Ubisoft has said it is “surprised” by the low commercial performance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks Of Hope.
Released last October, the Nintendo-Ubisoft crossover game serves as a sequel to 2017’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
NME praised the title as “one of the Switch‘s best offerings” in a four-star review, describing it as “a bundle of pure, unadulterated joy”. Additionally, Sparks Of Hope landed at Number 11 on our 20 best games of 2022 list.
The release also won the Best Sim/Strategy Game prize at The Game Awards 2022 last month.
As VGC reports, however, such critical acclaim didn’t translate to high sales. In a financial update released yesterday (January 11), Ubisoft said it was “facing major challenges” amid “worsening economic conditions affecting consumer spending”.
“We are clearly disappointed by our recent performance,” said Ubisoft co-founder and chief executive officer Yves Guillemot.
“Despite excellent ratings and players’ reception as well as an ambitious marketing plan, we were surprised by Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope underperformance in the final weeks of 2022 and early January.”
Guillemot continued: “Therefore, with the approval of the Board of Directors, we are taking additional important strategic and operational decisions today. It is key to continue adapting our organisation, to further strengthen our execution and to ensure we both deliver amazing games to players as well as great value creation.
“The industry’s long-term prospects remain promising, and I am convinced Ubisoft is well positioned to benefit from this momentum thanks to the strength of our teams, brands, production capacity, technology and balance-sheet.”
He went on to say that the publisher’s back catalogue “remains very healthy”, citing “notably robust activity on Rainbow Six Siege, great momentum for our Assassin’s Creed games, and generally solid performance from our live games”.
Guillemot added: “We expect our strategy to build long-lasting live games and transform our biggest brands into truly global phenomenon with multiple offerings across platforms and business models, to ultimately generate significant value creation, with strong topline and operating income growth over the coming years.”
Per VGC, Sparks Of Hope was released just weeks before some of last year’s biggest titles, including God Of War Ragnarök, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.
“When there’s more pressure, people go for the biggest brands, and they don’t go for the small ones,” explained Guillemot.
“What we have observed is that there has been some contraction in overall consumer spending coming from the economic environment and rising inflation.
“As you mentioned, 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. That’s the clear conclusion that we’ve taken. We’ve seen that there are other games of high quality that have underperformed.”
However, Guillemot said that he thinks Sparks Of Hope could still “do good numbers” in the long-term.
“All we can say about Rabbids is that the game has been really well appreciated by players: we are getting community ratings that are excellent,” he continued. “We feel that the game is going to do good numbers over time, but the beginning was not at all what we expected.”