“While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.”
For the year ended December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net bookings were a record $7.26 billion, as compared with $7.16 billion for 2017, below our prior outlook. Net bookings from digital channels were a record $5.72 billion, as compared with $5.43 billion for 2017, and in-game net bookingB were a record of $4.2 billion.
For the quarter ended December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net bookings were a record $2.84 billion, compared with $2.64 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017, below our prior outlook. Net bookingsB from digital channels were a record $1.88 billion, as compared with $1.62 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017, and in-game net bookingsB were a record of $1.2 billion.
In 2019, the company will increase development investment in its biggest franchises, enabling teams to accelerate the pace and quality of content for their communities and supporting a number of new product initiatives. The number of developers working on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft®, Hearthstone and Diablo® in aggregate will increase approximately 20% over the course of 2019. The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business. The company is also integrating its global and regional sales and go-to-market, partnerships, and sponsorships capabilities. As part of these restructuring actions, the company expects to incur a GAAP-only pre-tax charge of approximately $150 million, the majority of which is expected to be incurred this year.