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Activision Blizzard Q4 Earnings miss: Call of Duty net bookings decline

GHG

Member

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) reported its Q4 2021 earnings after the bell on Thursday, falling well short of analysts' estimates on the top and bottom line. The report will be the company’s first since Microsoft (MSFT) announced it will acquire the video game giant for $68.7 billion in January.

Here are the most important numbers from the report compared to Wall Street's expectations, as compiled by Bloomberg.

  • Revenue: $2.48 billion versus $2.65 billion expected.
  • Earnings per share: $1.25 versus $1.31 expected.
Shares were flat following the announcement.


Highlights from the ER:


Activision Blizzard delivered record full-year GAAP results in 2021, growing GAAP revenue 9% year-over-year, GAAP operating profit 19% year-over-year and GAAP EPS 22% year-over-year, building on very strong results in the prior year. Net bookings were broadly consistent year-over-year, again following very strong growth in 2020.

While fourth quarter 2021 GAAP revenue was ahead of our guidance provided on November 2, 2021, fourth quarter net bookings were below our prior outlook, primarily due to lower than expected performance in the Activision segment, which offset record performance at King. Activision Blizzard’s mobile net bookings grew 18% year-over-year and represented 33% of total net bookings in the fourth quarter.


COD:

Call of Duty net bookings on console and PC declined year-over-year in the fourth quarter, reflecting lower premium sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard versus the year ago title and lower engagement in Call of Duty: Warzone™. Fourth quarter in-game player investment on console and PC remained well above the level seen prior to the March 2020 launch of Warzone.

Call of Duty Mobile net bookings grew year-over-year in the fourth quarter, driven by continued contribution from the game in China. For the full year, Call of Duty Mobile net bookings grew strongly, with 2021 worldwide consumer spending on the title exceeding $1 billion.


Blizzard:

Within the Warcraft franchise, fourth quarter World of WarcraftTM reach and engagement continued to benefit from the combination of the Modern game and Classic under a single subscription. In 2021, World of Warcraft delivered its strongest engagement and net bookings outside of a Modern expansion year in a decade. Hearthstone® fourth quarter net bookings grew year-over-year, driven by a steady cadence of new content.

In the Diablo franchise, Diablo II: ResurrectedTM sold through more units from its September release until the year end than any other Activision Blizzard remaster over an equivalent period. On mobile, Diablo ImmortalTM concluded its public testing with positive feedback.


Candy Crush:

King’s in-game net bookings grew 14% year-over-year to a new record in the fourth quarter, driven by 20% year-over-year growth for Candy CrushTM, King’s largest franchise. Candy Crush was the top-grossing game franchise in the U.S. app stores1 for the 18th consecutive quarter.


 

Leyasu

Gold Member
The last Modern warfare was pretty good, I will be keeping an eye on this one.

Man that title will take this thread places
 

yurinka

Member
It's weird to think they make more revenue in mobile than with Activision and Blizzard in console and PC thanks to King and CoD Mobile:



When Minecraft meets Candycrush
Acquisition closes mid 2023, so I assume early 2025 we'll have a Candy Crush and Minecraft crossover.
 
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splattered

Member

New generation? I've said in this forum i wonder if Acti is making a NEW Call of Duty finally and MS saw it and it helped seal the deal on top of other stuff they're working on. I joked "Maybe PS5 keeps COD, but they're also making a NEW COD that will be exclusive to Xbox" but seriously doubt that will happen.
 

Jigsaah

Gold Member
It was a SledgeHammer year. They are the red-headed step child who got kicked out the family, adopted by a completely different family and then somehow remarried back into the old family. I don't think they've made a good call of duty yet.

Modern Warfare is what fans want....it's what people will pay out the nose for. Sledgehammer is probably saved by Microsoft, but their presence only serves as a way to keep the dollars flowing until Treyarch and Infinity Ward get's their games done. COD 2022 will be great, so will 2023....then it's Sledgehammer's turn again. And we'll all be talking about how "Battlefield is just mo' better".
 

Jeff Grubb is a hack.

The assumption that Activision should ditch Call of Duty because the last INSANELY LUCRATIVE game (albeit slightly less insanely lucrative) underperformed is downright stupidity.

"The Lakers plan to play Lebron James next year to deal with Lebron James declining performance..."

I wish we had more people from game development go into games journalism.
 

wipeout364

Member
They need some serious work on the vanguard; that game is seriously messed up. Worst COD in years, I think it’s the worst since ghosts . So many issues it’s hard to believe Sledgehammer worked on this for 4 years. I initially thought it was ok but it gets worse the more I play it, it’s like the opposite of Cold War which got progressively better over the course of the year.

Edit: Honestly if MW2 is ready to roll Activision should launch early and move on from this mess, and then relegate sledgehammer to support studio. Honestly I would have been ok with another year of support for Cold War.
 
