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Call of Duty continues to be a big hit for video game publisher Activision Blizzard.
The first-person shooter franchise had over 100 million active monthly players across its premium and free-to-play modes during the final three months of 2020, Activision announced Wednesday in a statement revealing the company’s fourth-quarter financials. Premium net sales of the games grew 40 percent, while the November launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War boosted monthly active users by approximately 70 percent. On the pick-up-and-play side, Call of Duty: Mobile saw double-digit growth in net bookings, while the franchise’s online counterpart Warzone saw increased engagement.
Activision said fourth-quarter revenue reached $2.41 billion for the period ending Dec. 31, compared with $1.99 billion for the same quarter in 2019. The publisher brought in $8.09 billion in revenue for the year, compared with $6.49 billion in 2019.
“In a year filled with adversity our extraordinary employees were determined to provide connection and joy to our 400 million players around the world,” said CEO Bobby Kotick. “They accomplished this as well as generating record financial results for our shareholders. Under difficult circumstances, but with the same conviction and focus, they will continue to do so in 2021.”
Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft also drove growth last quarter, with franchise net bookings up 40 percent year-over-year. This was, in part, driven by strong sales of the Shadowlands expansion. Regional testing for Diablo Immortal began last December, with the launch planned for later this year. Upcoming plans for the company’s franchises will be shared at BlizzConline, the digital version of BlizzCon, later this month.
Candy Crush — Activision-owned developer King’s largest franchise – had 240 million monthly active users in the quarter and remained the top grossing franchise in the U.S. app stores. The Bubble Witch and Farm Heroes franchises also grew net bookings year-over-year, driven partly by seasonal in-game events.
Looking ahead, net bookings are expected to reach over $1.75 billion for the first quarter of 2021 and over $8 billion for the year.
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