Ubisoft recently announced the release of their first-quarter 2015 financial earnings report and the picture painted by it is both funny and sad at the same time. Compared to Q1 2014, Ubisoft’s overall earnings from sales are down by an astounding 73.2% compared to last year. Revenue from both retail and digital outlets helped the company soldier on, with digital sales revenue clocking in at just shy of $60 million, accounding for 56% of total sales. But the impressive statistics didn’t come from their financial woes – instead, the company revealed that their two most important platforms were the Playstation 4 and desktop PC. Say wut?
You might remember that Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot famously said that somewhere around 95% of all PC gamers who play Ubisoft games pirate them, which understandably angered many PC gamers who already put up with the Uplay client and its oftentimes strange relationships with Steam and EA Origin. “It’s around a 93 to 95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage as free-to-play,” he claimed back in 2012. In recent years, Ubisoft has taken massive amounts of flak for glitchy PC ports, downgrading on game visuals, and harming gameplay experiences for titles like Assassin’s Creed Unity because it had to be played offline during the launch week to work around server issues that would glitch out the game and the in-game treasure chests.
According to the financial earnings report, though, it looks like they can’t afford to make more mistakes with their customers. Taking all of their Q1 2015 sales into account, 27% is gobbled up by the Playstation 4, followed closely by the PC desktop at 23%. The Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 all vie for third place, taking up almost 11% of Ubisoft’s sales each. The rest of the pie is taken up by other platforms like the Nintendo Wii U and mobile games for the Android, iOS, Nintendo 3DS and Vita platforms. Out of that slice, the Wii and Wii U consoles combined only take 3% of it.
Its an interesting match-up. Ubisoft is famous for delivering an almost annual speech (three years in a row now) about how it intends to pay more attention to the PC market and to fix up their offerings for AAA PC titles. Why they keep saying it every year is obvious – every year, there’s always that one thing that keeps them from actually delivering on it. I hope that by looking at these sales numbers, Ubisoft will realise that they had better shape up their PC experience fast, as it is still one of the most profitable markets out there, and they have their own game client, away from Steam, which has so much potential.