Tidbits From Today’s Money-Filled Activision Earnings Call

  • 59 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by patrickklepek (3464 posts) -

Future legal ramifications aside, the Infinity Ward fiasco seems long forgotten at Activision HQ, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 being yet another runaway success for the company.

That Skylanders turned out to be a huge hit with kids--20 million toys sold, by Activision's count--was a nice bonus, too.

More Skylanders and Call of Duty in 2012 was the reoccurring theme on today’s quick ‘n dirty fourth quarter investor call, which also featured some interesting numbers about the last few months.

Diablo III being pushed back a few months was the big “news” out of the call, and as with the last few calls I’ve been listening to, I decided to publish the notes I was taking as the call went on.

Here’s what stuck out:

  • Activision generated $1 billion dollars in operating cash flow throughout 2011.
  • World of Warcraft has 10.2 million subscribers.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic was not mentioned once during the call, neither was Battlefield 3. The Old Republic was briefly brought up during an investor question, but Blizzard avoided much comment.
  • Skylanders is “one of the most innovative products we’ve ever created” and will have “success for many years.”
  • Call of Duty Elite is “one of the fastest growing online services in history” with 1.5 million paying members, ranking behind World of Warcraft and Xbox Live.
  • There will be a new Call of Duty game later this year. No details on what it is.
  • Activision will continue to invest “in our new universe from Bungie,” as that universe will be “one of publishing's next big games,” and will be “a genre-defining new IP” and a “key strategic growth pillar for the future.”
  • Can you tell that Activision is excited about Bunge’s next game? Unfortunately, no details just yet.
  • Activision declined to make any sales predictions about Wii U, but it was mentioned on a sales chart.
  • The company expects high-definition consoles to continue selling well throughout 2012.
  • In December 2011, there were 40 million users playing Call of Duty across the last five games.
  • Call of Duty Elite 2.0 is coming with “several new features” to work “hand-in-hand” with the next game.
  • A press event for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will be held next month.
  • Blizzard hopes to release multiple games this year but declined to specify what games.
  • Activision has sold more than 20 million Skylanders toys since launch.
Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3464 posts) -

Future legal ramifications aside, the Infinity Ward fiasco seems long forgotten at Activision HQ, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 being yet another runaway success for the company.

That Skylanders turned out to be a huge hit with kids--20 million toys sold, by Activision's count--was a nice bonus, too.

More Skylanders and Call of Duty in 2012 was the reoccurring theme on today’s quick ‘n dirty fourth quarter investor call, which also featured some interesting numbers about the last few months.

Diablo III being pushed back a few months was the big “news” out of the call, and as with the last few calls I’ve been listening to, I decided to publish the notes I was taking as the call went on.

Here’s what stuck out:

  • Activision generated $1 billion dollars in operating cash flow throughout 2011.
  • World of Warcraft has 10.2 million subscribers.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic was not mentioned once during the call, neither was Battlefield 3. The Old Republic was briefly brought up during an investor question, but Blizzard avoided much comment.
  • Skylanders is “one of the most innovative products we’ve ever created” and will have “success for many years.”
  • Call of Duty Elite is “one of the fastest growing online services in history” with 1.5 million paying members, ranking behind World of Warcraft and Xbox Live.
  • There will be a new Call of Duty game later this year. No details on what it is.
  • Activision will continue to invest “in our new universe from Bungie,” as that universe will be “one of publishing's next big games,” and will be “a genre-defining new IP” and a “key strategic growth pillar for the future.”
  • Can you tell that Activision is excited about Bunge’s next game? Unfortunately, no details just yet.
  • Activision declined to make any sales predictions about Wii U, but it was mentioned on a sales chart.
  • The company expects high-definition consoles to continue selling well throughout 2012.
  • In December 2011, there were 40 million users playing Call of Duty across the last five games.
  • Call of Duty Elite 2.0 is coming with “several new features” to work “hand-in-hand” with the next game.
  • A press event for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will be held next month.
  • Blizzard hopes to release multiple games this year but declined to specify what games.
  • Activision has sold more than 20 million Skylanders toys since launch.
Staff
#2 Edited by TJ311 (415 posts) -

yes!

EDIT: sorry had to.

EDIT 2: Also, nothing to surprising here. Seeing how Skylander toys were scarce everywhere, it's not too hard to see 20 million sold. But does "success for many years" mean it will go the way of Guitar Hero? Call of Duty did well, no big surprise.

#3 Posted by MattyFTM (14340 posts) -

20 million? That's insane. In-fucking-sane.

Moderator
#4 Posted by DazzHardy (667 posts) -

So, Skylanders as a brand, dead by next year ?

#5 Posted by rargy (437 posts) -

"Bunige" heh

#6 Posted by elPedro (4 posts) -

I blame Jeff!

#7 Posted by dox (108 posts) -

Call of Duty Elite has one and a half subscribers?

