Overwatch 2 making big bucks for Activision Blizzard

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Activision Blizzard has reported healthy financial results following the launches of both Overwatch 2 and last year’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

Blizzard’s monthly active users have seen a sharp uptick, up nearly 87 percent year-on-year, following a long trend downwards. Revenue for the three months ending 31st December rose by roughly the same amount, as people splashed their cash on the free-to-play sequel.

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, the latest expansion to Blizzard’s long-running MMO, launched in late November. For the first time in 10 years, sales were down slightly on its predecessor, 2020’s Shadowlands (which shifted over 3.7m copies at launch).

Overwatch 2’s Season 3 trailer.

“While early Dragonflight sales have not reached the level of the prior expansion, community feedback on the title has been positive,” the company stated.

Activision Blizzard last month ended its relationship with NetEase, its Chinese publishing partner which handled the running of its games in the region. This occurred too recently to be reflected in these latest results, though its impact will likely be seen next quarter if the company does not find a replacement.

Over on the company’s Activision side, revenue and engagement were again both up – albeit not quite as strongly as for Blizzard. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 predictably provided a far healthier bottom line than last year’s disappointing WW2-set Vanguard, with Activision revenue up 59.9 percent year-on-year.

Activision’s monthly active users saw a more modest rise of 3.7 percent year-on-year, aided by “record player investment” and “a strong year-over-year increase in franchise reach” from November’s launch of the rebooted Warzone 2.0. On that, however, Activision admitted said growth had “moderated following the launch”.

“We ended 2022 with record quarterly net bookings as we delivered on our mission to bring epic joy to players,” Activision Blizzard’s controversial CEO Bobby Kotick said, reflecting on the results. “I’m grateful to our talented and hardworking teams for their many successes entertaining our hundreds of millions of players around the world.

“We look forward to a historic year, as we work toward merging with Microsoft. This merger will enable us to better serve our players, create greater opportunities for our employees, and allow us to succeed in an increasingly competitive global gaming industry.”

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