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Tidbits From Activision’s Q1 Financial Results

Call of Duty remains big, WoW subscriptions hold steady, and Skylanders.

ZAP!

The person writing up Activision’s financial press releases has it easy. Going back the past few years, each release touts “record” or “better-than-expected” results, largely on Call of Duty’s back.

That hasn’t changed with the company’s first quarter 2012 results, which were, unlike much of the industry, “better-than-expected.”

Activision has a second weapon now, too: Skylanders. More than 30 million of those little buggers has been sold since Skylanders launched last October, and Skylanders Giants is out later this year.

After reading Activison’s financial results and listening to the call with investors and analysts this afternoon, here are the bits that stood out. The first one stuck me as particularly interesting:

  • Revenues from downloadable content for Call of Duty “decreased significantly,” which Activision attributes to making players wait too long for it. Presumably, that won't be the case with Black Ops II.
  • The reduced revenue from downloadable content was “partially” offset by Call of Duty Elite memberships.
  • The Infinity Ward lawsuit goes to trial on May 29, barring another delay, and the company is putting aside money to potentially pay the lawsuit, should the decision go against Activision. If that happens, the company could owe more than $1 billion to Jason West, Vince Zampella, and others. Activision “does not believe such a result would be justified,” but is actively preparing for the lawsuit to have such a large financial impact.
  • More than 30 million Skylanders toys have been sold since last October.
  • Activision is positioning Skylanders to be Activision’s next $1 billion dollar franchise.
  • More than two million users have signed up for annual Call of Duty Elite memberships.
  • No new details on Bungie’s next game or any indication it would be revealed at E3.
  • Likewise, no new details on Blizzard’s next MMO, except that it’s still coming.
  • Diablo III already has more pre-orders than any other Blizzard game.
  • World of Warcraft is holding steady at 10.2 million users, the same number as last quarter. Hmm.
  • Someone asked about next-generation development investments, but it declined to comment.
Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
ZAP!

The person writing up Activision’s financial press releases has it easy. Going back the past few years, each release touts “record” or “better-than-expected” results, largely on Call of Duty’s back.

That hasn’t changed with the company’s first quarter 2012 results, which were, unlike much of the industry, “better-than-expected.”

Activision has a second weapon now, too: Skylanders. More than 30 million of those little buggers has been sold since Skylanders launched last October, and Skylanders Giants is out later this year.

After reading Activison’s financial results and listening to the call with investors and analysts this afternoon, here are the bits that stood out. The first one stuck me as particularly interesting:

  • Revenues from downloadable content for Call of Duty “decreased significantly,” which Activision attributes to making players wait too long for it. Presumably, that won't be the case with Black Ops II.
  • The reduced revenue from downloadable content was “partially” offset by Call of Duty Elite memberships.
  • The Infinity Ward lawsuit goes to trial on May 29, barring another delay, and the company is putting aside money to potentially pay the lawsuit, should the decision go against Activision. If that happens, the company could owe more than $1 billion to Jason West, Vince Zampella, and others. Activision “does not believe such a result would be justified,” but is actively preparing for the lawsuit to have such a large financial impact.
  • More than 30 million Skylanders toys have been sold since last October.
  • Activision is positioning Skylanders to be Activision’s next $1 billion dollar franchise.
  • More than two million users have signed up for annual Call of Duty Elite memberships.
  • No new details on Bungie’s next game or any indication it would be revealed at E3.
  • Likewise, no new details on Blizzard’s next MMO, except that it’s still coming.
  • Diablo III already has more pre-orders than any other Blizzard game.
  • World of Warcraft is holding steady at 10.2 million users, the same number as last quarter. Hmm.
  • Someone asked about next-generation development investments, but it declined to comment.
Staff
Posted by SuperSonic1305

Activision sucks

Posted by leejunfan83

Fuck Activision

Posted by RazielCuts

Is 'Tidbits from..' GiantBomb's newest feature?

Edited by Gnorbooth

Take all of my Skylanders!

Posted by Zaapp1

Let it be known that Jeff was right all along about the Skylanders.

Posted by DrDarkStryfe

No one better understands the current business of the industry than Activision.

Posted by Morningstar

Oh them skylanders.

Posted by Fjordson

Damn, still 10 million WoW subs, record pre-orders or Diablo III? Blizzard is a beast of epic proportions.

Posted by Ben_H

I appreciate that instead of writing "first" or crap like that people instead opted to insult Activision.

Posted by CaLe

I don't have anything to say. I'm not in the mood to be witty or to pretend I'm foreign and write in broken English. I can't be bothered right now.

Posted by Phatmac

Money money money.

Posted by mracoon

Patrick, you have to go to the IW-Activison trial if only so you have a reason to wear a press fedora.

Moderator
Posted by Bob_Loblaws_Law_Blog

I always find this junk so interesting, jolly good show klepek

Posted by JoeyRavn

Of those 30 million Skylanders sold, 10 were bought by Jeff. In a nutshell, he did what those guys did in EVE Online, but in real life.

Posted by BionicMonster

I think wows subscription base will rise by at least 2 million when Mists Of Pandaria is released.

Posted by Eljay

Even as EA and most other companies are running to social gaming Activision just sits back and enjoys the flows from everything else they have going on. I may not like all their products but I do admire their ability to stick to their business model and not go chasing after the latest crazes. No surprise its them and everyone else in the market right now.

