For those hoping to visit the small town of South Park this March, your flight has been delayed. Ubisoft announced in their recent earnings report that South Park: The Fractured But Whole would be pushed to the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The latest delay was not unexpected since we hadn't heard anything about this game since September, when the UBIBLOG announced the first delay from quarter three to quarter four, which will come to a close on March 31, 2017.
South Park: The Stick of Truth saw its fair share of delays before eventually releasing to critical acclaim in March 2014. In our review of Stick of Truth, Patrick stated that "The environment itself is a character that proves the star of the game. Nostalgic references are littered in every crevice" From the small demo we saw behind closed doors at an Ubisoft event last year, not only does this level of depth carry over in the story and environment, but The Fractured But Whole is also adding a more intricate combat system that evolves as you change heroes.
While this delay was the biggest announcement, Ubisoft did have a few other tidbits in the report as well.
Both of the Tom Clancy games have bounced back in a big way. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege has now crossed the 15 million registered users mark while also setting records for daily active users. Tom Clancy's the Division saw a 152.4% increase in daily active users in the third quarter after the release of Survival Mode and Patch 1.5.
In regards to their two most recent games, Watch Dogs 2's launch was not as dynamic as Ubisoft had hoped but Steep has performed better than expected so far. They also took the time to go into their back-catalog and digital sales for the quarter. Surprisingly, 57.1% of their total sales were back-catalog. This is compared to only 36.5% last year. Unfortunately, this report didn't break these numbers down further, because it would have been interesting to see how Far Cry Primal and the Assassin's Creed: Ezio Collection fared.
The other big surprise was that 47.2% of all sales were digital for the first 9 months of the year. This is up more than 20% compared to last year's numbers. Yet again the quarterly report doesn't go into any more detail here including the impact of digital only titles like Ubisoft's VR releases Werewolves Within and Eagle Flight.
Despite the increase in back-catalog and digital sales, Ubisoft did miss their projected earnings for the third quarter. Quarter three came to a close with only €529.9 million in sales compared to the expected €560.0 million. This is a 5.7% contraction compared to the €561.8 million for third-quarter 2015-16. With the delay of South Park, they have also greatly revised their annual projections from €1,610 million - €1,670 million down to €1,455 million - €1,495 million.
Even without South Park, Ubisoft is still anticipating a massive fourth quarter. They are not only releasing their brand new IP For Honor, but they will also be releasing their next Tom Clancy game Ghost Recon Wildlands and Just Dance 2017 on the Nintendo Switch.
Are you bummed about waiting a bit longer for the new South Park? What Ubisoft games did you pick up over the last few months? Why didn't they announce Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 2? Get your local Ubisoft executive to answer these questions in the comments below!