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SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced second-quarter 2021 results.

“With respect to our financial performance, we are pleased that the company continued to deliver strong results in the second quarter, and we are raising our outlook for the year,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “We remain intensely focused on the well-being of our employees and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our company has a welcoming, supportive and safe environment where all of our team members can thrive.”

Financial Metrics

 

Q2

(in millions, except EPS)

2021

 

Prior Outlook*

 

2020

GAAP Net Revenues

$2,296

 

$2,135

 

$1,932

Impact of GAAP deferralsA

($375)

 

($285)

 

$146

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAAP EPS

$1.12

 

$0.81

 

$0.75

Non-GAAP EPS

$1.20

 

$0.91

 

$0.81

Impact of GAAP deferralsA

($0.29)

 

($0.21)

 

$0.16

 

 

 

* Prior outlook was provided by the company on May 4, 2021 in its earnings release.

Please refer to the tables at the back of this earnings release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2021, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $2.30 billion, as compared with $1.93 billion for the second quarter of 2020. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $2.03 billion. GAAP operating margin was 42%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.12, as compared with $0.75 for the second quarter of 2020. On a non-GAAP basis, Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 44% and earnings per diluted share were $1.20, as compared with $0.81 for the second quarter of 2020.

For the quarter, operating cash flow was $388 million, as compared with $768 million for the second quarter of 2020. For the trailing twelve-month period, operating cash flow was $2.57 billion.

Please refer to the tables at the back of this press release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.

Operating Metrics

For the quarter ended June 30, 2021, Activision Blizzard’s net bookingsB were $1.92 billion, as compared with $2.08 billion for the second quarter of 2020. In-game net bookingsC were $1.32 billion as compared with $1.37 billion for the second quarter of 2020.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2021, overall Activision Blizzard Monthly Active Users (MAUs)D were 408 million.

Commitment to a Safe Working Environment

Following serious allegations regarding the company’s employment, compensation and workplace practices, Activision Blizzard is taking swift action to ensure a safe and welcoming work environment for all employees. We have engaged a law firm to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. We will be adding additional staff to our Compliance and Employee Relations teams, strengthening our capabilities in investigating employee concerns. We are creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for employees to speak out and share areas for improvements. We will be evaluating managers and leaders across the company with respect to their compliance with our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences. And we will be adding resources to ensure and enhance our consideration of diverse candidate slates for all open positions. The leadership of the company is committed to creating the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

Selected Business Highlights

Activision Blizzard exceeded its prior outlook for the second quarter, benefiting from strong execution by our creative and commercial teams in delivering compelling experiences and in-game content to our deeply engaged communities. Our increased investment in our largest franchises over the last two years has significantly expanded the scale and enhanced the financial trajectory for Call of Duty®, World of Warcraft®, and Candy CrushTM. This work continued to deliver strong results in the second quarter, even as countries continued to reopen from lockdowns related to the pandemic.

Activision

  • Activision delivered another strong quarter, contributing to record first half segment revenue and segment operating income. Activision had 127 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • The Call of Duty ecosystem sustained reach, engagement, and player investment well above levels seen prior to the introduction of free-to-play experiences across console, PC, and mobile. Q2 franchise MAUsD were consistent versus the year ago quarter, and over three times higher than Q2 2019. Hours played in the franchise in Q2 were higher than for the entirety of 2019.
  • Conversion from Warzone again drove strong premium sales at multiples of the level typically seen in Q2 prior to 2020.
  • Console and PC in-game net bookingsC were similar to that seen in Q1, and approximately four times the level of Q2 2019.
  • For Call of Duty Mobile, net bookings grew double-digit percentages year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter, driven by strong execution in seasonal content in the West and the recent launch of the game in China. Call of Duty Mobile is on track to exceed $1 billion in consumer spending for the year.

