Next-gen, free-to-play 'major opportunities' for Ubisoft growth

Publisher says it plans to capitalize on next-gen consoles and the rise in free-to-play gaming; company's first quarter sales rise 27.2% on Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Ubisoft is looking to the next generation of consoles and the free-to-play market as "major opportunities" for growth, company CEO Yves Guillemot said today as part of the firm's first quarter 2012 financial report. Guillemot said reaching "enhanced profitability" from these markets is a medium-term goal.

New consoles and free-to-play games are areas of "major opportunity," says Ubisoft.

As for Ubisoft's financials, the Paris-based company reported sales of €131 million ($162 million) for the three-month period ended June 30, representing a 27.2 percent increase over the €103 million ($127 million) tallied a year prior. Sales of this level beat the company's internal predictions, and benefited from higher-than-expected sales of May's new release Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Another boon for Ubisoft's bottom line was the record breaking Trials Evolution, which helped sales in the company's Online division surge 112 percent to €27 million ($33 million). Also contributing to this sector of Ubisoft's business were its free-to-play titles like Howrse, the company said.

It wasn't all rosy for Ubisoft during the quarter, as the company reported a 41 percent decline in back-catalog sales to €39 million ($48 million). Ubisoft said such sales were down across the industry, but noted this dip was partially offset by growth in online back-catalog sales.

As for its current fiscal quarter (ending September 30), Ubisoft plans to haul €110 million ($135 million) in sales for the period, a dip from the last year, which saw the release of Driver: San Francisco. Further out, Ubisoft said it remains committed to its expectations for the full-year of between €1.16 billion ($1.42 billion) and €1.2 billion ($1.47 billion).

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Discussion

152 comments
lily_tiger
lily_tiger

Wait a second. Innovations and changes in the gaming world are opportunities for growth?

 

You don't say.....

Cait
Cait

The market needs diversity in games, new IPs and for them to slightly lower the price by $5.00 to $10.00; the market needs a little jolt that's all.  (o_o) That would get the market going, some expansion packs could work if you want to have expanded play for existing games.  New ideas, new ways of thinking and new character models, wouldn't hurt. 

Stryder_18
Stryder_18

The more I hear about next gen, the more I fear next gen. Seriously what we have out now for 360 and PS3 is fine. Look at that game the last of us for crying out loud!

thermalcold
thermalcold

This article shows every sign of a disconneced pompous corporation. "Free-to-play" (""major opportunities" for growth (sic)),  "enhanced profitability", and, well, I am surprised they didn't use the sickening terms of "experience" and "ip". When I was growing up, I played games, not "ip's" and I certainly did not play "experiences", it was the game and its gameplay that I enjoyed. I personally think that DF's and YU's are better, anyway (snicker)! Its about gamers and the game, these mega corporations have forgotten this and have their marketing teams telling the CEO's how to think, and that is really sad. FTP is also really bad, because now these corporations can only see how to empty gamers wallets, one axe +7 at a time.

senseless_dj
senseless_dj

If you are not paying for the product....then you ARE the product.

Takeno456
Takeno456

FTP is the worst scheme for the industry. Sadly this is the future. Well I am not going to be buying anything in the in-game stores. I hope lots of people will do the same but I won't hold my breath.

kohle36
kohle36

"Enhanced profitability", huh? That's nice for them, but from our perspective, there's only a few ways that this could work out:

a) Gamers end up paying more money over time for less game

b) Games are increasingly pandered to the 'casual market' to increase overall sales

c) Game design becomes increasingly dominated by repetitive, addicting qualities

d) All of the above

**Spoiler Alert** --> It's d)

zulwalks
zulwalks

It would be a good idea for companies like Ubisoft to invest in free to play, because when they do create a unique new I.P, they don't need to worry about it failing and causing the company's stocks to decline and it would not discourage them from making another new I.P or improving it as much as when they didn't have the money...but of course no one listens to me

pamant
pamant

I think also with f2p games the piracy will be over......

Stealth_Knight_
Stealth_Knight_

f2p gaming is a money grab

 

Its not about consumers and making the best game possible

speed45823
speed45823

In business world, well...in TODAY'S world, there's no such thing as "FREE". Even your Freedom of Rights are not free.

speed45823
speed45823

It's more like "Free now-Pay later" deal.

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

Sorry ubi but now your going free to play I won't be purchasing any more of your games including AC3.

steelmouth
steelmouth

i hate this "free-to-play" term because we all damn well know there ant nothing free about it.

