Activision Blizzard on Wednesday reported revenues of $2.28 billion in the first quarter of 2021, an increaase of 27.2 percent over the same quarter in 2020
Activision's Call of Duty franchise has been key to the company's success, particularly the free-to-play games, including Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Mobile, with in-game purchases for various PC and console versions growing 60 percent.
"Everything was up, year over year," Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, said in an interview with GamesBeat. "Call of Duty was up. Candy Crush was up considerably. Blizzard was up. Across the board, the business is going well. The pattern is strong. Free-to-play introduces people to the franchise."
Activision Blizzard has implemented a multifaceted strategy to bring players, developers and fans into gaming and esports, and the proof is in the numbers: According to the report, monthly active users across COD titles grew 40 percent year-over-year and have tripled since 2019, reaching 150 million in the first quarter of 2021. The company's Blizzard segment revenue grew by 7 percent, bolstered by the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion, and had 27 million monthly active users in the quarter.
Additionally, the King segment (with 258 million monthly active users) was up 22 percent thanks to the popular Candy Crush game. King's advertising revenue also is up 70 percent.
Gaming has surged since the pandemic, but Activision Blizzard laid off approximately 190 employees during the first quarter of the year. Kotick reportedly cut his base salary in half to $875,000 but could receive significant bonuses. Axios reported last week that a 15-month contract extension Kotick signed reduced the amount of potential bonues, which reportedly could have been as much as $200 million.
According to a report by gamesindustry.biz, Activision Blizzard executives also confirmed in a post-earnings conference call that Call of Duty: Mobile reached lifetime earnings of $1 billion and has been downloaded 500 million times since its debut in October 2019.
--Field Level Media