Candy Crush franchise, Sekiro sales drive Activision Blizzard to a $1.8B quarter

'Our first quarter results exceeded our prior outlook reflecting strong operating discipline,' CEO Bobby Kotick said on the investor earnings call. The Q1 2019 financial report comes three months after Activision Blizzard laid off nearly a thousand people.

The onset of spring brings with it fresh flowers, sunny weather, chirping birds… and financial reports. Activision Blizzard earnings follows the Big Three The Call of Duty publisher released its Q1 2019 financial results in an earnings call yesterday, and they were good: the company exceeded its own expectations, overtaking its $1.7 billion projection to earn $1.8 billion.

Also exceeding expectations was Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the brutal From Software title that launched in March. COO Collister "Coddy" Johnson noted, “Strong performance for Candy Crush, better than expected sales for Sekiro, and favorable cost timing were key factors driving upside.” Indeed, Candy Crush maker King actually outperformed both Activision and Blizzard by a couple hundred million dollars, with a Q1 net revenue of $529 million against an operating income of $178 million. King also had by far the highest audience reach at 272 million people.

In addition to their successful franchises and new IP, Bobby Kotick praised the company’s “strong operating discipline” for the better-than-expected results. This comes three months after its Q4 2018 financial report didn’t meet internal expectations, despite being a record-breaking quarter, which resulted in a mass-layoff of around 800 people.

Going forward, Activision Blizzard is focused on major content releases, live operations, franchise expansion onto mobile, and “new engagement models.” As part of its plan to support these pillars, the company plans to add developer headcount to support its biggest titles, including Call of Duty.

This is Activision Blizzard’s first quarter without Bungie’s earnings, as the Destiny maker parted ways with its parent company earlier this year. While ATVI stock tumbled at the time, it obviously didn’t impact the publisher’s ability to overperform.

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Sarah LeBoeuf is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade of experience in games media. When not writing about video games or playing video games, you can find her drinking obscene amounts of coffee, snuggling her cat, planning her next trip to Disney World, or starting fights on Twitter @sarahthebeef.