Watch Dogs delay hurts Ubisoft's Q3 income

Watch Dogs delay hurts Ubisoft's Q3 income
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

February 11th 2014 at 12:45PM

Sales dip 35 per cent year-on-year, but publisher hits its third quarter goal with strong performances from Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance

Ubisoft has reported income of €520 million (£433m), failing to match the record performance of its corresponding 2012 period.

The publisher did achieve its own target for the period, primarily thanks to “excellent momentum” for Assassin’s Creed IV (pictured), which sold over 10m units, and Just Dance, which sold some 6m.

On the digital sales front, it saw a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent to €123 million (£102m), thanks to DLC such as Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon.

However, despite riding out the console transition period, Ubisoft’s performance was not as strong as the same period the year before, when it released Far Cry 3, Assassin’s Creed III and Just Dance 4.

Income was down 35.2 per cent (or -32.7 per cent at constant exchange rates) compared with the €802 million (£667m) recorded for third quarter 2012-13.

Watch Dogs, a highly anticipated title from the publisher, was originally set to arrive alongside PS4 and Xbox One, but was delayed at the last minute, impacting the publisher’s income for the period.

“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,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.

“Over the short term, the high quality of our titles – which is unanimously recognised by gamers – has enabled us to achieve our third-quarter sales target despite the transition period currently affecting the market.

“Assassin’s Creed IV 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.”

For the first nine months of fiscal 2013-14, Ubisoft sales totalled €813 million (£676.8m) compared to €1,081 million (£900m) in the corresponding prior-year period, representing a decrease of 24.8 per cent (or -21.8 per cent at constant exchange rates).

On its schedule for the last 2013 fiscal quarter are the long-awaited South Park RPG The Stick of Truth, Rayman Legends for PS4 and Xbox One and a open betas for its PC strategy titles. Ubisoft expects income of €187 million (£155) for the period.

For the coming 2014 fiscal year, Ubisoft expects to see positive sales from its cross-gen titles Watch Dogs and The Crew, as well as continued sales for the Just Dance franchise.