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The remaster-bait continues, as we have another 4K 60 FPS upscaled Diablo 2 video, but this time much more extensive, as the first one was only the first 15 minutes of the game. We see the sorceress go through all 4 of the base game's acts (and poke around vendors in act 5, just to get us teased). It's looking damn good and, as many community members have mentioned, this is pretty much what they'd want out of a remaster, just more modern graphics with maybe a touch of quality of life improvements, like the stash sizes.
The rumors on Diablo 2: Resurrected have died down quite a bit, as many of the venues players were expecting it to be announced at have come and gone, and the original rumor claim of the game being released by the end of 2020 is looking less and less likely, unless Blizzard pull a masterstroke and announce AND release the game on the same day! We can but hope.
Diablo 2 Remaster Significantly More Likely After Two Job Postings Surface
Diablo 2 Remaster Unlikely - Code and Assets Were Lost According to Creators
Why Diablo 2 Still Holds Up After 20 Years - Book Excerpt
Diablo 2 Intro Upscaled to 8K
Diablo 2 E3 Trailer and LoD Intro Upscaled to 4K and 8K
Diablo 2 LoD Final Cinematic 8K Remaster
Activision Blizzard Chief Financial Officer Dennis Durkin said the popularity of Call of Duty Mobile proves that the company is heading the right direction developing games for mobile, and he is optimistic about the future of Diablo Immortal too.
When asked about how Diablo Immortal might be impacted by CoD Mobile, Dennis Durkin said that the company is just starting with porting favorite titles to mobile and that CoD Mobile was a great start, which proves how popular mobile games can be.
He then added that mobile helps drive greater reach, engagement, and player investment across all their franchises.
Don't forget to read the full PC Gamer article.
Activision Blizzard plans to start playtesting Diablo Immortal internally in the coming weeks, which means the game is likely in the pre-Alpha state.
It's time for some financials, as the second quarter of 2020 gets a look! As expected, the impact of the global pandemic and stay at home orders increased player interest in WoW, as its reach and engagement grew once again. Interest in the Shadowlands was also high, with many new pre-orders, and franchise engagement is the highest this decade for a pre-expansion period. Meanwhile, Blizzard overall had the same amount of monthly active users as in the first quarter.
Blizzard Financial Report (source)
Blizzard had 32 million MAUsD in the second quarter. World of Warcraft® reach and engagement once again increased sequentially, as shelter-at-home conditions further boosted the franchise’s strong trajectory. The Shadowlands expansion saw an enthusiastic response from players in its public testing, with pre-sales accelerating even further ahead of its release in the fourth quarter. Franchise engagement is the highest in a decade at this point ahead of an expansion. Hearthstone®’s Ashes of OutlandTM expansion launched alongside a new hero class, as the expanded team continued to accelerate the pace of innovative content in the franchise. Overwatch® engagement grew year-over-year, including among returning players. As for Activision, as you'd expect, Call of Duty: Warzone was very successful, reaching 75 million players to date. The conference call that goes with these reports will happen later today, and we'll keep an eye out if we get some new information out of it as well.
Full Report (source)
SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 4, 2020-- Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced record second-quarter 2020 results.
“Our mission to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment has never been more meaningful,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Our 400 million players continue to experience fun, joy and accomplishment through our games. Our record engagement resulted in greater revenue and earnings per share than previously forecast. While economic uncertainty could have an impact on our near-term results, the initiatives that drove our growth for the first half of the year should also provide the foundation for long-term growth.”
(in millions, except EPS)
GAAP Net Revenues
Impact of GAAP deferralsA
Impact of GAAP deferralsA
* Prior outlook was provided by the company on May 5, 2020 in its earnings release.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $1.93 billion, as compared with $1.40 billion for the second quarter of 2019. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $1.59 billion, as compared with $1.09 billion for the second quarter of 2019. GAAP operating margin was 39%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.75, as compared with $0.43 for the second quarter of 2019.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, on a non-GAAP basis, Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 42% and earnings per diluted share were $0.81, as compared with $0.53 for the second quarter of 2019.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, operating cash flow was $768 million. For the trailing twelve-month period, operating cash flow was $2.14 billion.
Please refer to the tables at the back of this press release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, Activision Blizzard’s net bookingsB were $2.08 billion, as compared with $1.21 billion for the second quarter of 2019. Net bookingsB from digital channels were $1.82 billion, as compared with $1.01 billion for the second quarter of 2019. In-game net bookingsC were $1.37 billion, as compared with $778 million for the second quarter of 2019.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, overall Activision Blizzard Monthly Active Users (MAUs)D were 428 million.
Selected Business Highlights
Activision Blizzard exceeded its second quarter outlook. Strong execution against our three strategic growth drivers of expanding audience reach, engagement and player investment enabled us to serve fantastic experiences to an enlarged gaming audience, against a backdrop of demand tailwinds from shelter-at-home. Each of our key franchises delivered better-than-expected results, with growth led by the Call of Duty® franchise following the launch of WarzoneTM. The increased investment and successful initiatives that fueled the strong second quarter results position us to continue delighting our global communities, and to deliver sustained greater financial performance.
