PC gaming becomes Ubisoft’s biggest earner, Anno 1800 leads the way

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Anno 1800
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Ubisoft is somehow the publisher which cannot stop growing. The French giant has posted its latest quarterly earnings report, revealing higher than expected revenue thanks to the success of Rainbow Six Siege, Anno 1800, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and “Player Recurring Investment”. That’s microtransactions, to you and me.

The big winner though was PC gaming. It’s been a long time coming but PC is now Ubisoft’s biggest gaming platform bar none. The latest fiscal reports show PC games revenue has now eclipsed PS4 revenue for Ubisoft.

A grand total of 34% of Ubisoft’s quarterly revenue came from PC, up from 24% last year. PS4, meanwhile, has shrunk from 38% to 31%. It’s quite an interesting statistic when we consider there are now millions more PlayStation 4’s in the wild than Q1 2018. This could perhaps be a signifier that some have grown tired of the aging console and moved to PC, although it’s difficult to draw any certainties from it.

Ubisoft itself said the launch of Anno 1800, a PC exclusive, was a core driver for the improved performance of the PC platform. “The 34 percent was pushed by Anno, which is a PC-specific game, but even with that launch, we had a very good performance on PC overall,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.

Ubisoft’s year-on-year revenue was down 9.2% from 2018, although it was always going to be hard to compete with the sales monster that was Far Cry 5. Despite that though, Ubisoft claims The Division 2 is the bestselling game in the industry for 2019, while player engagement in AC Odyssey and Rainbow Six Siege continues to increase sharply. It now means an incredible 86.7% of Ubisoft’s net revenue comes from its back catalog rather than brand new releases.

“Our first-quarter net bookings came in well above target, thanks to the very robust performance of our games ‒ notably Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ‒ and a very strong increase in player recurring investment for PCs and consoles, led by record-high engagement levels per player,” said Guillemot. 

“As well as this very good start to the fiscal year, the positive reception for our games at E3 has confirmed our full-year expectations. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was highly visible among content creators and earned a record-high sentiment score out of all E3 games. Watch Dogs: Legion made a huge impression thanks to its innovative gameplay, putting the franchise back in the spotlight. Our games line-up for fiscal 2019-20 – which also includes Rainbow Six Quarantine and Gods & Monsters – is one of our strongest in the last five years.”

An interesting turn of events, for sure, and indicative of PC gaming’s growing dominance as a platform. We’ve come a long way from delaying games or skipping PC entirely for fear of piracy.