spending will pay off in the third fiscal quarter, which runs from October through December 2012. The company expects "an exceptional year-end, with a significant increase in both sales and profitability," according to chief executive Yves Guillemot. Assassin's Creed 3 is just one factor in that guidance: Of Ubisoft's other major third-quarter titles, Guillemot said Just Dance 4 is "performing in line with our expectations," and Far Cry 3 has "achieved among the best playtest scores in Ubisoft's history, confirming the game's outstanding quality."

The third quarter will also see the launch of Nintendo's Wii U, and Ubisoft believes its launch-window titles — seven games including ZombiU and Rayman Legends — make it "well positioned to reap the benefits of what is expected to be a very strong launch," according to Guillemot. That, in addition to "trends in the online and digital segments," led Ubisoft to raise its full-year sales expectations from between €1.16 billion and €1.20 billion to between €1.20 billion and €1.26 billion. The company is forecasting that third-quarter sales will come in between €740 million and €800 million, which would amount to a year-over-year jump of between 13 percent and 23 percent.

Ubisoft's second-quarter sales also exceeded the company's expectations, coming in at €148 million, a 1.4 percent increase over the same period last year. Half of the better-than-expected revenue came from three components: back-catalog sales; €28 million in online sales, a 59 percent jump; and sales of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The other half came from pre-selling Just Dance 4 to retailers.

In the long term, said Guillemot, "These developments will cement Ubisoft's positioning as a creator of successful brands with a growing expertise in new online models and services."

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