Find Out Why Watch Dogs Was Delayed
Since announcing that Watch Dogs will be delayed till some time between April and June 2014, Ubisoft’s share prices have plummeted 32%. That’s not only huge but it’s the largest margin the company’s shares have dropped since it debuted on the Paris stock exchange in 1996. However, company CEO Yves Guillemot insists they’re going for the long play and delaying Watch Dogs will be beneficial in the long run.
Watch Dogs was delayed alongside The Crew and Ubisoft has revealed just how much it expects both titles to sell. The Crew is exclusively for next-gen releasing on PC, Xbox One and PS4 and due to its “more limited potential” Ubisoft expects it to sell only 2.5 million units. That’s still pretty damn good by any standards. Perhaps Ubisoft should expect some more modest sales figures?
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Watch Dogs is expected to move a massive 6.2 million units. For a new IP that was just delayed that sort of number is quite hopeful. Very optimistic to say the least. Given the strong pre-order numbers Ubisoft really does believe these figures are achievable.
Of the delays and the subsequent share price drop, Guillemot had no worries.
“We made a choice that will pay off in the long run,” CEO Yves Guillemot said. “The market has changed–we need huge blockbusters, and that means making very high-quality games.”
As a result of the two game delays, Ubisoft expects to book an operating loss between €40 million ($54 million) and €70 million ($95 million) for the year ending in March 2014.
This is due also to Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rayman: Legends under-performing in sales. Sales figures for both games are as yet unavailable but these titles were not bad. Blacklist was pretty good and well received, Legends is loved by pretty much all who played it. They surely did not bomb in sales figures.
Is this a case of Ubisoft just having a bad year or are they going the way of Square Enix with ludicrous amounts of money spent on game development and sales figures, no matter how good, not being able to justify that spending.
The publisher put poor sales down to a reluctance from consumers to invest in new games so close to the end of the console life-cycle but we all know that’s bullshit. Just look at GTA V.
Ubisoft said it chose to delay Watch Dogs for extra polish and fine-tuning. The extra development time will allow the game to have “far bigger potential,” according to Guillemot.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Guillemot went as far to say Watch Dogs “could be as big as Assassin’s Creed, even bigger. It’s a great opportunity to increase our market share.”
That may well be true given that Watch Dogs has plenty of potential as a franchise but it’s clear now that Ubisoft is doing exactly what Square Enix did a few years back. They’re writing off this fiscal year with all the losses it has incurred, potentially hoping the release of Assassin’s Creed IV can soften the blow. Meanwhile, Watch Dogs being released at the start of the next fiscal year in a potentially quiet games release period may allow Ubisoft to kick things off in the black.
Make of it all what you will but perhaps this will give Ubisoft the time it needs to improve Watch Dogs and polish it.