 

this are the same damn companies complaining about how they making loses selling games at $60 a copy and they acting like the looking forward to giving us games for free, FO

ArcherRO
ArcherRO

This thing spreads like a cancer.Ubisoft doesn't need this.They don't know that if everyone will switch to this model the FTP market will collapse?

beast70
beast70

first ubi should get their SH*TY client working.... it's been down for 5 days!!!!

InquisitorCrox
InquisitorCrox

The Americans seem happy to pay monthly fees for their fav games.

Thats why dlcs and MMO prosper that much there.

Hopefully the Japanese companies will not follow suit and will continue to offer great SP offline experience, fully included in the retail price!

 

Let EA, Blizzard and Ubisoft sell that F2P crap where they can...

okassar
okassar

One major problem with F2P that these idiots aren't considering is that there can only be so many successful, profitable F2P games. That's because, for the F2P business model to work, people need to spend a lot of time on the game. Enough to want to purchase little upgrades of some kind here and there. Time is a limited resource. So is the patience of non-casuals.

 

Don't worry though. Wherever there's demand, there's someone more than willing to supply. Just because F2P is the "next best thing" doesn't mean that gaming is dead. We want solid games, we'll get them.

Vambran
Vambran

Thank you pirates , the future of gaming will now be FTP shovel ware.

TaintedMindz
TaintedMindz

If F2P dominates the future of gaming you can count me out. I'll find a different hobby to spend my time and money on.

Freezezzy
Freezezzy

This does not bode well for the future of gaming. With the rise of Facebook, and its apps, we've seen the worst that the F2P model has to offer. Shallow games, with even shallower gameplay, all with the option to skip playing it just by paying a fee. Gaming has slowly been moving away from art and entertainment to a more corporate model designed to suck as much money from the player as possible, and it's sad.

Zaika
Zaika

The discrepancy of F2P is that will gradually deteriorates the gaming experience because it lacks the characteristics of being original (story, characters). I played F2P games and I always noticed after I play is that I mostly had a shallow experience.

 

Nothing beats the satisfaction of defeating a retail copy of a  hard game in singleplayer WITHOUT paying more to get "better".

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

I like anything with the word FREE in it, but as we know, nothing is really free. Like MW2ismygame said, most of the time F2P games offer bonuses, or better weapons that can be purchased, leaving the ones who don't purchase said items at a disadvantage. I think most people who play F2P games end up buying stuff though, I just don't think it would be fair to have the balance tipped to those who have the bigger wallet. I guess it's the American way. Look at the Yankees.

wyan_
wyan_

free to play

oh god why......

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

the only problem i have with the F2P model is that they most often times have a pay to win model with it because if you dont do microtransactions and someone else did you almost always lose because the PAID items are way better. F2P should take valves example with TF2, you can pay to have reskinned guns and hats to show off but they never alter stats or gameplay just purely aesthetic.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

I don't fundamentally have an issue with F2P as a business model.  It does pose an interesting counterpoint to all the people who claim they pirate games to "try them out."  If that's the case then F2P is for you because now you can try it, and if you like it put some money into it.  If you don't, then walk away.  Kind of novel compared to all the preorder pressure in the packaged game side of things where they want you to pay for a game before _anyone_ has played it.

 

All that being said, I hate MMOs personally.  I like my single player, offline experiences just fine, thank you.  So most F2P games don't draw me in.  I'm probably not their target audience.

zulwalks
zulwalks

 @pamant Yeah but then again most of the f2p games will be the same

Cyber_Skaarj
Cyber_Skaarj

 @Cruisemissile Well of course you won't be purchasing any more games... they'll be free to play XD

 

Sorry, sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

 @ArcherRO If everyone switches to this model, the entire damn gaming industry will collapse due to the massive degradation of our overall game quality!

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

 @Zaika Definitely, I couldn't agree with you more. And seeing Ubisoft thinking about going that route is not good at all.

