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Activision Blizzard posts record quarter, full-year results

Growth in mobile more than offsets single-digit slips in console and PC revenues for owner of Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Candy Crush

2017 was a record year for Activision Blizzard, and it ended on a high note. The company reported its earnings today, revealing that 2017 was its best year ever in terms of revenues, capped off by a holiday quarter that posted the best sales figures of any quarter in company history.

"This was a record quarter to cap off a record year for Activision Blizzard," said company CEO Bobby Kotick. "In 2017, our community reached new milestones for engagement, our business delivered record revenues and cash flows, and we made important progress in building future growth opportunities such as the Overwatch League. We couldn't be more excited for the opportunities ahead in 2018 to continue serving our players and fans."

For the fourth quarter, Activision Blizzard reported revenues up a little more than 1% to $2.04 billion, with a loss per share of $0.77. However, that entire loss and then some was attributed to charges related to the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Without the impact of tax-related charges, the company said earnings per share for the quarter would have been $0.27. Along similarly non-GAAP stats, the company reported its highest quarterly net bookings ever of $2.64 billion, up 8% year-over-year, with digital channels accounting for about 61% of that total.

The full year also saw the company post gaudy numbers, with net revenues up 6% to an all-time high of $7.02 billion, and earnings per share of $0.36. Again, that was impacted heavily by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and Activision Blizzard said it would otherwise have been a record $1.39 without the legislation. Net bookings painted a similar picture, with a record $7.16 billion full-year haul up 9% year-over-year. Nearly 76% of that total came from digital channels.

Activision Blizzard touted the strength of Call of Duty: WWII and Destiny 2, calling the former the top grossing console game of the year worldwide and the latter the second highest grossing console game of the year in North America. Despite those accomplishments, Activision Blizzard actually reported declines in its PC and console business for the year. Net revenues from console games were down 3% to $2.39 billion for the year, while PC revenues slipped 4% to $2.04 billion. At the same time, the company's mobile and ancillary revenues (including non-platform specific revenues like Skylanders toys and other physical merchandise) jumped 24% year-over-year to $2.08 billion.

Softness in the PC and console space may be explained by the lack of a major release from Blizzard in 2017 and a tough comparison against 2016 and the debut of Blizzard's Overwatch across PC and console platforms. For 2017, Blizzard revenues were down 12% to $2.14 billion, while Activision saw a jump of 18% to $2.63 billion and King brought in $2 billion, up 26% year-over-year.

The company is expecting another record year in 2018, forecasting net revenues of $7.35 billion, with earnings per share of $1.78.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.