After a “challenging” year of losses and few releases, Ubisoft is preparing to pour resources into the Assassin’s Creed franchise to secure its future. It will include a restructuring that will increase the number of employees developing the Assassin’s Creed title by 40% in the coming years, after a series of layoffs that reduced the company’s global headcount to less than 20,000.
In its full-year earnings today, Ubisoft reported that in a fiscal year in which its only major releases were Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Just Dance 2023 and Rocksmith+, it had net sales of €1.81 billion ($1.97 billion), down 14.6% from in the year. last year, and overall reported an operating loss of 500 million euros ($543 million). While Ubisoft previously reported that Sparks of Hope and Just Dance specifically underperformed, other live service games kept the money flowing, with the Assassin’s Creed franchise in particular reaching a new “active user registration” despite having no New versions of the game. Not only does Assassin’s Creed Valhalla now have 44% more players than Origins and 19% more than Odyssey, Ubisoft reports, it brings in more money per player than any game.
Ubisoft is developing Assassin’s Creed
This likely explains why Ubisoft is poised to move forward with the Assassin’s Creed series in the coming years. Assassin’s Creed Mirage is still slated for release in 2023, and there are three more main games on the horizon along with an additional VR game and mobile game in the franchise.
Ubisoft has stated that it intends to increase the number of people working on the franchise across the company by 40% in the coming years to “fuel its ambitious expansion”, though much of this will likely come from the promised “targeted restructuring” as ongoing cost-cutting measures have led to It reduced the number of the company’s employees worldwide to less than 20,000 from a total in September of more than 20,700. Ubisoft tells investors it plans to continue to “strictly control hiring processes” and weed out “non-core assets,” which means we’ll likely see Ubisoft continue to reduce the total number of games it makes at once (a process it has already begun in earnest) and spend More time, money, and personal power over Assassin’s Creed.
This is not to say that Assassin’ Creed is literal everything, althoug. Unlike a number of previous earnings reports and announcements, this quarter’s announcements didn’t come with any game delays or cancellations. Ubisoft’s next fiscal year (ending March 2024) still promises to include not just Mirage, but Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Tom Clancy’s The Division Resurgence, Rainbow Six Mobile, The Crew Motorfest, and Skull and Bones (which Six times overdue now), XDefiant, and “another big game” that hasn’t been named yet. Ubisoft expects to say more about these games at the upcoming Ubisoft Forward event on June 12th.
Also worth noting is Ubisoft’s stated interest in generative AI. In its earnings report, Ubisoft described itself as being “uniquely positioned to lead” the charge of the alleged “transformation” of the creative industries by generative AI, which it claims was demonstrated at the recent Game Developers Conference 2023 in March. “Internally, early adoption is rapid, as creators and developers of all levels experiment with the technology and take advantage of the burgeoning generative AI scene,” the press release says. “With them, Ubisoft is forging a responsible framework with talent management and fair use at the core.”
While many major companies have endorsed experimenting with generative AI, this is a remarkably emphatic statement of interest from Ubisoft in integrating generative AI with game development. The effects of this use are yet to be seen, but Ubisoft has previously discussed potential uses, such as unplayable path detection, through Ubisoft La Forge’s research and development department. IGN previously examined both the benefits and concerns of generative AI during the last AI Week.
Ubisoft’s forecast for next year expects income of 400 million euros ($435 million) – a significant jump from its loss of 500 million euros over the past year.
Rebecca Valentine is a senior reporter at IGN. You can find her on Twitter @employee.
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