Ubisoft Sees Sharp Drop in Sales, Blames Market, DS Piracy

Sales for Ubisoft's second quarter is expected to show a more than 50 percent drop from the same quarter last year, the publisher and developer announced today.

The expected sales drop is also more than 12 percent lower than initially expected.

Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer for Ubisoft, places much of the blame for the drop on what he calls a "very sharp slowdown" in sales of DS games in Europe and the United States. Guillemot says that DS sales are down 67 percent. He also pointed out that the company's back catalog of Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 titles were also lower than expected.

"We are currently experiencing a very sharp slowdown in our sales for Nintendo DS as well as sales of back-catalog titles, in the context of a market that is tougher than anticipated," Guillemot said. "This will have a significant impact on our first-half showing. Against this backdrop, the solid performance of our Wii titles combined with the successful launches of Anno and Call of Juarez are points of satisfaction and demonstrate that good products are continuing to sell well."

In a follow up question, Guillemot seems to place much of the blame on the drop in DS sales on rampant piracy in Europe.

"Piracy is strong so we are working to put new figurines and new elements in the boxes that will change that in the future… for example in Europe we have the same market share in DS this year as last year…," Guillemot said. "We see a different attitude toward piracy in the U.S. than Europe. We did a survey that said our consumers will be more willing to buy products than pirate them. "

The news came during today's first-quarter report by Ubisoft. In the report the company also announced that they would be delaying four games: Splinter Cell Conviction, Red Steel 2, Ghost Recon and I am Alive.