Activision has announced this year's Call of Duty game from Infinity Ward will include a campaign. It also revealed a round of lay-offs affecting non-development positions at the company. Full 2018 financial report follows
Activision announced on call to investors this evening Infinity Ward is currently developing this year's Call of Duty, which is "rooted" in the franchise's history.
While details weren't provided, it was confirmed the game will feature a campaign something Black Ops 4 lacked. Fans of the franchise can also expect a large-scale multiplayer experience
Development in the franchise alternates between Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer, and Treyarch, so the news shouldn't come as a surprise. The last title in the series developed by Infinity Ward was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, followed by Slegdehammer with WW2, and Treyarch with Black Ops 4.
While the company said it has high expectations for this year's Call of Duty, it
Activision touched upon the split with Bungie on the call to investors. It was emphasized and reiterated the split was amicable. The company said with Bungie now handling the Destiny franchise, it can now free up resources to focus on its "best and biggest franchises."
Because Activision didn't own the IP, as it does for the other franchises, it
"Destiny is a high quality game, but not meeting our financial expectations," said COO Coddy Johnson. "Destiny 2 would not have been contributing factor to our 201
Basically, he said this affected the company's bottom line, and in the end, the split was the better deal for both entities.
Black Ops 4 and Crash do the business
Activision reported 53 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in the quarter, growing double- digits quarter-over quarter.
The firm singled out Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 as a primary driver for the year. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 during its quarter, with PC units more than tripling.
Full-game downloads made up over 40% of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 console sell-through, versus approximately 30% for the prior release, Call of Duty: WW2. However, second half sales were below outlook, due to promotional activities, and less than expected sales of digital content (net bookings), and soft sales at retail compared to digital downloads.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy was also cited as a fourth quarter, along with the ongoing contribution of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy which has sold-in over 10 million units since its 2017 release.
Blizzard had 35 million MAUs in it the quarter, as Overwatch and Hearthstone saw "sequential stability." That said, digital revenue for both games declined, but the company didn't provide a figure.
World of Warcraft saw expected declines post-expansion launch. Activision said net bookings (digital sales of DLC, etc.) were soft and on the decline for WoW, which is to be expected after an expansion's release.
Fourth quarter segment revenues for Blizzard increased 15% year-over-year to $ 686 million and operating income increased 51% year-over-year to $ 241 million.
Redundancies to boost development content
During the call to investors, company CEO Bobby Kotick announced restructuring plan s were in the works, and called the situation one of his "top five" most difficult career moments.
Lay-offs will occur in the back office end, advertising, and other positions around the globe. This is due to the smaller than normal slate of titles in the works for 2019. The layoffs will not affect developers
Instead, redundancies will affect 8% of those working on the administrative side or around 800 people.
In 2019, the company will increase development investment in its biggest franchises. Activision said the redundancies will help "accelerate the pace and quality of content" and support the number of new product initiatives.
The number of developers working on Call of Duty, CandyCrush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo, an aggregate, will increase approximately 20% over the course of 2019.
The company will increase investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and by reducing the number of employees in the aforementioned non-development positions.
The money end
Activision Blizzard reported its fourth quarter and year-end earnings for 2018 this evening, and while the company did well, were below company expectations.
, Activision did not come to $ 2.38 trillion, up slighting from $ 2.04 billion year-over-year (yoy). Net revenues from digital channels were $ 1.79 trillion, up from $ 1.43 trillion yoy. Fourth quarter revenues increased 6% year-over-year to $ 1.41 billion and operating income increased 14% year-over-year to $ 723 million.
Net bookings brought in $ 2.84 trillion, up from $ 2.64 trillion yoy, which was below the company's prior outlook. No bookings from digital channels were $ 1.88 billion, compared with $ 1.62 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017. In-game net bookings were $ 1.2 billion.
For the year ended December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard reported not revenues or $ 7.5 billion, up from $ 7.02 billion for 2017. Revenues from digital channels were $ 5.79 billion compared to $ 5.48 billion yoy. Net bookings were $ 7.26 trillion, compared with $ 7.16 trillion for 2017 – which was below expectations.
Not bookings from digital channels were $ 5.72 trillion, compared with $ 5.43 trillion for 2017. In-game non-bookings came to $ 4.2 trillion.