Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 5643B
Frontier Developments PLC
11 June 2021
 

11 June 2021

Frontier Developments plc

Trading Statement and Game Announcement

Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV, 'Frontier', the 'Group' or the 'Company'), a leading developer and publisher of videogames based in Cambridge, UK, announces Jurassic World Evolution 2, the much-anticipated sequel to the highly successful Jurassic World Evolution (2018), and provides an update on trading following the end of Frontier's financial year 2021 ("FY21" - the 12 months to 31 May 2021).

HIGHLIGHTS

·    Announced on 10 June 2021 at Summer Game Fest, an industry-wide celebration of video games, Jurassic World Evolution 2 builds on the major success of Jurassic World Evolution, Frontier's biggest selling game to date, which released in June 2018

·    Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the major global licensed IP title which was previously unrevealed on Frontier's future roadmap. This much-anticipated sequel will release later in calendar 2021 (in FY22)

·   Continued strong performance across the whole game portfolio delivered record annual revenue for FY21 - provisional unaudited FY21 revenue is approximately £91 million

·    Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, our major expansion for the iconic space game Elite Dangerous (2014), released on PC on 19 May 2021

·    Coronavirus-related development challenges continue to be well managed. However, for prudent planning reasons the Board now anticipate that our F1 2022 management game may release in early FY23 (after 1 June 2022) as opposed to late FY22 (before 31 May 2022)

·    Based on the anticipated ongoing performance of the existing portfolio, combined with an exciting release schedule for FY22 including Jurassic World Evolution 2, the Board's projected revenue range for FY22 is £130 million to £150 million, which prudently assumes our 2022 F1 management game is released in early FY23

·    For FY23 the Board's projected revenue range is £160 million to £180 million, based on the anticipated performance of our current and future game franchises, together with a growing contribution from our games label for third-party publishing, Frontier Foundry  

JURASSIC WORLD EVOLUTION 2

Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the much-anticipated sequel to the highly successful Jurassic World Evolution. Based on Universal Pictures' blockbuster film franchise and created in collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, Jurassic World Evolution 2 builds upon the ground-breaking and beloved 2018 dinosaur park management simulation, offering players a thrilling front seat as they take charge of their own Jurassic World park. With a brand-new immersive narrative campaign voiced by cast members from across the Jurassic World film franchise, exciting new features, four engaging game modes, and an enhanced and expanded roster of dinosaurs, Jurassic World Evolution 2 provides fans with everything they need to create authentic and compelling Jurassic World experiences.

In Jurassic World Evolution 2, for the very first time, players will build their parks beyond the confines of the Muertes Archipelago. Each location brings new terrain and fresh challenges for players to contend with using deep, detailed management tools and creative options. Across this range of beautiful new biomes, including dense forests and scorched deserts, they'll contain, conserve, and care for more than 75 prehistoric species, including all-new, highly requested flying and marine reptiles and returning community-favourite dinosaurs. These majestic prehistoric creatures feel more alive than ever, displaying brand new behaviours as they interact with each other, fight for dominance, and react intelligently to the world around them.

Boasting four fantastic game modes, players can experience a bold new era for the Jurassic World Evolution video game franchise. Set immediately after the Earth-shattering events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Campaign mode lets players immerse themselves in an original Jurassic World story as they lead efforts to control, conserve and contain dinosaurs alongside an iconic cast of characters from the films, including Dr. Ian Malcolm (voiced by Jeff Goldblum) and Claire Dearing (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard).

For those looking to unleash their creativity, Sandbox mode delivers everything players need to create their perfect Park, while Chaos Theory mode offers a re-imagined take on pivotal moments from the Jurassic World film franchise as players strive to make their own mark and change the course of events. Finally, for those that want to test their mastery of the game there is Challenge mode.

Jurassic World Evolution 2 will be launching in late calendar 2021 on PC, PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®4 and Xbox One.

ELITE DANGEROUS: ODYSSEY

The launch of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey on PC on 19 May 2021 heralded the start of a new era for the definitive space simulation. Odyssey allows players to touch down on newly accessible planets with light atmospheres; to explore, engage in combat and trade, take on missions, and work together or alone over their surfaces with complete freedom from a first person, feet-on-the-ground perspective.

