Ubisoft was the third-leading independent publisher of videogames in the U.S. for 2007, the company announced today, with sales of $656 million in the third quarter of the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

The total surpassed earlier forecasts and marked a 44 percent increase over the previous year, according to a GamesIndustry report. Previously, the company had raised its third quarter predictions to $598 million as a result of better-than-expected sales of the hit release Assassin’s Creed, which was the number one PlayStation 3 game and second-best-selling Xbox 360 game in Europe for 2007.

Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO, said, “The vast majority of our games reaped the benefits of particularly strong market momentum over the Christmas period. Two new long-term multi-million franchses were created – Assassin’s Creed and Imagine – generating sell-in sales of five and 2.5 million units respectively.”

In light of the numbers, Ubisoft has raised its fourth quarter projection to $1.28 billion, up from a previous estimate of $1.23 billion. Games released in the company’s final quarter will include Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Assassin’s Creed for the PC and DS, and new casual titles for Nintendo’s DS and Wii platforms. The company also ramped up its 2008-2009 sales target to $1.46 billion as a result of Haze, originally slated for release in the fourth quarter, being delayed into the following year.

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