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

 @jimrhurst Have you played many MMOs? If you did you'd notice that F2P isn't a trial period at all, it's just a sandbox where people repeat binary content over and over again. The difference between F2P and P2P is that one is unbalanced and tries to rip the "customers" off. They're all cut from the same cloth. (Or rags, given the "glorious" quality of the content.)

zulwalks
zulwalks

 @96augment It would be if they listened to me.....but no one listens to a kid...lol....more money to them would mean that they would have more room to invest in new I.Ps and looking at comments on the videos I've seen, a lot of them are sick of the same old franchises....but people just stuff their own pockets with the profits

Vambran
Vambran

 @ArcherRO

Pirates are to blame. FTP was first invented by Chinese/Korean video game markers cause of rampart piracy. Go google it if you don't believe me.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @Henrique2324 That's just not true. They're not all cut from the same rags. What's wrong with TF2? What's wrong with F.E.A.R. Combat?

 

I've not played any F2P games that do have microtransactions so I'm not pretending i'm overly knowledgeable but we can already see that not all publishers are doing the same thing. Sure microtransactions play a big part and will likely continue to do so, but if you don't like those games that are spoiled by microtransactions, don't play them. No one's forcing you to.

 

And if there are many that don't like microtransaction based games, then publishers will make F2P games based on other payment models - paid extra content, paid skins, advertising, whatever.

 

Undoubtedly some F2P games have issues but I don't see the point in complaining about F2P as a whole. The F2P market is in it's embryonic stage and is on the cusp of exploding. Let's see what happens before making judgements.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

 @Henrique2324 While some business models such as what they are trying with SW:TOR are actually a true "trial", that wasn't what I really meant.  You can play League of Legends or any of these other games for free.  And if you don't like them, quit playing them.  If you do like them, then you can start putting money in to speed up progression, customize your character, whatever their monetization scheme is. That's what I meant by trying them.  And the ridiculous, simplistic facebook games craze just kind of boggles me.  But to each their own.

 

I have played a few MMOs briefly, but all before the latest F2P craze.

96augment
96augment

 @zulwalks According to the forums, EA is just as  bad as Activision, if not worse. Well, you are right about people's integrity. But pay-to-win models seem to be popular for companies. Truly free-to-play games are rare. Maybe things will change when a true free-to-play game gets the amount of players that WOW, Call of Duty, or Grand Theft Auto gets.

zulwalks
zulwalks

 @96augment Hey, its just like democracy in general. Its good in theory.....everyone has rights and peoples choice and whatever......but it would depend very much on the integrity of the people. And like I said, people just pocket the profit while the people that actually did the work get minimum wage. And you're talking about activision......even EA is not that bad....

96augment
96augment

 @zulwalks Just because the companies would have more money doesn't  mean that they would invest the money into new I.P.'s. Look at Activision. Call of Duty gets them over hundreds of millions (if not a billion) every year. Are they allowing their developers to make new I.P.'s? Nope. I'm just wary of the whole Free-to-Play model in general.

10V3n0M01
10V3n0M01

 @Vambran  Many things have been created due to piracy, one being a constant online connection(which really just made piracy worse). The reason why FTP is being adopted is that it makes money, and lots of it.

Standard release : ~$60FTP : Free but you only get like a taste then you have to buy this, and that.

It just fools the cutomer into thinking by spending $5 here, $10 there, "I'm saving money!", whereas it can easily cost way more than $60.

Piracy may have sparked the FTP's model but blind customers are the only reason it is a success. 

The sooner people start seeing the total GREED behind the FTP model the sooner it will disappear.

 

 @ArcherRO , I totally agree with you, 

ArcherRO
ArcherRO

 @Vambran Games are pirated by people who can't afford to buy them,people who won't buy them but they play them because they are available for free.And by people who want to try the game out and see if the game is worth spending money on.I think that the people who would buy the games if they can't pirate them are in the minority.I'm not trying to defend piracy here but I think this is just an excuse for companies to adopt this model.

davedrastic
davedrastic

 @Henrique2324 No. I think that some publishers will go down the micro transaction route, and others won't. Same as I said in my previous post.

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

 @davedrastic TF2 wasn't always free, and FEAR Combat is the multiplayer layer of a retail game, offered for free. Those are likely the reasons of them being any good. Thankfully I don't play F2P games with microtransactions (pretty much zero MMOs nowadays). But do you really think that publishers will just stop making the same crap? I catch a glimpse of the true MMO (Not AAA gone F2P) scene every year and it never changes. Still the same formulae for content. 

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

 @jimrhurst Yeah, but what I'm saying is that the overall content doesn't change. It's still crap, if you get the whole game for free then it's not a trial. After all, AAA doesn't give you XP boosters as DLC. (For most part, anyway). I'm definitely with you on the facebook/MMO craze, it's all cancer for the industry.