Video game publisher Activision Blizzard on Monday reported fourth-quarter adjusted sales that topped Wall Street expectations, thanks to the success of its latest game, the “Call of Duty” franchise.
A series of launches in October and November, including
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Warzone 2.0, and World of Warcraft: From the Fantasy World of Azeroth: Legion of Dragons helped the company draw attention from the gaming community.
With inflation squeezing the budgets of U.S. households, more gamers are expected to stick with their favorite game franchises rather than try out new titles from other studios, helping companies like Activision, analysts said.
Modern Warfare 2 recorded the highest first-quarter sales in the franchise’s history and crossed the $1 billion (Rs 8,275 crore) mark within 10 days of its launch in late October, the company said.
The company expects its full-year adjusted sales to grow at least in the high single digits, boosted by the launch of games including Diablo IV.
Adjusted sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 were $3.57 billion (roughly 295.4 billion rupees), compared with analysts’ average estimate of $3.16 billion (roughly 261.5 billion rupees), according to Refinitiv data.
Activision’s upbeat results came after lackluster performances from rival Electronics Arts and Xbox maker Microsoft.
Activision, acquired by Microsoft for $69 billion (roughly Rs. 57,010 crore), is being questioned by the US Federal Trade Commission and investigated by EU authorities. Activision said the companies will continue to work with regulators as they review the deal.
The termination of Blizzard’s longstanding partnership with NetEase, China’s second-largest gaming company, will remove gamers’ access to the World of Warcraft game in the country until a replacement partnership is formed.
This is expected to cut the US company’s net bookings by $250 million (about Rs 20.7 billion) in fiscal 2023, Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey wrote in a note last month.
Net income fell to $403 million (Rs 3333 crore) or 51 cents per share in the fourth quarter from $564 million (Rs 4666 crore) or 72 cents per share a year earlier.
© Thomson Reuters 2023