Activision Blizzard ended the quarter on March 31 and released its balance sheet results — which were far from favorable, especially when it comes to Call of Duty. The main indicator of the underperformance was the drop of 63 million monthly active users last year: from 435 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, the company has now registered 372 million.
The fiscal period was marked by net revenue of US$ 1.77 billion, a number 22% below the US$ 2.28 billion generated in the same period of the previous year.
In terms of net bookings, that is, the amount of products and services sold digitally or physically in the period, they totaled US$ 1.48 billion – well below the US$ 2.07 billion compared to the same period last year.
The upside here is that from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022, total MAUs have increased, but only by one million users.
Call of Duty down
The low demand for Call of Duty: Vanguard was one of the main factors responsible for the result in the analyzed period. Franchise title sales were lower than last year. The company also points out that demand was also low on Call of Duty: Warzone.
In the span of a year, the title recorded 50 million fewer players. By way of comparison, in 2021 the franchise had 150 million monthly active users thanks to the immense popularity of Call of Duty: Warzone — a hit that failed to keep the crown.
Admittedly, 100 million players is still a milestone, but the steep decline is a worrying indicator for the series. Activision attributed the drop to “below normal” sales for Vanguard and a “lower engagement” with respect to Warzone.
But considering that Warzone is a title that was made available free of charge to a large part of the public (and probably represents the majority of CoD players), the decline in revenue may actually be Vanguard’s responsibility.
Warzone also didn’t have major updates (at least not the ones that pleased the public), as well as it recorded balance issues and a new map with bugs that went unfixed for weeks — all of which would explain the reported “low engagement” after all.
Hope for a future improvement in this (im)balance lies with Infinity Ward: the fan-favorite Call of Duty developer that is working on the sequel to Modern Warfare 2019, due this year, as well as being at the forefront of a sequel to Warzone (scheduled for release in 2023).