Activision had 125 million MAUsD in the second quarter. Call of Duty: Warzone has reached over 75 million players to date. In the first full quarter since Warzone launched, hours played in the Modern Warfare® universe increased eight-fold year-over-year, driven by both existing and new players. Modern Warfare added more players outside of a launch quarter to the premium Call of Duty experience than ever before, with the majority coming through upgrades from Warzone. On PC, life-to-date consumption for Modern Warfare is more than double that of the prior title. Call of Duty in-game net bookingsC more than doubled quarter-over-quarter and were around five times higher than the year-ago quarter, reaching a new quarterly record. Call of Duty Mobile saw strong sequential growth in engagement and player investment, benefiting from both shelter-in-place tailwinds and the team’s ongoing work to further optimize gameplay, monthly seasonal content and the in-game economy. The game climbed the top-grossing charts in US app stores1, with each of the three seasons in Q2 generating more net bookingsB per day than the prior. Blizzard
Blizzard had 32 million MAUsD in the second quarter. World of Warcraft® reach and engagement once again increased sequentially, as shelter-at-home conditions further boosted the franchise’s strong trajectory. The Shadowlands expansion saw an enthusiastic response from players in its public testing, with pre-sales accelerating even further ahead of its release in the fourth quarter. Franchise engagement is the highest in a decade at this point ahead of an expansion. Hearthstone®’s Ashes of OutlandTM expansion launched alongside a new hero class, as the expanded team continued to accelerate the pace of innovative content in the franchise. Overwatch® engagement grew year-over-year, including among returning players. King
King had 271 million MAUsD in the second quarter. King delivered strong increases in reach and engagement amidst shelter-at-home conditions at the start of the quarter. While these tailwinds moderated in the second half of the quarter, MAUsD remained higher year-over-year, driven by the Candy CrushTM franchise. Candy Crush franchise MAUsD grew by a double-digit percentage year-over-year. Payer conversion grew year-over-year and Candy Crush was once again the top-grossing franchise in the U.S. mobile app stores.1 King announced it will be bringing Activision’s beloved CrashTM franchise to the mobile platform with Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!TM, an ambitious new take on the runner category with deep social and resource management elements. Advertising net bookingsB grew strongly year-over-year, accelerating through the quarter even against the backdrop of ongoing headwinds in the digital advertising sector. Company Outlook
Our business continues to experience strong momentum, even as tailwinds from shelter-in-place moderate in certain parts of the world. In the second half of the year, we expect to launch major new content into key franchises with meaningfully larger audiences than we have seen previously, creating the opportunity for strong financial performance. The full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations, and financial results will depend on numerous evolving factors that we are not able to fully predict at this time, and we remain mindful of risks and uncertainties related to global economic weakness, rising unemployment, pressures on the retail channel, pricing and other potential factors. We continue to believe we are being prudent in our guidance to account for these risks, and see the potential for overperformance if these risks do not materialize. Overall, even with this backdrop, we are raising our outlook for net revenues, net bookings and EPS for the year, more than passing through the Q2 outperformance.
(in millions, except EPS)
Impact of GAAP
Fully Diluted Shares
Fully Diluted Shares
Net bookingsB are expected to be $7.625 billion for 2020 and $1.650 billion for the third quarter of 2020.
The company paid a cash dividend of $0.41 per common share, up 11% year-over-year, on May 6, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 15, 2020. Cash payments totaled $316 million.
Today at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Activision Blizzard’s management will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the company’s results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 and management’s outlook for the remainder of the calendar year. The company welcomes all members of the financial and media communities and other interested parties to visit https://investor.activision.com to listen to the conference call via live Webcast or to listen to the call live by dialing into 866-777-2509 in the U.S. We encourage participants to pre-register for the conference call using the following link http://dpregister.com/10145881. A replay of the call will also be available after the call's conclusion and archived for one year at https://investor.activision.com/events.cfm.
It's time for more Baal after his recent Diablo: Immortal appearance! We see a lot of upscales coming and going, but it's always great when they not only improve the video quality, but also remind us of some less familiar trailers and cinematics. That's exactly what we have today, as an E3 2001 trailer for LoD, which even I don't remember, and while it's mostly pieces of the expansion's intro cinematic, we have some great new Baal voiceover, as well as a whole lot of Worldstone shots that aren't present in the game.
Gamescom is going digital this year and Blizzard confirmed their digital participation in the event.
In 2019, Blizzard did not attend gamescom to focus on the development of their current and future titles.
As part of a renewed effort this year to maintain our focus on development, for our current games and our future projects, we won’t have a booth at gamescom 2019. The show is an important one for the European and global gaming community, and we’re going to miss meeting players in Cologne this year. You’ll still be able to find Blizzard gear in the gamescom 2019 shop area, and we’re looking forward to returning to the gamescom show floor in the future. We’re also looking forward to sharing more details about the projects we’re currently working on when the time is right. This year, gamescom 2020 will be digital-only and the event runs from August 27 through August 30. Multiple game developers have confirmed their participation, including Activision Blizzard.
Do you think Blizzard is going to reveal the release date of Shadowlands at gamescom 2020? Let us know in the comments!