In addition to new title releases at the end of 2020, Ubisoft's record-breaking Q3 sales were largely in part to older titles like Rainbow Six: Siege, Just Dance, and Brawlhalla.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, but it’s been good to game publishers’ sales, and Ubisoft is no exception. The company released its Q3 earnings report on Feb. 9, showing a record amount of sales.
Q3 alone raked in €1,001 million (roughly $1.1 billion) in both physical and digital sales. This exceeded the target of 860 million to 960 million euros, and also broke last year’s Q3 record of €455.5 million in sales.
The target for Q4 is between €464 million and €524 million, for a total of €2,200 million and €2,280 million. This is down from previous targets of €2,200 million and €2,350 million.
"Our strategy continues to bear fruits,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. “We achieved the strongest quarter in Ubisoft's history, by far, thanks to the quality of our releases and the depth of our catalog. We are immensely proud of our teams who, in exceptionally challenging times, launched four great titles across multiple platforms and simultaneously continued to enrich our Live services. This is an unparalleled achievement and they showed remarkable adaptability and resilience. Our ability to execute at such a high level of quality demonstrates the power of our production model and the sustainability of our organization.”
The releases of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion and Immortals Fenyx Rising were in the top seven of the best selling games of 2020, and secured Ubisoft’s place as the second-best performing publisher on new generation platforms, and as the top of the sellers for all platforms, combined. It was the top third-party publisher on Switch as well, with Just Dance 2020 leading the pack as the eighth best-selling game on the platform.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brought in the most consumer spending this quarter, and for the Assassin’s Creed franchise as a whole, breaking its revenue record.
But it’s not just newer releases that are contributing to Ubisoft’s success this quarter, it’s its back-catalog of titles as well. Rainbow Six: Siege accumulated roughly 15 million more players, hiking its 55 million from last year’s Q3 report to 70 million.
Ubisoft also reports it saw significant growth for titles Brawlhalla, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Far Cry 5, The Crew 2 and Anno 1800. Just Dance 2020 also saw a 200% jump in players, and a surge of players jumping into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Origins. All of these stats combined made this quarter a record-breaker for Ubisoft in terms of unique players.
"In a context of increasing engagement and very supportive industry trends, the first nine months of the year confirmed that we are continuing to move towards an increasingly pronounced recurrence of our revenues,” Guillemot said. “Therefore, we expect our highly profitable back-catalog to account for an even larger share of our business going forward."
The quarter also saw the introduction of Belen Essioux-Trujillo to Ubisoft’s board of directors, and Raashi Sikka as the VP of global diversity and inclusion. Sikka’s appointment follows a series of sexual misconduct allegations against the company over Summer 2020, which lead to the resignation of CCO Serge Hascoet, HR director Cecile Cornet, and managing director of the Candian branch, Tannis Mallat. Sikka’s role began on Feb. 1, 2021.
The company also was awarded a “prime” status by the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) work--the prime is awarded to those who are top-performing in their specific sector.
In addition, it successfully repaid a seven-year-bond of €600 million. The proceeds from this will be used for “general corporate purposes” and toward future acquisitions.
In Q3, Ubisoft also announced its partnership with Lucasfilm Games to make another Star Wars title. This game’s development is headed by Massive Entertainment.
“Ubisoft's model is mostly based on internally-created, wholly-owned IP and assets,” Guillemot said. “It is a tried and tested model that has enabled us to build one of the broadest and most diversified portfolios of successful franchises and remarkable shareholder value. The benefits and opportunities offered by this strategy are growing in a context of strongly rising video game brands value and of AAA quality asset scarcity due to higher barriers to entry. This virtuous momentum confirms our confidence in our ability to carry on generating strong value for our teams, our players and our shareholders over the long term."
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