If the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X get pushed back to 2021, Ubisoft could delay some of its biggest games to ensure timed console launches.
Art: Peter Jackson
Console releases are rare events that bring massive waves of game sales. Every 7-8 years or so the games industry pushes out a new wave of consoles along with a batch of top-tier games. Tons of developers and publishers are working on PS5 and Xbox Series X games, including EA (who said Battlefield 6 on next-gen will "blow people's minds), Take-Two Interactive, Capcom, Square Enix, and Ubisoft.
Ubisoft has been particularly forthright with their next-gen plans: The company expects to ship 4 major AAA games in the current fiscal year, and sources say these include a new Far Cry and the hotly-anticipated Viking-themed Assassin's Creed.
These games hinge on next-gen consoles launching in 2020, though. If the PS5 and Xbox Series X are delayed, then Ubisoft has no qualms about delaying its games.
"We are not seeing significant impact to our own timelines, but we are in touch with all our partners and if there's a need to adjust in order to do what's best for them and for our players, we will do so," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told The New York Times' Jason Schreier.
There's some missing context here.
It's possible Ubisoft will still release the Viking-themed Assassin's Creed, the new Watch Dogs Legion game, and the unannounced Far Cry title even if next-gen consoles are delayed. The games would instead launch on current-gen systems, which they probably will anyway. It's the next-gen versions of these games that could get delayed, not necessarily the total experience itself.
That way Ubisoft wouldn't have to massively disrupt its fiscal year earnings and release timeline. It could still relay on current-gen game sales and then use the next-gen delay as an opportunity for staggered sales.
It all depends on whether or not Ubisoft will release next-gen exclusive ports of their upcoming games.
We don't think this is likely given the substantial install base of current-gen systems (the PS4 is over 106 million now) and the relatively lower install base of next-gen systems at launch (the PlayStation 5 is expected to sell between 5-6 million units at launch).
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