Ubisoft’s Q1 results saw it hit record net bookings of €410m, way in excess of the €335m that it was predicting. It’s clear that the lion’s share of this is the result of the pandemic lockdown, with the company noting record-high levels of engagement and number of players over a single quarter.
Highlights included Rainbow Six Siege, which saw net booking rise 30 per cent year on year, a huge boost for the long-performing service title. While Assassin’s Creed fared better still with a 60 per cent year on year booking increase. Top of the pile though was Just Dance, as consumers looked for ways to stay active in their homes, the dance game saw an incredible 500 per cent increase year-on-year.
Looking forward Ubisoft has a very busy few months ahead. Not only cleaning up internally but also delivering Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, Watch Dogs: Legion and Hyper Scape, all within a few months.
With many of those titles coming to next-gen as well as current gen console, Ubisoft did announce that next-gen titles would be priced at $60, meaning there will be no next-gen premium at Ubisoft, for the time being at least.
Frédérick Duguet, Ubisoft’s CFO said: “Our business is excellent. We achieved a record first quarter and significantly exceeded our revenue expectations, with historically high levels of engagement. This performance was driven by the depth of our catalog and the quality of our Live services, which were aided by industry momentum and strong execution from our teams. In particular, the Assassin’s Creed franchise saw an impressive acceleration on the back of the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla reveal. In parallel, Rainbow Six Siege continued to grow robustly despite increased competition, and the Just Dance franchise continued its solid comeback.
Elsewhere, Ubisoft was pleased with the reception that its Hyper Scape free-to-play shooter received. Securing the top position on Twitch for its PC Technical Test launch. Though how much money was invested into streamers to achieve this is unknown.
Meanwhile the company’s Ubisoft Forward event, which stood in for its E3 press conference, saw record high concurrent views, which surpassed its previous E3 press conferences. That may be concerning reading for the ESA and anyone who likes their annual trip to LA.
That event coincided with a peak of the allegations and accusations made by Ubisoft employees against colleagues and management. Yves Guillemot apple at length during the conference call on the various changes and initiatives, most previously announced, that the company would undertake in response.
“While Ubisoft’s current performance and business prospects are stronger than ever, we nonetheless face a very serious challenge following the recent allegations and accusations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior within our Group. I am determined to make profound changes in order to improve and strengthen our corporate culture. We already have acted swiftly and firmly, announcing and introducing largescale initiatives intended to transform our organization.
“Our overriding aim is ensuring that all Ubisoft employees have a safe and inclusive workplace environment. As a leader in our industry, we have to be intransigent in order to create an exemplary culture where everyone feels respected and valued. This is vital to ensure that all of the talented people who make up Ubisoft feel fulfilled in their jobs.”