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Back catalog games continue to drive growth for Ubisoft as Q1 sales hit $466M

Back catalog games continue to drive growth for Ubisoft as Q1 sales hit $466M

July 17, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

Ubisoft has released its first financial report for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, boasting a “record first quarter” for the three months ending June 30, 2018. The period was held up, Ubisoft says, by a strong showing from its back catalog games and the continuing upward momentum of player recurring investment like DLC and microtransactions.

Back catalog games having a major presence in Ubisoft’s financial reports is nothing new, but this year the company reports that net bookings (or the net amount of products and services sold in the period, excluding impact from deferrals) for back-catalog titles increased significantly compared to last year's numbers, coming in at €332.6 million (~$387.8 million) for the quarter, up 74.7 percent year-over-year. 

In fact, most categories reported in Ubisoft’s quarterly release saw a significant increase when compared to the first quarter of the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Overall net bookings were reported as €381.5 million (~$444.8 million), up 88 percent year over year. Digital net bookings rose by 76.7 percent in the same period, coming in at €287 million (~$334.6 million) for the quarter, while sales from ‘player recurring investment’ (including of digital items, DLC, season passes, subscriptions and advertising) rose 51.5 percent to €125.9 million (~$146.8 million).

 “We had a record first quarter, which exceeded our expectations,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in a statement. “This performance was fueled by steady growth for our back catalog and an excellent momentum for PRI, once again confirming the increasingly recurring profile of our business and the ever-greater success of our digital transformation.”

While French accounting law only requires Ubisoft to disclose profits at the close of its fiscal year, the company did provide its targets for the full 2018-19 fiscal year. Ubisoft noes that it expects sales to fall around €2 billion (~$2.3 billion), net bookings of €2.05 billion (~$2.4 billion), operating income of €440 million (~$513 million), and free cash flow around €300 million (~$349.8 million). 

Additionally, Ubisoft packaged a look at sales of its games by both platform and region in the report as well. One of the more noticeable shifts, when compared to last year’s breakdowns, shows that sales on PlayStation 4 have decreased by 6 percent, year over year. While Xbox One still claims the same, 22 percent slice of the sales pie as last year, PC has increased by 3 percent and the Nintendo Switch has claimed an additional 4 percent from last year.

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