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Cod killed their own franchise with Warzone. Now people only care about F2P. MW 2019 had some good features but it also had serious balancing issues and horrible maps. Its was dying heavy until Warzone droppped. COD MP hasnt been the same since. Too much focus on Warzone instead of what made the series good.
 
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skit_data

Member
Not going in to the whole bad acquisition/good acquisition but CoD is not where it was 10 years ago, people thinking it’s ”too big to fail” are mistaken IMO. Same goes for WoW.
 
I think they said around summer 2023, that it will depend on regulations etc.
This is going to close faster then bathesda that summer estimate is the extreme worse case scenario. They won’t play politics with this given the workers, union and lawsuit in the balance.
 

3liteDragon

Gold Member
New generation? I've said in this forum i wonder if Acti is making a NEW Call of Duty finally and MS saw it and it helped seal the deal on top of other stuff they're working on. I joked "Maybe PS5 keeps COD, but they're also making a NEW COD that will be exclusive to Xbox" but seriously doubt that will happen.
Idk why it’s worded like that either, I thought they were teasing that the game was current-gen only. But it is a sequel to MW 2019 though.
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
Jeff Grubb is a hack.

The assumption that Activision should ditch Call of Duty because the last INSANELY LUCRATIVE game (albeit slightly less insanely lucrative) underperformed is downright stupidity.

"The Lakers plan to play Lebron James next year to deal with Lebron James declining performance..."

I wish we had more people from game development go into games journalism.

It’s quite clear that as a pro bono Xbox marketeer, he’s just laying the ground work for when MS stops COD anual releases, and claims lord Phil Spencer as his lord and savior.
 
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kingfey

Banned
It's weird to think they make more revenue in mobile than with Activision and Blizzard in console and PC thanks to King and CoD Mobile:




Acquisition closes mid 2023, so I assume early 2025 we'll have a Candy Crush and Minecraft crossover.
the funny thing is the pc section. Its close to xbox+playstation combined. And that is without steam.

Steam would definitely boost those pc numbers, once call of duty hits steam.
 

yurinka

Member
the funny thing is the pc section. Its close to xbox+playstation combined. And that is without steam.

Steam would definitely boost those pc numbers, once call of duty hits steam.
To publish them on Steam wouldn't increase their sales, instead they would lose 30% of that revenue due to Valve's cut. For them it's better to keep their games on their store. What they should do is that now that they are on Microsoft, to merge all their PC stores and PC clients into a single one: the MS one.
 
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kingfey

Banned
To publish them on Steam wouldn't increase their sales, instead they would lose 30% of that revenue due to Valve's cut. For them it's better to keep their games on their store. What they should do is that now that they are on Microsoft, to merge all their PC stores and PC clients into a single one: the MS one.
Steam is outside source. it would increase their sales.
These guys wont get Xbox.

MS is upgrading their windows store. It will take for it to be big. Bu as of now, steam has 120m users. or 28m concurrent users. That is money printing store for MS. And they can steal steam users by attracting them with gamepass pc.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
New generation? I've said in this forum i wonder if Acti is making a NEW Call of Duty finally and MS saw it and it helped seal the deal on top of other stuff they're working on. I joked "Maybe PS5 keeps COD, but they're also making a NEW COD that will be exclusive to Xbox" but seriously doubt that will happen.

Near impossible that this years CoD won't be on PS4/XBO.

Would be extremely weird if it is.
 

SlimySnake

Member
EA said the same thing. The new or next generation of battlefield and it was the same exact bullshit. Dont believe these PR cunts.

If DICE had actually created a next gen Battlefield with insane physics and destruction, people wouldve played just because it was next gen. especially with cod flopping this year.

We have had 15 years of cod. Same old crap. It's time to do something different.
 

Three

Member
What if MS bought Activison because of their mobile game division?
The way Bobby and Nadella keep talking about "the new internet" known as the metaverse, and Phil being reassigned to gaming instead of xbox I don't think yearly COD game sales is even the main thing MS bought them for anymore.
 

Vognerful

Member
still earned more or less the same as last year on console. Black ops and warzone made some very good cash.
 

hlm666

Member
What exactly is giving them that pc revenue? Was under the impression CoD wasn't strong on pc, wow was in decline and overwatch was dead.
 
Microsoft right now:

I know you're likely kidding, but:

AB operating income 2021: $3.26b
Playstation operating income 2021: $2.63b

Mobile just prints money. I guess the Playstation number would look a bit better if we added the Sony Music mobile game revenue to it.
 

geary

Member
Serious question. What was wrong with Vanguard, from the game perspective, not from what gamers want?
 

mckmas8808

Mckmaster uses MasterCard to buy Slave drives
I know you're likely kidding, but:

AB operating income 2021: $3.26b
Playstation operating income 2021: $2.63b

Mobile just prints money. I guess the Playstation number would look a bit better if we added the Sony Music mobile game revenue to it.

Those are profit numbers right?
 
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