2020 has been a tumultuous year for many, but the outlook is bright for Activision Blizzard in at least one department: microtransactions.
The company released its third-quarter financial results and reported a staggering $1.2 billion in “downloadable content and microtransactions” across its Activision, Blizzard, and King subsidiaries. By comparison, the net total for the same period in 2019 was $709 million.
Call of Duty quadrupled its microtransaction sales (or “in-game net bookings”) since last September thanks to features like its Battle Pass, with Modern Warfare marking the franchise’s highest first-year premium sales. Similarly, Farm Heroes and Bubble Witch titles grew in this regard thanks to “a higher frequency of in-game content.”
Activision Blizzard also noted steady increases in Monthly Active Users for several titles under their umbrella, including Candy Crush, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Warzone. The latter two games had three times as many active players compared to Q3 2019. As a whole, the company reported 390 million MAUs. With so many players actively engaging their catalog of titles on at least a monthly basis, it’s perhaps not surprising that they pulled in so many microtransaction sales.
The financial report paints an optimistic picture for the current quarter as well. World of Warcraft‘s upcoming expansion Shadowlands has the highest presales of any prior expansion; Hearthstone is rolling out a new expansion, PvP mode, and in-game progression system; and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is launching alongside the next-gen consoles following a successful public testing period.