Activision Blizzard Fourth Quarter 2022 Financial Results - Record Breaking Growth and Larger Development Teams
06/02/2023 à 15:49
Activision Blizzard has released
fourth quarter financial results
for the year of 2022, announcing record-breaking quarterly net bookings and the highest quarterly net bookings to date reported by Blizzard, driven by strong growth by Warcraft alongside the reinvigoration of the Overwatch and Diablo franchises.
Due to the pending
acquisition by Microsoft
, the financial results have been presented without the usual conference call, though a quote from CEO Bobby Kotick celebrated their quarterly success and expressed continued confidence in the upcoming Microsoft merger.
CEO Bobby Kotick
"We ended 2022 with record quarterly net bookings as we delivered on our mission to bring epic joy to players. I’m grateful to our talented and hardworking teams for their many successes entertaining our hundreds of millions of players around the world. We look forward to a historic year, as we work toward merging with Microsoft. This merger will enable us to better serve our players, create greater opportunities for our employees, and allow us to succeed in an increasingly competitive global gaming industry.”
This quarter, Activision Blizzard cited record-breaking financial results, specifically highlighting the success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II opening sales, and the highest ever quarterly net bookings for Blizzard Entertainment - specifically citing strong growth in Warcraft and the reinvigorating of Overwatch and Diablo franchises. Candy Crush also delivered record performance, with mobile net bookings continuing to grow.
The company also highlighted the growth of their game development teams, increasing by over 25% throughout 2022, while continuing to honor their
commitment to increasing representation
in the workforce. Representation for those who identify as women or non-binary increased from 24 to 26% globally, while representation for underrepresented ethnic groups in the U.S. increased to 38% from 36% over the same period.
Activision - 111 million monthly active users, up from 97 million in Q3 2022
Activision continues to celebrate the success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, which broke records as the fastest-selling title in the history of the Call of Duty franchise and the first in the series to pass over the $1 billion sell-through mark. At the end of the fourth quarter, cumulative hours played were the highest in franchise history for a premium title at this stage of its release.
Activision segment revenue and operating income grew approximately 60% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, driven by the performance of Call of Duty across console, PC and mobile.
Following its October launch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II delivered the highest opening-quarter sell-through in franchise history. The strong performance was broad-based, and digital sales were particularly robust on PC and in Asia-Pacific after Activision expanded distribution of the title to Steam's PC digital storefront. At the end of the fourth quarter, cumulative hours played were the highest in franchise history for a premium title at this stage of its release.
The November release of Warzone™ 2.0, including its new DMZ mode, also contributed to a strong year-over-year increase in franchise reach and engagement on console and PC in the fourth quarter, as well as record quarterly player investment. Year-over-year engagement growth in the free title has moderated following the launch, although next week sees the launch of Season 2, which will include new content, modes and gameplay updates aimed at delighting the community and accelerating growth. Our teams are also looking forward to further expanding the Warzone community with the release of Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile™ planned for this year.
Fourth quarter Call of Duty Mobile net bookings grew double-digits year-over-year to a new quarterly record, driven by enhancements to the player experience and well-received seasonal content.
Across the Call of Duty franchise, our teams are working to amplify the success of the fourth quarter, with 2023 plans including even more engaging live services across platforms and the next full annual premium release in the blockbuster series.
Blizzard Entertainment - 45 million monthly active users, up from 31 million in Q3 2022
Gaining 14 million monthly annual users, Blizzard reported its highest quarterly net bookings to date, driven by strong growth for Warcraft and the reinvigoration of Overwatch and Diablo franchises - each delivering over $100 million in net bookings. While early sales of Dragonflight did not reach the level of Shadowlands, community feedback has been positive and post-launch subscriber retention in the West is higher than recent expansions.
Blizzard segment revenue and operating income grew approximately 90% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, as our teams executed against a substantial pipeline to deliver well-received content across key intellectual properties. Warcraft, Overwatch and Diablo grew strongly year-over-year and each delivered over $100M in net bookings.
In the Warcraft franchise, World of Warcraft delivered significant year-over-year growth in reach, engagement and net bookings in the fourth quarter following the September release of Wrath of the Lich King® Classic and the November launch of Dragonflight™. While early Dragonflight sales have not reached the level of the prior expansion, community feedback on the title has been positive. Blizzard has announced plans to deliver substantially more follow-on content for the expansion than in the past, and post-launch subscriber retention in the West is higher than recent expansions. Elsewhere in the Warcraft franchise, mobile title Warcraft: Arclight Rumble™ continues to progress well through regional testing.
The October launch of Overwatch 2 with a free-to-play model delivered the highest quarterly figures for player numbers and hours played in Overwatch history. Player investment is also off to a strong start, with fourth quarter in-game net bookings at the highest level to date for Overwatch. The team is working on an ambitious slate of regular seasonal updates, including PVE content, to engage and expand the community, as well as other ways for new and existing players to experience the Overwatch universe longer-term.
Diablo Immortal™ on mobile and PC also contributed to Blizzard’s fourth quarter year-over-year growth. Engagement and player investment trends for the title were stable at the end of the fourth quarter and into the new year. Diablo IV, the next installment in the genre-defining series, is planned for release on PC and console on June 6, 2023. This ambitious title will serve as the launch for a compelling live service, with regular seasons and story-driven expansions planned for years to come.
Licensing agreements with NetEase that covered the publication of several titles in China expired in January 2023. Nonetheless, we still expect very strong year-over-year financial growth globally for Blizzard in 2023, driven by both the launch of Diablo IV and live operations. Blizzard remains focused on finding alternative ways to serve the community in China.
King - 233 million monthly active users, down from 240 million in Q3 2022
Candy Crush once again delivered a record performance as the top-grossing game franchise in U.S. app stores for the 22nd quarter in a row, with mobile platform net bookings growing by the mid-teens year-over-year and overall in-game net bookings growing 46% year-over-year.
King continued to outperform amid a challenging backdrop for mobile games. Fourth quarter segment revenue grew 6% year-over-year, equivalent to low double-digit growth on a constant currency basisE. King’s fourth quarter segment operating income was lower year-over-year, due to the year ago quarter benefiting from lower cash compensation expense and insurance claim proceeds.
King’s in-game net bookings increased 9% year-over-year, driven by the Candy Crush franchise. Candy Crush was the top-grossing game franchise in the U.S. app stores for the 22nd quarter in a row. King advertising revenue was stable year-over-year despite an ongoing difficult macro environment for digital advertising.
Candy Crush Saga™, the largest title in the Candy Crush franchise, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in November. In-game net bookings for the title grew approximately 20% year-over-year for every quarter of 2022, driven by continuous live operations improvements and highly-effective user acquisition. The team sees further opportunities to increase engagement, retention and payer conversion in the title, including through further social and competitive features and deeper seasonal content. In 2023, King will also intensify focus on applying its proven live operations strategy to other games in the portfolio.
Due to the pending
acquisition by Microsoft
, the financial results are presented
without the usual conference call
, and therefore no Q&A has taken place.
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