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Activision Blizzard made over $4 billion on microtransactions in 2017

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Call of Duty: WWII - The Resistance DLC - The Anthropoid map

Activision Blizzard's revenue from "in-game net bookings" reached $4 (£2.90) billion for 2017. Half of the money came from Candy Crush operator, King, and the other half came via their PC and console titles. EA reported $787 million in what it calls "live services" for the latest quarter.

Activision Blizzard said in their earnings report today that their revenue from "in-game net bookings" reached $4 (£2.90) billion for 2017. This includes stuff like DLC sales, loot boxes, and in-app purchases on mobile games.

In-game net bookings brought Activision Blizzard over $1 (£0.72)billion during the fourth quarter alone. Analyst Daniel Ahmad explained on Twitter, around $2 (£1.45) billion of Activision Blizzard's annual revenue from in-game net bookings came from the company's mobile subsidiary, King, which operates Candy Crush. The other $2 billion came from Activision Blizzard's console and PC titles, along with Activision Blizzard's efforts on mobile such as Hearthstone.

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Activision's Call of Duty: WWII has microtransactions in the form of Call of Duty points that can be spent to obtain in-game cosmetic items via loot boxes. The company has also recently launched a paid map pack for the game.

Overwatch offers the option of paying real world money for loot boxes that contain sprays, skins, voice lines and other cosmetic items. World of Warcraft has a significant in-game economy as well, letting people purchase items like mounts and pets.

Even though $4 billion is not a small amount of anything, really, Activision Blizzard is not alone. Electronic Arts recently stumbled into some hot water with the release of Star Wars: Battlefront and the game's use of microtransactions. EA reported $787 million in what it calls "live services" for the latest quarter.

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Take-Two Interactive said earlier this week that GTA Online and NBA 2K18 recently set records for what the company calls "recurrent consumer spending."

Activision Blizzard, EA, and Take-Two all reported year-over-year gains for microtransaction revenue. This practice might not be very new but the more aggressive strategies of implementing it have caught the attention of many governments and their lawmakers.