[LAST UPDATE: 28th February, 2020]
The time of year has come when myriad gaming companies and other tech outfits are releasing their new financial reports, with the conventional Q4 financial quarter drawing to a close on the final day of 2019.
The likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Zynga, DeNA, EA, Capcom and many others are now releasing numerous and detailed insights into their relative successes and failures both over the past quarter – and in some cases for 2019 in its entirety.
As such, below we’ve rounded-up the key numbers from the most prominent reports. With companies in games and far beyond sharing their financials across the globe, we’re focusing on some of the main players, along with the particularly interesting outfits away from the big names. But do contact us over on Twitter if you’d like to see something added – or even put forward your own.
Each company name header below includes a link to take you to its full financial report, or an equivalent document.
As such, here’s the big financial figures from the past days and weeks (in alphabetical order):
Both Call of Duty and King’s suite of mobile games have seen Activision Blizzard’s revenues for the recent financial quarter close higher than expected, after the gaming giant previously lowered its expectations for the period.
For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, the gaming giant’s GAAP net revenues totalled USD$1.99bn (£1.54bn); still a drop year-on-year compared to the previous equivalent period, where GAAP net revenues hit USD$2.38bn (£1.84bn), but an increase on the forecast USD$1.8bn (£1.39bn). GAAP net revenues from digital channels, meanwhile, reached USD$1.44bn (£1.11bn).
“Our fourth quarter results exceeded our prior outlook for both revenue and earnings per share,” offered Bobby Kotick, CEO and stalwart senior team member at Activision Blizzard. “Our recent Call of Duty success illustrates the scale of our growth potential, as we expanded the community to more players in more countries on more platforms than ever before. With our strong content pipeline across our franchises and momentum in mobile, esports, and advertising, we look forward to continuing to delight our players, fans and stakeholders in 2020 and beyond.”
Activision Blizzard’s net revenue for the entire financial year totalled USD$6.49bn (£5.01bn), down from the USD$7.50bn (£5.78bn) seen the year prior.
King – which Activision Blizzard acquired in 2016 – helped the company significantly, with 249 million MAUs. Call of Duty Mobile, meanwhile, saw installs clear 150 million, while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare unit sell-through lifted by a double-digit percentage versus Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Animoca Brands has released its financial results for Q4 2019, with quarterly revenue of AUD$10.1m (£5.1m) contributing to final year sales of AUD$25.1m (£12.7m). From this, the Hong-Kong based developer-publisher realised a net cash loss of AUD$5.1m (£2.6m), which has been attributed to one-off expenses related to its series of investments and acquisitions over the course of 2019, including Leade.rs Inc., Stryking Entertainment GmbH, Gamma Innovations Inc., Skytree Digital Limited, and nWay, Inc. The company has also altered its accounting practices in conjunction with its auditor, leading to a AUD$5.6m sum of unearned revenue now being attributed to receipts from customers, with related expenditure now being classified under corporate costs.
Speaking exclusively to TheGamingEconomy prior to the financial release, Animoca Brands’ founder and non-executive chairman Yat Siu spoke on the company’s strategy for 2020, with the firm continuing to develop its blockchain technology and use of non-fungible tokens, “I believe this will be the year where companies like Animoca Brands and others, for whom the business of making games is their bread and butter, will integrate blockchain technology in mainstream games. Therefore the first wave of real adoption will happen for people who do not have blockchain today. Out of those who play blockchain games at this moment in time, I would say 99% of them are people who already understand blockchain, have a wallet, probably own some Bitcoins or other digital currency. Whereas I think this year we’re going to get a large wave of users that move on to blockchain because they want to play a particular game, not because they specifically set out to own digital currency.”
Capcom Co., Ltd has released its unaudited consolidated financial results for the nine months of the 2019-2020 financial year ending December 31st. While net revenue has fallen by 13.6% year-on-year to JP¥52.91bn (£372.6m), operating income surged upwards by 37.1% to JP¥18.45bn (£129.9m), a record third-quarter level for the Osaka-based firm.
