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Ubisoft sales down 17% in first quarter

Publisher's business recedes after record performance at the beginning of the pandemic

Ubisoft today released its earnings report for the first quarter of its fiscal year, and the publisher's numbers showed a significant year-over-year drop.

For the three months ended June 30, Ubisoft reported net sales down 14% to €353 million ($415 million), with net bookings down 21% to €326 million ($384 million).

While the bookings total was slightly above Ubisoft's forecast, the publisher was facing a difficult comparison to last year's first quarter when the pandemic pushed sales to record highs despite a release slate headlined by the Stadia debut of Monopoly and new seasons for Rainbow Six: Siege and For Honor.

This year's first quarter had a more robust lineup of releases, including Uno: 50th Anniversary and new updates for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Rainbow Six: Siege, Anno 1800, For Honor, and The Division 2.

Looking ahead, Ubisoft is forecasting second quarter net bookings of €340 million ($400 million), which would be down a little more than 1% year-over-year. That reflects a release slate led by another assortment of updates for its franchises, as well as the China-exclusive Switch game Rabbids Adventure Party and the launch of the Rocksmith+ service on PC.

The publisher expects to make up for these declines in the second half, and told investors it is expecting single-digit growth in net bookings for the full year.

In a post-earnings call, Guillemot emphasized the publisher's strategy to expand its traditional AAA premium content business while also releasing free-to-play entries of its brands in order to expand the overall audience.

Guillemot said the publisher is putting 80% of its future content investments into premium content titles, with the remaining 20% focuses on expanding its free-to-play slate.

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