Activision Blizzard has released its financial report for its first quarter of fiscal year 2014, dropping the news that Bungie's Destiny beta will go live in July, and Warlords of Draenor pre-sales are doing rather well.
Better than expected results
For the quarter ended March 31, 2014, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues were $1.11 billion, compared to $1.32 billion for the first quarter of 2013 - which is a decline of 35%.
For the first quarter, net revenues from digital channels represented 34% of the company’s total revenues.
“Our better-than-expected performance was driven by record digital sales in Blizzard Entertainment’s franchises, including World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft which has more than 10 million registered users as of its March 11 launch on Windows and Mac, in addition to Activision Publishing’s Skylanders and Call of Duty franchises," said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in a prepared statement.
“We have a strong product pipeline for the balance of the year, beginning with the September 9 the planned launch of Destiny, which we believe could become our next billion dollar franchise and the largest new videogame IP launch in history. Skylanders: Trap Team and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are expected to be released on October 5 and November 4, respectively.
"Destiny could become our next billion dollar franchise and largest new videogame IP launch in history." - Kotick
"In addition to plans for new content for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and the release of Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition on console later this year, Blizzard Entertainment expects to launch World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, which is already one of the fastest selling expansions in the franchise’s history based on pre-sales, in the second half of 2014.”
For the first quarter of 2014, in North America and Europe combined, Activision said it had the #1 and #2 best-selling titles– Skylanders SWAP Force and Call of Duty: Ghosts. In North America and Europe combined, Skylanders SWAP Force was the #1 best-selling kids game overall in dollars for the first quarter of 2014, according to the firm.
Blizzard Entertainment had the #1 PC title in dollars in both North America and Europe with Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls.
Warlords of Draenor will be released no later than December 20, 2014 - with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime stating the "back half of the year" as an estimate.
During the call to investors, publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg stated that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be the most "polished" game in the series at launch than all prior games in the series. This is due to the three-year development cycle.
"Visual, graphic fidelity and polish will be on a different level than previous games in the series," said Hirshberg. "It's the first pure next-gen developed game in the series. It has full performance capture technology, and the longer development cycle helped flesh out the story and the character's development."
Hirshberg also stated that due to the new console transition, software sales have declined and will continue to do so until PS4 and Xbox One have a larger installed base. He also stated the firm's financial expectations will remain conservative surrounding the launch of Destiny due to planned spending surrounding its consumer promotion.