The strength of the company’s profitability has been attributed to particularly strong high-margin digital sales, along with “solid” revenue from its flagship Monster Hunter World: Icebourne title. Capcom also saw an increase in revenue (+13.8%) and operating income (+36.6%) from its arcade operations, while its amusement machine equipment continued to contract, with net sales down 79.5%.
At the close of trading, Capcom Co., Ltd (TYO: 9697) stock price had climbed by 5.17% from the previous close to reach JP¥3,355 (£23.63) per share.
Japanese mobile and e-commerce provider DeNA has reported an impairment loss of JP¥49.4bn (£346m) during the third quarter of the 2019-2020 financial year, primarily attributed to loss of goodwill in its gaming division, declining profitability of legacy titles, and reduction in consumption of virtual currency. Revenue from its games unit reached JP¥19bn (£133.1m), a 4% drop from the same period last year, while operating profit fell by 36% year-on-year to JP¥2bn (£14m).
In efforts to return to profitability, DeNA will be prioritising the development of major IP, akin to its Mario Kart Tour title published by Nintendo, as well as streamlining fixed costs. This has already led to the shuttering of its Torikago Scrap March mobile RPG and action MMO Fantasy Earth Genesis titles.
During the quarter DeNA repurchased 12,187,100 shares for a total cost of JP¥22.58bn (£158.2m). Following the release of the results statement, DeNA Co Ltd (TYO: 2432) stock price fell by 9.67% from the previous close to JP¥1,598 (£11.19) per share.
EA’s digital net revenue totalled USD$1.12bn (£854.7m) in the last full financial quarter, demonstrating the significance of the company’s considerable portfolio of live games to its commercial health.
That figure accounts for 68.7% of EA’s total net revenue for the three month period ending December 31, 2019, as confirmed by the developer-publisher’s recent financial report. Net revenue from packaged goods and other income, meanwhile, came to USD$469m. (£357.9m)
Looking back over the trailing 12 month period ending with the last day of 2019, meanwhile, digital net bookings hit USD$4.12bn (£3.14bn), making up 77% of the total USD$5.38bn (£4.1bn) in net bookings for the period. That USD$4.12bn (£3.14bn) also marked 15% year-on-year growth for EA’s digital net bookings.
“Over the last twelve months, we have delivered record live services revenue, live services net bookings and operating cash flow,” said EA’s COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen. “Our broad-based business model reduces our dependence on individual titles and enables us to deliver financial results for our shareholders by providing a constant stream of high-quality entertainment for our players. We expect live services to continue to drive growth in fiscal 2021 and for growth to accelerate in fiscal 2022, led by a new Battlefield.”
The financials also revealed that EA’s net cash from operating activities totalled USD$1.1bn (£839.6m) for the quarter. The gaming giant also repurchased 3.1 million shares for USD$305m (£232.8m) during the three-month period, bringing the total for the full previous twelve months to 12.8 million shares at USD$1.21bn (923.5m).
Microsoft quarterly gaming revenue has fallen by 21% year-on-year to USD$3.3bn (£2.5bn) according to its published results for the second quarter of the US financial year 2019-2020. The fall has been attributed to declining hardware sales and is in line with expectations at the Redmond, Washington-based firm, as a result of the current Xbox One console generation losing momentum ahead of the launch of the Xbox Series X device in the latter half of this year. Xbox content revenue has declined by 11% in anticipation of next-gen releases, as well as the strong performance of an unnamed third party title in the previous year, which is suggested to be either Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 or Epic Games’ Fortnite.
Despite the decline in overall sales, Microsoft has seen considerable success with its subscription platforms. While Microsoft has stopped reporting exact figures for Xbox Live monthly active users since the previous quarter, these have reached “record” levels according to CEO Satya Nadella, speaking on the firms’ results earnings call. Xbox Game Pass subscriptions have also surged over the previous three months, having reportedly more than doubled during this period. This reflects Microsoft’s increased showcasing of the “games-as-a-service model”, with its Project xCloud streaming service thought to be a key priority for the company over the course of this year.
Aside from gaming, Microsoft has reported total revenue of USD$36.9bn (£28.4bn), up 14% year-on-year, and net income of USD$11.6bn (£8.91bn), a rise of 38%. At the time of writing, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) share price (pre-market trading) stands at USD$173.70 (£133.46), up 3.37%.
