Activision Blizzard increases head count as game engagement gets lower – The Hollywood Reporter

Activision Blizzard reported lower year-over-year earnings and revenue for the second quarter, after the company noticed lower engagement for Call of Duty franchises and lower reservations for World of Warcraft.

The company reported net sales of $1.6 billion, down from $2.3 billion in the first quarter. It reported earnings per share of 36 cents, compared with $1.12 a year earlier, as the company said it continued to invest in technology and people.

Activision Blizzard reports active users has 361 million monthly active users, down from 372 million in the previous quarter.

“Our acquisitions last quarter of Proletarian and Peltarion will further leverage our development resources, including our artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Even in a challenging economic environment, with so many companies announcing layoffs and layoffs, our development staff count grew 25% year-over-year through the end of the second quarter. . Our talent groups are planning to release Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch content later this year,” CEO Bobby Kotick said in the earnings announcement.

Planned releases include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare IIa new one Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 experience, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, and Overwatch 2.

“While the company remains aware of risks including those related to the labor market and economic conditions, and we still have significant action ahead of us, we are hopeful This release will grow a global audience, boost community engagement, and drive year-over-year growth in player investment in Q4 and beyond,” the earnings release read.

The game publisher did not provide guidance for the upcoming quarters as Microsoft awaits an acquisition, however it said it expects GAAP revenue and EPS to remain lower year-over-year in the second half of the year.

Microsoft announced a $68.7 billion deal to acquire the video game publisher in early January. If the deal closes, Microsoft, which owns Xbox, will become the third-largest game company by revenue. The transaction is expected to close in the Microsoft fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, and has been approved by the boards of Activision Blizzard and Microsoft and Activision Blizzard shareholders.

“Of course, we look forward to completing our all-cash transaction at $95 per share with Microsoft as soon as possible,” Kotick said Monday.

However, the deal has faced regulatory scrutiny, with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority becoming the latest body to launch an investigation into the planned merger.

The company’s second quarter ended on June 30. On July 1, Activision Blizzard converted nearly 1,100 temporary and contingent US employees into full-time workers, as part of a larger union push with the company. This change raised workers’ minimum hourly wages to at least $20 an hour, which will likely add to costs.

The company recently saw a second consolidation attempt with quality assurance testers in Albany, New York requesting voluntary accreditation for their team on July 19. This happened after. when workers at an Activision Blizzard subsidiary in Wisconsin voted in May to unionize.

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