Blizzard

  • Blizzard’s launch of Burning CrusadeTM Classic in June marked the start of what is intended to be a very significant 18-month period for content releases. Blizzard had 26 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • World of Warcraft net bookingsB again grew a double-digit percentage year-over-year, driven by the launch of Burning Crusade Classic. Subscriber numbers and hours played were higher following the release, demonstrating the importance of Classic in enabling more ways for players to engage. World of Warcraft remains on track for much stronger engagement this year than is typical outside of a modern expansion year.
  • The latest expansion of the Hearthstone®franchise, Forged in the BarrensTM, delivered expansion-over-expansion net bookingsB growth for a second consecutive release following its March launch. With the latest expansion, United in StormwindTM, launching today, and MercenariesTM, a new mode in the popular role-playing genre planned for the coming months, we expect the financial performance of Hearthstone to strengthen in the second half of the year.
  • The highly anticipated Diablo® II: ResurrectedTM will launch on PC and console on September 23. On mobile, Diablo ImmortalTM continued to progress well through testing, receiving excellent feedback for its gameplay. The team is pursuing additional opportunities to make the title even more engaging for a wider audience, with the launch now slated for first half of 2022. Blizzard continues to make strong progress on Diablo®4 and is allocating substantial resources to creating exciting in-game content to drive engagement over multiple years.
  • Overwatch®2 development passed an important internal milestone in recent weeks. After a great response to the recent community update, the team is looking forward to revealing more of the game in the coming months as they approach the laterstages of production.

King

  • King segment revenue grew 15% year-over-year, with segment operating income growing even faster and both metrics reaching new records. King had 255 million MAUsD in the second quarter.
  • The business saw ongoing year-over-year growth in franchise payers and investment per payer, with Candy Crush once again the highest grossing game franchise in the United States app stores1.
  • Building on successful initiatives to broaden its payer base over the last two years, King has been accelerating the delivery of compelling seasonal content, and in Q2, reached a monthly cadence within Candy Crush SagaTM, its largest title. The team is planning an innovative slate of seasonal events and live operations for the second half of the year, including tie-ins with brands that value the association with our premium network, positioning the franchise for ongoing momentum in its in-game business.
  • Advertising revenues grew sequentially and doubled year-over-year. King’s ongoing initiatives to enhance its ad platform, work with more demand partners and reach more categories of advertisers drove year-over-year growth in both volume and pricing, with broad-based strength across geographies.

Company Outlook

In July 2021, the State of California filed a complaint against the Company alleging violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Equal Pay Act. The complaint was recently filed, and we are taking actions to address the concerns of employees and other key stakeholders and the adverse consequences to our business. If we experience prolonged periods of adverse publicity, significantly reduced productivity or other negative consequences relating to this matter, our business likely would be adversely impacted. We are carefully monitoring all aspects of our business for any such impacts.

(in millions, except EPS)

GAAP
Outlook

 

Non-GAAP
Outlook

 

Impact of GAAP
deferralsA

CY 2021

 

 

 

 

 

Net Revenues

$8,515

 

$8,515

 

$135

EPS

$3.08

 

$3.54

 

$0.22

Fully Diluted Shares

785

 

785

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q3 2021

 

 

 

 

 

Net Revenues

$1,970

 

$1,970

 

($120)

EPS

$0.64

 

$0.75

 

($0.10)

Fully Diluted Shares

785

 

785

 

 

Net bookingsB are expected to be $8.65 billion for 2021 and $1.85 billion for the third quarter of 2021.

Capital Allocation

The company paid a cash dividend of $0.47 per common share, up 15% year-over-year, on May 6, 2021. Cash payments totaled $365 million.

Conference Call

Today at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Activision Blizzard’s management will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the company’s results for the quarter ended June 30, 2021 and management’s outlook for the remainder of 2021. The company welcomes all members of the financial and media communities and other interested parties to visit https://investor.activision.com to listen to the conference call via live Webcast or to listen to the call live by dialing into 866-777-2509 in the U.S. We encourage participants to pre-register for the conference call using the following link https://dpregister.com/sreg/10157836/e9f11bb8b0. A replay of the call will also be available after the call's conclusion and archived for one year at https://investor.activision.com/events.cfm.

About Activision Blizzard

Our mission, to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment has never been more important. Through communities rooted in our video game franchises we enable hundreds of millions of people to experience joy, thrill and achievement. We enable social connections through the lens of fun, and we foster purpose and a sense of accomplishment through healthy competition. Like sport, but with greater accessibility, our players can find purpose and meaning through competitive gaming. Video games, unlike any other social or entertainment media, have the ability to break down the barriers that can inhibit tolerance and understanding. Celebrating differences is at the core of our culture and ensures we can create games for players of diverse backgrounds in the 190 countries our games are played.

