Companies within the video game ecosystem have begun to share their consolidated financial results for the quarters ending March 31st and April 30th 2020, with many noting the initial effect of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic on their bottom line. Here, you can find a summary of each company’s performance throughout the quarter, along with links to full financial reports where available.
Last updated: 22nd May.
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Activision Blizzard surpassed investor expectations with its first quarter results, with net revenue of USD$1.79bn (£1.44bn), with the developer-publisher previously announcing it expected this to be in the region of USD$1.64bn (£1.32bn). Net bookings increased 21% year-on-year to USD$1.52bn (£1.22bn), of which USD$956m (£768m) can be attributed to in-game spend, a 20% hike from the same period last year.
The strong performance of the Call of Duty franchise, including the recently-released Warzone battle royale title, have been cited as driving the increase in bookings, while its mobile subsidiary King saw a 75% growth in net bookings derived from advertising, despite a sharp fall in demand across digital advertising as brands pulled spend in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Santa Monica-based firm is predicting that net bookings will reach USD$1.68bn (£1.35bn) in Q2, with its release plans for new content fundamentally unchanged despite implementing home-working across the company.
Capcom net sales declines by 18.4% over the course of the fiscal year ending 31st March 2020 to JP¥81.6bn (£617m), however profitability increased markedly, with operating income up 25.8% to a company-record level of JP¥22.8bn (£172m).
Both the fall in revenue and profitability growth have been attributed to the Osaka-based firm’s efforts to focus on digital output, with the company citing the strong performance of the Monster Hunter World: Iceborne DLC.
EA has announced that net revenue for the quarter, the fourth in its financial year, reached USD$1.39bn (£1.12bn), up 12% from last year. This was driven by strong growth in its digital revenue, which climbed by 25% in the quarter to reach USD$1.2bn (£964m), with live services making the bulk of this figure at USD$823m (£668m).
For the full financial year, EA generated total net revenue of USD$5.5bn (£4.4bn), up 11% from last year and representing a record high for the California-based firm. In its financial guidance for next year, EA executives state that they intend to match this figure, although this is likely to fluctuate as the full effect of the Covid-19 outbreak on the company becomes clearer.
Facebook has announced that its non-advertising revenue, which includes that of its Oculus VR division, increased by 80% year-on-year through Q1 2020 to reach USD$297m (£238m). Speaking on the social media giant’s earnings call, CFO David Wehner attributed this increase to the sale of Oculus hardware and software, particularly for the Quest headset which launched in May 2019. Facebook is also placing significant investment towards VR, with total R&D costs rising by 40% as it develops its AR and VR capabilities, along with expanding the core social platform.
During the earning’s call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented on the company’s renewed focus on streaming, which led to the release of its dedicated Facebook Gaming app earlier in April, “We have a few big areas of investment here. One is just in our mobile apps, a massive amount of growth in live streaming[…] People live streaming gaming content is certainly one big category that’s growing quickly and that we’re investing a lot in. So that, I think, is going quite well. We recently had some pretty big launches of an app in that area, and we’re going to keep on investing there. And on the virtual reality side, this has always been a longterm vision. Quest has surpassed our expectations. I wish we could make more of them faster during this period.”
Focus Home Interactive has stated that the strong commercial success of its new titles as well as that of its legacy portfolio have driven a 13% increase in its FY 2019-2020 revenue from the previous year, to €142.8m (£124.6m). Digital sales performed particularly strongly, and now account for 82% of total revenue, up from 66% in FY 2018-2019. While fourth quarter revenue was down slightly at €24.0m (£20.9m), the French publisher believes that a prompt refocus of its marketing operations to prioritise digital sales will negate much of any negative impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
Konami has released its financial results for the 2020 fiscal year ending 31st March 2020, with revenue for its digital entertainment segment, which includes video games, climbing by 8.3% year-on-year to JP¥153.4bn (£1.168bn). Despite this, profitability for the division fell by 1.4% to JP¥43.2bn (£329m), with the decline being put down to increased production and R&D costs for new titles.