Chinese internet technology company NetEase has released its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019, with revenue from gaming climbing by 15.5% to CN¥46.42bn (£5.128bn), while gross profit from its PC and mobile games increased by the measure of 15.1% to CN¥29.45bn (£3.253bn). In terms of revenue generated by games software and related services, NetEase has therefore surpassed Western gaming giants Activision Blizzard (£5.03bn) and Electronic Arts (EA) (£4.17bn). The strong growth has been attributed to the launch of several titles in its home market, heightened recognition of titles such as Knives out and Marvel Super War within the wider APAC region, and record subscriber numbers for its published third-party IP, namely Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft.
In a statement accompanying the results, NetEase CEO and director William Ding said, “We saw strong growth across our primary businesses, increasing our total annual net revenues and net income from continuing operations attributable to the Company’s shareholders year-over-year by 16% and 60%, respectively, due to strong performances in our online game services as well as other business segments. Our online game services net revenues continued to grow, propelled by the sustained and growing popularity of our existing titles, again demonstrating the longevity of our game franchises. At the end of the year, we launched the long-anticipated Fantasy Westward Journey 3D, which gave us a wonderful start to the first quarter. We will continue to bring more masterpieces to both domestic and global players in 2020.”
At the previous close, NetEase, Inc. share price had fallen by 6.92% to USD$321.93 (£249.54), while at the time of writing in pre-market trading this has decreased by a further 5.15% to USD$305.35 (£236.69).
Netmarble has announced its financial results for Q4 and full-year 2019, with sales through the quarter rising by 13.3% year-on-year to ₩551.8bn (£357.0m), with operating profit also climbing by 32.1% y-o-y to ₩50.2bn (£32.4m). While ostensibly painting a rosy picture of the Seoul-based developer’s financials, revenue and operating profit actually fell when compared to Q3 by 11% and 40.5% respectively, with Netmarble attributing this to the “weak performance” of titles launched during the quarter. Over the course of 2019, revenue reached ₩2.176tn (£1.407bn), an increase of 7% from 2018, while net profit fell by 26% to ₩159bn (£103m).
Looking ahead to 2020, Netmarble will again be prioritising its global audience, with proportion of overseas revenue increasing to 72% of total takings by the fourth quarter of 2019. This will be supported by the global launch of several titles in the first half of this year, including Seven Deadly Sins, Blade & Soul Revolution, and licensed title Marvel Realm of Champions.
At the close of trading on the Korea Exchange, Netmarble Games Corp (KRX: 251270) stock price closed at ₩93,100 (£60.24) per share, a decrease of 1.27%.
Nintendo has released its consolidated financial results for the third quarter of the Japanese financial year 2019-2020, with the Kyoto-based giant raising its profit forecast from JP¥260bn (£1.83bn) to JP¥300bn (£2.11bn). For the nine months ending December 31st 2019, Nintendo disclosed revenue of JP¥1.02tn (£7.12bn), which represents an increase of 2.5% year-on-year. The strong financial performance has been attributed to growth in sales of both hardware and software units, which are up 22.5% and 30.1% respectively. A total of 10.81 million Switch consoles were sold in the final quarter of 2019, with the device having shifted 52.49 million units since it was launched in March 2017.
While Nintendo has seen success with its mobile division, with its suite of six titles having recently passed £829m in revenue according to estimates reported by TheGamingEconomy, it is not expected to prioritise releasing new IP in the near future. A statement included in the financial release reads, “For our mobile business, operations will focus on encouraging more consumers to continue to enjoy playing applications released this fiscal year like Mario Kart Tour, as well as the ones that were released in previous fiscal years.”
Despite the positive figures, Nintendo share price (TYO: 7974) is down 1.05% at JP¥42,270 (£297.64) at the time of writing.
Nvidia has published its financial results for the forth quarter and fiscal year 2020, with quarterly revenue rising by 41% year-on-year to reach USD$3.11bn (£2.39bn), with operating income for Q4 climbing by 237% to USD$990m (£761m). The increase has been attributed to strong adoption of its NVIDIA Accelerated Computing division, along with its RTX ray-tracing capabilities and AI unit. Despite the strong performance in the final quarter, revenue for the financial year in full fell by 7% to USD$10.92bn (£8.397bn), with operating income sliding by 25% to USD$2.85bn (£2.19bn).