As a member of the Fortune 500 and as a component company of the S&P 500, we have an extraordinary track record of delivering superior shareholder returns for over 30 years.

Our enduring franchises are some of the world’s most popular, including Call of Duty®, Crash Bandicoot™, World of Warcraft®, Overwatch®, Hearthstone®, Diablo®, StarCraft®, Candy Crush™, Bubble Witch™, Pet Rescue™ and Farm Heroes™. Our sustained success has enabled the company to support corporate social responsibility initiatives that are directly tied to our franchises. As an example, our Call of Duty Endowment has helped find employment for over 85,000 veterans.

Learn more information about Activision Blizzard and how we connect and engage the world through epic entertainment on the company's website, www.activisionblizzard.com.

1 Based on App Annie Intelligence.

A Net effect of accounting treatment from revenue deferrals on certain of our online-enabled products. Since certain of our games are hosted online or include significant online functionality that represents a separate performance obligation, we defer the transaction price allocable to the online functionality from the sale of these games and then recognize the attributable revenues over the relevant estimated service periods, which are generally less than a year. The related cost of revenues is deferred and recognized as an expense as the related revenues are recognized. Impact from changes in deferrals refers to the net effect from revenue deferrals accounting treatment for the purposes of revenues, along with, for the purposes of EPS, the related cost of revenues deferrals treatment and the related tax impacts. Internally, management excludes the impact of this change in deferred revenues and related cost of revenues when evaluating the company’s operating performance, when planning, forecasting and analyzing future periods, and when assessing the performance of its management team. Management believes this is appropriate because doing so enables an analysis of performance based on the timing of actual transactions with our customers. In addition, management believes excluding the change in deferred revenues and the related cost of revenues provides a much more timely indication of trends in our operating results.

B Net bookings is an operating metric that is defined as the net amount of products and services sold digitally or sold-in physically in the period, and includes license fees, merchandise, and publisher incentives, among others, and is equal to net revenues excluding the impact from deferrals.

C In-game net bookings primarily includes the net amount of downloadable content and microtransactions sold during the period, and is equal to in-game net revenues excluding the impact from deferrals.

D Monthly Active User (“MAU”) Definition: We monitor MAUs as a key measure of the overall size of our user base. MAUs are the number of individuals who accessed a particular game in a given month. We calculate average MAUs in a period by adding the total number of MAUs in each of the months in a given period and dividing that total by the number of months in the period. An individual who accesses two of our games would be counted as two users. In addition, due to technical limitations, for Activision and King, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would be counted as two users. For Blizzard, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would generally be counted as a single user. In certain instances, we rely on third parties to publish our games. In these instances, MAU data is based on information provided to us by those third parties, or, if final data is not available, reasonable estimates of MAUs for these third-party published games.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures: As a supplement to our financial measures presented in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), Activision Blizzard presents certain non-GAAP measures of financial performance. These non-GAAP financial measures are not intended to be considered in isolation from, as a substitute for, or as more important than, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. In addition, these non-GAAP measures have limitations in that they do not reflect all of the items associated with the company’s results of operations as determined in accordance with GAAP.

Activision Blizzard provides net income (loss), earnings (loss) per share, and operating margin data and guidance both including (in accordance with GAAP) and excluding (non-GAAP) certain items. When relevant, the company also provides constant FX information to provide a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations. In addition, Activision Blizzard provides EBITDA (defined as GAAP net income (loss) before interest (income) expense, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and adjusted EBITDA (defined as non-GAAP operating margin (see non-GAAP financial measure below) before depreciation). The non-GAAP financial measures exclude the following items, as applicable in any given reporting period and our outlook:

  • expenses related to share-based compensation;
  • the amortization of intangibles from purchase price accounting;
  • fees and other expenses related to acquisitions, including related debt financings, and refinancing of long-term debt, including penalties and the write off of unamortized discount and deferred financing costs;
  • restructuring and related charges;
  • other non-cash charges from reclassification of certain cumulative translation adjustments into earnings as required by GAAP;
  • the income tax adjustments associated with any of the above items (tax impact on non-GAAP pre-tax income is calculated under the same accounting principles applied to the GAAP pre-tax income under ASC 740, which employs an annual effective tax rate method to the results); and
  • significant discrete tax-related items, including amounts related to changes in tax laws, amounts related to the potential or final resolution of tax positions, and other unusual or unique tax-related items and activities.

