Ubisoft Reports Disappointing Release For Watch Dogs 2, High Player Engagement For Other Titles
Ubisoft held its third-quarter 2017 earnings call today and reported hitting $565 million dollars in sales, which is 5.7 percent down from last year. The publisher did not report specific sales numbers for its recent titles but instead vaguely described how they had performed.
The publisher said that Watch Dogs 2's "launch was not as dynamic as expected" but noted that the game's "momentum" was now positive. Steep also had a slightly higher-than-expected performance.
Ubisoft reported high player engagement in both Rainbow Six Siege (15 million registered players, record daily active users) and The Division (a 152-percent jump in Daily Active Users). CEO Guillemot released a statement about the company's financial projections that spent a fair amount of time focusing on player engagement:
We are successfully pursuing our transformation into a more recurring and more profitable profile. The positive effects of this transformation are remarkable. They illustrate how far ahead of schedule we are in our digital development, which is one key element of our three-year targets. Our overall player community is growing rapidly. We hit record engagement levels during the period, with 33 percent more MAU year on year.
The number of daily players of Rainbow Six Siege is at its highest ever, an exceptional performance given that the game was released 14 months ago. Meanwhile, The Division has continued its successful come-back, with engagement up by more than 150 percent by the end of December. This resulted in record back-catalog sales and digital revenue for the third quarter, and we saw another sharp rise in player recurring investment.
The publisher expects to hit between $686 million and $729 million sales in the fourth-quarter, lowering its projected annual sales goal by 10 percent. Its upcoming releases include For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Just Dance 2017, and DLC for Steep and The Division.
Watch Dogs 2's lackluster performance definitely hurt Ubisoft's earnings. It'll be interesting to see if the Wildlands and For Honor can help the publisher regain its financial strength, and what effect these financials have on Vivendi's attempt to takeover Ubisoft.