In terms of the first quarter of the 2021 financial year, the ongoing outbreak of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus has been forecast to have a significant effect on NVIDIA’s financials, with the Santa Clara, California-based firm reducing its revenue outlook by USD$100m (£76.9m), while it confirmed that it is still yet to close the proposed USD$6.9bn (£5.3bn) acquisition of chipmaker Mellanox Technologies from March last year.
At the time of writing, Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) stock is performing well in pre-market trading, up 6.51% at USD$288.40 (£221.78).
Paradox Interactive has released its financial report for Q4 and full-year 2019, with revenue rising by 14% over the course of the year to reach SEK1.2893bn (£101.66m). Operating profit during this time increased by 4% to SEK473.5m (£37.34m), which the Stockholm-based developer-publisher has partially attributed to the reclassification of considerations connected with the acquisition of Harebrained Schemes in 2018, with the adjustments amounting to SEK44.1m (£3.48m).
Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud also revealed that a record number of monthly active users were engaging with the firm’s titles, rising by approximately 30% by the close of the year to over four million, with a similar spike in Paradox user accounts. The rise in revenue and profit has also been put down to the trialling of distribution channels outside of steam, including the launch of its monthly subscription service for Europa Universalis IV downloadable content, and trialling of PC launches through the Epic Games Store rather than its usual partner Steam. In June last year, Paradox Interactive executive chairman of the board Fredrik Wester strongly criticised storefronts such as Steam for the use of a 70:30 revenue split model, stating such terms were “outrageous”.
“2019 was a year characterised by preparation for the future. During the year, we invested in game development, performed marketing activities, and built our organisation to give us the best possible conditions to develop and publish our upcoming games[…] Our investments in organisation, marketing and game development are long-term and a foundation for the growth we want to achieve in the coming years. Investment also means higher costs and lower margins in the short term as revenues come in later periods.” Said Ljungerud.
Sony gaming and network services revenue for the third quarter of the financial year has fallen by 20% year-on-year to JP¥632.1bn (£4.451bn), with operating income declining by 36.6% to JP¥53.5bn (£367m), according to the Japanese conglomerate’s published results. The decline has been attributed to foreign exchange rate factors and the falling sales of its PlayStation4 device and in software titles, reflecting the end of the console lifecycle prior to the launch of the PlayStation 5 later this year. A total of 6.1 million PS4 consoles were sold in the quarter, down from 8.1 million units in the same period last year, while Sony executives are only expecting 1.4 million consoles to be sold in Q4 FY 2019. As of December 2019, total sell in for the PlayStation4 reached 108.9 million units globally.
The results mimic those of console rival Microsoft, which saw a remarkably similar sales decline of 21%, in that while software and hardware revenues fell, subscription sales rose considerably. A total of 38.8 million customers hold a PS+ subscription, which represents approximately 37% of total PS4 ownership.
While Sony Corporation gaming revenue declined, total sales and operating revenue increased by 3% year-on-year to JP¥2.46tn (£17.3bn), driven by a strong performance in its financial services and imaging & sensing solutions (I&SS) divisions. At the time of writing, Sony Corp (TYO: 6758) shares are holding level at JP¥7,700 (£54.20), a decline of 0.039% from the previous close.
Supercell has posted its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019, with revenue climbing by 2% to reach €1.39bn (£1.17bn). While sales were up, earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 4% to €517m (£436.2m). In a blog post associated with the results, Supercell CEO and co-founder Ilkka Paananen also revealed that the Helsinki-based firm had also contributed €100m (£84.4m) in corporate tax in its native Finland, while additionally reffering to its commitments to offset 200% of its direct carbon dioxide emissions as part of a voluntary agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Paanen also revealed that Supercell would be suspending its growth, in terms of employee numbers, in order to retain the company culture, writing, “A major component of our mission – i.e. to be the best place for the best teams to develop games – involves keeping the company as small as possible. This is because we believe smaller size minimises the amount of bureaucracy and processes while maximising room for innovation. And, we all simply like to work in a smaller company! Anyway, last year some of our game developers actually got concerned that the company might be getting too big too fast as we grew to just over 300 in size. We had a big discussion about this and, as a result, decided to slow down our growth significantly until we feel confident that we can keep our culture intact despite the growth.”
