Just moments ago, Activision just finished their 2019 Financial Outlook. There was not much to report, however – there are some tidbits from the investor call that kind-of (I said kinda!) put me on a scent for new information. After the call, I tried to find the transcript, but I at this moment, can’t find it.
However, during the call, I was able to not only capture the slides, I was also able to learn some information. Let’s go one by one, shall we?
In the first page, Activision talked up quarterly outlook…
In this page, Activision announced “better-than-expected” financial earnings ending March 31, 2019. They also said that they “outperformed” their 2018 financial report. The pro league for Call of Duty’s 2019 roadmap is off to a good start: location-based Call of Duty eSports franchises is off to a good start. We’ll come back to this later, but Activision is impressed with the results.
In the second page, Activision talked up “Progress against our plan.” Where they talked about challenges in the gaming climate (?)
Last quarter, Activision laid off 800 employees to make room for this increase of developer headcount. This leads to the next point which they’re talking about agile development workflows. The next one is a bit alarming for those of you who are not interested in the microtransactions – this part tells me that they’re not scared of pushing for more microtransactions. However, it sounds like there’s our first hint at their games becoming “free-to-play.” The last part is marketing speech, so I’ll skip that part for you…
Another part I’ll skip ahead for you, however… I remiss if I don’t mention: Net Revenue seems to take a slight hit there. Especially if you look on the lower right where it says 1.18. Either Activision is mincing the reports, or they are trying to keep some things under wraps. We know Call of Duty 2019 is coming, Activision! (More on that later, patience.)
This is boring for a reader, but this gives you a bird eye’s view of early 2019 sales. This includes microtransactions. Those new operations for Black Ops 4? Reflected here, too.
Now, for this slide – I can say that Activison learned something, but also did not learn anything. They realize that the quality of Content Releases need to be better for 2019. However, the more alarming part is that the frequency of this new content will increase. They call their current franchises “live” services, it’s abundant here – it’s because they want to drive cash from in-game content. This is possibly part of their assessment for free-to-play games going forward. Read: Expect more market tests to continue while they release games or release free-to-play games.
The third part is that they are focusing entirely on Mobile gaming, in addition to console and PC gaming. In the last part, they’re interested in increasing engagement levels to benefit their overall “live” services. They do not stop here, they doubled down on that idea in the next slide…
Moving on, as I explained earlier, Call of Duty’s location-based franchises will start out in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto. Meaning, these tournaments will offer opportunities to participate in pro leagues. This is our first snapshot for how Activision plans to expand MLG’s influence, and how Call of Duty 2019’s League will be like. Furthermore, Overwatch’s league seems to be getting off to a good start, especially with Blizzard Arena.
Activision claims that they are “investing” in the players, and how they interact with the games they produce or publish. And be forewarned: Call of Duty 2019 seems to continue this trend, too.
There’s not really much to report in this slide, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice seems to be selling well for the Activison Publishing arm of the company. It’s been reported that Sekiro sold over 10 Million copies worldwide.
Okay, this is where this article get spicy. We’ve known that Call of Duty: Mobile has been in development for a while now, and it’s coming. But what is this wording over here; “with pre-launch betas arriving later this year”? The wording is very curious, and it’s not the first time they’ve done it – last year, we had 3 betas for Black Ops 4. 2 Weekends, and the BlackOut Beta. Now, if Call of Duty: Mobile is getting a pre-launch beta, what is the other betas? Call of Duty 2019 getting multiple betas, too?
In the Q&A portion of the investor call, Activision was being coy about Call of Duty 2019, too. Very, very coy. I’m gonna tell you right now, brah. Announcement is imminent! The way the person answered the investor, they talked about Call of Duty: Mobile, but neglected to address Call of Duty 2019, entirely.
However, they did say this about Call of Duty 2019… “We feel incredibly good about this year’s game coming from Infinity Ward. The game is going to be revealed later this quarter. I think it’s going to be really clear then why we’re really so excited about the release.” We’ll know more soon.
Thanks to the investor who was asking about Call of Duty 2019! Activision dodged the bullet there. After the investor call, the stock plummeted. This is real time reporting on NASDAQ.com…
This is completely different from Activision’s Investor Relations site…