Activision earned $1.05 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2013, down slightly from $1.075 billion during the same period in 2012. Digital sales (including DLC) accounted for $387 million (37 percent) of the total.
A large part of Activision’s report — including an earnings call held this afternoon — focused on the announcement last week that Activision bought back a $5.83 billion stake from Vivendi, becoming an independent company with the majority of shares held by the public.
“We are pleased with our second-quarter results, which confirm the preliminary results we released last week when we announced our transaction with Vivendi,” CEO Bobby Kotick said. “The agreement we reached with Vivendi will make us an independent company and should deliver meaningful earnings per share accretion to our shareholders. Our solid performance across our franchises and strong digital sales, including continued significant growth this quarter in our Call of Duty downloadable content business over the previous year, validate our belief that we will enter this new period of independence in a position to leverage the flexibility and focus that it provides.”
“Despite this strength in the front half of the year, we remain cautious about the back half,” Kotick noted. “The issues we previously identified, including increased competition in the second half of the year and uncertainties surrounding the console transition, remain on the horizon. We are confident that we will continue to successfully navigate industry challenges and find new opportunities to provide superior returns to our shareholders.”
Activision noted that Skylanders Giants is “the number one best-selling console and handheld game overall in dollars for the first six months of 2013” in both North America and Europe when considering sales that include accessories (in other words, when considering Skylanders’ massive toy sales). Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is number two. The Skylanders franchise has generated more than $1.5 billion worldwide to date.
Looking ahead, Activision noted the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, which has “double” the pre-orders of Call of Duty: Black Ops (the last “sub-brand” launched for the franchise). Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg noted that Ghosts has the “most aggressive” marketing and digital promotions in the history of the Call of Duty series. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime also revealed that upcoming project Titan will not be a subscription-based MMO, easing investors’ concerns over dwindling World of Warcraft numbers.
In addition to Ghosts, Activision’s upcoming release slate includes console versions of Diablo III in September, Skylanders Swap Force in October and Destiny in 2014.