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 the company’s increased growth in hiring more developers, a process which was announced last year, as well as Blizzard’s acquisition of Proletariat, intended to increase the development pipeline of World of Warcraft.
CEO Bobby Kotick
“Our acquisitions this past quarter of Proletariat and Peltarion further boost our development resources, including our artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Even in a challenging economic environment, with so many companies announcing hiring freezes and layoffs, our development headcount grew 25% year-over-year as of the end of the second quarter. Our talented teams are planning to release exciting new Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch content later this year. Of course, we look forward to completing our pending $95 per share all-cash transaction with Microsoft as soon as possible.”
Overall financial performance declined year-over-year, primarily reflecting lower results for Call of Duty and product cycle timing at Blizzard Entertainment, enough to offset otherwise robust growth at King. Although not offering future projections, the news of Diablo Immortal’s launch, Diablo 4 internal testing, Overwatch 2 public testing, an upcoming Warcraft Mobile announcement, and teasing CoD 2022 as the most advanced experience to date all suggest renewed growth over the remaining year.
Activision – 94 million monthly active users, down from 100 million in Q1 2022
- The fourth quarter will usher in a new era for the Call of Duty franchise. Anticipation is high for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, planned for release on console and PC on October 28. The sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare, the most successful Call of Duty title to date, will lead the most ambitious rollout yet across the franchise. An all-new Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 experience, tightly integrated with the premium game, will launch as an extension of the Modern Warfare universe later this year.
- Activision’s expanded studios also continue to make strong progress on an innovative mobile experience that will extend Warzone to the largest and fastest growing platform. Across the Call of Duty ecosystem, the teams are well positioned to support these launches with substantial live operations while also continuing development of new premium content planned for 2023 and beyond.
- Activision’s second quarter segment revenue and operating income declined year-over-year, reflecting lower engagement for the Call of Duty franchise, but grew versus the first quarter. Call of Duty net bookings on console and PC grew sequentially in the second quarter, following gameplay improvements and seasonal content across Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone that were well-received by players. Net bookings for Call of Duty Mobile were consistent with the first quarter.
Blizzard Entertainment – 27 million monthly active users, up from 22 million in Q1 2022
In a rare twist, Blizzard gained nearly 5 million monthly active users, largely attributed to the release of Diablo: Immortal, of which over half the game’s player accounts are new to Blizzard.
- The June launch of Diablo Immortal, a deep and authentic Diablo experience designed for the mobile platform, marked the start of a rollout of substantial content across Blizzard’s key franchises. Diablo Immortal received high player ratings on mobile app stores around the world, and reached the top of the game download charts in more than 100 countries and regions following its launch. Over half of the game’s player accounts to date are new to Blizzard. The game ranked in the top-10 grossing games in U.S. app stores for the month of June.
- Diablo IV, the next-generation installment in the genre-defining series, is planned for launch on PC and console in 2023. The title will support cross-play and cross-progression across platforms, and is designed to be the foundation for an engaging live service, providing ongoing storytelling and new content for many years to come.
- In the Warcraft franchise, Blizzard plans to deliver an unprecedented level of WoW content in the coming months, with Wrath of the Lich King Classic launching on September 26 and World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, the innovative next expansion for the modern game, slated for release later in the year. Blizzard is committed to growing its development resources to meet and exceed its community’s expectations, and at the end of the second quarter significantly bolstered its World of Warcraft team through the acquisition of Boston-based studio Proletariat.
- During the second quarter, Blizzard unveiled Warcraft: Arclight Rumble, an action-packed mobile strategy game that gives both new and existing fans an entirely different way to experience the Warcraft universe. Public testing of the game is underway in select regions.
- Overwatch 2 is planned to launch in early access on PC and console on October 4. With a free-to-play live service model designed to provide frequent and substantial seasonal updates, this launch kicks off the next chapter for the acclaimed team-based action game.
- Blizzard’s second quarter segment revenue and operating income were lower year-over-year but higher versus the first quarter. World of Warcraft net bookings declined versus a year-ago quarter that included the launch of Burning Crusade™ Classic, offsetting year-over-year growth for Hearthstone® and the contribution from the June launch of Diablo Immortal.
King – 240 million monthly active users, down from 250 million in Q1 2022
- King’s segment revenue and operating income grew year-over-year, driven by Candy Crush, King’s largest franchise. King’s in-game net bookings increased 6% year-over-year, reflecting strong execution across live operations and user acquisition.
- King continues to increase the frequency and depth of seasonal content and introduce more player-versus-player features within Candy Crush, fueling growth in engagement and player investment. Time spent within Candy again grew year-over-year, franchise payer numbers grew by a double-digit percentage year-over-year, and Candy Crush was the top-grossing game franchise in the U.S. app stores for the 20th consecutive quarter.
- King’s advertising business grew over 20% year-over-year, despite intensifying macro headwinds through the quarter, as the team continued to carefully ramp ad volume on the King network.
- In June, King acquired software company Peltarion to accelerate the use of AI and machine learning technology in serving its community even more engaging content.