Activision Blizzard announces better-than-expected first quarter 2013 financial
results, reporting GAAP net revenues of $1.32 billion (compared with $1.17
billion for the first quarter of 2012). The company's non-GAAP net revenues were
$804 million ($587 million for the first quarter of 2012). As for earnings: "For
the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Activision Blizzard’s GAAP earnings per
diluted share were $0.40, as compared with $0.33 for the first quarter of 2012.
On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s earnings per diluted share were $0.17, as
compared with $0.06 for the first quarter of 2012." This includes word that WoW
has lost another 1.3 million subscribers ("mainly from the East, but in the West
as well") along the way. Here are their selected business highlights:
As of March 31, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment’s
World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with 8.3 million
For the first quarter, Blizzard Entertainment had
two top-10 PC titles in both North America and Europe with Blizzard
Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Diablo® III.¹
As of March 31, 2013, in North America and Europe
combined, Activision Publishing was the #1 publisher overall for the
quarter, including accessory packs and figures, with the #1 and #2
best-selling franchises – Skylanders and Call of Duty®.³
In both North America and Europe, including
accessory packs and figures, Activision Publishing’s Skylanders Giants™ was
the #1 best-selling game overall in dollars for the first quarter of 2013.³
For the quarter, in North America and Europe
combined, Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II was the #2
best-selling title in dollars.¹
During the quarter, non-GAAP digital revenues from
Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty franchise increased more than 100% year
On May 1, 2013, Activision Publishing announced
that it will release its new Call of Duty game, Call of Duty: Ghosts, on
November 5, 2013.
On April 29, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment
announced that it will release Diablo III for the Sony PlayStation® 3
computer entertainment system later this year. As announced previously,
Blizzard also plans to adapt the game for the Sony PlayStation 4.
On March 22, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment
announced Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™, a new cross-platform
free-to-play game for Windows®, Macintosh®, and iPad®.
On March 12, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment launched
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. As of the end of its first two days of
sales, Heart of the Swarm had sold through approximately 1.1 million copies
worldwide, including both retail and digital sales.²
On February 5, 2013, Activision Publishing
announced Skylanders SWAP Force™, the newest installment in the popular
During a conference call with investors following its
financial reporting, EA confirmed having cut its workforce by 10%, reports
Joystiq, saying that is approximately 900 workers. An
posted by EA last month revealed the cuts without
specifying the number of effected jobs, but at the time
Kotaku reported a
couple of sources told them it was 10%, so this confirms that. Joystiq says this
cost EA $16 million in severance payments.
video preview on GameSpot.com features a writer's impressions of
Wolfenstein: The New Order, though this does not offer gameplay footage of
the alternate-history shooter (though they do have a clip from the original
Wolfenstein 3D). There are bits of developer interview footage and glances
at concept art, and impressions of gameplay, weapons, enemies, game mechanics
like sliding and leaning. There's also news, as word is this will be a
single-player game with no multiplayer support.
user blog on Gamasutra goes into detail on the impact of the
gold dupe bug in Diablo III.
The blog makes it clear that this flooded the economy in a staggering way,
showing a single user having generated 420 billion in gold, and making the claim
this impacted "relatively few players" seem dubious at best, as the
Diablo III Forums are filled
with posts about how broken the economy is, with countless posts demanding a
Kickstarter is for HEX: Shards of Fate, an MMO/trading card game from
Cryptozoic Entertainment, creators of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game.
Here's their pitch for $300K to complete the game: "HEX combines the compelling
collectible and strategic game play of a trading card game (TCG) with amazing
community and storytelling aspects of a massively multiplayer online roleplaying
game (MMORPG) to create an entirely new gaming experience: the MMO/TCG. We've
come so far in pairing these two genres together, and we're asking for your help
to take us across the finish line."
Matrix Games announces the release of Rise of Prussia Gold, a newly
polished edition of AGEOD's turn-based grand strategy game with fixes,
improvements, new features, and three new scenarios. In addition to the full
game, they are selling a USD $4.99 Upgrade Kit for the original game, and offer
help on how to manually install this for the Steam edition, since there is not
a version of this available on Steam yet.
Electronic Arts has registered a bunch of new domains for the Battlefield
Fusible, saying they have picked up everything from Battlefield13.com to
Battlefield20.com, and now own all the relevant domains beginning at
Battlefield2.com except Battlefield10-Battlefield12. The eight year span between
the release of Battlefield 2 and the upcoming release of Battlefield 4 would
place a Battlefield 20 release somewhere around the year 2077, but
Joystiq sagely points out that this would nicely accommodate annual releases
with a yearly numbering scheme, a la the Madden series. This would also explain
their willingness to buy up those domains without owning the ones in the middle
covering previous years.
The Diablo III
Website has details on a screw-up in the Diablo III auction house following
yesterday's new patch for Blizzard's
action/RPG sequel. In spite of a month of
playtesting of version 1.0.8, it included a bug that refunded double a
player's gold if a player cancelled a gold auction, putting the auction house's
natural tendency to continually inflate the game's economy into overdrive (a
good trick in what is already the Weimar Republic of video games). They shut
down auctions until closing off the exploit, and while there was a discussion of
a rollback to undo the impact of this, but they say they have ultimately decided
to focus on addressing individual accounts of the "relatively few players" who
Capcom's annual fiscal reporting is now available, reports
Gamasutra, showing the downturn predicted in
profit warning. Word is: "For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, Capcom
posted revenues of 94.1 billion yen ($951.7 million), up 14.6 percent
year-over-year, and profits of 3.0 billion yen ($30.1 million), down 55.8
percent year-over-year." Looking forward, they say: "Looking to the current
fiscal year, Capcom believes it can produce a large profit through mobile games,
and digital PC titles. Monster Hunter 4 and Lost Planet 3 are two titles in
particular that the company hopes will help it turn things around."
EA Sports and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) announce
an extension of their exclusive agreement for the FIFA brand through the end of
the year 2022, by which time the deal will be thirty years old. Word is: "Under
the terms of the agreement, EA SPORTS maintains exclusive rights to release
FIFA-branded action and management videogames. In addition, EA SPORTS also holds
exclusive rights to release the official FIFA World Cup™ videogame, as well as
retaining its status as a Presenting Partner of the FIFA Interactive World Cup."
UFO Online is now in open
beta testing, offering the chance to sample gamigo's tactical MMO browser game
and help protect the Earth from extraterrestrials. Here's word on the
A mixture of flash technology and a Unity Engine ensures for crisp
detail 3D graphics sets the scene well for both the soldiers as well as the
Skum. Graphical improvements were also undertaken for effects, for example with
the weapons. Performance was once again optimized, especially regarding the
flash part of the game. Users can also look forward to an improved interface
with expanded functions like drag and drop and keyboard shortcuts.
In the turn-based, tactical battles the people who win are those who find the
right mix between tactics and research. In the long run it's all about achieving
world domination with one of the three factions.
Here's an official teaser
trailer for Hellraid, Techland's upcoming hack-and-slash game that
began as a Dead Island modification and was once promoted under the title
Project Hell. The game is expected for release this year, and the video
offers a look at some actual gameplay. Continue here to read the full story.
Happy birthday WalterEgo, as today is my baby brother's birthday (I'll invoke
the baby part just to make myself feel younger about the proposition). Today I
found out I should actually be jealous of the date of his birthday, as I learned
it is also the birthday of the James Bond movie franchise, since
Dr. No was
released fifty years ago today. So there's that: Happy birthday bro, please have
a martini on my tab to celebrate, shaken, not stirred.