Ubisoft reported that Assassin’s Creed: Origins gained a following with players during the holiday quarter, pushing the French video game publisher to $889.4 million (€725.0 million) in sales for the third fiscal quarter ended December 31. CEO Yves Guillemot said in an analyst conference call today that the results exceeded Ubisoft’s own revised expectations of $858.8 million (€700.0 million) for the quarter.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins was the third best-selling game in the Europe and Middle East region in 2017, and average player time is expected to almost double that for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate in 2015. Ubisoft took a year off from the annual release of Assassin’s Creed games to improve the quality and reboot the franchise.
That bet is paying off, and it’s a good thing for the company as it still faces the possibility of a hostile takeover from Vivendi, which owns about a quarter of Ubisoft’s stock. (Vivendi said in November that it would not launch a hostile takeover). Third fiscal quarter revenues were up 37 percent from a year earlier.
Asia revenue, excluding Japan, was up 87 percent from a year ago. Ubisoft said its Tom Clancy communities have more than 60 million unique players, thanks to the likes of Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Rainbow Six: Siege. Revenues from the mobile game partnership with Ketchapp were up 75.6 percent.
Ubisoft expects $550.7 million (€449 million) for the fourth fiscal quarter ending March 31. That’s much lower than last year, but Ubisoft had bigger titles that came out a year ago. Far Cry 5 will debut on March 27, almost at the end of the fiscal year.
“Our very strong third-quarter performance highlights two areas in which we have made major strides,” said Guillemot, in a statement. “First, our games’ live operations are making steady progress. This has fueled momentum for digital and back catalog, which both hit record highs this quarter. Second, the increasingly recurring profile of our business has had a very positive impact on our new releases. By taking additional time to develop our games, we have been able to deliver three top-quality titles since August, including the grand return of Assassin’s Creed.”
Guillemot did not say how many units Assassin’s Creed: Origins sold, but he said the it saw significant increase in engagement over the last game in the franchise. Rainbow Six: Siege saw record numbers of players, thanks to online play, and the game is expected to grow in the coming months and years due to its popularity.