— Ubisoft’s earnings: The Paris-based game publisher posted strong fiscal Q308 numbers — buoyed by sales of new launches like Shaun White Snowboarding and Prince of Persia. Sales came in at $659 million (508 million euros), up nearly 13 percent from fiscal Q307; beating Ubisoft’s own forecast. It acquired Swedish studio Massive Entertainment from *Activision Blizzard* in mid-November, and just bought out Brazilian developer Southlogic Studios this week. Release.
— EA shutters Black Box: The gaming giant’s cost-cutting continues, this time with the closing of Vancouver-based studio Black Box. Gamasutra reported that at least 200 of the 350-member staff had been let go; Joystiq confirmed, noting that the remaining employees and IP will be integrated into EA’s Barnaby studio, also in Vancouver. Black Box was responsible for the Need for Speed and Skate franchises.
— THQ’s franchises in decline: The Saints Row publisher lowered guidance for the latter half of its fiscal year in November, but Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz says the next earnings report may be even worse than expected (via GamesIndustry.biz). Holiday sales of THQ’s key franchises, WWE and SpongeBob SquarePants, were down 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively; sales of the GTA-style Saints Row 2 were also sluggish. “The WWE decline is particularly concerning since that franchise had been one of THQ