Ubisoft is excited about the future of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well as its franchises, but it just isn’t very excited about the present.
The publisher revealed that its total revenue was down to $709 million during the third quarter of its fiscal 2013-14, which ended Dec. 31. That’s a drop of 35 percent from $1.09 billion compared to the same period last year. For the first nine months of Ubisoft’s fiscal year, sales are down 25 percent to $1.11 billion from $1.47 billion year-over-year.
While sales were down for the French company, it was not more than expected. Ubisoft hit right in the middle of its $682 million to $737 million guidance. The negative comparison is primarily due to Ubisoft releasing both Assassin’s Creed III and Far Cry 3 during Q3 of the prior fiscal year. That’s opposed to only releasing Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag this past fall (the current fiscal period) and delaying Watch Dogs.
Of course, like many of the other major publishers, Ubisoft’s last-gen Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC games performed worst than expected. Its back-catalog sales, which include games released prior to the start of the quarter, were down 21 percent to $72 million. Surprisingly, the transition even hurt Ubisoft’s digital sales, which were down 4 percent also to $72 million.
With last gen causing problems for Ubisoft, chief executive officer Yves Guillemot was understandably excited about the brisk sales of the current-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems.
“The launches of the PS4 and Xbox One were both hugely successful, with sales of these machines more than doubling those for the previous generation and confirming the growth potential of the console market in the coming years,” he said in a statement. “Over the short term, the high quality of our titles — which is unanimously recognized by gamers — has enabled us to achieve our third-quarter sales target despite the transition period currently affecting the market. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag performed particularly well, reinforcing the franchise’s long-term potential and therefore its upcoming iteration.”
Ubisoft revealed that it shipped 10 million copies of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, 6 million copies of the motion-controlled Just Dance franchise, and around 1 million for its guitar-learning title Rocksmith 2014.
Looking forward to the company’s full fiscal year, which ends March 31, the company now anticipates total sales of $1.36 billion. Guillemot also specified that the next Just Dance, as well as games like open-world racer The Crew and the aforementioned open-world action title Watch Dogs, will not debut until the start of the next fiscal year.
“Fiscal 2014-15 will see an exceptional games lineup, with the release of five major titles including Just Dance, The Crew, and Watch Dogs, which is scheduled for release in the first fiscal quarter,” said Guillemot. “Our lineup is also expected to reap the benefits of the return to growth in the console market and the increasingly significant impact of digital gaming.”
Fiscal 2014-15 will begin in April, which means that gamers can expect the hotly anticipated Watch Dogs sometime between April and June.