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Ubisoft sees continued digital growth in first half of fiscal year

Digital net bookings rose 51.5%, accounted for nearly 70% of total net bookings

Q2 has been a quiet period for releases from most major publishers, and Ubisoft was no exception. Nonetheless, strong digital and back-catalog growth and player recurring investment drove increases in net bookings across the board for the company in its H1 and Q2 financial results, keeping Ubisoft on track to meet its full-year targets.

Ubisoft reported H1 sales of €767 million ($870 million USD) and Q2 sales of €367.1 ($416.4 USD). The latter of those numbers was higher than Ubisoft's projected target of €345.0 million and €355.0 million ($391 million and $403 million).

Net bookings for H1 were up 60 percent year-over-year to €746.1 million ($846.2 million), with Q2 net bookings up 38 percent year-over-year to €364.6 million, higher than the target of €345.0 million ($391 million).

Ubisoft saw particularly strong digital growth over the first half of this fiscal year. Digital net bookings rose 51.5 percent year-over year to €519.2 million ($588.8 million), which accounted for 69.9 percent of total net bookings.

Of those digital net bookings, player recurring investment was up 49.5 percent year-over year to €262 million ($297.1 million) and accounted for 35.1 percent of all total net bookings. Back-catalog net bookings were up 48.8 percent to €564.9 million ($640.9 million), accounting for 75.7 percent of the all net bookings.

Though Assassin's Creed: Odyssey launched after the cut-off for these results and thus was not reflected in these numbers, CEO Yves Guillemot did reveal that digital sales accounted for 45 percent of the game's total sales - marking a 10 percent increase in digital sales compared to Origins.

During the company's earnings call earlier today, it was noted that Rainbow Six Siege currently has 40 million registered players, and For Honor has 15 million. The presentation also showed that Ubisoft's mobile revenue from the games Hungry Shark, Is It Love, and Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians was up 60 percent in H1 FY19.

Guillemot says the company is on-track to meet its full-year targets, including around €2 billion ($2.3 billion) in sales and net bookings of about €2.05 billion ($2.32 billion). Ubisoft anticipates an especially strong Q4 to drive this, led by the upcoming release of Tom Clancy's The Division 2, though the Q3 release of Assassin's Creed Odyssey is also expected to have a strong impact.

"Led by an increasingly direct relationship with our player communities as well as very high-quality titles, our first-half 2018-19 performance confirms the potential of Ubisoft's many short- and medium-term growth drivers," said Guillemot. "The steady rise in player engagement is feeding our digital development and the quality of our games is enabling us to achieve top-rate performance. Our mobile segment is growing significantly and our PC segment is experiencing strong momentum, especially across the whole of Asia.

"Lastly, we are ramping up our presence in e-sports, artificial intelligence and streaming, all of which offer long term opportunities for the video game industry. In light of all of these factors we are confident in our ability to deliver robust growth and to sustainably increase our profitability over the long term."

Finally, as a part of Ubisoft's H1 results announcement, it was noted that the company will cancel 1,565,426 of its shares following a decision made by its board of directors, and will pre-emptively buy back 3,045,455 of its shares at €66 per share on October 31 in connection with Vivendi's departure.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar
Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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