Today Activision announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2020, related to the period between October 1 and December 30.
The publisher sent a press release including a summary of its results including those of the full year, which you can see below.
Incidentally, the results were significantly above expectations.
The press release also included the traditional comment by Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick.
“In a year filled with adversity our extraordinary employees were determined to provide connection and joy to our 400 million players around the world They accomplished this as well as generating record financial results for our shareholders. Under difficult circumstances, but with the same conviction and focus, they will continue to do so in 2021.”
We also get a list of highlights underlining the performance of the publisher’s games and financial situation.
Activision Blizzard delivered better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter and is entering 2021 with strong momentum. In 2020, we saw the benefits of fundamental changes to our core franchises, including deeper and more consistent engagement with current and new players across multiple platforms.
Much of our growth was driven by strong execution in premium content, in-game operations, expanding our presence on mobile, and ramping new engagement models.
We are already seeing the impact of our growth initiatives for Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, which we expect to again drive strong results in 2021. And at the same time, we are making significant progress against our development pipeline for other key intellectual properties, which we expect to fuel further growth in 2022 and beyond.
- 2020 was a record year for the Call of Duty franchise, in which premium and free-to-play experiences across platforms sustained more than 100 million monthly active players and drove franchise net bookings to approximately double the year ago level.
- Full year Call of Duty premium unit sales grew over 40% year-over-year, with a further strong shift to digital downloads.
- In the fourth quarter, Activision had 128 million MAUsD and net bookingsfor the Call of Duty franchise grew by a double-digit percentage year-over-year.
- The November launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War further expanded the ecosystem across console and PC. Year-over-year in the fourth quarter, MAUsD grew approximately 70% and time spent more than doubled.
- Following the launch of the Black Ops Cold War’s first season of in-game content and the integrated Warzone experience, unit sell-through grew sharply year-over-year in December and January.
- Call of Duty in-game net bookings on console and PC grew more than 50% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. To date, the first season of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone content has seen the highest number of battle passes consumed since the introduction of Call of Duty’s new in-game system in late 2019.
- Call of Duty Mobile delivered its best quarter yet, with strong double-digit growth in net bookings yearover-year. In the fourth quarter, monthly payers in the West reached the highest level yet, with average spend per payer increasing strongly year-over-year. The game also launched in China in late December, quickly reaching the top of the download charts1.
- World of Warcraft saw strong engagement across both the Classic and modern game modes throughout 2020, and full year franchise net bookings grew 40% year-over-year, reaching the highest level in nearly a decade.
- World of Warcraft MAUsD grew year-over-year for the sixth consecutive quarter, contributing to overall Blizzard MAUsD of 29 million in the fourth quarter.
- Fourth quarter net bookings for World of Warcraft grew sharply year-over-year, driven by strong sales of the Shadowlands expansion, subscriber growth, and high participation in value added services.
- World of Warcraft player and engagement trends since the Shadowlands release are stronger than levels typically seen at this point after an expansion launch.
- On mobile, the first stage of regional testing for Diablo Immortal in December and January was met with very positive feedback and strong engagement metrics. More players will get to experience the game in further rounds of testing ahead of the launch planned for later this year.
- The Blizzard team is looking forward to channeling the spirit of BlizzCon to engage and celebrate the community once again, at BlizzConline on February 19th and 20th, where they will share more about the plans for their franchises.
- In 2020, King delivered its best full year financial performance since the acquisition, ending the year with strong momentum. In-game net bookings grew by a double-digit percentage year-over-year in the fourth quarter, with growth accelerating versus the third quarter.
- King’s fourth quarter MAUsD were 240 million, and payer numbers continued on a positive year-over-year trajectory.
- King’s largest franchise, Candy Crush, exited 2020 with momentum. Players responded positively to new features in the franchise, driving strong growth in in-game spend per player and double-digit year-over-year growth in in-game net bookings in the fourth quarter. Candy Crush was once again the top grossing franchise in the U.S. app stores1.
- The Farm HeroesTM and Bubble WitchTM franchises grew net bookings year-over-year driven by strong execution across live operations and seasonal events.
- King again delivered robust year-over-year growth in advertising, with net bookings from direct brand advertisers and partner networks each growing sharply year-over-year. For the full year, advertising net bookings grew nearly 50% year-over-year.
If you’d like to compare today’s results with historical data, you can check out the results for the previous quarter, which were published in October.