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Ubisoft's net bookings beat expectations, though still down from last year

Ubisoft reported €455.5 million in net bookings for the quarter ending December 31, 2019, a figure that’s down 24.8 percent year-over-year but about €45.5 million higher than Ubisoft was expecting.

Ubisoft reported €455.5 million (~$500.2 million) in net bookings for the quarter ending December 31, 2019, a figure that’s down 24.8 percent year-over-year but about €45.5 million (~$50 million) higher than Ubisoft was expecting for the three month period.

Most of the data provided in the company’s end-of-quarter report shows year-over-year decreases, something that’s not entirely surprising given the lowered targets, underperformance of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and high-profile game delays Ubisoft announced late into 2019.

Those delays saw a number of games moved from the current fiscal 2019-20 to fiscal 2020-20, including one game originally planed for a Q3 2019-20 release, Rainbow Six Quarantine.

Due to the nuances of French accounting law, we won’t see a peek at how Ubisoft’s profits fare until after the close of the full fiscal year in March. However, the Q3 reporting notes that sales for the quarter came in at €416.2 million (~$457.1 million), down 25.9 percent year-over-year, while net bookings, as noted before, landed at €455.5 million (~$500.2 million).

Looking at the first nine months of the year all together, Ubisoft reported €1.11 billion (~$1.22 billion) in sales, down 16.2 percent year-over-year, and net bookings of €1.12 billion (~$1.23 billion), down 17.4 percent year over year. As tends to be the case, most of those net bookings, 79.6 percent, came from digital sources, though moreso this year than the 66.4 percent of the 2018-19 year. Net bookings from back catalog titles represented 68.5 percent of that 9-month sum, with €764.7 million ($839.6 million) in net bookings owed to older releases.

Interestingly, in terms of net bookings at the 9 month line, net bookings from player recurring investment was the only category (of digital, back-catalog, and net bookings as a whole) that saw a year-over-year increase. PRI accounted for €474 million (~$520.4 million) for the first three quarters of the year, up 7.4 percent YOY.

For per-game highlights, Ubisoft calls out its 2015 release Rainbow Six Siege for boosting its player recurring investment (or sales of digital items, DLC, season passes, subscriptions, and advertising) during the quarter, and says the game hit a new (but undisclosed) peak for daily average revenue per user. To date, the game has over 55 million registered players.

The comapny's own Uplay is now the 4th best earning platform for Ubisoft games, with a 73 percent growth in revenue for the first 9 months of the fiscal year. On top of that, 40 percent of net bookings now come from Uplay.

Ubisoft also calls attention to “stability” in both PC and console dealings, noting that active players, monthly active users, and player recurring investment in the quarter remained flat year-over-year. This, according to a statement from Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillermot. “clearly demonstrates the depth of our game’s portfolio and the firmer resilience of our business model” despite the year as a whole falling below its initial expectations.

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