Ubisoft reported record profitability in its full-year 2018-19 earnings report, with net bookings of more than €2.03 billion ($2.27 billion), in line with its target for the year of around €2.05 billion ($2.3 billion). The company showed particular strength on the PC, with net bookings up nearly 79 percent, accounting for 27 percent of the company’s total for the year.
That figure is up from 18 percent in the previous year, and along with mobile is the only platform to increase its slice of the pie: The PS4 dropped from 42 percent to 36, the Xbox One slid from 23 percent to 20, the Nintendo Switch dropped a point from 7 to 6 percent, and the remainder—Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Wii U—held steady at 2 percent. For the final quarter of Ubisoft’s fiscal year, the PC actually beat out all other platforms, accounting for 36 percent of net bookings, ahead of the PS4 and Xbox One.
Somewhat surprisingly, The Division 2 fell short of Ubisoft’s expectations on console, which Ubisoft attributed in its earnings call to “a more competitive environment than expected.” On PC, however, its performance “was in line with the first Division’s massive launch,” and drove “a huge 10x increase in sales [over The Division 1] on Uplay.”
That dramatic increase could be viewed as an indictment of Ubisoft’s decision to shift its releases from Steam to the Epic Games Store, but it also reflects the success of Ubisoft’s strategy, explained by CEO Yves Guillemot earlier this year, to draw attention to, and increase usage of, its own store. Being on the Epic Store “really helped to actually do more of our business on our own store,” he said at the time, noting that Division 2 preorders on Uplay were six times higher than for Division 1.
Rainbow Six Siege continues to be a hit, with a 40 percent year-over-year increase in its player base, which has now surpassed 45 million. That’s no doubt helping to power growth in overall esports viewership, which is also up 133 percent across YouTube and Twitch.
And for all the complaints we hear about microtransactions in games, “player recurrent investment”—sales of digital items, DLC, season passes, subscriptions, and advertising—continues to be a big money-maker: It’s up more than 33 percent year over year to €644 million ($721 million), accounting for nearly 32 percent of total net bookings.
And on the less “numbers and dense verbiage” side of things, Ubisoft also teased three unannounced new triple-A games for the fourth quarter of its current fiscal year. Maybe we’ll finally get that new Splinter Cell we’ve all been waiting for.