Call of Duty: WWII Is Biggest Digital Launch of PlayStation History; Activision Announces Results

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Today, Activision Blizzard revealed its financial results for the fourth quarter of Calendar Year 2017. Unlike basically everyone in the industry, Activision doesn’t calendarize according to the fiscal year, so the period is between October 1st and December 31st, 2017.

You can check out the relevant revenue and income figures below.

Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick accompanied the announcement with a statement, boasting record revenues and cash flows.

“This was a record quarter to cap off a record year for Activision Blizzard. In 2017, our community reached new milestones for engagement, our business delivered record revenues and cash flows, and we made important progress in building future growth opportunities such as the Overwatch League. We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities ahead in 2018 to continue serving our players and fans.”

The press release also included a list of bullet points highlighting the major milestones achieved by the publisher during the quarter. Activision boasts 385 million monthly active users, a million higher than the previous quarter.

Interestingly, Call of Duty: WWII wasn’t just the top-grossing console game of the year, but also the biggest day-one digital release ever on PlayStation platforms. Destiny 2 was the second-highest grossing console game of the year in North America and the largest PC launch in the history of Activision. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was the best selling remastered collection in the history of PS4.

We also learn that the Overwatch League passed 10 million unique viewers in its first week, with an average audience of over 280,000 people per minute.

Audience Reach

  • Activision Blizzard had 385 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in the quarter, up from 384 million last quarter.
  • King had 290 million MAUs, down 1% quarter-over-quarter, while time spent per player reached a record of 37 minutes per day. MAUsC for the Candy Crush franchise grew slightly quarter-over-quarter while also driving increased time spent per player.
  • Activision had 55 million MAUsC for the quarter, up 12% quarter-over-quarter and matching its prior quarterly record, driven by the successful launches of Call of Duty: WWII and Destiny 2. For the year, Activision had the top two-grossing console game releases in North America and two of the top-five grossing console game releases worldwide.1
  • Activision’s Call of Duty: WWII was the top-grossing console game of the year globally1, with the franchise’s biggest launch quarter sell-through on current-generation consoles. The game set a Sony PlayStation milestone as the biggest day 1 digital release ever. Call of Duty has been the number one franchise globally for 8 of the last 9 years.1
  • Activision and Bungie’s Destiny 2 was the second-highest-grossing console game in North America for the year1, had the largest PC launch in Activision history based on units, and had a higher attach rate on its first expansion than Destiny 1.
  • Activision’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was the number one-selling remastered collection in PS4 history.1
  • Blizzard had 40 million MAUs for the quarter. While down sequentially, this is the 6th quarter in a row with 40 million or more MAUs, primarily driven by Overwatch and Hearthstone.

Deep Engagement

  • For the second quarter in a row, players spent over 50 minutes per day in Activision, Blizzard, and King games, in line with some of the most engaging online connected platforms in the world.
  • The inaugural season of the Overwatch League started on January 10 with 12 world-class team owners from across the globe, multiple league and team-level sponsors, a premium viewing experience and a robust distribution strategy. In its first week, the Overwatch League reached more than 10 million unique viewers across the world with an average audience of more than 280,000 on a per minute basis.
  • The Call of Duty World League, which kicked off in December, has sold out each of its World League Global Open events. The launch event in Dallashad more than double the viewership hours of last year’s launch event.

Player Investment

  • Activision Blizzard delivered a fourth-quarter record of over $1 billion of in-game net bookings, and an annual record of over $4 billion of in-game net bookings.
  • King grew segment revenues and operating income year-over-year, delivered record mobile net bookings in 2017, and increased its average net bookings per paying user by a double-digit percentage year-over-year. This quarter, King had two of the top-10 highest-grossing titles in the app stores for the seventeenth quarter in a row, with Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga at #1 and #2, respectively.3 The Candy Crush franchise grew consumer spend sequentially for the fourth quarter in a row.
  • Activision delivered record segment operating income of over $1 billion with record operating margin of 38%. Activision offered compelling downloadable content offerings, including Zombies Chronicles for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIIDestiny 2‘s expansion pass, Call of Duty: WWII‘s season pass, and additional live features, services and content.
  • Blizzard delivered record segment revenues and operating income for a year with no major game release, as they continued to deliver continuous content across franchises including OverwatchHearthstone, and World of Warcraft.

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