Activision Blizzard have reportedly made $1.95 billion in revenue in Q3 2020, and are now seeking to hire 2,000 people to meet production demand.
Venture Beat and GamesIndustry.biz [1, 2] report their non-GAAP revenues (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) for the third financial quarter were $1.95 billion USD. This was 38% higher than the same period last year ($1.28 billion USD). Non-GAAP earnings per share were at 88¢ USD, compared to 38¢ last year.
In short, this means a net income of $604 million USD; nearly triple the same period last year. Among the subsidiaries, Activision was the stand out; with GamesIndustry.biz reporting “net revenues more than tripling year-over-year to $773 million and operating income of $345 million, a dozen times larger than what it posted a year ago.”
This success was reportedly pinned on Call of Duty Mobile, and the Call of Duty: Warzone; both free-to-play titles. The franchise has a whole has been doing well, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) having the highest first-year premium sales in the franchise’s history.
On the other hand; Blizzard’s operating income rose by 79% ($133 million USD), with revenues reportedly being “essentially flat at $393 million.”
Monthy Active Users (MAUs) also paint a damning picture; with Blizzard “stagnating” at 30 million MAUs in the quarter (slowly dropping from 33 million the same period last year), while Activision reaching 111 million MAUs in the quarter- over triple the same quarter last year. Overall Activision Blizzard rose to 390 million MAUs, 23% higher year-over-year.
The news of Activision’s success and Blizzard’s woes are sure to sound familiar. In 2018 the lackluster reaction to Diablo Immortal [1, 2] set the tone for Blizzard that year and the next. Late 2018 saw them reportedly paying over 100 staff to leave customer-service roles.
In January 2020, Warcraft III: Reforged‘s launch was nothing short of a disaster. Complaints arose within 24 hours of the game’s launch, and fans (who had their original copies of Warcraft 3 forcibly upgraded) campaigned to make the game the lowest-rated on Metacritic.
In October 2019, Blizzard had been denounced by many gamers over their suspension of pro-Hearthstone player Blitzchung for his support of the Hong Kong protests, firing the casters, and their overall handing of the entire debacle. Even US Senators wrote to Kotick, condemning the decision.
Activision however saw the launches of many major titles; Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
As a whole, parent company Activision Blizzard have had a rocky road. They fired their Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann in early 2019 (who swiftly found work at Netflix), and later announced laying off hundreds of staff. In November 2019, over 800 employees were laid off amidst poor sales.
Controversial billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros later invested $45 million USD into Activision Blizzard in March 2020. Even so, its French office was shut down in October of this year, reportedly along with offices in The Hague, Netherlands.
According to Market Watch at this time of writing, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is worth $74.92 USD per share. The highest peak over three years was $83.19 USD a share in September 2018, and a low of $41.50 a share in February 2019.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated to Venture Beat in an interview that the company needed to hire 2,000 more people to meet production demands.
Revising their full-year projections, Activison Blizzard expect GAAP net revenue to $7.68 billion USD ($400 million higher than prior forecasts). Earnings per share are also expected to rise from $2.46 USD to $2.61 USD. Franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush (via subsidiary King) are expected to bring in a net $1 billion USD each this fiscal year.