Commenting on hesitation to release forecasts for the coming financial year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, a Konami spokesperson said, “With respect to the outlook, there are concerns over a global recession triggered by measures taken to avoid the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Under the current circumstances where visibility is low on when the outbreak will be under control and consumer spending will recover, it is difficult to reasonably calculate its impact on our guidance.”
Revenue for Xbox content and services have increased by USD$33m (£27m), or 2%, year-on-year, with 90 million MAUs for Xbox Live services. However, as expected with the launch of the next-generation Xbox Series X console later in the year, hardware sales fell by a significant margin, down by 20% from this time last year.
Overall, the drop in hardware sales led to a 1% drop in Microsoft’s total gaming revenue, falling USD$14m (£11m) from last year to USD$2.35bn (£1.89bn). Over the nine month period ending 31st March, the company’s video game revenue has fallen by 12%, driven by a 38% decrease in hardware sales. Despite earlier projections from Microsoft estimating that it would not hit its targets for the segment in Q3 FY 2019-2020 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, revenue for its More Personal Computing vertical, which includes that of gaming, reached USD$11bn (£8.8bn), with a revised Q4 target now standing at USD$11.3bn-USD$11.7bn (£9.08bn-£9.40bn).
In the first quarter of the year, Modern Times Group (MTG) reported a 2% decline in net sales to SEK924m (£74.7m), with an operating loss (EBIT) of SEK69m (£5.6m). The loss was driven by a 11% y-o-y contraction in esports revenue and high costs associated with the cancellation of its owned and operated live ticketed events. Over the course of H1 2020 revenue for MTG’s esports operations are predicted to fall by 25-35%, a moderately more optimistic view than earlier projections of a 35-45% fall. Meanwhile, MTG’s gaming vertical experienced revenue growth of 3.5% to SEK625m (£50.5m), with InnoGames’ Forge of Empires highlighted as a particularly strong performer.
As previously reported in TheGamingEconomy, MTG continues to promote the separation of its esports and gaming divisions through either the sale of the latter unit, or via a listing on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market, as its preferred option following a strategic review conducted in October last year.
Mail.ru Group subsidiary My.Games experienced a strong first quarter of 2020, with revenue climbing by 13.4% year-on-year to RUB₽7.896bn (£85.36m), 66% of which was generated from its mobile portfolio. International lockdown measures appear to be benefiting the publisher, with DAUs rising by as much as 75% during March alone for its Conqueror’s Blade MMO.
My.Games CEO Vasily Maguryan commented, “My.Games accounted for 35% of all Mail.ru Group revenue in Q1 2020, with 69% of MMO revenue generated by our international audiences. While it has been a great start to the year, the safety of our players and employees during the COVID-19 outbreak is now a priority.”
Nexon reported revenue of JP¥82.2bn (£626m) and operating income of JP¥41.5bn (£316m) during the three months ending 31st March 2020, down 11% and 21% year-on-year respectively. Despite the declines, the performance surpassed investor expectations, with Nexon generating company-record revenue of JP¥39.7bn (£302m) in the Korean market, up 78% from the equivalent period last year, which was counteracted by forecasted declines in China.
Nexon President and CEO Owen Mahoney commented, “Player engagement is growing as millions of people recognise that online games and virtual worlds are the pre-eminent form of entertainment in the 21st century – our online games provide a safe, fun place to relax and communicate with friends and family.”
Nintendo has released its earnings for the financial year ending 31st March 2020, with revenue increasing by 9% year-on-year to hit JP¥1.308tn (£9.94bn) with double-digit percentage gains seen across both hardware sales, up 24% to 21.03 million units, and software, up 42.3% to 168.72 million units. Annual operating profit for the Kyoto-based giant grew sharply, rising by 41% to JP¥352bn (£2.68bn). Nintendo executives highlighted the strong performance of its Pokemon Sword & Pokemon Shield, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons titles released during the year, which have sold 17.37 million and 11.77 million copies respectively.