Posted by Dany

@SuperSonic1305 said:

Activision sucks

@leejunfan83 said:

Fuck Activision

@SoothsayerGB said:

Glad to hear they are doing so well. They make great games. Those Skylanders numbers are hilarious! Can't wait for the MMO. : D

Posted by Rohok

Activision, EA, and Ubisoft can **** ** **** ****** *** ******* ************* *** **************** *** donkey ** ***** **** **

Posted by DexterKid

You forgot to mention that 1.2M people signed up for the WoW Annual Pass, almost as many as the total userbase of SWTOR.

Posted by Moonshadow101

Oh, right. Bungie still exists! Funny how easy it is to forget that.

Posted by StealthRaptor

At least I haven't given them much for CoD.

Posted by Noisician

Boy, 1 billion really is the new 1 million. Also, I fucking love end-of-quarter financial results.

Posted by killawogg

damn i need about 3 or 4 more skylanders to have them all, just to get ready for the giants

Posted by Vextroid

Activision made some money... Good to know.

Posted by Spankmealotus

this is all good...can i play diablo3 yet? no? damnit!

Posted by MrMazz

Did Bobby Kotic see his shadow?

Posted by Butano

Oh hey, Activision's making monies. Who knew?

Online
Posted by AiurFlux
  • Activision is positioning Skylanders to be Activision’s next $1 billion dollar franchise.
  • More than two million users have signed up for annual Call of Duty Elite memberships.

I really want to hit something right now.

Posted by tourgen

I just realized I don't own a single Activision game on any console or PC. It's not even a boycott or anything. I just don't like to play the games they publish. It's pretty weird it worked out like that. I don't know, maybe there is something in my steam account I am missing.

Posted by brotherstereo

Yes, demand for Call of Duty DLC is declining! Finally...

Posted by JackSukeru

@Rohok said:

Activision, EA, and Ubisoft can **** ** **** ****** *** ******* ************* *** **************** *** donkey ** ***** **** **

My what a unintelligible sentence! I will just have to try and decode it as best I can!

"Activision, EA, and Ubisoft can take me from behind and squeeze intelligently for supernationalism gas donkey up forum hate !!"

There we go : D

Posted by Baillie

Well, the user-base here sure are good at making themselves out to be moronic!

Posted by DeanoXD

I just want to clarify, 10.2M is world wide monthly paying accounts right?

Posted by Ronald

Damn, Activision has enough money to just sit over $1 billion aside just in case they need to give it to West and Zampella.

Activision “does not believe such a result would be justified,”

You think so, Activision? What else are they going to say "We are going to lose this case, but want to lose it in grand fashion." It would be crazy if they did lose, because it would mean enough money would go to Respawn to keep them in business indefinitely.

Posted by MeatSim

Yup no shortage of money in Activision's coffers.

Posted by laserbolts

2 million signed up for call of duty elite? damn that is depressing.

Edited by laserbolts

2 million signed up for call of duty elite? damn that is depressing.

@Rohok said:

Activision, EA, and Ubisoft can **** ** **** ****** *** ******* ************* *** **************** *** donkey ** ***** **** **

oh you rebel you

Posted by Sooty

Boring.

Posted by Astrofunk

Grrr... Why do people like things that I don't like!?

Posted by Gunrun

Why "Tidbits". The word is titbits.

Edited by billyhoush

I can't wait to follow the court case at the end of this month. It's gonna be like the nerd version of the OJ Simpson trial.

Posted by YukoAsho

Hopefully hardcore trolls calm the fuck down about Skylanders. There's no telling whether this can be annualized like CoD, or whether it'll have any lasting appeal. Everything made for super-young children has always been exploitative, but the little shits have short attention spans.

@laserbolts said:

2 million signed up for call of duty elite? damn that is depressing.

Not sure why. They wanted something and they paid for it.

Posted by shway

people that rage over a successful company being able to make a profit and still produce mostly decent game makes me laugh.

Posted by mr_shoeless

@CaLe said:

I don't have anything to say. I'm not in the mood to be witty or to pretend I'm foreign and write in broken English. I can't be bothered right now.

Oh, but it so much funny! You take rest, I'll chip in my shovel for cause!

Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam

All I can think of is executives sitting in a boardroom at the top of Activision-Blizzard Towers(TM) sipping scotch and chuckling as they look down at the shorter-by-17-floors EA building. Wait... maybe I can create an elaborate fiction out of this and sell it to Ubisoft for the next Assassin's Creed game.

Posted by Klaimore

Is the hmm link to star wars a way of saying that didn't matter to world of Warcraft players?

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

@Eljay said:

Even as EA and most other companies are running to social gaming Activision just sits back and enjoys the flows from everything else they have going on. I may not like all their products but I do admire their ability to stick to their business model and not go chasing after the latest crazes. No surprise its them and everyone else in the market right now.

What this duder said. I may have disdain for most of their business strategies, but at the same time they've proven that developing for the "core" can be vastly more profitable than the casual gaming that seems to be the new craze.

Online
Posted by ildon

I think a better "Hmmm" link would have been to the WoW Annual Pass rather than SW:ToR. We'll see if there's another dip in about 2-6 months. Maybe a little longer after that depending on Mists of Pandaria timing.

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