Ubisoft online efforts push profit turnaround
Publisher's full-year digital sales more than double as Trials Evolution sells 500,000 in three weeks; Driver: San Francisco and Rayman Origins ship 2 million each.
Ubisoft today posted its full-year financial results, showing off a return to profitability thanks in part to the doubling of its digital and online sales.
For the year ended March 31, Ubisoft reported total revenues of €1.06 billion ($1.35 billion), up from €1.04 billion ($1.32 billion) the year before. The publisher also posted a net profit of €37.3 million ($47.6 million), a turnaround from the prior year's loss of €52 million ($66.4 million).
Ubisoft pointed to a handful of factors that drove the comeback, among them a nearly 111 percent jump in its online and digital sales. The company's digital business includes titles like the Xbox Live Arcade hit Trials Evolution (which sold 500,000 in three weeks), as well as microtransaction-driven titles like The Settlers Online and Howrse.
In Ubisoft's packaged goods business, an "excellent" showing from Assassin's Creed: Revelations (which shipped 7.2 million copies, about even with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood) and the continued success of the Just Dance series (which shipped 15 million copies cumulatively) were also singled out as sales drivers. Driver: San Francisco and Rayman Origins were also noted as "critical successes" by the publisher, with each title shipping 2 million copies worldwide.
The Wii continued to be the publisher's biggest platform, accounting for 33 percent of Ubisoft revenues for the year. The Xbox 360 followed with 29 percent, while PlayStation 3 games contributed 22 percent of the publisher's total sales.
Looking to the year ahead, Ubisoft expects a significant boost from its core gaming business. The publisher was particularly enthusiastic about its return to the shooter genre with Far Cry 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, the latter of which is the most preordered Tom Clancy title to date in the US. Ubisoft is also pushing its core brands into new places, as it plans to launch a free-to-play Assassin's Creed on iOS and Android phones at the end of the year.
"From a longer-term perspective, Ubisoft is positioning itself to capitalize on the forthcoming arrival of the next generation of consoles which will be increasingly connected and will strongly boost the market thanks to a new qualitative leap and the integration of social games benefits and the item based model, the ongoing strong growth in the free-to-play market for PCs, smartphones and tablets," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement. "These major opportunities will enable us to extend our global reach, increase our average revenue per user (ARPU) and therefore raise the profitability potential of each of our brands."
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