Ubisoft has released its quarterly financials during a fiscal call, and things are still trending upwards for the resurgent French publisher. Upcoming open-world racer The Crew 2 has already received more beta registrations than any game in Ubisoft’s history, while Skull & Bones has set the record for beta sign ups to a new IP.
Looking at Ubisoft’s releases for the current financial year, they expect Assassin’s Creed Origins to sell more than Syndicate and less than Unity, which seems fair enough. AC: Unity was the killer blow to the series that caused Syndicate’s sales to dip, so there’s some goodwill to be sought on that front. As for Far Cry 5, Ubi reckons it’ll hit somewhere around the levels of Far Cry 3 & 4, somewhere in the region of 7-10 million copies sold. Their expectations are higher than they had for Far Cry Primal, which nevertheless sold fantastically and topped the charts.
Breaking down Ubisoft's current roster of games, Rainbow Six: Siege now has an impressive 20 million registered unique players around the world, while the original The Crew has surpassed 12 million. I suspect that free giveaway to celebrate Ubi’s 30th anniversary may have helped a great deal on this front. Ubisoft was eerily quiet on For Honor, but it does have plans in place to implement Season 3 content imminently and has longer term goals for the franchise that could see its current dip turn around.
“Fuelled by the digital segment – which saw a sharp increase in player recurring investment – as well as a strong showing from our back catalogue, our sales for the first quarter of 2017-18 came in well ahead of our targets, up 45%, despite the fact that there were no major new releases during the period,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.
Ubisoft also posted a breakdown of sales by platform, with the PlayStation 4 enjoying significant growth year on year. PC is down to 21% of Ubisoft’s global market, although it’s difficult to ascertain a reason why. Sales were up year on year by 45.2%, indicating the PC market didn’t shrink but just grew at a slower rate. Interestingly, 94.3 per cent of the sales for Ubisoft in the quarter came from back catalogue titles, those it deems as discontinued in terms of support.
With such strong gains, Ubisoft is sticking with its target of €1.7bn in sales for the year, with the next quarter bolstered by Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for the Nintendo Switch, the Hong Kong season for Rainbow Six Siege, and the third season of For Honor.
"Thanks to our increasing ability to engage players over the long term, combined with our unique creative strengths, we are even more confident of achieving our targets for 2017-18 and 2018-19. We expect both of these factors to continue being key drivers of value creation in the coming years,” said Guillemot.
Waving away the threat of a Vivendi takeover for a moment, Ubisoft is on a very strong footing these days. While they’re often subject to a lot of abuse, there aren’t many AAA publishers out there which can compete with them on the sheer variety and quantity of games they put out.
Do you believe that Far Cry 5 and AC: Origins can be the successes that Ubisoft hopes? Can The Crew 2 deliver on the original’s promise when it arrives early next year? Let us know your thoughts!