Ubisoft is reporting a "strong performance in [a] very competitive environment" in its latest financial statement.
While third-quarter net bookings were down 16.4 per cent to €605.8 million, across the nine-month 2018/2019 financial year to date, net bookings are up 13.5 per cent to €1,351.9 million. The company attributes the growth to an "increasingly recurring profile" and the "growing strategic value of its brands", as well as the "solid performance by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, with a strong increase in player engagement and digital performance".
Digital net bookings were up 33.9 per cent to €897.8 million for the first nine months (66.4 per cent of total net bookings compared to 56.3 per cent the previous year), while Player Recurring Investment - or PRI, the term given to DLC, expansion packs, and microtransactions - is up 38.9 per cent to €444.3 million (32.9 per cent of total net bookings, up from 26.8 per cent the previous year).
Interestingly, Ubisoft's back catalogue net bookings too have risen by 38.6 per cent to €842.9 million for the first nine months (now 62.3 per cent of total net bookings, up YoY from 51.1 per cent).
Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey both took spots in 2018's Top 10 best-sellers list, and the company reports that "Tom Clancy communities" now exceed 70 million unique players. Furthermore, the company has seen a 205 per cent "surge" in Rainbow Six Siege esports views, and PC and mobile net bookings are up by 58.1 per cent and 77.6 per cent respectively over the first nine months of the fiscal year.
Ubisoft notes "recent significant events" as its acquisition of i3D.net - a "leader in hosting solutions for the gaming industry" - which is expected to complete by April 2019. It also notes its partnership to bring the PC version of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 to the Epic Games Store.
"Ubisoft delivered a solid performance in a quarter when, as expected, competition was particularly fierce. Our remarkable resilience was underpinned by the high quality of our games and services, our ability to reach a much wider audience than before – on more platforms and in more geographic regions – and the benefits gained from our digital transformation," said Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO.
"In view of our robust momentum and the upcoming releases of The Division 2 and Far Cry New Dawn, we expect to see record performances for fourth-quarter and full-year 2018-19. Over the years, Ubisoft has proved its ability to adapt to and profit from new market trends, and we will continue to do so. The digital revolution is profoundly transforming our industry and is offering a major competitive advantage to content creators. It is enabling us to build a direct relationship with player communities, who have a significant impact on our games and their success.
"This competitive advantage is apparent in the growing number of distribution platforms that are competing with one another to obtain high-quality content," he added. " Other key opportunities also will carry the industry forward in the coming years, including the opening up of the Asian market and the growth of esports as well as streaming and artificial intelligence. Against this backdrop, Ubisoft is building its organizational structure for the long term. Leveraging the ownership of our IPs and studios, we are striving to provide a fulfilling working environment so that our talented people can realize their full potential and to deliver players beneficial experiences that go beyond pure entertainment. Therefore, we are confident in our ability to continue to grow and increase our profitability over the coming years."