Ubisoft is reporting "higher-than-expected performance" and a "sharp rise" in its half-yearly financials, thanks to strong sales in software and player recurring investment (PRI), a collective term for digital items, downloadable content, seasonal passes, subscriptions, and advertising.
In the first half (H1) of the fiscal year, the publisher/developer reported €767 million ($870 million) in sales and a 49.5 per cent increase in PRI to €262 million ($297 million), accounting for 35 per cent of all total net bookings.
Digital net bookings are also up by 51.5 per cent YoY to €519.2 million ($588.8 million). Ubisoft also reports that its back catalogue continued to perform well over the first half of the financial year, with net bookings rising YoY by 48.8 per cent, reaching €564.9 million ($640.8 million) and accounting for 75.7 per cent of all net bookings.
Ubisoft Co-Founder and CEO, Yves Guillemot, said: "Thanks to the depth and strength of our back catalogue and Live operations, our second quarter 2018-19 performance was above target. This momentum drove up our net bookings and financial results for the first half of the fiscal year."
During the briefing, it was confirmed that the release date of the latest instalment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey - which saw a 10 per cent increase in digital sales to 45 per cent overall compared with predecessor Assassin's Creed Origins - was brought forward to avoid clashing with the hotly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 (thanks, Gamasutra). However, profits from its release are not reflected in Ubisoft's H1 reporting.
"The release of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was successful. Community reception has been extremely favourable and player engagement rose once again, confirming the franchise’s entry among the very best RPGs."
"Led by an increasingly direct relationship with our player communities as well as very high-quality titles, our first-half 2018-19 performance confirms the potential of Ubisoft’s many short- and medium-term growth drivers," Guillemot added. "The steady rise in player engagement is feeding our digital development and the quality of our games is enabling us to achieve top-rate performance."
"Lastly, we are ramping up our presence in e-sports, artificial intelligence and streaming, all of which offer long-term opportunities for the games industry. In light of all of these factors, we are confident in our ability to deliver robust growth and to sustainably increase our profitability over the long term."