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Ubisoft dances through holiday sales season

Yves Guillemot, CEO and founder of Ubisoft, addresses the Reuters Global Media Summit in Paris
Yves Guillemot, CEO and founder of Ubisoft, addresses the Reuters Global Media Summit in Paris

By Marie Mawad and Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS (Reuters) - French video games maker Ubisoft said it was well-positioned for the Christmas season after Thanksgiving sales proved better than last year, helped by a dance game featuring pop group the Black Eyed Peas.

"Our sales at Thanksgiving were exceptional in the United States," said Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, at the Reuters Global Media Summit in Paris.

"We don't know what December will bring, but the first signs we have are good. For now, we have not seen any impact from the euro crisis."

Ubisoft, the third-largest game publisher by revenue, is best known for its top-selling Assassin's Creed franchise and its Just Dance game, which it has put out in multiple versions including one built around Michael Jackson's hits.

Guillemot added that Microsoft had sold nearly 1 million games consoles around the Thanksgiving holiday and Nintendo half a million Wii consoles.

"People are ready to buy new hardware at the right price," he said.

Guillemot also told the Summit Ubisoft was seeking to do more film tie-ups with its games, as well as develop merchandising such as toys of its best-known characters.

The company is in talks with Hollywood studios for a film version of Assassin's Creed, which follows the exploits of Desmond Miles, a bartender descended from a line of killers.

Guillemot said he hoped the negotiations would be finalized within six months and a movie released in 2014.

"In terms of creating memorable characters, the video game industry is becoming just as powerful as the film industry," he said.

(Writing by Leila Abboud; Editing by David Holmes)

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