South Park: The Fractured But Whole delayed, but record 2016 digital sales keep Ubisoft afloat

South Park: The Fractured But Whole has slipped into the next financial year, Ubisoft’s Q3 financial report has revealed, and the company has revised its fiscal 2016-2017 sales figures as a result.

Whereas Ubisoft was previously targeting around €1,610m fiscal sales, the company has now revised this down to €1,455m.

Elsewhere in the report, however, Ubisoft reports record engagement levels and that its three-year plan digital development is "ahead of schedule."

Sales for the nine months ended December 31st were up 5.5 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching a total of €811.3m. However, with titles such as Watch Dogs 2 and Steep under-performing over the UK Christmas period, Ubisoft’s Q3 sales were actually down 5.7 per cent year-on-year, reaching €529.9m compared to €561.8m for Q3 2015-2016.

Ubisoft noted that Watch Dogs 2’s launch was "not as dynamic as expected, but momentum [is] now positive." As for Steep, Ubisoft said it actually had "slightly higher-than-expected performance"

However, Ubisoft says it’s optimistic about the year ahead, stating that "given the continuing favorable structural changes in our business, namely the move towards a more recurring and profitable profile," the company’s expecting to meet its non-IFRS operating income target of between €230m and €250m for the full year 2016-2017.

Player engagement levels are also up, with Ubisoft noting that monthly active users were up 33.1 per cent in the nine-month period, and that Rainbow Six Siege now has 15m registered players and record daily active users. The Division also saw a 152.3 per cent jump in daily active users.

Ubisoft said it also saw record back-catalogue sales over the last nine months, hitting €462.9m. This accounted for 57.1 per cent of the company’s total sales, and is an increase of 64.7 per cent year-on-year.

The company also saw record digital sales over the last nine months, raking in €383m. This accounted for 47.2 per cent of Ubisoft’s total sales, and showed an increased of 84.4 per cent year-on-year.

Co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot commented: We are successfully pursuing our transformation into a more recurring and more profitable profile. The positive effects of this transformation are remarkable. They illustrate how far ahead of schedule we are in our digital development, which is one key element of our three-year targets.

"Our overall player community is growing rapidly. We hit record engagement levels during the period, with 33% more MAU year on year. The number of daily players of Rainbow Six Siege is at its highest ever, an exceptional performance given that the game was released 14 months ago. Meanwhile, The Division has continued its successful come-back, with engagement up by more than 150% by the end of December. This resulted in record back-catalog sales and digital revenue for the third quarter, and we saw another sharp rise in player recurring investment.

"In light of the positive impacts of our transformation, combined with our overall solid performance and tight cost control, we are standing by our objective of achieving record operating income and operating margin for fiscal 2016-17, despite lower-than-expected sales. Our targets for fiscal 2017-18 will be announced mid-May and will include an increase in our topline and operating income, while factoring in the very competitive environment that we expect to see throughout the year. Longer term, with the current successful implementation of our strategic plan, we are confident we will achieve our targets for fiscal 2018-19. In fact, by the end of fiscal 2016-17, we expect to meet, or even exceed, the 45% digital revenue and 17% player recurring investment targets we had set for fiscal 2018-19."

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