After a minor hiccup, courtesy of a red-faced WSJ, Activision-Blizzard released its actual results and smashed its own predictions to post a record Q1 with revenues hitting $1.965bn (£1.45bn), up 13.8 per cent year on year.
That success was largely attributed to Call of Duty: WWII, with Activision making $92m (£67.9m) profit from $312m (£230.3m) in revenue. ‘Growth in Call of Duty’s digital season in particular drove a Q1 record for segment operating Margin’ said the earnings notes.
That provides a big springboard for this year’s Black Ops 4. With Activision revealing that the sub-brand had lifetime figures of over 200m players and 15bn hours played.
Collister Johnson, COO, said that all those hours gave developer Treyarch a big advantage.
"What we see from those billions of hours of gameplay, [is] we get to see in depth and real time what really engages our players. Black Ops 4 builds on that and on everything Treyarch has learned about what players love to play," he teases, following rumours that Black Ops 4 had ditched its traditional single-player mode.
He then went onto to speak about the "confidence we have in Treyarch and their ability to execute on their creative vision. It’s an incredible developer with a deep understanding of the community and the first-person genre, but also a real proven track record of innovation, including Zombies and multiple multiplayer innovations that have really transformed the industry."
Innovation is the key there, suggesting something entirely new from the developer, which he then reaffirms by saying:
"This is a game that’s not going to just build on our strengths. It will continue to push the envelope in innovation. You’ll see that in the core game itself, where we have a number of new exciting developments to roll out very soon, but also in the game’s appeal on growth platforms like PC, where we’ve invested significant dedicated resources and design time to make sure we can deliver a great PC game to serve that community."
Before finishing: "May 17, we’ll have a lot more to say at the Black Ops 4 global reveal, and I hope you tune in. You should."
Having sung the praises of the battle royale genre in the same results call, it’s clear that Activision is aware it needs to innovate to compete with the likes of Fortnite, what form that takes, though, remains to be seen.