“We said for a number of years that our normal template is to come with either three or four AAA games, so we’ll stick to that plan for fiscal 2022,” Duguet said via IGN. “But we see that we are progressively, continuously moving from a model that used to be only focused on AAA releases to a model where we have a combination of strong releases from AAA and strong back catalog dynamics, but also complementing our program of new releases with free-to-play and other premium experiences.”
Ubisoft has been dabbling in this space recently, as it launched free-to-play battle royale Hyper Scape last year. Boasting some unique ideas that allowed audiences to have a direct impact on how a match plays, Hyper Scape flopped not long after launch and is currently being overhauled.
One upcoming game that the company has in development for the Chinese market, alongside investor Tencent, is the previously-announced Assassin’s Creed mobile game in Ubisoft’s efforts to focus more on free-to-play games in the mobile space.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also briefly mentioned the company’s back catalog of games, adding that Ubisoft’s library continues to be profitable after launch and will likely still be a key part of its success. Rainbow Six Siege was a positive example, as the team-based action game managed to add 15 million new players in 2020 and continues to be a big driver of revenue for Ubisoft.
“We are continuing to move toward an increasingly pronounced recurrence of our revenues on the back of growing audiences,” Guillemot said. “Therefore, we expect our highly-profitable back catalog to account for an even larger share of our business going forward.”
Ubisoft’s AAA games still performed brilliantly in 2020, as the company said that it had a “record number” of unique players across all of its games during the quarter. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla hit a new franchise revenue record, Just Dance 2021 rose “sharply” when compared to the previous year’s game, and Brawlhalla, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Far Cry 5, The Crew 2, and Anno 1800 all helped Ubisoft pull in more than $1.2 billion in revenue during the holiday period.