Yesterday, Paris-based developer and publisher Ubisoft released their yearly financial data. They recorded a net profit of €37.321 million ($47.487 million), up from last year’s loss of €52.120 million ($66.317 million). The company experienced a 2.16% increase in total sales, making €1.061 billion ($1.350 billion). Additionally, cost of sales and research & development both experienced a decrease: 6.03% to €343.162 million ($436.639 million) and 4.15% to €348.407 million ($443.313 million), respectively. Marketing and general & administrative costs, however, experienced an increase: 11.99% to €238.392 million ($303.473 million) and 10.93% to €75.302 million ($95.859 million), respectively.
Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot had the following to say regarding the positive financial report:
Ubisoft achieved a 90% surge in current operating income in fiscal 2011-12, in the upper range of the targets announced a year ago. This achievement was notably spurred by strong growth in online/digital revenue. We ended the year in a solid financial position – all the while having continued to invest in the future – primarily thanks to better-than-expected cash flows. Lastly, thanks to our focus on ramping up our teams’ online expertise, combined with the know-how brought in by our recent acquisitions and with the recruitment of specialized talent, we are now in a position to fully seize the numerous current and future opportunities of the video game industry.
Ubisoft’s online and digital sales more than doubled in the past year, increasing by 110.8% to achieve a total of about €80 million ($101.84 million). This number is included within their sales figures, of which €578 million is attributed to Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, The Settlers Online, Rayman Origins, and Driver San Francisco. The remaining €483 million was generated by Just Dance, Howrse, and Rocksmith.
Ubisoft projects an increase in revenue during the upcoming year. Guillemot said that they “expect to see an increase of between 25% and 61% in current operating income and positive cash flows from operating activities.” He also noted that Ubisoft intends to utilize the next generation console hardware to boost its revenue even more and focus on the social, casual, and free-to-play markets.
Upcoming Ubisoft releases include Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Trials Evolution, and Silent Hunter Online.
Analysis: In the past year, Ubisoft has managed to have itself cast in a negative light in nearly all forms of reporting. Thanks to their various forms of draconian DRM and their awful PC ports of otherwise fantastic console games, many people have had a mouthful of things to say regarding the company, and they generally aren’t nice things. I mentioned that Ubisoft somehow managed to pull a profit to a friend and his response was, “I was kinda hoping they’d lose more money,” and frankly, I have to agree with him. Ubisoft really seems to screw its PC gamers at every turn: whether it be their DRM servers going down preventing the player from enjoying their purchased game or making it impossible to change the game resolution without screwing with your Windows registry. Their DRM practices in particular resulted in a 90% decrease in sales since it started which took over a full year to recover from. The fact they recovered at all is what boggles my mind. It seems that, no matter what poison they’re fed, gamers just keep coming back for more.
Ubisoft also canceled support this year for their Battle Tag system, a laser tag system intended for personal home-use. This one in particular burns me because I enjoy Battle Tag; it’s quite easily one of the best home laser tag systems ever made, sporting up to a 300-yard radius play area, highly accurate guns, and allows up to eight players. They initially promised they’d eventually allow more than one Ubiconnect device to link, allowing play for up to thirty-two people. Unfortunately, their marketing for this system was downright atrocious: the system was only available for purchase online in a few stores in Texas or in a small chain in Canada. Barely anyone knew about it. The only reason I was made aware of how awesome the Battle Tag system was due to my college’s Ubisoft representative contacting a different college’s Ubisoft representative and having him bring the system to one of our local LAN parties.
Congratulations on pulling a profit, Ubisoft. Now fix your goddamn release practices.