Ubisoft has wrapped a conference call detailing its progress as a company in 2020 and things are looking pretty good — it made the announcement that it was the number one third-party publisher in 2020.
2020 was a big year for Ubisoft in more ways than one. Last year saw the launch of Assassins Creed Valhalla, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Just Dance 2021, and Watch Dogs Legion. This blitz of big-name games proved to be a success — it claimed the number one spot as a third-party publisher.
"Ubisoft is the top third-party publisher in 2020, with Just Dance 2020 the 8th best seller," explained Niko Partners Senior Analyst Daniel "ZhugeEX" Ahmad in a Twitter thread detailing today's conference call.
"Ubisoft ranked second-leading publisher – with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Immortals Fenyx Rising all in the top 7 best sellers on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S."
Its chief successes in the premium games market were Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Just Dance 2021. Assassin's Creed Valhalla has been the best-selling game in the franchise's history and Ubisoft believes that the RPG elements greatly increased player engagement. As for Just Dance 2021, a combination of Nintendo Switch and Tiktok promotions helped make it the best selling game in the franchise of the last six years.
Ubisoft Aims to Grow 'Live Service' and Free-To-Play Games
Ubisoft has undeniably had success with its premium titles, but that might not be its only major focus going forward — the company has stated a commitment to growing its live service and free-to-play offerings.
One of the best examples is Rainbow Six Siege, an online multiplayer game featuring tactical first-person shooter combat in a 5 vs. 5 format. That game surpassed 70 million total players last year, adding 15 million new players in total throughout 2020. This is especially surprising as a number of Esports events were canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Going forward, Ubisoft aims to increase production of free-to-play and live service games. It expects to reveal several titles throughout 2021 in an effort to reach more players with a focus on high-end games based on its successful franchises. It should be noted that Ubisoft has a partnership with Tencent, a company that has a heck of a lot of experience in the mobile market.
Embracer Group Overtakes Ubisoft
Ubisoft's 2020 sales have been great, but it wasn't enough for it to claim the top spot as a company; the Swedish gaming conglomerate Embracer Group reported that it has become the most valuable public game company in Europe.
As of today's market close, Ubisoft has a market cap of €10.31 billion., Embracer group, on the other hand, has slightly edged them out with a market cap of €10.41 billion, owing in part to its recent acquisitions of companies like Gearbox Software. (If you're wondering about CD Projekt Red, it has a market cap of €5.93 billion according to Yahoo! Finance.)
It looks like last year was pretty good for gaming companies all around despite the challenges of the pandemic. 2021 could very well see even stronger growth — but as always, that will depend on the developers creating fun and compelling games.
What do you think of Ubisoft being the number one third-party publisher in 2020? Do you think it can meet or exceed last year's success in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!