Today, Activision Blizzard published its quarterly earnings report showing some interesting things, particularly in regards to its shareholders. As you might recall, the company laid off nearly 800 of its employees earlier this year to prioritize other core projects that net more profit. Well, the company’s shareholders are certainly seeing a profit, although there is no hard evidence that the two are connected. Each shareholder is seeing a cash dividend of $0.37 per common share, up 9% from 2018, meaning they’re getting quite the little bonus.
The earnings report also showed a slight loss for the quarter compared to last year — the company earned $1.83 billion, which was down from last year’s $1.97 billion for the quarter. However, games like Candy Crush Saga and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice have been quite lucrative for Activision Blizzard, with the latter selling more than two million copies in less than 10 days and the former seeing over 272 million monthly active users.
According to the Activision Blizzard’s earnings report, the following was stated:
The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business.
From a consumer’s perspective, this is a shame, as it sort of eliminates any hopes of new IP or risky ideas. It means we’ll likely continue to see titles like Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, and Hearthstone, with no room for experimentation. Now, the company has not specifically ruled out plans for any new projects, but based on its actions, it certainly seems that way. And seeing as how its shareholders are probably happy with the tidy little cash payout they are getting, the company will likely continue down this road.
The Blizzard division of the company is so focused on keeping on track with these profitable franchises, that they’ve ducked out of Gamescom this year, to focus on development.
The issue is that AAA video games are so expensive to make and have to sell well enough to be profitable and sustainable for these companies, which is why it’s super risky for them to experiment with new ideas, sadly. That’s not always the case, but Activision Blizzard certainly seems to think so.