It's been a strong first-quarter for gaming companies with both Activison Blizzard and Electronic Arts reporting strong financial results.
Activision Blizzard announced net revenue of $1.79 billion in the quarter that ended March 31st 2020. That's a slight dip on the first quarter of 2019 which showed revenue of $1.83 billion but it's important to note that GAAP net revenues from digital channels were up to $1.44 billion compared to $1.39 billion. Almost like most of the world weren't able to go outdoors at this time and that more people are embracing digital codes and copies.
Net bookings were up compared to last year's first quarter, coming in at $1.52 billion compared to $1.26 billion last year, with $1.36 billion of that coming from digital channels.
In the conference call, Activision Blizzard explained it has exceeded its first-quarter outlook citing its investment in Call of Duty as well as continued momentum for World of Warcraft. It also explained that Call of Duty: Warzone has reached over 60 million players so far and that Modern Warfare has sold through more units and has more players than any Call of Duty game before it.
When it comes to World of Warcraft, its active player community doubled in the second half of 2019 and has continued to grow thanks to World of Warcraft Classic, upcoming expansion packs, and the Stay at Home initiative.
And what of Electronic Arts? They've had a similarly good time of things with digital net bookings for the fiscal year up 9 percent year-over-year to $4.052 billion. FIFA 20 now has more than 25 million unique players with strong figures elsewhere for other favourites like Madden NFL 20, Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It's nice to see that monthly average players for The Sims 4 have also been higher than the comparable period in the previous year.
Like Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts has been keen to encourage players to stay safe and indoors. The firm has developed major online tournaments to do this with various celebrity and athletic endorsements along the way.
While Activision Blizzard was a little cagey about expectations for the rest of the year, Electronic Arts is expecting to see substantial growth while people continue to stay indoors. At least someone's succeeding in these strange and confusing times.
April 12 2021 | 14:00