Activision Blizzard reported a net income of $280 million on revenues of $1.64 billion for the quarter ending June 30, beating expectations. But those figures both represent significant declines from the year-ago quarter, when the first posted a net income of $675 million on revenues of $2.296 billion.
“Our acquisitions this past quarter of Proletariat and Peltarion further boost our development resources, including our artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said. “Even in a challenging economic environment, with so many companies announcing hiring freezes and layoffs, our development headcount grew 25 percent year-over-year as of the end of the second quarter. Our talented teams are planning to release exciting new Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch content later this year. Of course, we look forward to completing our pending $95 per share all-cash transaction with Microsoft as soon as possible.”
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Of course. And Microsoft is doing everything it can to make that happen, including disparaging Activision Blizzard to assuage regulator concerns. In a filing with the New Zealand Commerce Commission, Microsoft claimed that Activision Blizzard has “must have” games, despite its storied stable of incredibly popular game franchises.
“There is nothing unique about the video games developed and published by Activision Blizzard that is a ‘must have’ for rival PC and console video game distributors that give rise to a foreclosure concern,” the Microsoft filing reads. Sony disagrees: in its own filing with Brazil, it described Call of Duty, one of the firm’s biggest franchises, as “an essential game, a blockbuster, an AAA-type game that has no rival … [it] influences users’ console choice.”
Activision Blizzard is not releasing an earnings presentation or holding a post-earnings conference call because of its pending acquisition by Microsoft. But while its earnings dropped for the third consecutive quarter, they also exceeded expectations, driving its share price up in after-hours trading.