* Sales increased overall from €871m ($1.24bn) in FY10 to €1.04bn ($1.48bn). However, losses actually increased from €43.7 ($66.2m) to €52.1m ($74.2m). There was a sharp increase in research and development expenses, going from €309.4m ($436.8m) to €363.5m ($513.2m), which includes royalty payments and re-organizational charges (€95.9m/$135.4m worth) meant to keep up with the shifting market. These changes included the cancellation of unnamed projects.
* Fourth quarter sales were €178m ($251.3m), down from €210m ($296.5) for the same period in FY10. This was above market guidance, mainly due to the strong sales of their Just Dance line and their launch lineup for the Nintendo 3DS.
* For FY12, CEO Yves Guillermot stated that they’re hoping to bank on three main branches: casual, online and high-definition gaming. In the casual market, they are banking on releases of their dance games on the Kinect and Move. In HD, they’re banking on established IP such as Assassin’s Creed, a return of the Driver series, Ghost Recon and Rayman. For online, they are intent on growing that part of their portfolio, including the launch of a free-to-play version of their Imagine line.
The full financial report is enclosed below.
Analysis: I don’t think we’re going to see these figures at this time next year. Most of the costs associated with the loss this time around were related to R+D, which is code for “uh oh, the market is shifting, and we’d better shift with it”. Next year, they’ll be leaner, they’ll have online figured out more (notice they’re calling for a “strong growth” in online for FY12), and they have a nice diversity in titles. I might hate Just Dance, but it sells. On the other hand, they are releasing some good stuff, especially on the digital platforms (look for my review of Outland coming soon).
Other than Activision, I don’t think there’s a major publisher better positioned for the coming year than Ubisoft with their diversity. They have all three branches of their company rolling strong, and the only thing that can stand in their way is mismanagement.