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Kotick: 70% Of Activision Operating Profit Comes From 'Non-Console-Based' Games
Kotick: 70% Of Activision Operating Profit Comes From 'Non-Console-Based' Games
June 21, 2010 | By Kris Graft

June 21, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

In the face of lagging disc-based video game sales across the industry, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is confident that his company's online strategy will compensate for the industry's shifting models.

Asked by the Wall Street Journal if he was concerned about weak disc-based sales in the industry, he replied, "I care a lot less. It used to be, I would religiously look at weekly retail sell-through data, but it's a very small part of our business now."

He added, "Today, probably 70 percent of our operating profit comes from non-console-based video games. So, while you might see a month-to-month change or volatility against expectations, that doesn't really get us too concerned." Operating income for Activision's January-March 2010 quarter alone was $511 million.

While such a large percentage of operating profit could indicate that Kotick was also referring to non-retail DLC for consoles, such as the multi-million-selling Stimulus Package for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, that is not the case, a company spokesperson said.

Maryanne Lataif, VP of corporate communications for Activision Blizzard, said in a phone call with Gamasutra that "non-console-based video games" means just that.

That shows the power of World of Warcraft, which is easily Activision Blizzard's primary online breadwinner, with 11.5 million active subscribers. At E3 2009, Activision said that operating margins for World of Warcraft were 55 percent. That's compared to a 39 percent overall operating margin from all of Activision during the March 2010 quarter.

Other "non-console-based" Activision games include iPhone titles and PC games, but those businesses are small compared to World of Warcraft.

Lataif added, "Five years ago, DLC and subscription services weren’t as popular [as they are today,] and as a result monthly volatility at retail is now less impactful than in the past."

Activision plans on bringing an increasing proportion of its properties to online models. Kotick has repeatedly hinted at a subscription-based Call of Duty, and the publisher has a strong focus on DLC. Blizzard's revamped will also give Activision more online business opportunities when the PC-exclusive StarCraft II launches later this year.

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E Zachary Knight
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So 70% of their profit comes from a single source? Ouch. I hope that Activision/Blizzard doesn't bungle WoW and screw over their profits.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Brad Stark
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Kind of makes you wonder why "Activision Blizzard" isn't correctly named as "Blizzard Activision".

Steve Peterson
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I think calling WoW a "strategy", when it's only one title which you acquired, not one you built, and you have never replicated its success or come even close to creating another MMORPG, is a stretch. Nice spin, though.

Bruno Dion
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"And with Starcraft II we expect to raise that percentage to 85%!"

David Fried
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It's unfortunate Mike Morhaime isn't the CEO of Activision Blizzard. It would be a thousand times more impressive as an overall company if he were.

gus one
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Go objective ATVI haters!

Daniel Martinez
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Console games make up 30% of their income, that's still a huge chunk.

Maurício Gomes
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Take that people that say that PC is dead!

Bob Stevens
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WoW probably makes up 70% of the overall PC market too.

Apostolos Zacharopoulos
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Talking about putting your eggs in one busket. Isn't that a bit, well, dangerous? I would think that with all this money rolling in they would expand and experiment with new IPs, so that when the gamers inevitably lose interest in WoW and CoD they will have something else to fall back into.

@gus one

With all due respect, why are you always so much in favour of Activision? I mean, you have said that you are a shareholder in it (correct me please if I am wrong) and I can understand that you are interested in the money side of the business but don't you think that all this public sentiment towards the company has some bases in reality?