#8 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Well I'm not that surprised they didn't mention Battlefield 3 or TOR considering it's an Activision thing.

New Call of Duty game this year, I never! I wonder if Treyarch will handle it or the same 20 studios that stitched together MW3.

#9 Posted by AllanIceman (1322 posts) -

@MattyFTM said:

20 million? That's insane. In-fucking-sane.

Crazy!

#10 Posted by SnackyP (8 posts) -

Elite now has 1.5 paying customers?

#11 Posted by Hot_Karl (3309 posts) -

Hell, I bought 2 Skylanders & I don't even own the game. My Chop Chop & Drobot are just chillin' on my shelf.

#12 Posted by Qblivion (56 posts) -

Here's hoping for a little more innovation in the next CoD.

#13 Posted by Eldredpe (25 posts) -

Call of Duty Elite has one and a half paying members?

#14 Posted by zigx (73 posts) -

Wow 20 million. Wonder if that means the supply issue for Skylanders won't be fixed anytime soon.

#15 Posted by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -

Really interested to see what Bungie's working on. Hope they can find success after Halo.

#16 Posted by coribald (310 posts) -

@Eldredpe: fastest growing online service in history!

#17 Posted by Animasta (14648 posts) -

@coribald said:

@Eldredpe: fastest growing online service in history!

soon they will have 2 paying members

#18 Posted by kahi (114 posts) -

Skylanders, really?!? Insane

#19 Posted by TheJappernaut (124 posts) -

"Call of Duty Elite is “one of the fastest growing online services in history” with 1.5 paying members,"

Do you think he meant 1.5 million?

#20 Posted by Eldredpe (25 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@coribald said:

@Eldredpe: fastest growing online service in history!

soon they will have 2 paying members

They're keeping expectations realistic and projecting 1.8 by the end of the next fiscal quarter.

#21 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1085 posts) -

Skylanders is the biggest thing in gaming at the moment. Go to a store that has the figures in stock, and just watch. The reaction of kids and their parents when they see those figures in stock is priceless.

#22 Edited by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

I feel like "kids" (when talking about Skylanders being a hit) should be a hyper-link to Jeff's profile.

But, holy shit... that's a lot of Skylanders.

#23 Posted by AiurFlux (901 posts) -

Well 1.5 paying members for CoD Elite is what I hoped it would be, but I assume that's supposed to be 1.5 million in which case I don't want to live on this planet anymore. Also this;

Call of Duty Elite 2.0 is coming with “several new features” to will work “hand-in-hand” with the next game.

makes me infuriated. 3 months after launch and they're already back to beating that dead dilapidated horse carcase that they've been beating on for the past 6 fucking years. I hate children and frat boys and I want to kill all of them for supporting this shit series.

#24 Posted by therealminime (233 posts) -

I really hope we hear from Bungie at E3 this year, I am excited too.

#25 Posted by Evilsbane (4529 posts) -

@DrDarkStryfe said:

Skylanders is the biggest thing in gaming at the moment. Go to a store that has the figures in stock, and just watch. The reaction of kids and their parents when they see those figures in stock is priceless.

I work in a store that sells them, we had a lady come in and buy all 67 of the figures we had in stock (Which will not be happening again we had no limits on them at the time that has since changed) so she bought them all and a little boy ran up to me about an hour later and asked me where all the Skylanders figures were and I had to tell him some mean old lady who wanted to sell them on ebay bought them all the Sorrow on that kids face was Priceless, in a sad kind of way but still Priceless.

Online
#26 Posted by Scottish_Sin (221 posts) -

Those are some crazy number.

Has it been confirmed whether or not Bungie's next title is an FPS game? That would make sense but I kinda want to see them doing something else outside of that genre.

#27 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

Skylanders are just Boglins with delusions of grandeur.

Still reckon that Bungie thing is gonna be MMOFPS... or at least 'MMO' enough that they can charge a subscription for it.

#28 Posted by qawsed (143 posts) -
#29 Edited by Eldredpe (25 posts) -

@qawsed: Why is Capcom missing from that list?

Edit: Nevermind. They're at the top of the mid-size publisher list. I didn't realize they didn't count as "major."

#30 Posted by wsowen02 (318 posts) -

I can't imagine a kids toy line will have any more staying power than a couple years but I'm sure Activision will get every penny there is to get while they can.

#31 Posted by Winternet (8004 posts) -

I propose that Patrick loses the right to use the Edit button. 1.5 paying members was so much better and funny.

Online
#32 Posted by Stackboy (479 posts) -

Hopefully we hear about Bungie's new IP at E3 and also COD BLOPS 2.

#33 Posted by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -
@Scottish_Sin said:

Those are some crazy number.

Has it been confirmed whether or not Bungie's next title is an FPS game? That would make sense but I kinda want to see them doing something else outside of that genre.

