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Activision Blizzard Announces Better-than-Expected Financial Results

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Activision Blizzard Announces Better-than-Expected Financial Results

Activision announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2021, related to the period between July 1 and September 30.

Today Activision announced its financial results for the third quarter of the calendar year 2021, related to the period between July 1 and September 30.

According to the press release, said results are defined as “strong” and better than than the company’s prior expectations.

You can see a summary below.

The press release comes with the traditional comment by Activision Blizzard chief executive officer Bobby Kotick, who mentions the expectation of continued success during the current quarter (which will end in December).

“I’m pleased to report strong third quarter results ahead of our prior outlook. We are excited about this week’s Call of Duty launch and expect continued success in the fourth quarter. I want to thank our employees for their continued commitment to each other, the company, and our players. We look forward to sharing progress updates on our workplace initiatives, alongside our business performance.”

We then read a list of highlights illustrating the performance of Activision’s games and financial situation. The company calls the launch of Diablo II: Resurrected “Successful,” while World of Warcraft is expected to deliver its strongest engagement and net bookings results in a decade for a year in which there was no expansion launch.

Activision

  • The Call of Duty ecosystem sustained reach, engagement, and player investment well above levels seen prior to the introduction of free-to-play experiences across console, PC, and mobile.
  • Activision segment revenue grew year-over-year to a new record on a year-to-date basis. Segment revenue was lower year-over-year in the third quarter due to the launch of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 in the year ago quarter and declines in Call of Duty against a quarter that benefited from shelter-at-home mandates and the early ramp of Warzone.
  • Activision had 119 million MAUs in the third quarter. MAUs in the Call of Duty franchise were consistent year-over-year on console and PC and grew on mobile.
  • On console and PC, Call of Duty MAUs and time spent exhibited very similar retention from Q2 to Q3 as our experiences in prior years.
  • In-game player investment on console and PC remained well above the level seen prior to the Warzone launch, at approximately three times the level of Q3 2019.
  • Strong conversion from free-to-play drove premium sales higher than in any third quarter prior to the launch of Warzone.
  • For Call of Duty Mobile, net bookings grew over 40% year-over-year in the third quarter, driven by double digit growth in the West and a continued contribution from the game in China.
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard will release on November 5, followed by the roll out of Call of Duty: Warzone Pacific, the biggest update to the Warzone experience since launch, on December 2.

Blizzard

  • Blizzard segment revenue grew 20% year-over-year in the third quarter, driven by the successful launch of Diablo II: Resurrected. Blizzard had 26 million MAUs in the third quarter.
  • For Diablo, our plan to enter an era of unprecedented content scale for the franchise has experienced a strong start with the September release of Diablo II: Resurrected, the return of one of the most acclaimed titles in PC gaming history. First week sales of the title were the highest recorded for a remaster from the company.
  • On mobile, Diablo Immortal is in public testing, and remains on track for release in the first half of next year.
  • World of Warcraft reach and engagement continues to benefit from the combination of the Modern game and Classic under a single subscription. World of Warcraft is on track to deliver its strongest engagement and net bookings outside of a Modern expansion year in a decade.
  • Hearthstone net bookings were stable year-over-year in the third quarter. In October, the team launched Mercenaries, an innovative role-playing mode that gives existing, returning and new Hearthstone players an entirely new way to play the game.

King

  • King segment revenue grew 22% year-over-year to a new quarterly record, with very strong year-over-year trends for both in-app purchases and advertising. King had 245 million MAUs in the third quarter.
  • Hours played across the King portfolio grew year-over-year in the third quarter, with players responding positively to a more frequent cadence of compelling in-game content and events for key titles. Payer numbers grew by a double-digit percentage versus the year ago quarter.
  • In-game net bookings for Candy Crush grew over 20% year-over-year, with Candy Crush once again the top-grossing game franchise in the U.S. app stores.
  • At the end of the third quarter King launched the Candy Crush All Stars U.S. tournament which has driven meaningful increases in installs, game rounds played and in-app purchases in recent weeks.
  • King has been accelerating and refining content delivery in Farm Heroes, its second largest franchise. This work continued to bear fruit in the third quarter, and in-game net bookings have grown around 20% year-over-year on a year-to-date basis.
  • King’s advertising business grew robustly, with quarterly revenue growing sequentially and year-over-year to a new high. Both volume and pricing grew strongly year-over-year, benefiting from the team’s growing relationships with demand partners and the ongoing ramp of new categories of advertisers.

We also hear about initiatives in implementation with the goal to become “the most welcoming, inclusive company” in the industry.

  • We are adding staff and resources to our ethics and compliance and employee relations teams. We are continuing to thoroughly investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive. As a result of this process, more than 20 individuals have exited the company in recent months.
  • We are implementing a zero-tolerance harassment policy across Activision Blizzard that will be applied consistently. Our goal is to have the strictest harassment and non-retaliation policies of any employer.
  • Based on feedback from employees, we are waiving required arbitration of future individual sexual harassment and discrimination claims.
  • We have introduced the goal of increasing the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50% within the next five years, to more than one-third across the entire company.
  • We plan to invest an additional $250 million over the next 10 years in initiatives that foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for under-represented communities.
  • To help us continue to recruit, retain and promote employees from all backgrounds and identities, we are implementing the requirement for a diverse slate of candidates for all full-time open positions.
  • A review of 2020 U.S. pay equity at our company conducted by an independent firm showed that women on average earned slightly more than men for comparable work in 2020. We are committed to compensation remaining equitable for men and women performing comparable work in 2021, and beyond.

If you’d like to compare today’s results with historical data, you can check out the announcement for the previous quarter, which was published in August.

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