* Co sees fiscal 2014 op loss of 40-70 million euros
* Launch of Watch Dogs and The Crew delayed to next year
* Due to launch alongside new consoles from Sony, Microsoft
* Co blames pressure to meet consumer expectations
* Shares tumble more than 25 pct to eight-month low
By Lionel Laurent
PARIS, Oct 16 French videogames publisher
Ubisoft saw its shares slump more than 25 percent to
an eight-month low after delaying the release of two titles
until next year, missing the holiday season in a hotly
"In a world of mega-blockbusters, we have now come to the
conclusion that the team needed additional time," Yves
Guillemot, chief executive of the company behind the Assassin's
Creed and Far Cry series, told investors on a conference call.
Ubisoft blamed the delays on pressure to meet consumer
expectations in the $66 billion hit-driven video-games industry
and said the decision would cause it to swing to an operating
loss for its 2013 to 2014 fiscal year.
The announcement, in a statement after Tuesday's market
close, cames shortly after the huge success of Grand Theft Auto
V, released last month by a unit of Take-Two Interactive
, in which hedge-fund billionaire Carl Icahn owns a
The two delayed games - dystopian hacking adventure Watch
Dogs and racer The Crew - were due to launch alongside
next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft
, making the sacrifice for quality a risky one in some
"This is a pretty severe downward revision - these games
were supposed to come out in time for Christmas," said Gregoire
Laverne, a Paris-based fund manager at Roche Brune.
"They're being delayed for reasons of quality, which is a
good thing, but companies like Ubisoft already have a tendency
to restrict the amount of titles they produce. If they release
fewer games they have to be a blockbuster every time, there is
no room for error."
The company now expects to report an operating loss of
between 40 million euros ($54 million) and 70 million, against a
previous target for a profit of 110 to 125 million.
Ubisoft also cut its sales forecast for 2013 through 2014 to
between 995 million euros and 1.05 billion from a previous
target of 1.42 to 1.45 billion.
Shares of Ubisoft were down 26 percent at 8.21 euros by 1140
GMT, giving it a market value of 792 million euros. The stock
fell as low as 7.55 euros, its lowest since February.
($1 = 0.7406 euros)
(Editing by David Holmes)