Activision Blizzard, the video game holding company of which Bobby Kotick has been the CEO since 2008, confirmed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II set a record for the first-person shooter game franchise by topping $1 billion through worldwide sell-through in the first 10 days since its Oct. 28, 2022, launch.
“Our developers, along with our entire Activision Blizzard team, are the backbone of our unwavering commitment to serve our hundreds of millions of players worldwide,” said CEO Bobby Kotick. The newest installment of the war game franchise is available on multiple platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
After gamers spent more than 200 million hours playing 1 billion matches, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II broke the previous record held by 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which earned $1 billion in 15 days. “The incredible momentum driving Modern Warfare II is a direct reflection of the energy and passion of the Call of Duty community,” stated Johanna Faries, the Call of Duty general manager.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 will be released on Nov. 16, and another expansion of the franchise Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is expected to debut in 2023. “As we look ahead to an unprecedented level of support for Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0’s launch next week, we are motivated to deliver again for the best player community in the world,” Faries stated.
Bobby Kotick Shares the Key to Activision Blizzard’s Success
Teamwork makes the dream work at the video game company. It’s been making significant strides toward establishing a workplace environment that’s inclusive and safe for all. In addition, last year, Kotick promised that the company would invest $250 million to increase opportunities in gaming for underrepresented demographics.
The gaming company is creating those opportunities with its Level Up U training program. The program is the initial initiative of the diversity fund that the company started in October 2021. It’s designed to educate enrolled participants on game development basics so they can eventually fill engineering roles at the company. More than 100 participants, both newcomers and current employees, were involved in the first Level Up U class, which kicked off in July 2022.
“Talent and diversity have always been critical to the company’s success. However, the industry’s rapid growth, including our franchises, has made it clear that we need to find new ways to attract and grow talent,” Bobby Kotick stated. “This is the first of many Level Up U programs, and our plan is to expand to other skill areas such as art and animation.”
Speaking of teams, there are approximately 1,600 people in six studios around the world under the Activision Blizzard umbrella, working on games like Call of Duty. “I am so proud of the extraordinary efforts from our Call of Duty teams and the records they have achieved with Modern Warfare II,” stated Kotick. “Connecting the world through joy, fun, and the thrill of competition is the key to [the company’s] success. Modern Warfare II has provided this to millions of players faster and with greater satisfaction than ever before.”
Activision Announces Latest Earnings Figures
The company released its Q3 2022 financial results on Nov. 7. Per generally accepted accounting practices, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2022, were $1.78 billion. Its GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $1.61 billion. It also generated $257 million in operating cash flow.
The company reported its monthly active users were 368 million. Its net bookings were $1.83 billion, and its in-game net bookings were $1.36 billion, up from $1.20 billion for the third quarter of 2021.
“Our games are the result of passion and excellence,” stated Bobby Kotick. “This comes from an environment that fosters inspiration, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to develop and support our talent. Our employees’ dedication and teamwork are at the heart of the extraordinary workplace that enables the magic embodied in our games.”
Kotick continued, “We look forward to continuing to release epic entertainment in service of our global community of players as a part of Microsoft, one of the world’s most admired companies. We continue to expect that our transaction will close in Microsoft’s current fiscal year ending June 2023.”
Microsoft is expected to acquire the company for $95 per share in an all-cash transaction, which is under regulatory review worldwide.
Regarding the merger, Bobby Kotick said, “As you look at the increased competition between Tencent, NetEase, and Sony, and now Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix, we were looking at the course of the next couple of years and starting to realize that we need thousands of people to be able to execute our production plans. We need them in disciplines like [artificial intelligence] and machine learning, or in data analytics, or in purpose-built cloud and cybersecurity — and that we just don’t have. And that competition for that talent is expensive and really hard to come by.”
The CEO continued, “And so, as we’re starting to think about all these skills that we need, that we don’t have and that were necessary, we realized that we should be thinking about ways to get that talent. So this was an acknowledgment and recognition. And then Satya [Nadella, CEO of Microsoft] and Phil [Spencer, head of gaming at Microsoft] and I have had conversations over many, many years of bigger things that we could do together.”
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