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Ubisoft Was "Surprised" by Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope's Underperformance

The company believes that the launch of the game was negatively impacted by a consumer shift "towards mega-brands and long-lasting titles."

Ubisoft has shared that it was "surprised" by how its Nintendo collaboration Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope underperformed commercially in the final weeks of 2022 and early January.

The company revealed in its financial update on Wednesday that it's currently experiencing "major challenges" in the face of "worsening macroeconomic conditions" and said that its software sales were "markedly and surprisingly slower than expected."

Particularly, the French publisher was disappointed with poor sales of its two most recent titles – Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023.

According to Ubisoft, the second part of the Mario and Rabbids crossover had "excellent ratings and players’ reception" in addition to an "ambitious marketing plan" which is why the company was surprised that the title didn't meet its financial expectations.

The company believes that a consumer shift "towards mega-brands and long-lasting titles" could negatively affect the launch of the title – Sparks of Hope was released in October 2022, shortly before major releases from other big publishers such as God of War Ragnarök, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. 

During a conference call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot noted that there's currently "more pressure" at the company as amid the current economic environment consumer spending tightens.

"That has led to the biggest mega-brands and live services taking a larger share of the market, leaving less available consumer spending for other launches," he said. "That’s the clear conclusion that we’ve taken. We’ve seen that there are other games of high quality that have underperformed."

The Ubisoft head, however, believes that Sparks of Hope will still be able to "do good numbers" despite the opening months that were "not at all what [the company] expected."

Elsewhere in its financial update, Ubisoft also revealed that it has canceled three unannounced titles and, for the sixth time, delayed the release of Skull and Bones. You can learn more about this here.

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