Ubisoft reports good financial results, but makes conservative projections for 2020

In June 2019, Ubisoft revealed its plans in Los Angeles at E3, an international video game show. This year, we will have to wait until July 12 to attend online announcements. ROBYN BECK / AFP

An excellent balance sheet on the current generation of home consoles, a mixed year 2019-2020, optimistic but cautious projections for 2020-2021: while waiting for its games announcements, expected for July 12, the French publisher Ubisoft published on Thursday May 14 its financial statement for the fiscal year running from April 2019 to March 2020.

The publisher of hit series Assassin’s Creed – including the trailer for the next episode, Valhalla, reached one hundred million views in ten days – welcomes the excellent results of its titles on the “Current console cycle” (Sony and Microsoft plan to release the next PlayStation and Xbox at the end of the year). Of Watch dogs at The Division 2, eleven Ubisoft games have sold more than ten million copies.

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Possible effects of the pandemic

But Ubisoft also revealed for the fiscal year 2019-2020 a turnover down 13.6% compared to that of the previous year, despite a good last quarter and good results from its online games. Its operating profit amounted to 34.2 million euros, against 446 million the previous year. A shortfall which can partly be explained by the postponement of Watch Dogs: Legion, initially scheduled for March.

For its 2020-2021 financial year, whose outlines are still necessarily vague and dependent on all the effects of the coronavirus crisis, the company is considering two scenarios. One where he would achieve, as expected, an operating profit of 600 million euros, made possible by a rapid adaptation of Ubisoft teams to telework and the immediate release of five major games by March 2021: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six: Quarantine, Gods & Monsters, as well as a fifth title, still unknown, presented as a new episode of a popular series.

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The other, more cautious, considers that the Covid-19 pandemic could have in the coming months a greater impact than expected on partners and sales, and would force Ubisoft to drag the release date of one of these five games for the fiscal year 2021-2022. The publisher then projects, in this hypothesis, an operating profit reduced to 400 million euros.

A caution that contrasts with a widespread discourse: confinement, total or partial, and its millions of players under house arrest, would be a blessing for the video game industry. A speech that should be nuanced. “The reality is less rosy than imagined. The impact on the sector is likely to be quite significant in the short and medium term “, explained Julien Villedieu, general delegate of the National Video Game Syndicate (SNJV), at World, from April 14.

We also learned, during Ubisoft’s financial statement, the transition to “free” of two titles from the publisher, at least on PC: Discovery tours (“Discovery tours”) of titles Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Less than games than educational software, they allow you to freely visit ancient Egypt and Greece as well as their monuments recreated for the occasion.

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