Activision Blizzard has announced that the company has generated over $956 million in revenue from microtransactions in Q1 2020, meaning January – March.
The number highlights the success of the in-game content in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the release of Call of Duty: Warzone.
“Our goal to connect the world through epic entertainment is more important to our players than ever before,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “We delivered strong financial results for the first quarter, and are raising our full year outlook. I have been awestruck by the strength of our employees and their families during this difficult time. Whether managing healthcare or childcare, performing public service or community service, our teams around the world have shown ingenuity and resilience. In the face of so many difficulties, our employees have made certain that the joy, the engagement, and the benefits of gaming remain an effective way to help keep our 400 million players around the world connected and safe.”
In-game net bookings were $956 million, as compared with $794 million for the first quarter of 2019.
Activision Blizzard also says that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, from launch to date, has now sold more copies and has more players online than any other Call of Duty title to date.
The company also revealed that Call of Duty: Warzone is now at 60 million players to date, since its launch on March 11, 2020. Activision says in-game content revenue doubled year over year in Modern Warfare compared to Black Ops 4 in Q1 2019.
Activision had 102 million MAUsD in the first quarter.
Call of Duty: Warzone launched on March 10, 2020 and has reached over 60 million players to date.
Life-to-date, Modern Warfare has sold through more units and has more players than any prior Call of Duty title at this point after its release.
In the first quarter, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® unit sell-through was the highest for the franchise outside of a launch quarter. Following substantial year-over-year growth versus the prior title in January and February, unit sell-through accelerated in March, driven by upgrades from Warzone as well as rising demand amidst shelter-at-home conditions.
Also in the first quarter, Modern Warfare in-game net bookings more than doubled year-over-year versus Black Ops 4.
Activision also highlighted that Call of Duty: Mobile continues to see success:
Call of Duty Mobile continued to build on last October’s breakout launch with new content, features and events aimed at optimizing engagement, retention and player investment.The game saw increased reach and engagement in March, driven by an increased cadence of compelling content and events as well as shelter-at-home tailwinds.
Activision Publishing has announced that the company has launched dedicated servers for Call of Duty in the Middle East region to provide better connection to servers for those who play in Middle East and Africa.
The news comes as Middle East fans have been asking for regional server support for a long time with their games having incredibly high pings. Activision partnered with STC to bring servers in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Here’s the translated announcement from the Activision Blog post:
We are pleased to announce officially the availability of Call of Duty® servers for the Middle East.
Because we always strive to provide players in the Middle East with an excellent performance for the Call of Duty multiplayer experience, we cooperated with STC to host the Call of Duty cloud data centers in both Riyadh and Jeddah to benefit multiple countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The data centers will host Call of Duty players across different modes over the Internet, as well as players across different devices like Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, all connected to one server.
Having started the testing phase for servers in the Middle East with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and more recently with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® across different modes and different devices, we are now confident of taking our experience to a whole new level, and our goal is to set high standards For online multiplayer action games and to celebrate our community in the Middle East with their amazing contribution to supporting the Call of Duty series.
We are also excited to announce the support of dedicated servers, the new addition to the Call of Duty: Warzone series.
For Call of Duty fans in the Middle East, Activision also has a regional Twitter account: @CallofDutyARA.
During Activision Blizzard Q4 Investor Call, the company commented a bit on what’s coming to their overall franchises for 2020.
An investor asked Activision during the call how the changes to Modern Warfare’s revenue systems — the removal of the Season Pass and new Battle Pass system — has affected player engagement and revenue.
Activision President Rob Kostich answered this question describing the new features they brought to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and hinted at surprises to come this year.
“Our intent was just to create a better overall experience for our player community, and we think we’ve done that,” says Kostich.
“The first big thing we did was bring in cross play and cross progression enabling friends that play together no matter what platform they are on. In the case of Modern Warfare, it’s just great to see players come back together after so many years of experience in the franchise in the past.”
He commented then on the Season Pass being removed, which has led to no longer splitting the community anymore in Call of Duty. Kostich also says that player engagement is up year over year.
“Now with season pass, we wanted to do something similar. So instead of certain portions of the audience having certain content, we’re focused now on free content for the entire community to drive engagement with the overall community. We are focusing on the new battle pass and item shop system in the game to give players more transparency to the content they can obtain, focusing on more cosmetic content. The best way to judge all of it is just what the player behavior and what’s the community saying. Our engagement is up significantly year-over-year, and that’s really great for us to see so many people enjoying and playing this fantastic game.”
