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Ubisoft’s sales were down big for the first quarter of its 2013-14 fiscal year. The publisher generated $99 million in sales, which is down 42 percent compared to $171 million in 2012-13. It is a tough comparison since Ubisoft released Ghost Recon: Future Soldier last year and had nothing of that size for the 2013-14 quarter.
Despite the dip in sales, the results slightly beat the company’s guidance. Ubisoft’s forecast was for a $92 million quarter, and it squeaked past that on the strength of catalog sales.
Ubisoft also reaffirmed its target for fiscal 2013-14. It expects to generate total sales between $1.86 billion and $1.90 billion. It expects an operating income between $144 million and $164 million.
Ubisoft pointed to a 56 percent increase for back-catalog sales. Games like Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, Just Dance 4, Rock Smith, and Rayman Origins all helped the publisher generate $79 million.
The French company also noted the continued momentum of its digital business. Games like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Call of Juarez: The Gunslinger pushed digital sales up 27 percent to $45 million.
Looking forward, the company will release Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rayman Legends in the next quarter. Ubisoft expects to jump back up to around $262 million in sales, which is a 35 percent increase compared to the same period in its 2012-13 fiscal year.
Beyond that, the publisher is also looking forward to the holiday season and the next-gen console releases from Microsoft and Sony. Ubisoft showed many games, like Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Crew, that support those consoles at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in early June.
“Ubisoft’s teams once again performed remarkably well at this year’s E3 in a very competitive and dynamic environment,” Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot said in a statement. “The event was an opportunity to fully confirm the potential of the next-generation consoles whose launch in late 2013 is synonymous with a new growth phase for Ubisoft and the industry as a whole. With seven acclaimed titles, our games portfolio stood out in terms of both its quality and diversity, and the numerous innovations for the Xbox One and PS4 versions. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was very well received and the event enabled us to further boost the excellent momentum behind our new brand, Watch Dogs, and to reveal two eagerly awaited new creations – The Crew and Tom Clancy’s The Division. After years of investing in the technologies, expertise and production capacity required for regularly releasing open world titles and for integrating online and social innovations, Ubisoft is now ideally positioned to continue on its path of winning market share and enhancing its financial performance.”