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Ubisoft isn't worried about an influx of new games stealing Rainbow Six Siege's thunder

The company totes strong player engagement as one noticeable sign that its games had some staying power throughout a competitive holiday season.

“When there’s something new on the market, especially shooter games, [Rainbow Six Siege players] go and explore and then they come back.”

- Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot discusses the staying power and appeal of Rainbow Six Siege in an investor Q&A. 

Ubisoft has rounded up its financial results for both the third quarter of its 2018-19 fiscal year and first nine months of that period, calling out specifically that its games “delivered a solid performance in a quarter when, as expected, competition was particularly fierce.”

For that nine-month period, Ubisoft recorded €1.32 billion (~$1.49 billion) in sales and €1.35 billion (~$1.53 billion) in net bookings (or sales plus deferred revenue from live games). Net bookings along saw a 13.5 increase over the €1.19 billion (~$1.34 billion) recorded during the same period last year.

Digital continues to take up a growing chunk of overall net bookings. Last year, digital net bookings were responsible for 56.3 percent of net bookings for the first nine months of the year. This time around, that share has grown to 66.4 percent, or 897.8 million for that three-quarter-long period.

Net bookings sourced from Ubisoft’s back catalog of past releases also saw a boost. This year, back catalog titles brought in €842.9 million (~$952.5 million) in the first nine months of the year, up 38.6 percent from the 2017-18 year, and were responsible for 62.3 percent of total net bookings.

Net bookings for the quarter, meanwhile, fell by 16.4 percent from last year’s numbers but still managed to exceed Ubisoft’s earlier projections. For Q3, net bookings came in at €605.8 million (~$684.6 million), just slightly beating the €600 million (~$678 million) target set for the quarter. 

The company totes strong player engagement as one noticeable sign that its games had some staying power throughout a competitive holiday season. For last quarter’s release Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Ubisoft leadership says they charted a rise in things like days-played and overall completion numbers, factors that they believe reflect well on the decision to take the long-running series in a more RPG-inspired direction. 

Rainbow Six Siege, a 2015 release and ever-present force in Ubisoft’s catalog, has seen consistent growth and a year-over-year increase in revenue. Even as a premium title, Ubisoft notes that the bulk of Rainbow Six Siege’s revenue comes from DLC sales. 

The game currently has 45 million players and the company doesn’t expect rising competition in the genre to hurt the game’s player base. “When there’s something new on the market, especially shooter games, they go and explore and then they come back,” explained Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot in an earnings call. The company is looking to bring Siege over to China in the future as well.

The Epic Games Store, or rather Ubisoft’s decision to move The Division 2 from Steam to Epic’s new platform, was another topic brought up a couple times during that earnings call. In response to a question about the risks of skipping Steam, Guillemot said that the revenue boost it’s been seeing on sales (both from the Epic Games Store and increased traffic on its own UPlay platform) has been a beneficial result so far. 

“I think the Epic deal is a deal that was important for us,” said Guillemot. “Because it really helped us to do actually more of our business on our own store and have a better revenue per unique sold.”

He says it's difficult to say the exact impact the decision has had quite yet, but that preorders so far have been promising. The deal itself sees the PC version of The Division 2 launching only on the Epic Game Store (with UPlay integrations and the platform's generous revenue share model) and Ubisoft’s store. So far, with one month left before its release, Ubisoft says The Division 2 has already beaten preorders for the original The Division.

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