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The gorgeous Ubsioft blockbuster, Assassin's Creed II is making a killing, posting better than-expected sales of 1.6 million.  (Source: TG Daily)
It may be no Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but Assassin's Creed II's better than expected sales is music to Ubisoft's ears

Two weeks ago, the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 posted monstrous sales to the delight of publisher Activision and developer Infinity Ward.  CoD:MW2 raked in over $310M USD in the U.S. and UK in only 24 hours, moving approximately 4.7 million units.  That tidy sum in cold hard cash puts even movie industry's biggest one-day opening ever, Twilight: New Moon (approximately $72M USD) to shame.

Now, rival publisher Ubisoft has a similar success to report.  Its new game, Assassin's Creed 2, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, has posted better-than-expected sales, selling 1.6 million copies in its first week.  With many of the sales occurring at $59.99 mark (Amazon.com and Newegg.com have discounted it to $55.99, and $54.99, respectively), that indicates the game likely has pulled in close to $100M USD in sales.

Cheers Ubisoft in a released statement, "This represents 32 percent growth over the first week sales of [the original] Assassin's Creed. Launched in November 2007, Assassin's Creed remains the fastest selling new video game intellectual property ever in the US."

The sales beat the expectations of most analysts, who were predicting lower sales.  Analysts had stated that Ubisoft would be unlikely to meet its sales targets in the current economic climate

As with sales, critical reception of Ubisoft new blockbuster has been extremely impressive, if a bit behind Activision's juggernaut.  Assassin's Creed II earned an average scores of 92.33 percent (Xbox 360) and 91.20 percent (PS3), just below Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's high bar of 93.4 (Xbox 360) and 93.90 (PS3), according to GameRankings.

Ubisoft aims to sell 6 million units by December 31, a goal that analysts now feel it is well on target to meet, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Edward Woo.  Mr. Woo states, "Sales of Assassin's Creed II have successfully met initial expectations due to a combination of factors, including a bigger install base and an improved marketing campaign strategy.  The game will definitely have a huge impact on the Ubisoft's revenue, but will not change the company's current guidance."

Assassin's Creed II is available for the PS3 and Xbox 360 (the PC edition is not yet out and is currently preorder only), carrying a mature rating.  The player in the game is a modern day assassin who relives the genetic memories of his ancestors to hone his skills.  He jumps back to the Italian Renaissance where he lives through the eyes of a young nobleman-turned-assassin named Ezio Auditore da Firenze.  At the start of the game, Ezio's father Giovanni, elder brother Frederico, and younger brother, Petruccio are all executed by the ruling party.  Vowing revenge, Ezio slays his enemies using an advanced weapons-based combat system and inventions created by a young Leonardo da Vinci.  The game features the voice talents of actress Kristen Bell (of Veronica Mars fame) and humorist Danny Wallace.


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By rtrski on 11/27/2009 4:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if you've decided from the start to release for console and PC, the console version is obviously easier to design (with some limits perhaps, related to the specifics of each platform or processor like the Cell and consequent compiler or tool issues) because the hardware is a closed, homogenous environment. PC development necessitates a considerably larger amount of testing for compatibility with different generations of graphics and sound hardware, OS variations, etc. I'd bet they intended to have it all out together in the original planning (why wouldn't you want to hit the holiday season with all guns blazing??) but when development fell a bit behind they prioritized the console release first so something would make the holidays.

Besides the closed infrastructure issue, a dev has some idea how many of a given platform are out there to have some better idea of the market to help you make the development cost decisions ahead of time. Sure they've got a rough idea how many of different genres of PC games sold, but not all FPS shooters are created equally, and there's the 800-lb WoW gorilla to contend with too. So from a purely business standpoint, console development might be considered a bit 'safer' to pitch.

So yes, you're right, it all comes down to money. If they can make it (the bucks), then they'll, well, make it (the games).

I won't touch the whole "PC gaming is dying" / "Consoles are dumbed down and killing gaming" debate. Suffice to say I have a preference myself as a PC gamer...but the wife did buy a Wii that we have in the living room, and I can certainly see the appeal in having a dedicated and essentially 'low maintenance' gaming apparatus as well. I really don't see either going completely away anytime soon.

And back on the subject of my original post, I am glad to see the article was updated, and no one pissed all over me for pointing out the error. ;)


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