Lack of key releases damages pubisher’s financials, but back catalogue sales and upcoming releases expected to boost stronger second half

Sales down €277m in Ubisoft’s H1 2015 results

Ubisoft’s takings for the first six months of the financial year have been less than half of that of the previous year.

The Assassin’s Creed publisher generated €207.3m in sales for the six months ending September 30th, 2015 – that’s down by 57.2 per cent compared to the €484.2m taken in H1 2014/5, a drop of €276.9m.

The main reason attributed was the lack of blockbuster new releases of the first half of the year. In May 2014, Ubisoft’s launched its successful new IP Watch Dogs but no similar title was released this year.

However, Ubisoft says the damage has been lessened by strong back catalogue sales of its key franchises, such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Just Dance. Back catalogue sales rose 53.1 per cent to €184.3m.

Digital releases also continued to boost the firm, with just over €100m taken by download games over the last six months.

Going forward, Ubisoft expects a much stronger second half to the financial year, thanks to the releases of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Far Cry Primal, Rainbow Six Siege, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Just Dance 2016.

"The quality of our back-catalog and the growing digitisation of our business enabled us to deliver a solid performance in the first half of the year, even though – as planned – we did not release any major titles during the period,” said co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot. “The fact that more than 80 per cent of our annual sales are expected to be generated in the second half of the year mechanically weighed on our earnings for the first six months.

“We continue developing Ubisoft’s business with the aim of becoming one of the highest-performing groups in the video game industry and a leader in the overall entertainment sector. In doing so, we are offering our shareholders significant value-creation potential for the coming years."

Ubisoft reconfirmed its targets for the full financial year, and expects sales of around €600m for the third quarter. However, this will be 26 per cent down year-on-year when compared to the same period in 2014.

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