Ubisoft says things are going about as well as can be expected in a console transition year but sees better things ahead with the coming launch of Watch Dogs.
Ubisoft released its third-quarter financial results today, announcing sales for the three-month period ending December 31, 2013 of €520 million ($709.3 million), down more than 35 percent from the €802 million ($1.09 billion) in sales over the same period in the previous year. Sales for the first nine months of the year are down nearly 25 percent, from €1.08 billion ($1.47 billion) to €813 million ($1.11 billion).
"Over the short term, the high quality of our titles - which is unanimously recognized by gamers - has enabled us to achieve our third-quarter sales target depite the transition period currently affecting the market," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement. "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag performed particularly well, reinforcing the franchise's long-term potential and therefore its upcoming iteration."
Ubisoft said Assassin's Creed IV shipped ten million units, which "bears witness to both the high quality of the game and the franchise's strong dynamic with gamers," although the previous game, Assassin's Creed III, shipped 12 million copies over the same period despite being on fewer platforms. Other numbers of note: Rocksmith 2014 had lower-than-expected sales with just one million units shipped, digital sales shrunk by four percent for the quarter but remain 12 percent up overall and "back catalog" sales for the quarter were down 21 percent over the previous year, which Ubisoft also blamed on the console transition period.
Despite the hefty loss for the quarter, Ubisoft has high hopes for its 2014-15 fiscal year, which it expects to start very strongly with the release of Watch Dogs in the first quarter, putting it somewhere between April and the end of June of this year.