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Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed Origins drive record sales for Ubisoft

Ubisoft has released its financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31st, 2018. Sales at the firm were up 18.6 per cent year-on-year, reaching €1,73bn (£1.51bn), above its initial target of €1.6bn (£1.3bn).

Digital did particularly well, with 58 per cent of Ubisoft’s sales now being digital against 50 per cent in the previous fiscal year. Mobile revenue was up 66.2 per cent year-on-year.

Ubisoft’s back-catalog kept delivering strong results in the last fiscal year, representing 47.7 per cent of the total sales compared to 44.5 per cent the previous year.

Among the good performances reported by the firm, Far Cry 5 was Ubisoft’s biggest release ever with $310m (£229m) total players spending in its first week. Assassin’s Creed Origins had a “record performance for an Assassin’s Creed game in a fourth fiscal quarter,” Ubisoft’s report also said. Rainbow Six Siege also had record engagement in the last fiscal quarter, the firm reported, with now more than 30m players registered and esports viewership up by about 300 per cent for the Six Invitational.

However, focusing on the last quarter of the fiscal year only, sales at Ubisoft were down 163.6 per cent year-on-year. If Far Cry 5 did drive revenue, with total sales reaching €540.7m (£472.3m) in that quarter, Ubisoft released two big games at the same period last year, Ghost Recon Wildlands and For Honor, hence the decrease.

Looking at the future, Ubisoft expects digital to represent “around 65% of net bookings (compared with approximately 60% previously)” in the next fiscal year. To reach this target, it can rely on its upcoming big releases for the fiscal year 2018-2019: The Crew 2 (launching on June 29th), The Division 2 and an “unannounced franchise title.” Ubisoft expects those titles to sell 19m copies.

However, the developer-publisher decided to delay Skull & Bones, initially due to release at the end of the year: “In line with previous practices and in view of the acceleration of our digital transformation, growth in back-catalog sales and excellent momentum of recent releases, Ubisoft has decided to give itself more time to develop Skull & Bones to offer players an even more engaging experience. Skull & Bones is now scheduled for release in 2019-20.”

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot commented: “Ubisoft ended the fiscal year on a very positive note, with continued excellent execution across the board. The Group further strengthened its brands thanks to the quality of its games, strong live services and a deep commitment to player communities. During the fourth quarter, we reached a record of peak concurrent users thanks to record engagement levels and esports viewership for Rainbow Six Siege, the successful launch of Far Cry 5 – the second biggest launch in Ubisoft’s history – and continued strong performance by Assassin’s Creed Origins, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and our back-catalog titles. As a result, we have outperformed our financial targets, with record-high sales, digital and back-catalog revenues, and profitability.

“In the short and medium term, Ubisoft has many growth opportunities to tap and expects further profitability increases. Our digital transformation is progressing at a faster pace than we anticipated. Our potential in the PC and mobile markets is massive, notably in China. Finally, we are continuing to develop and structure our esports offering, which represents a significant opportunity.

“Over the longer term, new forms of gaming, enabled notably by streaming, will allow our brands to reach a much wider audience. Consequently, we are investing in our online services platform – which boasted 88 million unique active players – as well as in artificial intelligence in order to better tailor the game experience to each player’s profile and therefore offer them ever-richer experiences.”

About Marie Dealessandri

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