This major new expansion suffered some initial connectivity problems in the first few days of release, in part due to record player numbers, but primarily due to a fault that took 36 hours to track and rectify. Some players have also reported other issues, such as performance in terms of frame rate. We have achieved some success already with a series of client and server side updates, and we will continue to work hard to address the wider issues and turn sentiment around on the game.

Odyssey represents a huge investment in the future of Elite Dangerous, with an ambition to match - the whole of the Milky Way galaxy to the millimetre scale with billions of planets to explore. We are confident that through continued updates and engagement with our community, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will provide many hours of enjoyment to millions of players over many years.

Later in calendar 2021 we will bring our multi-platform Elite Dangerous community back together when Odyssey comes to PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

TRADING

Trading in the final months of the financial year included the ongoing performance of the existing portfolio and the initial revenue contribution from the launch of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey on PC on 19 May 2021. Building on the performance in the first half of the financial year and the important December festive period, sales of both base game units and paid downloadable content ("PDLC") in the remainder of the financial year helped to deliver provisional unaudited total FY21 revenue of approximately £91 million, which is a company record, and was achieved without the launch of a major new franchise.

CORONAVIRUS

Working exclusively at home continues to be the norm for the majority of our talented team, who continue to manage admirably through the challenges posed by coronavirus. The greatest challenges which we have experienced from exclusive home working tend to relate to the collaboration of staff on large projects, particularly in their later stages, such as previously noted for Elite Dangerous: Odyssey where we took the difficult decision to delay and split the PC and console releases.

Looking ahead we are hoping to transition back to more office-based working later in calendar 2021, subject to government guidance and the safety of our staff. In the first instance, this will be a planned phased return to using the studio on an ad-hoc basis, followed by a transition to a hybrid office/home working model which we plan to adopt for a trial period of approximately 6 months. We believe this will resolve the collaboration challenges from exclusive home working, whilst also providing our staff with the flexibility to enjoy both the efficiency benefits and the personal benefits that home working can provide.

Taking into account the ongoing collaboration challenges from exclusive home working and other coronavirus related disruption, for prudent planning reasons the Board now anticipate that our first annual F1 management game may release in early FY23 (after 1 June 2022) as opposed to late FY22 (before 31 May 2022). We remain confident of delivering an exciting management simulation experience to PC and console audiences during the 2022 F1 season.

OUTLOOK

Having just delivered record annual revenue of approximately £91 million in FY21, we are well positioned to grow significantly in FY22 through the ongoing performance of our existing game portfolio and the first results of our scale-up strategy delivering an exciting line up of new games, new platforms and new PDLC.  The line-up for FY22 includes:

·    Elite Dangerous: Odyssey will be coming to PlayStation and Xbox consoles later in calendar 2021 following its release on PC in May 2021

·    Jurassic World Evolution 2, a major sequel to the successful 2018 original, will release on PC, and PlayStation and  Xbox consoles later in calendar 2021

·    At least three new titles from Frontier Foundry, our games label for publishing games developed by carefully selected partner studios, including the strategic shooter Lemnis Gate, which comes to multiple platforms this summer, and the recently announced Warhammer: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, which is planned for release in spring 2022

·    PDLC for a number of titles, including a roadmap of engaging content for Planet Zoo that will build on the six packs already available, and an ever expanding catalogue of items for Elite Dangerous.

Based on the anticipated ongoing performance of our existing portfolio together with an exciting schedule of releases for FY22, the Board's projected revenue range for FY22 is £130 million to £150 million, which prudently assumes our 2022 F1 management game is released in early FY23.

Looking further ahead into FY23, the Board anticipates further strong growth in annual revenue, with a projected revenue range of £160 million to £180 million, based on:

·    Our existing game franchises - Elite Dangerous, Planet Coaster, Jurassic World Evolution and Planet Zoo

·    Our new game franchises - our exclusive licences for F1 management games and a Warhammer: Age of Sigmar real-time strategy title

·    A growing contribution from our games label for third-party publishing, Frontier Foundry 

David Braben, Chief Executive, said:

"We are delighted to reveal Jurassic World Evolution 2 as our next major internally developed game release. We are excited to unveil to the player community of our largest commercial success to date the significant gameplay enhancements and innovations that we have been able to create to make this new experience even more compelling that the original.

