On Wednesday Activision Blizzard released better-than-expected third quarter 2012 financial results (pdf), reporting that the company delivered record GAAP net revenues of $841 million, as compared with $754 million for the third quarter of 2011. Even more, net revenues from digital channels represented 51-percent (GAAP) and 57-percent (non-GAAP) of the company's net revenues in that quarter alone.
"Our performance was driven by the launch of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria and continued sales of its top-selling PC game, Diablo III, as well as Activision Publishing’s new entertainment property, Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure, and sales of titles in the Call of Duty franchise," said Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick.
Kotick said that based on digital and retail sales in North America and Europe, Diablo III has become the top-selling game overall, selling in excess of 10 million copies. But he also added that the company will be cautious about 2013 given "a continuingly challenged global economy, the ongoing console transition and very difficult year-over-year comparables due to Blizzard’s record-shattering Diablo III sales in 2012."
Later during a conference call Wednesday afternoon, CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed that an expansion pack for the popular action-RPG PC game is in the works, but he wouldn't provide an expected release window. It's quite possible that the company is shooting for a summer release in order to keep the revenue equal or better than 2012's numbers, but that may be pushed back until the second installment of StarCraft II is released.
On that note, Blizzard head Mike Morhaime told investors during the conference call that the the company is pushing to release the second installment to StarCraft II, Heart of the Swarm, during the first half of 2013. This new addition will reportedly add new social features, multiplayer progression, and several other improvements.
"We expect that over the long-term, we will maintain our leadership position as the world’s leading interactive entertainment company and continue to provide strong returns to our shareholders by delivering great games to audiences around the world," Kotick added.
During the financial results, Kotick also revealed that Mists of Pandaria sold through approximately 2.7 million copies in its first week of availability. The number of World of Warcraft subscribers has also (naturally) increased to more than ten million, up from the 9.1 million reported at the end of 2Q12 in August.