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Activision-Blizzard Q3 financials: Diablo 3 moves 14 million units, new Call of Duty in 2014

Activision has reported Q3 2013 revenues of $691 million, down 18% compared with $841 million during Q3 2012. Net revenues from digital channels were $409 million and represented a third-quarter record, making up 59% of the company’s total net revenues.

Diablo 3 sells 14 million copies across all platforms

As of September 30, 2013, World of Warcraft had approximately 7.6 million subscribers - a 100,000 decline over previous figures.

World of Warcraft ended Q2 with 7.7 million subscribers, numbers which stood at 8.3 million back in May 2013 when the firm reported its Q1 financials. The 1.3 million decline was at the time attributed to the Chinese market’s decrease in casual engagement.

The firm will continue to invest in the MMO, according to Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime.

Diablo 3 has now moved over 14 million copies on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, said Morhaime, who also reiterated that firm would be axing the auction houses next year in March.

More information on the game, its upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls and the firm's MOBA, Heroes of the Storm as well as the upcoming free-to-play card strategy game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, will be revealed at BlizzCon this weekend.

Call of Duty and the 2014 slate

"Despite short term uncertainties, as we look forward to 2014, we have a very strong pipeline," said CEO Bobby Kotick in a call to investors this evening. "We expect multiple releases across our major franchises, including the first Diablo 3 expansion and the PS4 version along with significant and exciting new content for World of Warcraft.

"We also expect to launch new Call of Duty and Skylanders titles and our major, new potential franchise with Bungie's Destiny. We will also continue to develop Call of Duty Online with our partner TenCent for the growing Chinese market, as well as Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm.

"In the coming year we will continue to invest prudently in world class entertainment franchises, and expand our global footprint."

Regarding the $1 billion sell-in figures for Call of Duty: Ghosts, the firm admitted figure was lower than that of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 during the same period last year. The decline was attributed to the next-gen console releases later this month, as customers are still weighing their purchase options.

Skylanders Giants and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 were two of the top five best-selling games in both North America and Europe during the quarter, said the firm, and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was top-selling Windows PC game in North America for the period.

“Our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations, and we are able to raise our outlook for 2013 net revenues and earnings per share," said CEO Bobby Kotick in a prepared statement. Robust continued engagement with our core franchises drove digital revenue, which constituted a majority of all revenue. This quarter demonstrates that games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft engage and entertain our fans year round.”

“We recently released new titles in two of the most popular franchises in entertainment, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Skylanders SWAP Force. We are thrilled by the quality of those games and we are excited to how what we can do with them on next generation consoles in the coming weeks.

"We are also in the process of a beta launch for our first major free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. However, we continue to believe that the fourth quarter this year presents a unique and challenging landscape due to increased competition and uncertainties surrounding the console transition.

"We are confident in our ability to navigate these challenges successfully, particularly in light of the recent completion of our transaction with Vivendi and the focus and flexibility provided by our return to independence.”

Activision became independent of its parent company, Vivendi, on October 11 after being under the French firm's umbrella for five years.

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