“And then on the player investment side, I’d say fans certainly seem to be appreciating the new system quite a bit. We mentioned kind of the growth year-on-year, but one other thing I might add is that, we’re also see an increased attach rates in game to the new system, which I think is a very, very positive sign for us. And for us, this all signals to a really healthy ecosystem within Modern Warfare, one that we think w can build on and create momentum with our community.”
Kostich then has hinted that 2020 will be a big year for Call of Duty overall with an increase in player base to the franchise and great new content to come.
“It’s really on us from now to really build great content, which we intend to do for the long haul on this game. A great pipeline of content is coming starting with Season 2 next week. And we have some surprises in store beyond that. So I’d say overall, what we expect is a healthier Call of Duty in 2020 versus the previous year. And we look forward to sharing more in the future.”
Activision has not said what the “great pipeline of content” is for Season 2 in Modern Warfare yet. Season 2 begins on February 11 for the game.
In regards to the surprises, there’s no information as to what that means yet. It could be the long rumored Battle Royale mode, or something else.
NPD has released the data for the 2019 year for the video game industry in the United States.
Their data has revealed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the best selling game of the year and was the best selling game of December 2019.
The list for December 2019 shows Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at #1 with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order coming in at #2 for the year.
The NPD also showcased the best selling games of the year 2019, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was #1.
The NPD Group also revealed that Call of Duty has been the best selling game in the US in revenue generated for the last 11 years in a row, making it the best selling franchise of all time.
In addition, the NPD Group released the sales results for the last decade, and Call of Duty dominated the charts with 10 games in the top 15 for best selling in the US during the 2010 through 2019 period.
Call of Duty continues to withstand all the competition and generates billions of dollars per year. Activision has continued to release a Call of Duty game every year since the original title in 2003, and the company does not appear to be stopping.
2020 will mark the launch of the next generation of consoles with a new Call of Duty game as well. It won’t be surprised to see Call of Duty #1 this year again.
SuperData Research has released their 2019 report on the video games industry and the overall results from the digital market worldwide.
Their extensive research report is available to download for free and provides insight into the free to play category, premium games, and streaming services for 2019.
The report has revealed that Call of Duty titles collectively generated over $1.1 billion in revenue in 2019.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare generated over $647 million in revenue through the end of the year. The title released in October and, per Activision, is the most played Call of Duty game of this console generation.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s post launch microtransactions also performed well through the end of the year with the game generated $487 million in revenue in 2019. Combining those two, Call of Duty generated $1.13 billion in revenue in 2019.
Call of Duty: Mobile also released in 2019, and per Super Data, the title generated $116 million total in revenue.
Bringing AAA game franchises to mobile proved to be a successful strategy for publishers. Call of Duty Mobile earned $116.8M in 2019 a\er its October release, and Mario Kart: World Tour also launched on mobile. Instead of simply applying a franchise brand to a mobile game, these games truly mirror the feel of their console counterparts. Their success also shows that gamers are willing to play a wide range of genres on a touchscreen.
The industry continued to shift towards free to play in 2019 with free to play games generating a 6% increase in revenue in 2019 versus 2018. More companies are slowly starting to adopt the free to play model, bringing more players into their game universe.
2020 is a big year for gaming as the new generation of consoles arrive. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be launching in Holiday 2020.
2019 and the decade is coming to an end here shortly. Charlie Intel started up in the early part of this decade, back in 2011 with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. 8.5 years later, nine Call of Duty games covered, we’re at the end of this decade.
Now, with the end of the decade almost here, we wanted to put together a post on what we’re looking forward to going into 2020 – from Call of Duty to consoles and more. Due note, some of the stuff we’re speculating are rumors (and will be noted as such!).
Without further ado, let’s get into what we’re looking forward to in 2020.
2020 will be another big year for consoles. The new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will both be arriving in Holiday 2020. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both launched in 2013; so seven years later, we’re getting a new generation of consoles – just in time for the start of the new decade.
The next PlayStation console will be arriving in Holiday 2020. Sony has thus far announced just a few details on the new console, including first details on the console’s specs and the controller.
If you missed it, here’s quick recap of the console details:
Backwards Compatible with PS4 games
Still using Physical Media
8 Core AMD Processor
Radeon Navi GPU (Supports up to 8K resolution)
SSD and More Storage (Spider-Man loads times from 15 seconds to 0.8)
And here’s what’s known about the new DUALSHOCK controller for PS5:
New PS5 Controller uses USB Type C
PS5 Controller has Haptic Feedback
Controller has now adaptive triggers
New Speaker system on the controller
Better Battery Life
Heavier than the DUALSHOCK 4, but will be lighter than a Xbox One controller
There’s a lot more information to come in 2020 as PS5 launch approaches. We’ll be closely looking to see how Sony positions the PlayStation 5 for 2020 and the launch price for the console.
