Activision Blizzard is the latest company to reveal their financial results for the last quarter of the financial year. Thanks to Call of Duty, the company’s revenue has grown more than they expected and they’ve now adjusted their outlook as a result. To help maintain this momentum, the company is in the process of recruiting more than 2,000 more developers to “triple the size of certain franchise teams,” expected to be bolstering Call of Duty development significantly.
Activision’s publishing section, which deals with the games they release on console and PC, saw its revenue grow by 72% in comparison to last year, reaching a total of $891 million. This is mainly thanks to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Call of Duty Mobile, which reached a record 150 million monthly active users in Q1 between them. The freeplay offerings of Warzone and Mobile have managed to triple the number of players per month over the last two years and have added “over a billion dollars of operating income” last year. Mobile also managed to hit a couple of milestones, reaching lifetime earnings of $1 billion and 500 million downloads.
Call of Duty on the PC and console increased its net bookings by 60% from last year. The franchise’s premium games have now sold over 400 million copies during its lifetime. Activision revealed the integration of Black Ops Cold War and Warzone helped the former to reach sales “well above” the normal first quarter sales for any of their previous Call of Duty titles. The first two seasons of these games also rank amongst the top three best seasons ever and Season Three is currently “sustaining this strong run rate, tracking the line with the first two seasons.” This year’s premium Call of Duty release from Sledgehammer Games will also be integrated into Warzone in some way, but the details of how were not provided.
To keep this momentum going, Activision intends to hire more than 2,000 developers in between the start of 2020 and the end of 2022. They’re looking to hire staff around the world, including for new studios or major studio expansions in Poland, China, Australia, and Canada. They also plan to triple the size of “certain franchise teams” in comparison to their size in 2019, something they’ve already started by moving many development teams to focus on Call of Duty. They later confirmed this meant growing the creative teams for Call of Duty so they can “deliver even more compelling experiences.” They’ve already added “hundreds of developers” to those studios over the last year. Sledgehammer is one of those expanded teams with new members added at Foster City, Melbourne, and Toronto.
Aside from this year’s premium Call of Duty release, Activision didn’t really mention much in the way of future releases. The company’s President and COO Daniel Alegre stated they “really haven’t seen any significant impact to game development with our current games in pipeline.” The development of Diablo IV is “progressing very well with a significant extended team focused on not only launching an epic new experience, but also following this up with robust in-game content to sustain community.” Blizzard is also “making good progress on Overwatch 2” and will be making frequent updates on this title in the future.[Source: Seeking Alpha (1, 2)]