Founded by a number of former Atari staff, Activision is the first independent third-party game console developer and one of the oldest gaming companies. The team from Santa Monica has been active for about 40 years, and in their journey, they have taken various strategic steps. The biggest business maneuver that Activision had executed was merging with Vivendi Games, sparking the establishment of Activision Blizzard in 2008.
The reason why Activision CEO Bobby Kotick agreed to join Vivendi was because Blizzard CEO at the time, Mike Morhaime, managed to convince Kotick he could guide the company through the rapidly developing gaming market in China. A decade later, Activision Blizzard’s collaboration with Chinese tech giants has produced unexpected achievements. Based on the latest income reports, the mobile platform turned out to be the biggest profit producer for Activision Blizzard, surpassing PCs and consoles.
Activision Blizzard reported that in the last quarter of 2019, mobile devices provided revenues of US $ 633 million, generating 32 percent of the company’s net income. The console ranks second at 30 percent valued at US $ 595 million, followed by PC in third position with 26 percent – equivalent to US $ 521 million. But in the midst of this unique transition, the company’s profit actually showed a decline compared to the same period in 2018: dropped 17 percent, amounting to US $ 395 million.
If compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, Activision Blizzard’s income from mobile has indeed skyrocketed, cutting the percentage of PCs and consoles significantly. However, revenue figures via mobile devices are still not able to catch up with record profits from consoles last year.
There are several things that catapulted profits from mobile devices. First of course is Call of Duty: Mobile. The mobile version of this popular shooter game rolled out in October 2019, but has been downloaded more than 150 million times. His success pushed Activision Blizzard to further pursue this segment. Reportedly, the company is considering bringing all of its game franchises to mobile devices.
Call of Duty: Mobile was developed by TiMi Studios which is a subsidiary of Tencent Games. Although not done by the real Call of Duty team (ie Infinity Ward and Treyarch), TiMi successfully adopted a number of elements that made it a favorite of PC and console gamers such as characters, maps and game modes. You need to know that Tencent itself holds a five percent stake in Activision Blizzard.
Another biggest contributor to Activision Blizzard’s business growth in the mobile device segment is King, the developer of the Candy Crush Saga game that they acquired in 2016 with a value of US $ 5.9 billion. The takeover is said to make Activision Blizzard as the “biggest player in the mobile realm”.