In the future, Activision Blizzard may also consider whether other items should also be excluded in calculating the non-GAAP financial measures used by the company. Management believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with additional useful information to measure Activision Blizzard’s financial and operating performance. In particular, the measures facilitate comparison of operating performance between periods and help investors to better understand the operating results of Activision Blizzard by excluding certain items that may not be indicative of the company’s core business, operating results, or future outlook. Additionally, we consider quantitative and qualitative factors in assessing whether to adjust for the impact of items that may be significant or that could affect an understanding of our ongoing financial and business performance or trends. Internally, management uses these non-GAAP financial measures, along with others, in assessing the company’s operating results, and measuring compliance with the requirements of the company’s debt financing agreements, as well as in planning and forecasting.

Activision Blizzard’s non-GAAP financial measures are not based on a comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles, and the terms non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP earnings per share, non-GAAP operating margin, and non-GAAP or adjusted EBITDA do not have a standardized meaning. Therefore, other companies may use the same or similarly named measures, but exclude different items, which may not provide investors a comparable view of Activision Blizzard’s performance in relation to other companies.

Management compensates for the limitations resulting from the exclusion of these items by considering the impact of the items separately and by considering Activision Blizzard’s GAAP, as well as non-GAAP, results and outlook, and by presenting the most comparable GAAP measures directly ahead of non-GAAP measures, and by providing a reconciliation that indicates and describes the adjustments made.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: The statements contained herein that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements including, but not limited to statements about: (1) projections of revenues, expenses, income or loss, earnings or loss per share, cash flow, or other financial items; (2) statements of our plans and objectives, including those related to releases of products or services and restructuring activities; (3) statements of future financial or operating performance, including the impact of tax items thereon; and (4) statements of assumptions underlying such statements. Activision Blizzard, Inc. generally uses words such as “outlook,” “forecast,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “to be,” “plan,” “aims,” “believes,” “may,” “might,” “expects,” “intends,” “seeks,” “anticipates,” “estimate,” “future,” “positioned,” “potential,” “project,” “remain,” “scheduled,” “set to,” “subject to,” “upcoming,” and the negative version of these words and other similar words and expressions to help identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to business and economic risks, reflect management’s current expectations, estimates, and projections about our business, and are inherently uncertain and difficult to predict.

We caution that a number of important factors, many of which are beyond our control, could cause our actual future results and other future circumstances to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: the ongoing global impact of a novel strain of coronavirus which emerged in December 2019 (“COVID-19”) (including, without limitation, the potential for significant short- and long-term global unemployment and economic weakness and a resulting impact on global discretionary spending; potential strain on the retailers, distributors and manufacturers who sell our physical products to customers and the platform providers on whose networks and consoles certain of our games are available; effects on our ability to release our content in a timely manner; effects on the operations of our professional esports leagues; the impact of large-scale intervention by the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world, including the impact on interest rates; increased demand for our games due to stay-at-home orders and curtailment of other forms of entertainment, which may not be sustained; and volatility in foreign exchange rates); our ability to consistently deliver popular, high-quality titles in a timely manner, which has been made more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; competition; concentration of revenue among a small number of franchises; our ability to satisfy the expectations of consumers with respect to our brands, games, services, and/or business practices; our ability to attract, retain and motivate skilled personnel; rapid changes in technology and industry standards; increasing importance of revenues derived from digital distribution channels; risks associated with the retail sales business model; the continued growth in the scope and complexity of our business; substantial influence of third-party platform providers over our products and costs; success and availability of video game consoles manufactured by third parties, including our ability to predict the consoles that will be most successful in the marketplace and develop commercially-successful products for those consoles; risks associated with the free-to-play business model, including dependence on a relatively small number of consumers for a significant portion of revenues and profits from any given game; our ability to realize the expected benefits of, and effectively implement and manage, our restructuring actions; difficulties in integrating acquired businesses or otherwise realizing the anticipated benefits of strategic transactions; the seasonality in the sale of our products; risks relating to behavior of our distributors, retailers, development, and licensing partners, or other affiliated third parties that may harm our brands or business operations; risks associated with our use of open source software; risks and uncertainties of conducting business outside the United States (the “U.


Contacts

Activision Blizzard, Inc.
Investors and Analysts:
ir@activisionblizzard.com
or
Press:
pr@activisionblizzard.com


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