With a more stable lineup of new releases, Ubisoft is anticipating that ‘Assassin’s Creed Mirage’ will boost profits for the French publisher after a period of instability
After enduring years of uncertainty that led to the departure of several top executives, Ubisoft is placing a strong emphasis on “Assassin’s Creed Mirage” to bolster profits for the French publisher with a more consistent stream of new releases.
The latest installment in the immensely popular “Assassin” franchise is set to be released on Thursday, followed by a game based on the successful “Avatar” films in December, which was originally scheduled to debut a year ago.
Displaying its optimism, Ubisoft is anticipating significant revenue growth this year following a string of underwhelming financial results.
“Over the past four or five years, the company has been a huge disappointment as it has repeatedly postponed the release of many of its new games,” said Charles-Louis Planade, an industry analyst at Midcap Partners.
However, he now anticipates a regular stream of releases from a catalog that includes top-selling titles like “Rabbids” and “Just Dance”.
According to Planade, these new games “are undoubtedly going to enhance the company’s financial well-being and return Ubisoft to the form it displayed a few years ago.”
Taking no risks, the company is launching “Mirage,” which is set in ninth-century Baghdad, at a price point of 50 euros ($53), instead of the usual 70 euros set for new titles.
A successful launch would provide a favorable conclusion to a year that commenced with a rare strike in the video game industry, with two unions at Ubisoft protesting management practices.
Allegations of widespread sexism, discrimination, and harassment within Ubisoft offices worldwide first surfaced in 2020, resulting in the dismissal or departure of executives, including its creative director.
CEO Yves Guillemot temporarily held the reins until insider Igor Monceau assumed the role in September 2021, but it took several months to recover from the disruption, including an overhaul of the human resources department.
The development of the highly anticipated “Skull and Bones” serves as an example: the game was initially expected to launch in 2018 but has yet to see the light of day.
However, 2023 has witnessed a series of developments that favor Ubisoft.
In August, the company signed a deal with Activision Blizzard, which is the target of a takeover bid by Microsoft, granting Ubisoft the cloud gaming rights for Activision games for the next 15 years.
With cloud gaming, players have the ability to stream a title from platforms like Netflix without the need to purchase a traditional console and game cartridge.
The deal is anticipated to receive approval from UK competition authorities soon and would provide Ubisoft with cloud rights to a catalog that includes the immensely successful “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush” games.
“We have strong belief that many games will be streamed and produced in the cloud in the next five to 10 years,” Guillemot told The Financial Times in September. “That’s what motivated us to proceed with the deal.”
The cloud gaming market is still in its early stages but is predicted to be valued at over $8 billion in 2025, according to industry consultancy Newzoo, compared with a global video game market worth approximately $300 billion, as estimated by Accenture.
“If cloud streaming proves successful, our initial simulations indicate significant potential for contributing to the group’s earnings,” said Emmanuel Matot, an analyst at Oddo in Paris.
Ubisoft is also heavily relying on virtual reality in anticipation of the expected release of Apple’s Vision Pro headset next year.
“Apple’s commitment and investment will elevate that industry to a new level,” Guillemot told AFP in June, and Ubisoft “undoubtedly” envisions developing games for the Vision Pro.
The clear outlook has helped raise Ubisoft’s stock by approximately 13 percent since the beginning of the year, despite a profit warning in January that caused shares to plummet to levels not seen since 2016.
Although boasting a market value of nearly four billion euros, Ubisoft remains one of the smaller publishers amid swirling mergers and acquisitions. However, for now, the Guillemot family seems to be in control following an alliance with Chinese giant Tencent, resulting in a 10 percent stake in Ubisoft.
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