Through 2019 Supercell also made a series of global strategic investments through its funding arm, namely acquiring holdings in Luau Games (Malmö), Ritz Deli Games (Oakland, CA), and an input of €1m (£844,000) into Wild Games (Stockholm).
Take-Two Interactive Software concluded its 2019 Q3 period ending the final day of 2019 with GAAP revenue at USD$930.1m (£718.9).
That figure is down USD$300m year-over-year, from USD$1.25bn (£966.2m). However, digitally-delivered revenue climbed to USD$700.3m (£541.3m), compared to USD$594.7m (£459.7m) for the previous equivalent quarter.
Take-Two’s most significant contributors to digitally-delivered GAAP net revenue in the quarter included NBA 2K20 and NBA 2K19, Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, The Outer Worlds, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online, Borderlands 3, and WWE 2K20.
Meanwhile, over the nine-month period concluding on December 31, 2019, GAAP net cash brought in by Take-Two’s operating activities increased to around USD$440m (£340.1m), as compared to USD$390.2m (£301.5m) in the same period in the previous year, reflecting an overall rise.
Take-Two has also lifted its forecasts for its financial year ending March 31st, with GAAP net revenue expected fall between USD$2.96bn (£2.29bn) and USD$3.01bn (£2.33bn), while GAAP net income is predicted to range from USD$387m (£298.9m) and USD$409m (£315.9m).
Much like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft has seen a dip in year-on-year revenues, while still exceeding its recently down-turned forecasts.
In Ubisoft’s case over the three months ended December 31, 2019, net bookings totalled €455.5m (£385.8m), which was up on the forecast target of €410m (£347.2m), but still down 25% year-on-year. Revenues for the period totalled €416.2m (£352.5), down 26% year-on-year, again exceeding predictions.
“Although the current fiscal year is well below our initial expectations, the third fiscal quarter saw excellent performances from several titles in our back catalogue – particularly Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, The Crew 2 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – and from the release of Just Dance 2020, which is back on the growth track,” said Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot, in a statement to the press. “The fact that our number of active players, MAUs and PRI on consoles and PC have remained stable year on year at high levels clearly demonstrates the depth of our game’s portfolio and the firmer resilience of our business model.
“We have evolved our organisational structure in recent months in order to strengthen our focus on high-potential titles, and we are very excited about the idea of releasing five new triple-A games in 2020-21. Although the competitive environment is looking especially tough, production of these games is progressing well and each of them comes with great features that set them apart. We also will be releasing other very innovative titles that have a particular focus on social interaction, such as Roller Champions.”
Zynga has posted company-record annual revenue of USD$1.32bn (£1.01bn) in 2019, an increase of 46% from 2018 figures, with full-year operating income climbing 171% to USD$41.92m (£32.20m). Advertising has been cited as a strong driver of this growth, with revenue and bookings from in-game ads up 17% to USD$274m (£210m). Despite the ostensibly strong performance, Zynga has seen inconsistent income over the course of 2019, posting losses in Q1 (USD$56m/£43m), Q2 (USD$129m/£99.1m) and Q4 (USD$3.5m/£2.7m), with profit margin helped by the record USD$230m (£177m) taken in Q3, largely attributed to the sale of its San Francisco headquarters for USD$600m (£461m) in May.
In the executive summary associated with the results, CEO Frank Gibeau and CFO Ger Griffin stated, “Our results were well ahead of guidance across all key financial measures driven by strength in live services, coupled with remarkably strong advertising seasonality and yields […] Live services were the primary driver of our 2019 results and are the foundation of our multi-year growth strategy. By consistently delivering innovative bold beats, we generated strong, recurring growth from our portfolio, led by our forever franchises.”
At market close, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ: ZNGA) stock price had fallen by 2.47% to USD$5.93 (£4.56).