June 12, 2012

Ubisoft Hoping Nintendo’s Wii U Will Perk Up Gaming Sales

John Neumann for

Computer game maker Ubisoft, known for its “Assassins Creed” franchise and its “Just Dance” games, is hoping that Nintendo´s upcoming new console, Wii U, will be the first of a line of fresh hardware that will boost the video game industry and help reverse the French company´s waning fortunes.

The other leading makers of gaming hardware, Microsoft and Sony, have not come out with a new hardware platform in at least six years, except for Microsoft´s motion-sensing “Kinect” for the Xbox 360 console.

The industry could benefit via a major sales boost, says Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, with Nintendo set to release the Wii U for the holidays, and Microsoft and Sony expected to follow suit in 2013 with console updates.

“As soon as (consumers) see good quality products and good experiences that are coming that will bring the industry back to a huge growth, they come back and the share price goes up quickly,” Guillemot tells Malathi Nayak and Liana B. Baker of Reuters.

He added, “I think very soon people will be confident in the potential of the video game industry and we will see a big increase in the value of the company.”

A lot of eggs have been placed in Nintendo´s basket by Ubisoft, by launching eight new game titles for the Wii U. Some of the games exclusive to the Wii U include the zombie-themed ZombiU, and the comedic Rabbids Lands featuring rambunctious creatures the company created.

The French games publisher said last quarter that it returned to a full-year profit as online sales rose. Net income for the fiscal year ended March 31 was $47 million, after a $65 million loss a year earlier. Guillemot was confident that the demand for the Wii U will be strong. He said he expects Nintendo to manufacture 5 million units in the first six months of its launch.

“Generally, that´s what (Nintendo) does. The number can be more, it can be less... they are always limited in the number that they can build,” Guillemot explained. Nintendo said that it expects to sell 10.5 million units of both the Wii and Wii U this holiday season but has not broken out how many Wii U devices will be shipped.

Guillemote does not view the investment on the Wii U as risky because he said games launched with a new console sell well. “It´s easier at the beginning of the console cycle to astonish people and bring them new experiences than at the end of the cycle. So the risk that is seen as a big risk by many is actually the contrary,” Guillemot concluded.