The Division 2's move to Epic Games Store already paying off for Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Rainbow Six Siege biggest performers for the fiscal year, in addition to strong Far Cry 5 sales.

Ubisoft has released its financial report for Q3 2018-2019, and the numbers illustrate a strong year for the Rainbow Six: Siege and Assassin’s Creed publisher. So far this fiscal year, Ubisoft has posted €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) in sales, driven largely by Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and a rise in Rainbow Six: Siege engagement. According to NPD, Ubisoft claimed two of the ten top-selling games of 2018 (Odyssey and Far Cry 5).

When Far Cry 5 came out in late March last year, it broke franchise records and quickly became the best-selling game in the series. The follow-up, Far Cry New Dawn, launched to mostly positive reviews. As a direct sequel to Far Cry 5, New Dawn looks to capitalize on the franchise’s current popularity, a sensible -- if expected -- strategy given the financial success of the former. With three months remaining in the fiscal year, there’s still time for New Dawn to figure into Ubisoft’s 2018-2019 numbers.

In October, Ubisoft announced that the launch of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was the series’ best this console generation. From a business standpoint, Odyssey has been quite the boon for Ubisoft this fiscal year, but it has also been the center of some controversy; last month, GLAAD criticized Odyssey’s Legacy of the First Blade DLC story chapter for forcing the player into a heterosexual relationship. Some found this decision upsetting given the ability to romance both male and female NPCs in the base game. Controversy aside, there’s no denying that Odyssey has played a big part in Ubisoft’s successful year.

Since its release, Rainbow Six: Siege has been a consistent performer for Ubisoft. This year, however, the game’s esports viewership has seen significant growth. According to the report, esports viewership of Siege grew by a huge 205 percent in 2018. It’s unclear what exactly is drawing in viewers, but Siege is likely to figure heavily into Ubisoft’s roadmap for the upcoming year. Earlier this week, Ubisoft announced a restructuring of Siege’s digital sales packages that include various tiers of content.

In other numbers, Ubisoft’s net bookings for the year were up by 13.5 percent. This figure was largely driven by digital sales, whose bookings increased nearly 34 percent for the first nine months of the fiscal year.

"Ubisoft delivered a solid performance in a quarter when, as expected, competition was particularly fierce,” Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot said in the release. “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. 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."

Guillemot is crediting a strong projection for The Division 2 to a record number of people playing the game's closed beta. And, according to GamesIndustry.biz, The Division 2 is doing particularly well on PC.

"There are a growing number of distribution platforms fighting for great content," Guillemot said during the earnings call. "With this deal, we saw an opportunity to increase player exposure to our own store while at the same time supporting a partner that greatly values our games and provides better terms. Early indications are supportive, as PC pre-orders are higher than for the first Division, and pre-orders on the Ubisoft store are six times higher. We believe this deal is a long-term positive for Ubisoft."

There has been a lot of controversy around publishers ditching Steam for the Epic Games Store, but it seems like it's paying off for Ubisoft, even though the game hasn't officially launched yet.

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Sam has been freelancing since 2016, and has bylines at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, and Unwinnable. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at sdesatoff@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter.

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