During a year of financial crisis or, at the very least, sub-par performances for many big name publishers, Ubisoft stands head and shoulders above the majority of their peers. While studios like TimeGate and THQ file for bankruptcy and dismantle their staff, and Square Enix deems what should be sure-fire commercial successes such as Tomb Raider a failure, the team behind those lovable raving rabbids is enjoying some notable success. During a financial earnings report, Ubisoft noted that they managed to haul in $83.3 million in profits and a total revenue of over $1.6 billion.
So, how did Ubisoft manage to turn such a tidy profit while other studios are scrambling to break even? The publisher attributes this year’s success to strong flagship titles among other quality products. Specifically, Ubisoft mentions Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3, and Just Dance 4. Combined with digital sales, AC3 managed to move 12.5 million units, while Far Cry 3 and Just Dance 4 sold 6 million and 8.5 million copies, respectively.
Commenting on the success Ubisoft enjoyed this year, CEO Yves Guillemot stated that, “We began fiscal 2012-13 with two major franchises: Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance. Twelve months later, we have substantially extended our reach by establishing Far Cry as another major franchise, building upon the great potential for our newest brand, Watch Dogs, and making our online/digital segment an increasingly significant part of our business.”
It’s interesting to note that Ubisoft now considers Far Cry 3 a “major franchise,” which could potentially mean we’ll be seeing a lot more out of the series. I’m not sure they’re ready to commit to an annual release schedule like Assassin’s Creed, but given the success of Far Cry 3 and the recently released Arcade title Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, it’s not crazy to expect more content will be headed our way sooner rather than later.
Ubisoft put out a strong lineup this year, and their profitability is simply a reflection of that. Considering the footage that’s been show thus far of Watch Dogs, I expect the new IP will achieve similar success. That’s to say nothing of the near-assured success of the impending Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Basically, Ubisoft is already in a good position headed into the next fiscal year. The question now becomes how much of that money will be funneled back into sequels for established franchises, and how much the publisher is willing to risk on fresh ideas and new IP. Hopefully, it’s a balanced mix, as I’d like to see the next generation of consoles usher in a variety of new franchises to combat the sequelitis of this generation.
Are you guys surprised to see Ubisoft do so well, given the industry’s current economic woes? Which franchises should the publisher focus on supporting with their generated revenue? Share your thoughts in the comments section,and don’t forget to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+.