Ubisoft has posted its financial sales and earnings figures for the the first half of the 2017-18 fiscal year, and in the sea of numbers of charts are two surprising revelations.
The first is that just under half of Ubisoft’s total revenue comes from digital sales, while 40 percent of its revenue comes from its back catalog (games released before March of this year). Breaking down what “digital sales” means, the company revealed that “digital distribution” (the sales of full games on digital stores) was up 57 percent from last year, while “player recurring investment” (sales of DLC, season passes, in-game items, and subscriptions) was up 83 percent from last year. The company is using these figures to pivot toward more long-term support of titles and an “outstanding games [experience]” which could hint at fewer yearly titles and more multi-year projects.
Speaking of yearly series that may be releasing less often, the second revelation is that the company’s gambit with Assassin’s Creed Origins (taking a year off to overhaul major parts of the series) looks like it’s paying off. According to Ubisoft, the title is selling twice as much 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, based on units and internal estimates from the first 10 days of sales. This bodes well for both future popularity of the series and the hopes that future titles will take their time to improve on key aspects rather than release on a yearly basis.
Finally, the company has found a great new source of revenue in Nintendo’s Switch console, which accounted for 19 percent of the company’s quarterly revenue (the Wii U maxed out at around two percent). This is likely the result of the company releasing a major game, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, on the system, and the sales of the game bode well for the company’s future on the console.
I’m glad Ubisoft’s two big experiments in the quarter (Origins and Kingdom Battle) have paid off. Hopefully, this leads to more original titles and sequels developed at a slower rate with more long-term support.