Activision Posts Lower Sales, Profits As ‘Call of Duty’ Slumps

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Activision Posts Lower Sales, Profits As ‘Call of Duty’ Slumps
A Look at Activision Blizzard's Workplace Harassment Lawsuit

Activision Blizzard posted declining revenues and profits in its first-quarter earnings report Monday, as the video game publisher coped with its flagship “Call of Duty” franchise underperforming as well as pandemic-induced delays to its release of other popular titles.


The Santa Monica-based company reported a roughly 22% drop in total sales, to $1.77 billion, compared to first quarter of 2021—citing lower-than-expected sales for “Call of Duty: Vanguard,” its latest entrant in the popular “Call of Duty” first-person shooter series. Activision’s profits saw an even bigger decline, falling 36% from the year-earlier period to $395 million.

While “Call of Duty” is usually one of Activision’s highest-performing franchises, the latest “Call of Duty: Vanguard” installment, released last fall, has failed to retain fans’ favor. Activision said the franchise generated lower net bookings on both console and PC last quarter, contributing to a nearly 29% year-on-year decline in the company’s total net bookings, to $1.48 billion.

The disappointing earnings come as Activision seeks to get its $69 billion merger with Microsoft, announced in January, over the line. (The transaction, which is still subject to clearance by antitrust regulators, has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close by mid-2023, Activision said.) It also faces challenges including an ongoing union dispute, investigations from state and federal authorities into an allegedly toxic workplace culture, sexual harassment lawsuits from current and former employees and, most recently, insider trading probes involving controversial CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision also continues to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, which may have boosted the gaming sector at large but has also pushed back release windows for key franchises like “World of Warcraft,” “Diablo” and “Overwatch,” contributing to the drop in sales. Usually, if a “Call of Duty” game underperforms, Activision has other new titles to lean on—but it still has no release date for two of its most-anticipated releases, “Diablo 4” and “Overwatch 2.”

The company cited the Warcraft franchise’s “product cycle timing,” in particular, as contributing to the drag on its Blizzard division’s earnings, but said the current second quarter “represents the start of a period of planned substantial releases across Blizzard’s portfolio.”

Those include “Diablo Immortal,” a free-to-play title geared mostly toward mobile devices that will be released on June 2. Activision’s mobile gaming business was a rare bright spot in its first-quarter report—with mobile platform revenues up 10% year-on-year, to $807 million, and comprising a growing 46% share of its total sales. The company’s “Candy Crush” title remained the top-grossing mobile game franchise in U.S. app stores for the 19th consecutive quarter, it said.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Behind Her Empire: AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy On Redefining Success and Embracing Identity

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy
Photo courtesy of AAVRANI

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Rooshy Roy said, as the only Indian girl in school, she spent a lot of time feeling like an outsider and like she wasn’t meeting others’ expectations of “how an Indian girl should behave.”

Flash forward 20 years, and the differences Roy was once ashamed of are now the inspiration for her skincare company.

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