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Call of Duty's expansion into both mobile and free-to-play is doing great things for Activision. Its parent company Activision Blizzard reported financials for the first quarter today, and the Call of Duty maker saw a number of quarterly records broken thanks largely to Call of Duty Warzone and Call of Duty Mobile.
Activision on its own reported $891 million in revenue for the quarter ending March 31, 2021, a 72 percent increase in revenue year-over-year, and operating income of $442 million, more than double the $184 million from the year prior. The Call of Duty franchise boasted a 40 percent increase in MAUs thanks largely to free-to-play and mobile, while the whole of Activision's games boasted a combined 150 million MAUs this quarter, a new Q1 record.
For context, Activision Blizzard leadership noted in its quarterly investor call that Call of Duty Mobile has now surpassed 500 million downloads, while Warzone has seen 100 million downloads.
Seasons for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty Warzone have both now ranked in the top three across the entire franchise in terms of in-game net bookings, which are up 60 percent year-over-year.
While Activision led the pack this quarter, fellow subsidiaries Blizzard and King both boasted decent numbers in their own rights. On its own, Blizzard reported $483 million in net revenue, up 7 percent year over year thanks to growth in World of Warcraft (though that growth was offset by product timing).
World of Warcraft was the star of Blizzard's show, though the company also highlights that Hearthstone's latest expansion is on track to out-earn its predecessor, and that testing is continuing to progress for both Diablo II: Resurrected and Diablo Immortal.
King, meanwhile, reported record revenue thanks to its own flagship series, Candy Crush. Segment revenue is up 22 percent year-over-year to $609 million while King alone reported 250 million MAUs across its portfolio during Q1. Candy Crush is the top-grossing mobile franchise in the US, while King's latest, Crash Bandicoot: On The Run, managed to secure 30 million downloads between March 25 and today's report.
Dialing back to Activision Blizzard as a whole, the game industry giant reported a record $2.28 billion in net revenue for Q1 2021, beating both Q1 2020 ($1.79 billion) and its outlook for this quarter ($2.02 billion). As usual, the bulk of that revenue came from digital sources; this year digital net revenue came in at $2.01 billion.
“Our employees continue to demonstrate exceptional performance under challenging circumstances,” reads a statement from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “That relentless drive across our franchises produced strong first quarter results that were well ahead of expectations. Our continued overperformance enables us to raise our outlook for the full year.”