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Acti Q1: Diablo III beta Q3, new CoD shown in “weeks”

Monday, 9th May 2011 21:17 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Activision Blizzard has announced a large increase in calendar 2011 Q1 profits, as well as making new announcements related to Call of Duty and confirming a Q3 2011 beta for Diablo III.

Acti Blizz Q1 highlights

This year’s Call of Duty game to be announced in “weeks”.

Diablo III public beta aimed at Q3 2011.

Black Ops Escalation map pack out on PS3 “later this quarter”.

Escalation sold 1.4 million on 360 within 24 hours.

World of Warcraft now has more than 11.4 million subscribers worldwide.

Micro-transaction Call of Duty game confirmed for China.

Profit up 76 percent to $503 million year-on-year.

Digitally-delivered content accounted for 50 percent of total Q1 revenue.

No Blizzard game this year, but “at least” two from the arm in 2012.

Acti boss Bobby Kotick confirmed the 2011 Call of Duty game is about to be announced.

“This year’s Call of Duty has a very high bar to exceed,” he said. “We believe this year’s Call of Duty initiatives will result in the best Call of Duty experiences we have created to date.”

He added that more details on this year’s game will be announced in the coming weeks, and customers will be excited over the “creative excellence and sheer scale of the game we are making. The game will also be surrounded by the biggest marketing campaign the company has ever delivered.

“The unprecedented online universe that will accompany it will reset the bar for this genre, giving players a new level of immersion, connectivity, community and, of course, epic action,” added publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. “The game has exceeded every internal milestone and we look forward to sharing it with you soon.”

The company said in its financial release that it’s making “robust investment in forthcoming Call of Duty titles, including a micro-transaction game for China,” the first mention of the game, and also reconfirmed its “best-in-class digital platform surrounding the Call of Duty franchise,” which was shown in New York last week.

The new CoD game is being developed specifically for China.

Call of Duty: Black Ops became the best-selling game of all time in dollars across 360, PS3 and PC in both the US and Europe for the quarter, and was also the top-selling game in both territories for the period, the firm said.

Digital downloads of Black Ops’ First Strike map pack were more than 20 percent higher than those for Modern Warfare 2′s Stimulus Pack during the comparable period in 2010.

Diablo III beta confirmed for Q3

Escalation was downloaded 1.4 million times on 360 in its first 24 hours of availability. The pack will release “later in the quarter” for PS3, and no mention was made of a PC version.

Activision’s much-mentioned Call of Duty online system – developed by Beachhead – will feature “in-game integration” and will bring together console and PC play “for the first time”, with no mention of Modern Warfare 3, nor whether Raven and Sledgehammer and its new logo are actually working on the game with Infinity Ward.

More on Modern Warfare 3 is expected sometime soon, possibly before E3.

“On our last call, I told you that we had formed a wholly-owned development studio called Beachhead to lead the creation of an all new connected digital universe to the Call of Duty franchise,” said Kotick.

“This platform will include a suite of services and content plans that will unite and ignite the community like never before. The platform will support in-game integration and bring online experiences and console play together for the first time.

“It’s been in development for almost 2 years and we’re very excited about this increased value and excitement we can bring to our community through this platform.”

“It is the response to the passion people have for the game, the amount that people want to engage one another in a connected way,” said Hirshberg. “We want to create an experience that was amplifying enough to be able to be monetized.

The system will be an “integral part” of this year’s Call of Duty game. The Activision execs on the investor call clearly stressed that online play would not become a premium service with the new game.

“We are not attempting to monetize or take any experience away that currently counts as part of the value proposition of buying the game,” said the firm, with Kotick adding that “a lot of new capabilities and services [will be] provided free of charge to our customers.”

CFO Thomas Tippl said he didn’t expect a Blizzard game to release in 2011, but pointed to “at least” two games from the arm in calendar 2012.

Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime said that World of Warcraft now has more than 11.4 million subscribers worldwide.

