No real slippage in World of Warcraft subscriber numbers this time, though its popularity seems to be waning in the East.
With $1.52 billion (GAAP) in revenue for Q4 2013 and total yearly revenue of $4.58 billion (GAAP), Bobby Kotick has every reason to be cheerful right now. The days when Vivendi had a chokehold on the company are long since past, and now Activision Blizzard feels it’s time to crow a little. Call of Duty: Ghosts? Number one across all platforms, and also the number one next generation game, says Kotick. Skylander? The number one children’s game, in Q4 2013. Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm? The number one PC title in North America. World of Warcraft? The number one subscription MMORPG.
But something else has been doing well – “to our positive surprise” says Kotick – and that’s the new console generation. Activision Blizzard is eyeing the Xbox One and PS4, and its improved online gaming capacity, not to mention its “potentially higher margin business models like the sale of virtual items, downloadable content and other value-added online services.” Kotick sees lots of opportunity for Activision Blizzard in the console space, and is already talking up Destiny big time. Mobile and tablet is also looking very attractive to Activision Blizzard; free-to-play casts an almost irresistible spell.
What of World of Warcraft‘s subscriber numbers? Those haven’t slipped much, if at all. Q4 2013 ended with 7.8 million subs worldwide, which compares favourably with the 7.6 million users reported in the last quarter. There has been some slippage in Eastern subscriber numbers, but an increase in Western subs made up for that loss.
Going forward, Blizzard expects the first couple of quarters in the next financial year to be a little quiet. There’s been weakness in Xbox 360 and PS3 sales, which will have an impact on Skylanders and Call of Duty in-game transactions. But with Q3 comes Destiny, and after that launch – and Activision Blizzard’s other new titles, like Hearthstone – Blizzard’s looking forward to a happy fiscal 2014.
Source: Seeking Alpha