PC gaming is dying? Nope, Ubisoft just made more cash from PC games than PS4

Anno 1800
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft’s most recent financial results have revealed that its PC games made more money than any other platform.

When it came to the first quarter of fiscal 2019/2020, no less than 34% of the cash raked into Ubisoft’s coffers came from PC titles, outdoing the PlayStation 4 which represented 31% of takings. The Xbox One was considerably behind on 18%, followed by mobile gaming platforms on 7% and the Nintendo Switch on 5%.

The PC taking the top spot is a big turnaround compared to the same quarter the previous year, when the PS4 was clearly on top with 38% of earnings, and the PC in a distant second place on 24%.

This is the second quarter in a row that PC sales have beaten out all other gaming platforms, with the previous fiscal results showing a 36% share for PC compared to 34% with the PS4.

Ubisoft clarifies that Anno 1800 was a big part of its most recent PC success, with chief executive Yves Guillemot commenting: “The 34% was pushed by Anno, which is a PC-specific game, but even with that launch, we had a very good performance on PC overall.”

Ubisoft’s financial report stated that the overall strong (higher than expected) takings were “led notably by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Rainbow Six Siege, and Player Recurring Investment.”

Player Recurring Investment is not a supremely obscure strategy title that you’ve not heard of, but rather PRI is boardroom jargon for micro-transactions (downloadable content, season passes and so forth).

Does that hint that PC gamers are more likely to spend on micro-transactions than console players? Perhaps, but a big part of the booming PC income figures lies in the fact that Ubisoft has its own Uplay store (and now incoming subscription service) which does very well and gives the company 100% of profits (there’s no cut lost to the likes of Steam or Epic).

Uplayed it well

Indeed, while Anno 1800 is present on the Epic Games Store (but not Steam), CFO Frédérick Duguet noted: “We did well with Anno 1800 on Epic, but the key point here is really that we continue to have very strong momentum on Uplay.”

CEO Guillemot also observed that the Uplay store is “doing extremely well”.

Also in Ubisoft’s boast bucket was the claim that The Division 2 was the industry’s biggest hit since the start of 2019 (going by estimated sales figures from various sources, from January to June inclusive).

Broadly speaking, this is good news for the health of PC gaming as a whole: where there’s money, there will be developers, and fresh games for the PC platform, running contrary to the seemingly ever-present speculation that PC gaming is dying (the most recent suggestion of which came in April, in the form of a predicted mass defection to consoles and cloud).

And of course Ubisoft has the aforementioned Uplay+ service arriving in September, to generate more cash on a subscription and ongoing basis.

Going by the current chatter online, while there are certainly those who are looking positively at Ubisoft’s current PC buoyancy, there are also voices cautioning about success driven by micro-transactions – and of course ‘games as a service’ subscriptions, which naturally aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Still, everything really rests in the implementation of these elements, and thus far, Ubisoft appears to be aware and careful enough about where it’s treading in these often difficult areas.

Via PC Gamer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).