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Activision Blizzard plans company wide restructuring to focus on delivering more content to players, including Call of Duty

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One of the biggest topics as part of Activision Blizzard’s 2018 Q4 Quarter Earnings call was how the company plans to adjust to refocus on boosting revenue after new competition in 2018 effected the company’s overall position in the gaming industry.

As part of that, the company stated that they intend to lay off 8% of their work force, which means 800 people will no longer have a job – even after Activision Blizzard CEO said that 2018’s revenue exceeded their expectations.

The company plans to prioritize game development across all parts of their business, and Call of Duty is also getting new attention within Activision.

During the call, Activision Blizzard Chief Operating Officer, Coddy Johnson, said that they are investing more resources into Call of Duty’s development to better engage players year round with fresh content. In addition, they plan to accelerate the expansion of the franchise to new platforms and geographies, including mobile.

For Call of Duty, Activision management expects additional resources to deliver more frequent content updates and events for the franchise and accelerate its expansion across platforms and geographies.

Johnson also said they plans to increase coordination across the studios to better align Call of Duty titles and releases for a better user experience.

We are also increasing coordination across our Call of Duty studios with unified development leadership and more unified tools and technology to create a more consistent user experience and leverage our development scale and expertise. 

Activision’s newly appointed President, Rob Kostich, also spoke briefly on how they plan to re-engage the community with Call of Duty with better resources and more content. Kostich said they have the biggest content release for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on February 19 with the new operation for the game.

Now in terms of Black Ops 4, it delivered better unit sales than Black Ops 3 in its launch quarter. So what we have is a really strong foundation of players right now and our biggest objective is to driving on going engagement with our community. Now the good news is we have our best in game content coming still. Our next event, on February 19, will be what we believe our biggest and best in game event, and it’s going to have significant updates across all modes. And we’re looking forward to see how that lands and resonates with the community. 

What this means for the future of the franchise and how content releases will work has yet to be seen. Activision says that they expect modest results in revenue while they continue to work on this restructuring of the company.

Activision

Modern Warfare is now the best selling Call of Duty in its first year

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Activision Blizzard has announced it’s Q3 2020 Financial Results, which continue to exceed expectations as people move to gaming avenues during this time.

Activision has stated that generated over $1.2 billion in revenue from microtransactions across all of their titles, a new record for Q3.

The company also announced that Modern Warfare is now the best selling premium Call of Duty in its first year ever, with almost two-thirds coming digitally. Warzone also continues to see incredible success, on PC as well, with PC microtransaction sales four times higher this year.

“Our teams continue to execute our growth plans with excellence during incredibly challenging circumstances,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “We are on a path to deliver sustained long-term growth across our fully-owned franchises. With confidence in our ability to continue to execute, we are raising our outlook for the year and remain enthusiastic for our growth prospects next year.”

Activision says that monthly active users for Modern Warfare & Warzone saw “three times as many” this year compared to Q3 2019.

Here’s the higlights from Activision on the quarter, which is quite impressive:

  • Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® and Warzone™ saw more than three times as many MAUs as the prior title in the year-ago quarter. Console MAU grew strongly and PC MAUs grew over ten-fold year-over-year. Across PC and console combined, hours played were approximately seven times higher year-over-year.
  • We again saw substantial year-over-year growth in premium game sales as Warzone players chose to upgrade to the full Call of Duty experience. Modern Warfare first-year premium sales are the highest in Call of Duty’s history, with two-thirds of units sold digitally.
  • Call of Duty console and PC in-game net bookings were four times the year-ago level.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will release on November 13 into the largest and most engaged community in franchise history at the time of launch, and will support cross-platform play across PC, current-generation, and next-generation consoles. Anticipation for the release is high, with far more players engaged in the game’s public testing than for the year-ago title.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War arrives Nov. 13.

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Call of Duty League

CDL Commissioner Johanna Faries set to be lead both CDL and OWL

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This week has been an interesting week for Activision Blizzard’s Esports division and leagues.

It was first reported earlier this week that Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez is in talks with Immortals to reacquire the OpTic Gaming brand. With that, H3CZ would also acquire the CDL LA Spot.

Since H3CZ is a part of NRG has Co-CEO with the Chicago Huntsmen, Activision’s rules state one organization cannot own two spots in the same league. Rumors of who H3CZ plans to sell the spot to is rampant, but no official information has been disclosed.

Late on Thursday, Esports Observed also reported that Pete Vlastelica, the Commissioner of the Overwatch League stepped down from his role.

Now, EsportsObserved reports that Johanna Faries, current Commissioner of the Call of Duty League, is expanding her role to become ‘Head of Leagues’ at Activision Blizzard. In this newly created position, she will lead both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League’s league administration and broadcast operations.

Brandon Snow, current Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports, is expanding his role to include marketing & analytics for the league. The former Chief Marketing Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports left in early September to be VP of DC Comics division of WarnerBros.

Both these new roles will take effect October 12, per EsportsObserved.

The first season of the Call of Duty League ended on August 31 with the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. The event featured the most viewers in Call of Duty esports history, capping off a dynamically changing year with the on going pandemic.

Call of Duty League’s second season is set to kick off in 2021 with some major changes. The league announced that it will return to a 4v4 format, leaving one player on each roster looking for another starting role. They also announced that matches will be played on PC using controllers going forward instead of extending the esports partnership with PlayStation.

Activision has not announced these changes officially at this time.

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Activision

Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer

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Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.

Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.

The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.

In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.

The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.

Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.

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