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Why didn't Ubisoft do the right thing and delay Assassin's Creed Unity?



Ubisoft was faced with releasing a game that is not as good as it should be, but did not have the power to delay its release without taking a significant financial hit, one that would have damaged its reputation with investors. Plus, an Assassin's Creed movie is coming out in 2015. A delay might also have had repercussions in Hollywood. Delaying the game would have also had a knock-on effect to other Assassin's Creed games due out in 2015.

Ubisoft has made this trap for itself, by ramping up development to guarantee a new game every year. It is not the first company to do so. Call of Duty was going through a bad slump, until this year's offering (from a fresh developer) pulled it back from serious decline.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush, believes Ubisoft can survive a sloppy game because it faces so little competition in historical games. "This is one of those games that has extraordinarily passionate fans who are willing to overlook a lot, and the game has very little direct competition," he told Polygon. "I think a sloppy NBA game [from EA] allowed Take-Two to take share, and a sloppy Call of Duty game allowed Battlefield to take share, but I don't really see a threat to Assassin's Creed, unless the patch doesn't fix things."

He said that a delay on Assassin's Creed would cost Ubisoft too much money. "It's always better for the experience to delay games, but some annual franchises are too important to shareholders to allow a delay. EA canceled Need for Speed for a year to re-work the game, but that is a small part of their revenues. Assassin's Creed is probably a third of Ubisoft's revenues, so they couldn't afford a delay."

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