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Q3 bookings boost makes Ubisoft confident of record year

Ubisoft has released its financial results for the first nine months of the financial year, showing a slight uptick in net bookings and a drop in revenue – but expects to achieve record full-year net bookings by the end of the current quarter.

The publisher’s Q3 results were boosted by the release of Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, as well as a sharp rise in bookings from long-running hit Rainbow Six Siege.

Here’s what you need to know:

The numbers

For the nine months ending December 31, 2023:

Revenue: €1.443 billion (down 4.1% year-on-year)
Net bookings: €1.449 billion (up 1.6%)
Digital net bookings: €1.19 billion (down 2.1%)
Back-catalogue net bookings: €1.05 billion (up 39.7%)

For the three months ending December 31, 2023 (Q3):

Net bookings: €626.2 million
Digital net bookings: €468 million

The highlights

During its conference call, Ubisoft elaborated on its Q3 performance noting that the net bookings of €626.2 million were slightly ahead of previous guidance, which predicted €610 million. The publisher said this was driven by both high quality new releases and the strength of its back catalogue.

The €468 million in digital net bookings represented 75% of the publisher’s total bookings for the quarter, but this was down 18% year-on-year.

Nonetheless, Ubisoft expects bookings for Q4 (three months ended March 31, 2024) to “sharply rise leading to record annual net bookings.” This confidence is boosted by the initial performance and praise for Prince of Persia, next week’s long-awaited release of Skull and Bones, as well as a limited contribution from free-to-play multiplayer shooter XDefiant, follow-up sales from previous quarter releases and strong back catalogue sales.

Looking at the most recent quarter’s launches, Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora were cited as key releases, with Ubisoft execs saying the Assassin’s Creed franchise “outperformed this quarter” thanks to the halo effect of Mirage’s launch.

Older titles also continued to deliver, with September’s The Crew Motorfest continuing to “outperform The Crew 2 on acquisition, activity, monetisation and net bookings since launch.”

Meanwhile, the publisher reported a “sharp increase” in net bookings and playtime growth (with hours played up nearly 60% year-on-year) for Rainbow Six Siege. This was described as “another remarkable performance” in the face of increasing competition in the live service first-person shooter space.

Ubisoft reaffirmed full-year target of €400 million non-IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) operating income.

On the earnings call, CEO Yves Guillemot said: “This quarter provided us with positive momentum and marks the beginning of our turnaround to consistently creating and delivering high-quality, long-lasting games.”

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