Call Of Duty: Warzone And Mobile Have "Transformed" The Franchise, Activision Says
Activision announces more details around just how big and important Call of Duty is to the company.
As part of Activision Blizzard's earnings report on Tuesday, the company shared some key details on the next Call of Duty game and the success of its existing games.
Black Ops Cold War and the free-to-play battle royale game Warzone helped overall Activision sales rise 72%. Cold War had "strong premium sales," while Warzone's in-game revenue--i.e. microtransactions--also made a positive impact. Call of Duty Mobile, meanwhile, performed well for Activision, helping operating income double.
Activision said launching the free Call of Duty games, Warzone and Mobile, have "transformed the franchise," Monthly active users over the last two years has more than tripled in numbers, Activision said, helping Activision overall hit 150 million monthly active users during Q1 2021. Call of Duty specifically showed a 40% year-over-year growth in monthly active users, while this figure also grew sequentially.
Warzone is helping sales of the paid game, too, as Activision said Black Ops Cold War premium sales reached higher levels than ever before for a Q1 following the integration with Warzone.
Microtransactions for Call of Duty are also on fire. These microtranasactions, which are called in-game net bookings, jumped by more than 60% on console and PC alone. Additionally, Seasons One and Two for Black Ops Cold war and Warzone represented the most successful seasons ever for Call of Duty in terms of microtransactions.
Season Three, which just launched, is "sustaining this strong run-rate, tracking in-line with the first two season," Activision said.
For Call of Duty Mobile specifically, the game posted growth for "reach, engagement, and player investment" during Q1. The game's launch in China and "ongoing enhancements" elsewhere helped improve results, Activision said. It also reached 500 million downloads.
Call of Duty's 2021 game is coming from Sledgehammer Games, Activision management confirmed on the call. The title has been "built for next-gen," the publisher said, but the company didn't say if this means it won't come to PS4/Xbox One. The company also teased that the game will "integrate with and enhance the Call of Duty ecosystem," going on to confirm it will integrate with Warzone.
Activision management also said 2021's Call of Duty game, which is rumored to be a World War II-era sequel to Sledgehammer's Call of Duty: WWII, will have campaign, multiplayer, and co-op elements. The company also confirmed it's coming in Fall 2021, which is only notable because some rumors suggested it might slip to later.
Overall, Activision Blizzard made $2.275 billion in revenue for Q1, compared to $2.015 billion during the year prior. Activision made $619 million in net profit, up from $505 million during the same period a year ago.
The company made $1.34 billion from microtransactions, which compares to $960 million during the same period last year. Looking ahead, Activision management said it plans to hire more than 2,000 more developers in the future to help the company grow its franchises.
"Demand for our content has never been stronger, and we continue to ramp our investment to better serve our players and drive even greater financial performance," Activision Blizzard said. "We intend to hire more than 2,000 developers over the next two years, including tripling the size of certain franchise teams by the end of next year as compared to 2019."
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