Activision Blizzard destroys expectations in the second quarter, increases prospects when Call of Duty records records
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) have them profit for the quarter ending June 30, 2020and like Electronic Arts, the company profited greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic when their customers stayed at home and connected with live service money makers such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Acti-Blizz generated $ 1.93 billion in net income in the second quarter (their fiscal year coincides with the regular calendar year), which is much higher than $ 1.4 billion made in the second quarter of 2019. In fact, this is the best second quarter of Acti-Blizz in the history of the company. Second quarter net income was $ 580 million from $ 328 million a year ago. Earnings per share were $ 0.75 for the second quarter, or about 17 cents above forecasts. Despite the good news across the board, Activision Blizzard shares are still down slightly in after-hours trading as investors may even have expected Lake brilliant results.
Call of Duty levels up
To the shock of no one, Call of Duty was the most important thing driving Activision’s success in Q2 2020, especially the massive success of Call of Duty: Warzone. The free-to-play CoD battle royale game has amassed over 75 million players to date, bringing Acti-Blizz’s (MAU’s) monthly active users to over 400 million. Overall, involvement in the Call of Duty franchise increased a whopping 8x in the second quarter of 2019, and a significant portion of those playing Warzone upgrade to the premium Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which includes the CoD franchise moved more copies in Q2 than any other non-launch quarter in history.
Obviously, the Call of Duty money train isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Acti-Blizz reaffirmed a new premium Call of Duty from Treyarch and Raven Software (reportedly the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War) launching this year and Warzone will receive a large amount of infusion of fresh content based on the new game.
Call of Duty isn’t the only property benefiting from the pandemic – Blizzard, which has been struggling in recent years, saw a big boost in World of Warcraft involvement in Q2. Blizzard grossed $ 461 million in net sales in the quarter, a very good result by recent standards, and WoW engagement would be higher than in a decade when Blizzard is preparing to launch the major Shadowlands expansion of a new WoW Classic content. Of course, people who were stuck at home without doing anything were also good for Acti-Blizz’s mobile division King, who milked Candy Crush for $ 553 this quarter.
At least someone is enjoying 2020
While the effects of COVID-19 may diminish somewhat in Q3, the effects should be strongly felt for some time to come, and again, Call of Duty is an absolute joke at the moment. In addition to the new premium Call of Duty, Warzone content and WoW Shadowlands expansion, Acti-Blizz also plans to release the nostalgia-tweaking titles Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time this year what this year should both do well. As such, Activision Blizzard has again raised their full year 2020 outlook to $ 7.28 billion (up from the $ 6.8 billion they expected during their latest earnings report and the $ 6.45 they initially of the year).
In the longer term, Acti-Blizz has also vowed to apply their new Call of Duty model, in which they support multiple interconnected yet separate titles simultaneously, to some of their other major franchises. They’ve already announced that the Crash series is jumping to mobile, and who knows what can be done with franchises like World of Warcraft or Overwatch? While Bision Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, warns of COVID-19-related volatility, it seems that he has legitimate confidence in the future of the company …
Our mission to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment has never been more meaningful. Our 400 million players continue to experience fun, joy and achievement through our games. Our record engagement resulted in higher sales and earnings per share than previously forecast. While economic uncertainty could impact our short-term results, the initiatives that fueled our growth for the first half of the year should also form the basis for long-term growth.
Many thought Call of Duty couldn’t get bigger, but Activision Blizzard has taken someone to the next level again. If they can do a similar trick with their other major series, the future of the publisher looks very lucrative indeed.