Activision: Infinite Warfare Underperformed, The Space Setting “Just Didn’t Resonate” With Everyone
Although Call of Duty was the #1 franchise in 2016, Infinite Warfare’s sales were down compared to Black Ops 3. In the Activision Blizzard earnings call yesterday, COO Thomas Tippl called Infinite Warfare a high quality, innovative game, but admitted that “sales underperformed our expectations, and it’s clear that for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate.”
He continued: “We had a passionate, experienced studio deeply committed to this direction, and despite the risks we saw, we believe it is important to consider the passions of our game teams in deciding what content to create. While it wasn’t the success we planned, it allows us to protect a core tenets of our culture… empowering our talented teams to have the chance to pursue opportunities that they are passionate about.”
Asked if they plan to change anything in Call of Duty 2017 based on the reaction to Infinite Warfare, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said:
With any longstanding franchise like Call of Duty, there’s a balancing act we need to strike between staying true to the things that people love about the franchise and also the need to never become complacent and to keep pushing for innovations to keep the franchise fresh and vital. I would argue, over a period of many years now, we’ve managed that balance on Call of Duty better than just about any longstanding franchise in any medium.
He added, “Last year I don’t think we got that balance right. Infinite Warfare had a ton of great gameplay innovations that many of our fans appreciated and loved, but it also had a setting that didn’t appeal to all of our fans.”
While Infinite Warfare didn’t hit their targets, Black Ops 3 helped Activision achieve record in-game revenues in 2016. Additionally, for the first time ever, “add-on revenues were greater than DLC and Season Pass combined, even with record Season Pass participation.”
You can expect Black Ops 3, Infinite Warfare, and Modern Warfare Remastered to receive new content throughout 2017.
Despite a record year from Activision Blizzard, Kotaku is reporting that 5% (around 200) of Activision Publishing employees were laid off following the earnings report yesterday. This includes 20 employees at Infinity Ward, as well as some from Beenox, other internal studios, and the corporate office.
In a statement to Kotaku, Activision said, “Activision Publishing is realigning our resources to support our upcoming slate and adapt to the accelerating transition to digital, including opportunities for digital add-on content.”