Xbox Series X
Microsoft first announced that a new generation of Xbox would be coming during E3 2019, where the company announced that the new generation is “Project Scarlet.” The told fans it would be a top of the line console with advanced specs and more.
The company then surprised everyone by announcing and revealing the look of the console at the 2019 Game Awards in mid-December. The console is called the Xbox Series X, as shown above, and is launching Holiday 2020.
If you missed any details, here’s a high level recap:
From a technical standpoint, this will manifest as world-class visuals in 4K at 60FPS, with possibility of up to 120FPS, including support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. Powered by our custom-designed processor leveraging the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Xbox Series X will deliver hardware accelerated ray tracing and a new level of performance never before seen in a console. Additionally, our patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology will allow developers to get even more out of the Xbox Series X GPU and our next-generation SSD will virtually eliminate load times and bring players into their gaming worlds faster than ever before.
We are minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Xbox Series X the most responsive console ever. Xbox Series X is also designed for a future in the cloud, with unique capabilities built into the hardware and software to make it as easy as possible to bring great games to both console and elsewhere. Xbox Series X will deliver a level of fidelity and immersion unlike anything that’s been achieved in previous console generations.
Call of Duty
Modern Warfare Content
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched on October 25, 2019 with mixed reaction from the Call of Duty community.
Activision revealed recently that Modern Warfare is the most played Call of Duty game of the last six years, despite a lot of the negativity online about the game. It seems more of the casual players are playing Modern Warfare a lot while some of the long term fans are frustrated with some of the design choices.
2020 is looking strong for the game with more Post Launch content seasons for Modern Warfare with new Battle Passes, maps, and more. With the elimination of the Season Pass in this game, it’s great knowing all players will receive all of the new maps to come for free. We hope to see more Modern Warfare classic makes into this game, like Rust, Terminal, and more.
There’s so many options to pick from – let’s hope Infinity Ward picks the right ones…
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty: Mobile debuted in 2019 as one of the new ways Activision can bring Call of Duty to more users worldwide. Call of Duty: Mobile has been a hit for Activision, racking in millions in revenue and becoming the most downloaded new mobile game in history.
In 2020, we’re looking forward to seeing how Activision evolves the Call of Duty: Mobile game with more content and new features. They’ve added in the Zombies mode and promised more Zombies maps, new MP maps, and more to come to the game as the year progresses.
We’re also interested to see if they plan to bring any of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s maps and content to the mobile game. The mobile game has brought Call of Duty to a new audience – especially in Asia, where in some regions home consoles are not as popular.
Rumor: Modern Warfare Battle Royale
Another thing we’re also hoping and waiting to see pan out in 2020 is this long rumored Battle Royale mode for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Activision has not officially confirmed a Battle Royale exists, but there has been so many rumors about its release.
The rumors state that the Battle Royale is expected to be free to play, standalone from the main Modern Warfare game, and release in “early 2020.” Rumors also state that Raven Software is tasked with leading development of this project. The studio was recently hiring a Community Manager for the studio, in a sign that they are becoming lead in some regard for Call of Duty.
Even beyond the rumors, so many details on this potential BR have been found in the game files for Modern Warfare, including a look at the in-development map for the mode.
Here’s that leaked map, in case you missed it:
Fans have even glitched in-game to be above the entire Battle Royale map inside of Modern Warfare.
With all of the rumors, the numerous in-game references, and more, we’re patiently waiting to see if this ever pans out. And if it does, it would be remarkable. Free to play Call of Duty BR? That would be a major hit for Activision.
But for now, it’s just a rumor.
Speculation: Call of Duty 2020
Every year, a new Call of Duty game releases, and 2020 will of course be no different.
But 2020 will be different in regards to the release cycle. Since 2013, Call of Duty devs have been on a 3 year development cycle rotating between Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games.
But in May of 2019, Kotaku reported that Activision put Treyarch in charge of 2020 Call of Duty game because of bickering between SHG and Raven. Treyarch even slipped up a bit with a job listing earlier saying they’re working on a “next-gen title for 2020.” This makes Sledgehammer and Raven support studios with Treyarch.
2020 will be the first two-year developed Treyarch title since 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is now a beloved game. It will be interesting to see the direction Treyarch goes with developing a new game in two years, and with that, a new game for new consoles. This will be Treyarch’s first as the leading dev for a new console launch for Call of Duty. 2013 was Infinity Ward with Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The rumors floating around are that the 2020 game from Treyarch encompasses the Cold War era, including the Vietnam War. There is a campaign expected to be part of the game.