Bungie has said next to nothing about what they're doing, but rumor has been that they are working on an MMOFPS. A while ago some job listings popped up that could potentially support that theory, but it's all still speculation.
#34 Posted by goatmilk (181 posts) -

Wow, a new COD game. There's a surprise! *cough*

#35 Posted by jakob187 (21642 posts) -

The Skylanders boom is all Jeff's fault.

That's not a bad thing necessarily, but I can imagine that Jeff is really dreading how far downhill this is going to go...knowing Activision and their penchant for driving shit into the ground.

#36 Posted by gakon (1945 posts) -

When I read "money-filled" in the title I thought maybe the entire earnings call should have just been this:

#37 Edited by SatelliteOfLove (1369 posts) -

"Sorry, Morhaime, you're old dick"

#38 Posted by fisk0 (3849 posts) -

@qawsed said:

Metacritic put up a year-in-review wrap-up today, and Activision's metacritic average came in dead last amongst major publishers.

Well, since Data Design Interactive closed down, ActiVision and Ubisoft probably are the biggest Wii/Kinect shovelware publishers

#39 Posted by dezvous (532 posts) -

I'm so confused... why would Activision mention Battlefield 3?

#40 Edited by Aldrenar47 (78 posts) -

I'm a bit surprised WoW still has 10.2 million subscribers. Last October it had 10.3, so apparently The Old Republic barely made a dent in it. Maybe a lot of their userbase is in kind of a "trial mode" with TOR, having both subscriptions active? I can't imagine the majority are new MMO players or players from other MMOs.

Either way I don't have a dog in this race (I'm done with MMOs as they are right now), but I find it interesting, as someone who started playing them way back at the beginning of Everquest (which is still going!)

Also, Skylanders is a genius idea. Activison may do some terrible things but they sure know how to make money.

#41 Posted by Grimluck343 (1148 posts) -

@qawsed said:

Metacritic put up a year-in-review wrap-up today, and Activision's metacritic average came in dead last amongst major publishers.

Man, guess I won't buy Diablo 3.

#42 Posted by TheHBK (5463 posts) -

They did kinda say something about the Old Republic. THat Call of Duty Elite has more paying subscribers than the Old Republic says something.

#43 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

This article is disgusting.. Not Patrick's work or writing, but the content itself.  
 
Activision is the epitome of all the things that consist of money hunger, streamlining games, killing creativity, killing titles by milking them to death and so on.. How we're even discussing this disgusting and unholy company is beyond me.

#44 Posted by Getz (2989 posts) -

@DazzHardy said:

So, Skylanders as a brand, dead by next year ?

You'd think Activision would have learned from it's mistakes with the Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero cluster-fucks but they've already announced a sequel to Skylanders for this year.

#45 Posted by sawtooth (429 posts) -

Double Fine has shown that publishers are FUCKED.

#46 Posted by NegativeCero (2975 posts) -

@sawtooth said:

Double Fine has shown that publishers are FUCKED.

i'd love it if this were even kind of true, but relying on independent investors and fan funding doesn't seem very viable to me in the long run. I love that it seems working out for them though. Now we just wait if whatever they release actually makes them money.

#47 Posted by probablytuna (3533 posts) -

Still printing money... Wonder how long the Call train lasts.

#48 Posted by sawtooth (429 posts) -

@NegativeCero: Yes, you're right, but I hope for a future where developers are enabled to make games because people want the game rather than publishers having developers make games and convincing people they want them.

#49 Posted by Arrested_Developer (708 posts) -

Blizzards multiple games will be Diablo 3 and I'm sure they count Mists of Pandaria as a second game shipped.

#50 Edited by NaCl (108 posts) -

@Aldrenar47 said:

I'm a bit surprised WoW still has 10.2 million subscribers. Last October it had 10.3, so apparently The Old Republic barely made a dent in it. Maybe a lot of their userbase is in kind of a "trial mode" with TOR, having both subscriptions active? I can't imagine the majority are new MMO players or players from other MMOs.

Either way I don't have a dog in this race (I'm done with MMOs as they are right now), but I find it interesting, as someone who started playing them way back at the beginning of Everquest (which is still going!)

Also, Skylanders is a genius idea. Activison may do some terrible things but they sure know how to make money.

IMO if WoW is losing numbers, it's because it's player base is burning out on MMOs in general - current style of MMO anyway - rather than due to some competing product. It takes quite a bit of investment to get into another MMO (another $60+) and the game ... well probably isn't going to stray all that far from WoW anyway, not to mention probably won't be as polished as WoW that has been running for 6 years.

While WoW isn't anything really special nowadays, but it was damn great when it came out. It's art style and it's well-tuned and easily to pick up gameplay got itself a ton of players. IMHO if MMO developers/publishers want to actually take the crown from the aging WoW, they are going to make a game that provides as much of a "leap" as WoW did 6 years ago. If you are too chicken to make anything but a "me-too", you will just be left in WoW's shadow. But with MMOs costing $200-$300 million to make, I suppose we can't really blame the developers/publishers too much.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.