Spoiler alert: Activision is still making a ton of money. During the publisher’s quarterly earnings call, Activision reported they raked in $1.3 billion this quarter, which is $164 million above their own predictions.
Activision enjoyed a profitable Q1 2013 thanks in large part to the launch of StarCraft 2‘s Heart of the Swarm expansion, as well as continued sales from their high profile franchises like Call of Duty and Skylanders. That being said, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is still pessimistic about the remainder of 2013.
Kotick’s apprehension takes into account several factors including the “shift in release dates of competing products, the disappointing launch of the Wii U, uncertainties regarding next-generation hardware, and subscriber declines in [their] World of Warcraft business.” To be fair, the publisher is by no means in dire straits, but the uncertainty that surrounds the video game landscape has Kotick concerned.
On the software front, Kotick’s primary concern is likely the launches of Grand Theft Auto 5 and Battlefield 4. One (BF4) is a direct competitor to Activision’s bread and butter Call of Duty franchise, while the other is a sequel poised to pull in huge sales numbers. That isn’t to say Call of Duty: Ghosts will sell poorly, just that it has stiffer competition than in past years.
As far as the Wii U is concerned, it’s no secret Nintendo’s new console has been struggling. However, a large portion of those shortcomings sale-wise can be attributed to a lack of software. Basically, it’s a double-edged sword: with developers not willing to make games because of the console’s relatively small install-base, which the Wii U has because it doesn’t have a lot of titles available.
And then there’s the next-gen — the big question mark for the latter half of 2013. For Activision, there are likely a lot of questions about how gamers will respond to a new set of consoles. After all, it’s been almost 7 years since the launch of the PS3.
Obviously Activision still has the current-gen version of Call of Duty: Ghosts to fall back on, but moving forward these new consoles will need to takeover at some point. Can Activision assume the same type of turnout when their franchises jump to the next-gen?
So while other publishers publicize their financial struggles, Activision is still going strong. But, they’re not as sure-headed as they once were, which is interesting.
Do you agree that the Wii U launch was disappointing? Will you be picking up a next-gen console on day 1?