Activision Blizzard have posted their first financial earnings since the COVID-19 pandemic, showing a surge for its titles during the social distancing measures (via GI.biz).
Although the $1.79 billion in Q1 is actually a drop of 2 per cent in revenue, in-game net bookings (total amount spent on products without deferring revenue, as required by GAAP) were up 21 per cent y/y to $1.52 billion, as compared with $1.26 billion for Q1 2019.
“Activision Blizzard exceeded its first-quarter outlook, driven primarily by our investment in creative and commercial initiatives for Call of Duty delivering better-than-expected results throughout the quarter,” said Activision Blizzard. “We also saw continued momentum for World of Warcraft and better-than-expected results for other key franchises, as populations sheltering at home turned to our content for entertainment and social connection. These trends have continued so far in the second quarter, with business momentum accelerating further in April.”
Call of Duty’s free to play battle royale mode, Call of Duty: Warzone saw 60 million downloads in its first 52 days. Modern Warfare has sold more copies, with more active players than any previous Call of Duty detail at this point after its release. Sell-through (sales to consumers) in Q1 were the highest for the franchise outside of the launch quarter.
Additionally, during an earnings call with investors, the company noted that this year’s Call of Duty is still on-target for its release window this year.
“Our goal to connect the world through epic entertainment is more important to our players than ever before,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “We delivered strong financial results for the first quarter, and are raising our full year outlook. I have been awestruck by the strength of our employees and their families during this difficult time. Whether managing healthcare or childcare, performing public service or community service, our teams around the world have shown ingenuity and resilience. In the face of so many difficulties, our employees have made certain that the joy, the engagement, and the benefits of gaming remain an effective way to help keep our 400 million players around the world connected and safe.”
The company has upgraded its outlook for the year ahead, increasing its revenue expectations from $6.45 billion to $6.8 billion, even taking potential disruption from the pandemic into account.
Activision Blizzard also noted that all Activision Blizzard employees are working from home, and that their COVID-19 related costs are being covered by the company.