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Ubisoft reported a profit for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, thanks to stronger-than-expected sales of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which launched in May.
The company reported first fiscal sales of 131 million euros ($160.9 million), up 27.2 percent from 103 million euros a year ago. That was higher than its guidance of 115 million euros, thanks to stronger sales of Ghost Recon, which was the best-selling game in the U.S. for both May and June.
But the French video game company said back-catalog sales declined 41 percent to 39 million euros, due to an industry-wide slowdown in retail back-catalog sales. This shortfall was partly offset by a growth in online back-catalog sales. The overall online segment grew to 27 million euros, or 20 percent over overall sales, driven by free-to-play titles and the success of Trials Evolution. Trials set a one-day sales record on Xbox Live Arcade.
Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot said in a statement that Ubisoft’s strategy of refocusing on core games is paying off. At E3, Ubisoft’s games received 335 nominations and 160 awards.
Assassin’s Creed 3 won numerous Game of the Show awards, Far Cry 3 and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist also made big splashes at the show. Ubisoft also got kudos for its previews of Watchdogs and ZombiU. In the casual segment, Ubisoft expects Just Dance 4 to be another major hit.
“Our medium-term goal is to capitalize on both the arrival of the new generation of consoles and the ramp-up of the free-to-play segment, which represent two major opportunities for us to step up growth and enhance our profitability,” Guillemot said. He said the company’s online distribution platform Uplay, which now boasts 35 million members, as well as its “ongoing progress in the item-based model [and] multi-screen gaming” put it in an “ideal position” to take advantage of those opportunities.
For the second quarter, Ubisoft will release Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, a free-to-play PC title. It forecasts sales of 110 million euros. For the full year, Ubisoft expects sales of 1.16 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros and operating income of 70 million to 90 million euros.
On July 9, the company signed a five-year loan agreement for 215 million euros. The company says it was the No. 4 independent publisher in the U.S. with 7.7 percent market share for the first six months of the year.