Ubisoft says 80% of its current investments are targeting premium games
While 20% are focused on growing its free-to-play offering
Ubisoft has said its investing four times as heavily in premium games as it is in free-to-play titles.
The company’s top executive, CEO Yves Guillemot, made a point of highlighting how Ubisoft is splitting its investments in his opening remarks during the publisher’s first quarter earnings call on Tuesday.
Its previous earnings call in May attracted lots of coverage focused on the company’s push into the free-to-play market – so much so in fact that Ubisoft released a follow-up statement claiming its investment in free-to play wasn’t at the expense of its AAA output.
Guillemot returned to this subject near the top of Tuesday’s earnings call, when he likened Ubisoft’s current bid to claim a significant foothold in the free-to-play business to its previous efforts to enter new markets, including the open-world and live service segments.
“Ubisoft has proven time and time again its capacity to successfully enter new markets and segments in which it initially lacked expertise,” he said.
“18 years ago, we learned new skills and ultimately became one of the leaders in open world games with Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry among the industry’s most successful franchises.
“10 years ago, we underwent another round of significant investment to become one of the best operators of live services with The Division, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, For Honor, and The Crew.”
Ubisoft’s investments in free-to-play games began in earnest two years ago, on titles such as The Division: Heartland and the newly revealed Tom Clancy’s XDefiant.
But Guillemot said on Tuesday that premium games still account for some 80% of Ubisoft’s investments.
“Our new investment phase, initiated two years ago, is the natural evolution of our commitment to build quality and depth in our portfolio to the benefits of our players. This will ultimately lead to bigger audiences and more recurring revenues,” he said.
“First, around 80% of our current investments are targeted at significantly expanding our premium offering by growing our biggest existing franchises, by building new IPs with a focus on player engagement and social interaction, and by adding blockbuster license entertainment brands to our portfolio.
“Second, around 20% of our current investments are targeted at free-to-play, to expand our brands’ universes and bring them to a wider audience across all platforms including mobile, across all geographies including emerging markets, and with multiplayer titles designed to be evergreen.
“Each of these premium and free-to-play projects is built to maximise impact on its respective brand’s universe,” Guillemot added.
Ubisoft’s chief financial officer, Frederick Duguet, said in May that the company believed the time was right “to come with high quality free-to-play games across all our biggest franchises across all platforms”.
And he said on Tuesday’s earnings call: “We started investment into free-to-play two years ago. That is a decision that we took three years ago, so it hasn’t started to deliver yet, but we expect that to be a meaningful contributor.”
Also on Tuesday, Ubisoft provided a few additional details about Assassin’s Creed Infinity, which is claimed to be a massive online game that will evolve over time as a live service, and said it expects to surprise players with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s second year of content.