Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ships 10m as Ubi's Q3 sales dip 35%
Yves Guillemot notes that the company did hit its holiday sales target "despite the transition currently affecting the market"
French publisher Ubisoft today reported its third-quarter earnings for the holiday period ended December 31, 2013. Total sales came to €520 million ($709.4 million), down 35.2 percent year-over-year, which was in line with the company's projected sales of between €500 million and €540 million. Looking at the first nine months of fiscal 2013-14, the picture isn't much better, as sales totaled €813 million ($1.1 billion), which represents a decrease of 24.8 percent.
The numbers were down year-over-year in part due to the effects of the console transition. Ubisoft also said that its latest Rocksmith game failed to meet sales expectations, shipping around 1 million units total. On the bright side, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag showed "excellent momentum," shipping 10 million units, and Just Dance also performed well, shipping 6 million copies.
As for other areas of the business, Ubisoft's digital sales actually contracted four percent to €53 million ($72.3 million) for the third quarter. Also, the publisher's back-catlog sales contracted 21 percent to total €53 million as well. Ubisoft said that was due to the console transition primarily.
"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. 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," said Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer. "Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag performed particularly well, reinforcing the franchise's long-term potential and therefore its upcoming iteration. This robust showing was achieved thanks to the excellence of our teams, our extensive development capacities and the efficiency of our Lead and Associate studio structure."
Along with its Q3 numbers, Ubisoft issued its full-year outlook today. The company now expects sales of €1 billion along with a non-IFRS operating loss around €65 million. Furthermore, Ubisoft is bullish on its next fiscal year, thanks to expected growth with the new consoles on the market.
"Fiscal 2014-15 will see an exceptional games line-up, 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. Our line-up is also expected to reap the benefits of the return to growth in the console market and the increasingly significant impact of digital gaming," Guillemot said.
On the company's earning's call, Guillemot also confirmed that the much anticipated Watch Dogs is on track to release in Ubisoft's Q1 (between April and June of this year) but that the Wii U version "will be launched at a later date."