With all of this to look forward too, 2020 is looking to be a busy year! As always, stick with CharlieIntel for the latest on all things Call of Duty and new generation consoles.
The Call of Duty Endowment, Activision Blizzard’s non profit organization that helps veterans find jobs, has announced a new “Hire. Honor.” campaign to celebrate the organization’s 10 year anniversary of helping veterans find jobs.
The Call of Duty Endowment has helped many veterans find jobs over the last 10 years and has found unique ways of allowing the community to help support the charity through in-game content packs in Call of Duty titles.
General James Mattis, Decorated American Veteran and Former United States Secretary of Defense, joins the campaign in a call-to-action Public Service Video which can be viewed at: callofdutyendowment.org/HireHonor. In addition to urging viewers to honor veterans by hiring veterans, General Mattis asserts that the vast majority of veterans who have experienced combat emerge stronger and are even greater assets to our society and the workforce.
The campaign encompasses a variety of programs that support the Endowment, with 100% of Activision proceeds going directly to finding jobs for veterans. The Call of Duty Endowment has funded the placement of more than 63,000 veterans into well-paying, high-quality jobs and expects to place 100,000 veterans in meaningful jobs by 2024.
“It is my great honor to partner with General Mattis and General Jones in honoring our veterans by hiring our veterans,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard and co-founder of the Call of Duty Endowment. “We are committed to finding 100,000 jobs for veterans by 2024.”
For the Hire. Honor. campaign, the Endowment is adding additional ways to support veterans and earn in-game content in both Call of Duty: Mobile and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Starting Monday, Nov. 11, Call of Duty®: Mobile will feature an Endowment-themed content pack entitled the Call of Duty Endowment Honor Pack which includes a new skin for in-game items
Players can participate by watching some of their favorite streamers play Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare on Twitch this Veterans Day. Look for streamers with CODE clan tags to see the Call of Duty Endowment streams. Fans who watch for 1 hour will receive 30 minutes of 2XP. Fans who watch for 2 hours will also receive a Call of Duty Endowment Calling Card.
The company also announced a donation partnership with Klay Thompson and Dr. Disrespect.
Gaming superstar Dr Disrespect and basketball legend Klay Thompson are teaming up with Omaze to raise funds for the Call of Duty Endowment. To bring attention to this important cause, they are offering the chance for one lucky fan to play Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare with Dr Disrespect and Klay Thompson, which will be livestreamed on Twitch. The lucky winner will play alongside one of gaming’s most dynamic personalities and one of the greatest three-point shooters in basketball, while supporting the work and mission of the Call of Duty Endowment. Visit Omaze.com/COD for details.
The organization partnered with General Jim Mattis for this campaign and released a new video discussing the campaign.
Activision Blizzard is announcing their Third-Quarter 2019 Financial Results, which covers the months of July 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019.
As part of the press release for the results, the company says that, overall across all of their franchises, they generated $710 million from microtransaction in those three months.
For the quarter ended September 30, 2019, Activision Blizzard’s net bookings were $1.21 billion, compared with $1.66 billion for the third quarter of 2018. Net bookings from digital channels were $0.98 billion, as compared with $1.44 billion for the third quarter of 2018. In-game net bookings were $0.71 billion. Overall Activision Blizzard Monthly Active Users (MAUs) were 316 million.
That is microtransaction earnings in just three months – from all of the franchises that Activision Blizzard has.
The company also noted that in-game net bookings from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was much higher than that of Call of Duty: WWII during the same time period in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 reach and net bookings from in-game items grew sharply versus Call of Duty®:WWII in the third quarter of 2018.
The practice of platform holders securing console exclusives took a new and weird turn yesterday, when Sony and Activision announced that Modern Warfare’s Survival Mode—a mode within a mode, as it’s part of Spec Ops—is appearing exclusively on the PS4 until October 1, 2020.
Spec Ops, first introduced in the original Modern Warfare 2, is a series of short scripted missions that can either be played solo or co-op. They’ve been missing from the last few Call of Duty games, so their return here has been seen as a welcome move by longtime series fans.
That excitement from PC and Xbox users will be a little tempered by yesterday’s announcement, though. While the core Spec Ops experience will appear on all platforms, Survival Mode—basically a Horde mode for Call of Duty, available as an option within Spec Ops—won’t be turning up outside the PS4 until October 2020, which conveniently is right around the time the next Call of Duty game will be due.
This isn’t the first time Sony has secured an exclusivity deal for Call of Duty content, but those have previously been for a matter of days. To lock something down for almost an entire year (the game is due out on October 25) is a little more drastic.
You can see the exclusive announced twice in the video below, once at the beginning in small print, and again near the end.