Activision recently reported on their 2017 financials, and it looks like microtransactions played a massive part in a record breaking year for the company. Activision Blizzard reported that they made $7.16 billion in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year. Of that revenue, $4 billion came from in-game purchases, or microtransactions. That means that more than half of the total revenue Activision Blizzard brought in for 2017 was due to microtransactions and post-launch monetization.
$2 billion of that income can be attributed to King, the Activsion owned developer of Candy Crush, among other mobile titles that center on microtransactions. That still leaves $2 billion made from other Activision Blizzard properties like Overwatch, Destiny 2, and Call of Duty: WWII. Each of these games are living titles that rely on post-launch monetization for support. It seems like the recent upending of the industry over microtransactions didn’t have a heavy impact on Activision’s bottom line for last year.
The major controversy regarding microtransactions came at the end of last year with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, and that has continued to translate to other titles, developers, and publishers, including Destiny players recently calling out Bungie for aggressive tactics in Destiny 2. The Activision microtransaction sales for 2017 seem to directly counter the dialog from gamers. 2018’s financial report will be the one that is most telling regarding the future of microtransactions. We’ll see if gamer outcry is simply a vocal minority or if it actually has an impact on publisher revenue.
Still, $4 billion and more than half of Activision Blizzard’s yearly revenue sets a huge precedent for post-launch monetization. While we may see a shift in overall tactics and strategy, we can be certain that in-game purchases and microtransactions are a lucrative source of revenue in an an industry with ever increasing production costs.
The Activision Blizzard 2017 financial report brought to light a number of interesting things, including Destiny 2 sales details and future plans for some Activision Blizzard properties. We’ll be parsing the data and bringing you all the news this weekend.