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Ubisoft Sees Strong Games Demand on New Microsoft, Sony Consoles

Ubisoft Entertainment SA is seeing “very strong” orders for its “Watch Dogs” video game and a new version of “Assassin’s Creed” as console makers prepare to ship new-generation machines in time for Christmas.

“There’s a thirst for new products among our clients,” Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said in an interview at the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne today. “It’s been a very long time since the last generation of consoles was released -- there’s very strong built-up appetite that transforms very quickly into preorders. And we haven’t seen the end of it.”

Sony Corp. will start selling the PlayStation 4, its first new console in seven years, in North America on Nov. 15 and in Europe on Nov. 29 and in 32 countries for the year-end holiday season, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said yesterday. Orders already top 1 million. Microsoft Corp. will release its Xbox One console in November in 13 countries.

“In the gaming industry, new consoles are an opportunity to reshuffle the cards,” Guillemot said. “That’s when market share changes are potentially the biggest. We want to use this time to launch or relaunch our brands. With each generation we try to climb up a step and grab a few more points of market share.”

Increased Promotion

The introduction of new consoles will probably spark consumer appetite and set the video-games market up for a new growth cycle, according to a note from Richard Beaudoux, a Paris-based analyst at Natixis Securities.

“Console manufacturers help promote games to sell their consoles,” Guillemot said. “That can double the firepower when we’re promoting a game.”

In their first year, the new generation of consoles will sell about 10 million to 15 million units, Guillemot estimated. Montreuil-Sous-Bois, France-based Ubisoft’s forecasts for its business in the second quarter and full year are unchanged.

“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag,” an adventure game, will be released at the end of October, and vigilante game “Watch Dogs” will follow at the end of November.

Ubisoft shares rose 1.1 percent to 11.75 euros at 1:06 p.m. in Paris, taking the advance to 49 percent this year and giving the company a market value of 1.1 billion euros.

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