French-headquartered Ubisoft, one of the largest publishers in video games, has posted its results for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year ended March 31, 2006. These showed overall sales of 144 million euros ($180 million), reflecting what the company described as "continuous gains in key world markets", and exceeding the Company’s last guidance of around 130 million euros ($163 million).
However, the company is not currently required to reveal its specific profits either the quarter or year to date under French accounting rules, meaning that its true financial performance is somewhat masked. In addition, further perusal of Ubisoft's financials revealed that the 144 million euros ($180 million) Q4 fiscal 2005 figure was a significant 34% decrease on the same quarter last year, which saw 219 million euros ($274 million) in revenue for the firm.
Nonetheless, some titles have done well for Ubisoft. Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
has already shipped 4.5 million copies, and the company also announced that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
sold in excess of 1.6 million units, with its Xbox 360 version selling through around 800,000 units to-date, becoming "the fastest selling game on this platform."
Overall, the company had full-year revenue of 547 million euros ($685 million), up very slightly from 532 million euros ($666 million) in revenue for 2004-2005, and showing the continued difficulty of a console transition - though Ubisoft commented that this was in the context of "an estimated worldwide market contraction in the range of 7% to 8%".
A particularly interesting part of the results were comparisons of how Ubisoft's SKUs stacked up. In January-March 2005, the PlayStation 2 accounted for 34% of Ubisoft's business, with 28% on Xbox and 23% on PC, with the PSP at just 2%, but in January-March 2006, the Xbox 360 was responsible for a massive 46% of Ubisoft's revenue, with the PC at 15%, the PSP at 14%, the PlayStation 2 at 12%, and the original Xbox at just 7%.
Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft Entertainment, commented of the results: "Establishing our leadership on the Microsoft Xbox 360 is a great achievement. The tremendous success of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
confirms our ability to be at the forefront on new consoles. It should support Ubisoft’s financial performance during the coming fiscal year, as we expect the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Revolution installed base to ramp-up rapidly."
Looking forward, Ubisoft indicated that, for the first quarter ending June 30, 2006, it anticipates revenues of around 60 million euros ($75 million), compared with 43 million euros ($54 million) for the quarter ending June 30, 2005, but it only offered the vaguest of predictions for its overall fiscal 2005-2006 performance, of: "a positive current operating income, before stock-based compensation."