A year off did the Assassin's Creed franchise some good. Ubisoft today reported its results for the first half of its fiscal year (the six months ended September 30), and even though Assassin's Creed Origins' launch came after that window, the publisher gave investors a heads up that the series' return sold twice as many units in its first 10 days on sale than its immediate predecessor, 2015's Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
"The quality of our new releases is the result of our effort to transform our model and make our business more profitable and recurring," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. "Given longer development lead times, our talents can fully express their creative visions and therefore maximize the potential of our games. The success of these releases - notably the 100% sales growth for Assassin's Creed Origins - combined with solid live operations demonstrate that Ubisoft is ideally positioned to deliver further growth in future fiscal years, both in terms of financial performance and shareholder value."
As for the Ubisoft lineup that actually contributed to the first half results, it performed well. The publisher reported first half sales up 66% to €466.2 million, driven by Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Rainbow Six: Siege (which now has around 25 million players), Ghost Recon Wildlands, and For Honor. Of those, only Mario + Rabbids actually released during Ubisoft's first half. The contributions of the others would go under the company's back catalog section, which accounted for €379 million (81%) of revenues for the half.
Going hand-in-hand with the back catalog emphasis, the publisher also noted an 83% jump in its "player recurring investment" (PRI) category, which includes post-purchase revenues drawn from digital items, DLC, season passes, subscriptions and the like. For the first half, PRI made up 37% of all revenues, or €174.5 million, and had overtaken revenues from digital full game sales, which contributed €168 million.
"Our commitment to providing high-quality game experiences and supporting them for the long term is driven by the importance we place on our player communities," Guillemot said. "This winning content strategy drove a 66% surge in our sales for the first half of 2017-18 - largely exceeding our targets - as well as a sharp increase in our earnings."
On a non-IFRS basis, Ubisoft reported operating income of €3.1 million for the first half, compared with a €61.8 million operating loss in the previous year's first half. On an IFRS basis, Ubisoft reported an operating loss of €34.4 million, still a good sight improved from the previous year's comparable operating loss of €90.3 million.