Activision Blizzard Announces Strong Financial Results, Boasting Growth and Records

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Activision Blizzard revealed today its financial results for the first quarter of calendar year 2018. Unlike most other publishers, the house of Call of Duty and Warcraft doesn’t report according to fiscal years but follows the usual calendar years.

Below you can check out a quick summary of the specific results:

  • Record First-Quarter Revenues, Net Bookings, and EPS
  • Record First-Quarter Digital, Mobile, and In-Game Revenues and Net Bookings
  • Record First-Quarter Operating Cash Flow of $529 Million, up 29% Year-over-Year
  • Company Increases CY 2018 Revenues and EPS Outlook

The press release also included a comment by Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick boasting another strong quarter and growth year-on-year.

“Activision Blizzard had another strong quarter, growing year-over-year, setting top and bottom line records, and over-performing guidance. Our continued ability to set new records speaks to the quality of our teams and the breadth and enduring nature of our portfolio of franchises against the backdrop of a large and growing interactive market. As we look ahead, our innovative core gaming pipeline, as well as initiatives like mobile, esports, and advertising, will continue to drive growth for our business.”

We also get a breakdown of the company’s results, including monthly active users for all of its brands (Activision, Blizzard, and King). We also learn that the company increased its earnings forecast for the full year.

  • Activision Blizzard had 374 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in the quarter.
  • King had 285 million MAUs. King’s engagement remained strong with daily time spent per user at record levels.
  • Activision had 51 million MAUs. Call of Duty grew its audience year-over-year with players engaging across the franchise including with Call of Duty: WWII.
  • Blizzard had 38 million MAUs. World of Warcraft over-performed versus the prior expansion at this point in time, with higher engagement sequentially and strong community participation with in-game purchases. Preorders for the upcoming expansion, Battle for Azeroth, are ahead of plan. Hearthstone continues to reach and engage its large global audience through multiple efforts including a new promotional bundle, expansion, and player-versus-environment mode, Monster Hunts, which has had strong engagement. Overwatch continues to add new players, and engagement remains strong, with the most recent seasonal event, Retribution, having a higher participation rate than any prior event.

Deep Engagement

  • The Overwatch League launched its inaugural regular season in January and continues to have strong viewership globally, reaching millions each week, with the playoffs still to come this summer. This has led to increased engagement for the franchise overall, with combined hours spent playing and watching Overwatch increasing sequentially. The Overwatch League and its partners also introduced new engagement programs, which deliver enhanced viewing experiences.
  • The Call of Duty World League completed stage one in mid-April and continues to have strong viewership, with cumulative hours watched doubling year-over-year.

Player Investment

  • Activision Blizzard delivered a first-quarter record of approximately $1 billion of in-game net bookings.
  • King’s mobile business had the highest quarterly net bookings in its history. Total net bookings were up 3% quarter-over-quarter and up 13% year-over-year and reached their highest level since Q1 2015, just after Candy Crush Soda Saga was released. This quarter, King had two of the top-10 highest-grossing titles in the U.S. mobile app stores for the eighteenth quarter in a row, with Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga at #1 and #2 for the second quarter in a row, respectively.1
  • King continues to make progress in ramping its advertising business, with industry-leading viewability, completion, and ad-recall rates2. King continues to attract new advertisers and has repeat advertisers across multiple industries.
  • Activision’s Call of Duty grew in-game net bookings year-over-year, with WWII’s first quarter second only to that of Black Ops III.

Company Outlook:

  • Based on the strength of our Q1 beat and confidence in our franchises and pipeline, we’re modestly raising our full year outlook.
  • As we previously shared, we expect revenues and operating income for 2018 to be more influenced by the last six months of our operating results than 2017.

If you want to compare today’s results with historical data, you can check out our dedicated article from February, showing the announcement for the fourth quarter if last year.



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