Ubisoft Stocks Plummet Amidst Skull & Bones Delay
It could be time to abandon ship for some, as the latest delay to Ubisoft Singapore's Skull & Bones has cast the wider world of publisher Ubisoft into a whole sea of trouble.
Ubisoft might be known for having acclaimed franchises like Assassin's Creed and Far Cry on its masthead, but it's safe to say, some have a sinking feeling about the gaming giant amidst complaints it's simply regurgitating tired titles.
What's Going On With Ubisoft?
Supposedly Ubisoft's next big thing, Skull & Bones has been in development for the past decade - starting out life as an MMO spin-off of the beloved Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Sadly, it's now been delayed for a jaw-dropping sixth time and could be taking Ubisoft down with it.
According to Morningstar, Ubisoft stock prices have just hit a seven-year low. Coming just after the announcement of the Skull & Bones delay is surely no coincidence.
Ubisoft took a 10.6% hit on January 11 and continued to plummet to 14%, with the France-based publisher cutting its Q3 targets and citing "major challenges" amidst a slowing economy. The company's targets have dropped from $830 million to $725 million, with net bookings also expected to dip by 10%.
Explaining what's going on, Ubisoft Chief Executive Yves Guillemot said, "We are clearly disappointed by our recent performance. We are facing contrasted market dynamics as the industry continues to shift towards mega-brands and everlasting live games, in the context of worsening economic conditions affecting consumer spending."
Away from Skull & Bones, Ubisoft is putting the blame at the feet of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023, which both underperformed despite an "ambitious marketing plan."
Will Skull & Bones Still Be Released?
If you can keep track, Skull & Bones has now shifted from its seemingly solid release of March 9 to anywhere in the next financial year of April 2023 to March 2024. Still, this shaky ship is still sailing toward an eventual release date.
Things aren't looking good for Ubisoft, with the emergency investor call confirming that three unannounced games have been given the chop. This brings it to an alarming total of seven axed games in just six months.
The plan is to claw back €200m over the next two years via restructuring and selling off assets. Worringly, that sounds like layoffs to us. If this wasn't bad enough, gaming insider Jeff Grubb claims Ubisoft is currently being laughed out of the room when trying to get itself bought by another publisher.
Even though the industry is on an uneven keel right now, the console wars see the likes of Microsoft and Sony try to gobble up anyone they can - most prevalent in the Activision Blizzard war that still rages on. You'd expect someone with Ubisoft's catalogue to be catch of the day.
Still, Ubisoft has a packed slat that includes Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, an open-world Star Wars game, and a tonne of Assassin's Creed titles. Importantly, the Basim-centric Assassin's Creed Mirage is supposed to release in 2023.
Ubisoft's future remains unclear, but it looks increasingly likely that it's pinning a lot of its hopes on Skull & Bones. Will this be the plunder the publisher needs or just a rotten albatross hanging around its neck? Watch this space.