We are proud to have achieved record annual revenue in FY21 from continued global engagement with our four existing major self-published titles, without a new franchise release. It's testament to the support of our well-established player communities and our model of post-launch content, as well as our ability to reach new players on existing and new platforms. A record numbers of players have engaged with Frontier games in the last twelve months.

Our passionate and dedicated staff have worked diligently through the challenges posed by coronavirus and home working. I'd like to say a massive thank you and well done to all at Frontier for their hard work and resilience.

Our most recent major release, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, is a huge step forward in the game, and the mixed initial reaction to the PC launch on 19 May was obviously disappointing. Connectivity issues were a problem, particularly for the first 36 hours post-release, and caused poor experiences for the majority of players, together with a number of other issues. Elite Dangerous is a game of enormous scope - simulating the entire Milky Way. Odyssey is an upgrade of exceptional ambition - allowing players to walk on habitable planets, to engage in first person combat and exploration, and to interact with the galaxy at a human scale rather than a space craft scale. Realising that ambition (which I have wanted to do since the 1980s!), has proven even more challenging than we expected, but the fundamental systems are now in place, and an increasing proportion of players appear to be enjoying Odyssey as we hoped they would. We are working toward not only resolving Odyssey's issues but also further realising our vision for what the Elite Dangerous experience can become. 

As we start our next financial year our target is to grow sales by over 50% above the record revenue just achieved, through the launch of Jurassic World Evolution 2 - a major sequel for our biggest game to date, the performance of our existing portfolio, including the console release of Elite Dangerous: Odyssey, new paid and free downloadable content across our titles, and at least three new titles from our excellent external development partners published by Frontier Foundry, including Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, announced just a few days ago."

 

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 as amended by The Market Abuse (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The person responsible for making this announcement on behalf of the Company is Alex Bevis.

Enquiries:

 

Frontier Developments                                                                         +44 (0)1223 394 300

David Braben, CEO

Alex Bevis, CFO                                                                                         

                                                                                                                        

Liberum - Nomad and Joint Broker                                                  +44 (0)20 3100 2000

Neil Patel / Cameron Duncan                                                              

                                                                                                                        

Jefferies - Joint Broker                                                                          +44 (0)20 7029 8000

Max Jones / William Brown

         

Tulchan Communications                                                                      +44 (0)20 7353 4200

Matt Low / William Booth / David Allchurch

 

 

About Frontier Developments plc

Frontier is a leading independent developer and publisher of videogames founded in 1994 by David Braben, co-author of the iconic Elite game. Based in Cambridge, Frontier uses its proprietary COBRA game development technology to create innovative genre-leading games, primarily for personal computers and videogame consoles. As well as self-publishing internally developed games, Frontier also publishes games developed by carefully selected partner studios under its Frontier Foundry games label.

Frontier's LEI number: 213800B9LGPWUAZ9GX18.

www.frontier.co.uk

About Jurassic World

From Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, Jurassic World immerses audiences of all ages in a new era of wonder and thrills where dinosaurs and humankind must learn to coexist. Jurassic World is more than a film franchise. At every turn, this $5 billion film series delivers a larger-than-life destination for exploration, discovery, and epic adventure. Dinosaurs live again and they live in Jurassic World. Jurassic World: Dominion debuts in theaters June 2022. 

 

About Jurassic World Evolution 2

Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the much-anticipated sequel to Frontier's highly successful Jurassic World Evolution, building upon the ground-breaking and immersive 2018 management simulation. It introduces a compelling, new narrative campaign, incredible new features, and awe-inspiring new dinosaurs brought to life with captivating authenticity. Together with expanded construction and more customisation options, the result is an even bigger, better and authentic Jurassic World game.  

 

Universal Games and Digital Platforms

Universal's Games and Digital Platforms group leverages the vast portfolio of IP and characters from NBCUniversal. The Games and Digital Platforms group is a business unit of Universal Brand Development, which is chartered with globally expanding the company's intellectual properties, franchises, characters and stories through innovative physical and digital products, content, and consumer experiences. The company's extensive portfolio includes properties created by Universal Pictures, Illumination, DreamWorks Animation and NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. Universal Brand Development is part of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. www.universalbranddevelopment.com.

 

© 2021 Universal City Studios LLC and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2021 Frontier Developments, plc. All rights reserved. Frontier and the Frontier Developments logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Frontier Developments, plc.

 

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