Ubisoft made half their money from digital revenue in 2016-17

2 min read

I want half meme

Ubisoft has released their full sales and earnings figures for 2016-17, and most of the numbers are really boring and on target. The total annual sales were €1 459.9 million, up 4.7% year on year, in line with the target range of between €1 455.0 million and €1 495.0 million. But it’s where that money came from that is where things get interesting.

According to the PR I’ll now copy and paste from my email, the company made “€729.3 million in digital revenue, representing 50.0% of total sales (32.0% in 2015-16)”. Plus, there was a “131.2% surge in Player Recurring Investment to 304.0 M€”. In case you don’t realise, here’s why you should care.

In the space of a year, digital revenue has gone from being just under a third of Ubisoft’s income to half. Traditionally, publishers relied on retail outlets, distributors and the games media to serve as gatekeepers, helping consumers find and buy their products. Now, the landscape has changed – publishers can interact directly with their potential clients online. In fact, buyers can learn about a title, purchase and start playing all without being required to put on outside appropriate clothing. The convenience level is incredible for consumers, but it’s also changing the balance of power publishers have with retailers and distributors.

As much as it pains me to say this, it seems like Gavin might have been right. His timings may be a bit off, and his end conclusion seems unlikely, but we are certainly seeing changes in the way gaming is marketed and consumed. And this is only with digital distribution accounting for 50% of income – what will happen when that number exceeds 75%?

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Meanwhile, it looks like Ubisoft is poised for a fantastic year ahead. They are expecting to continue to see excellent growth in digital revenue, especially with the upcoming releases of new Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Crew and South Park. Unless they have beautiful Collector’s Editions I must have, I will probably buy those games digitally, without having to get out of my PJs.

Last Updated: May 17, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Original Heretic

    Take it from someone who recently had all his hard copy games stolen: digital is definitely the way to go.
    The games I have on my PS profile, they’re still there, I just have to download them again.

    • Hammersteyn

      Shame man, insurance pay out at least?

      • Original Heretic

        Yeah, that’s coming. But it’s a process. For house break ins, there’s a whole assessor’s report that has to be done, which can take about a week.
        So as you might imagine, I’m itching to game again! I’ve already got a list of the games I’m looking to get, old and new stuff. A nice little mix in there.

        • Hammersteyn

          True, but you’d think that this being South Africa and crime being what it is they’d have streamlined the process by now.

          • Original Heretic

            I reckon that because it’s SA and crime being what it is, they have to investigate and report properly. Discourages people from trying to pull a fast one over the insurers.
            I wouldn’t be surprised if these days, insurance assessors are better detectives that the police.

          • HvR

            Jip do people try to pull fast all the time; lawyer shooting buddy who represents insurance companies told me 2 weeks ago about an idiot who tried to do a false motor vehicle claim for R20k got caught and is now spending 6 months in the tjoekkie.

  • Hammersteyn

    Game sharing with a friend, PSN sales(There’s been a lot this year) and not having to swap discs made me abandon disc games. I feel bad not supporting BT games, but times are tough and games aren’t cheap

    • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

      Wait a sec, so if I purchase a game digitally, I can lend it out to a friend?? how does it work?

      • Hammersteyn

        I don’t think it’s illegal because the state family and friends. If you do it right you can log in as your friend on your PS4 and then view his library of digital games and download it. Last year I bought Doom and he bought Uncharted 4. So we both got access to two games for the price of one

        • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

          Interesting, so technically If i purchase lets say BF1 digitally and I get my friends (2) to download it via my account as primary they can then log on normally to there consoles with their details and jam the game together??

          • Hammersteyn

            I think so, I only shared with one friend though, not sure what the limit is

      • Hammersteyn

        Just be careful, if PSN bans my account I’d probably quit playing games because I’d lose everything and that’s fine, I’m old enough to start collecting stamps

        • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

          Hahaha no worries was just interesting, I am sure I’m not too far from you age wise.

  • Half of that is because they refuse any refunds no matter what on digital purchases on their own useless client 😛

  • Magoo

    Frankly I’m surprised that they still get so much business from retail. If keys are purchased from third party and entered into the uPlay client, will that register as a retail copy? That would explain it.

  • Fox1 – Retro

    Just 3 years ago gamers were clambering onto disc based games at the PS4 launch. Oh, how times have changed! The bargain bin exists no more.

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