The Diablo III beta test is aimed at the third quarter of 2011, Morhaime said. Internal testing started last week.

Black Ops “ftw”

Net income for the quarter stood at $503 million, an increase of 76 percent from $381 million in the previous year.

Revenue for the period, ended March 31, was up from $1.31 billion in 2010 to $1.45 billion this year.

PC revenue rose steeply in the quarter, from $49 million to $129 million, accounting for 9 percent of taken cash compared to 4 percent in Q1 2010.

As EA did last week, Activision boss Bobby Kotick said that, while 50 percent of revenue had come digitally delivered content in the quarter, the company has only “scratched the surface” in terms of downloadable opportunity.

The digital distribution business is the fastest sector in games, the company said.

Breaking news

15 Comments

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  1. razvan2you

    Diablo III Diablo III Diablo III Diablo III news…..

    #1 3 years ago
  2. M337ING

    So basically, the PC was responsible for most of their profit gain? That’s pretty surprising considering this doesn’t count World of Warcraft subscribers.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Razor

    Gizza million, Bobby

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Edo

    How about investing some of those millions in new game engine,or am I asking for too much!?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    @4

    What? And ruin those yearly COD releases??! Naaaaw

    If people didn’t continue throwing money at the franchise they probably would consider it so until their profits dip they won’t. Thats the art of Milking.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Johnny Cullen

    Q3 window for Diablo III beta confirmed in there.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Edo

    #6 Yay,thank you kind sir!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    Gosh, i sure hope that Activision will be fucked by Battlefield 3, but thats not going to happen.

    Different games. To battle Call Of duty you need to make something like that, even better with some awesome marketing campaign.

    DIABLO 3 BETA. YESH! :D

    #8 3 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    @erthazus, I think B3 may just take a large chunk out of the COD audience. Those vids are turning a lot of heads…

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9, only by graphics and technology.

    The thing is, there is a huge difference in what Call Of Duty represents. Call Of duty trailers is all about stupid conspiracy theories for kiddy grade level with “Explosions, explosions and explosions + badass specnaz or U.S. military”.

    Battlefield 3 does not have that, they have only explosions which they try to show with the engine. It’s impressive from a Gamers perspective (Us gamers on VG247 and other sites), but for the average fratboy it’s not impressive at all.
    As long as you can shoot shit and do it in the easiest arcadish fashion it’s always going to be better.

    Battlefield 3 will always have it’s niche and nothing can help it to take CoD’s chunk except for marketing campaign. But knowing EA’s marketing campaign they lost already.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. OrbitMonkey

    Have a little faith Erz, I have COD junkie fanboy friends who are eyeing B3 up like a guy who only went for blondes eyes up the sultry new brunette.

    I tell them the ads run on a top end pc, that the gameplay focuses on teamplay & that a game could last 20+ mins… They do not care.

    Remember the look in jaded MOH players eyes when they saw COD4? My friends have that look when they talk about B3.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Hunam

    CoD has to peak eventually I guess. I thought MW2 was going to be the peak but then Black Ops when and did loads better. Kinda made me a bit sheepish about calling it a day on CoD because they know if they make a modern(ish) shooter the fans will always follow.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Erthazus

    @OB, thats until Call Of duty:MW3 trailer.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. G1GAHURTZ

    I think you should put your “faith” elsewhere, OrbitMonkey.

    Nothing’s going to topple CoD except something similar to it, and BF is nothing like it.

    BF is the same BF as it was years ago.

    CoD is the same CoD it was years ago.

    They’ve gone in different directions and so have the people who play them.

    CoD players will always want something new, but BF hasn’t provided it so far, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Deacon

    Would someone care to point out to me the differences between CoD and BF? Singleplayer that is.

    I’m actually genuinely curious.

    The only thing I can gather, IMO, is that BF3 seems a bit more realistic in its narrative and set pieces.

    #15 3 years ago