In terms of the ongoing coronavirus situation, Nintendo confirmed that the pandemic caused production and shipment issues across its Switch console, along with accessories such as Joy-Con controllers and Ring Fit Adventure, however this purportedly only had “limited” impact on these results. While Nintendo states that hardware logistics are improving, there is likely to be a tangible effect in 2020-2021 as a result of delayed research and development schedules, and the potential suspension of distribution of physical software copies. Nintendo have also warned that they may be forced to suspend its e-commerce operations if it cannot “maintain the stability” of its network systems.
Sega Sammy has reported growth across its video game operations during the 2019-2020 financial year in terms of both sales and operating income, with both digital and physical revenue increasing. Specifically, digital game sales climbed 15.7% to JP¥47.2bn (£360m), while packaged title sales were up 43.2% to JP¥78.2bn (£596m). The strong performance of its gaming division helped to drive strong company-wide growth, with both net sales (+421%) and profit attributable to parent (+111.3%) seeing triple-digit increases.
While Sega is bolstered by the strength of the previous financial year, the Tokyo-based firm has issued a warning that future title releases may be delayed if the coronavirus outbreak is not mitigated, citing “concern about the impact on external development partners.”
Sony has announced its financial results for the year ending 31st March 2020, with its game and network services revenue falling by 14% year-on-year to JP¥1.977tn (£14.96bn), with operating income for the division having contracted by 23.4% to JP¥238.4bn (£1.803bn). The declining performance has been attributed to a reduction of PlayStation4 hardware, down to 13.6 million in 2019-2020 from 17.8 million the preceding year, as well as a slide in software sales as a result of fewer flagship first-party releases. On a more positive note for the Japanese conglomerate, subscribers to its PlayStation Plus have increased by 14% to 41.5 million registered users.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had a “slight” impact on PS4 production, Sony executives have confirmed that the PlayStation5 is still set for launch in the latter half of this year, despite challenges in its product testing procedures as a result of lockdown measures. Notably, Sony state that the software development pipeline for both first-party and partner studios has not been affected by “major problems”, despite delays to titles such as The Last of Us Part II and Iron Man VR.
Square Enix has reported that its net sales for the financial year ended March 31st 2020 decreased by 4% year-on-year to JP¥260.5bn (£2.01bn), however operating income rose by 33% to JP¥32.8bn (£252m). The decline in net sales has been attributed to the lack of significant new releases during the financial year, especially when compared to the prolific release schedule of the 2018-2019 year. This is reflected in the publisher’s HD Game results, which declined both in terms of net sales, falling over 55% to JP¥42bn (£324m), and operating income, which declined from a JP¥9bn (£69m) gain to a JP¥6bn (£46m) loss.
Sumo Group plc announced that its performance for the 2019 financial year exceeded internal expectations, with revenue increasing 26.6% year-on-year to £49.0m, with adjusted EBITDA up 37.5% to £14.1m. Owned IP now constitutes 33% of total revenue, up from 10% at this point last year, with the remainder being generated by third-party titles. While the group’s statement notes that it is too early to draw definitive conclusions about the effect Covid-19 will have on its revenue, it expects any impact will be short-term, though some titles may be delayed as a result of efficiency losses.
Take-Two has posted company-record net revenue for the fourth quarter ended March 31st 2020, with the New York-based holding company generating USD$760.5m (£620.7m), up 41% from the equivalent period last year. This growth was driven by a 40% increase in recurrent consumer spend through in-game purchases and DLC add-ons, which contributed 54% of total net revenue during the quarter. Net income during Q4 also proliferated, climbing by 116% to USD$122.7m (£100.1m). For the full 2019-2020 financial year, Take-Two net revenue rose 16% to reach USD$3.089bn (£2.521bn), with net income increasing by 21% to reach USD$404.5m (£330.2m)
Commenting on the results, Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick wrote, “Looking ahead, Take-Two has the strongest development pipeline in its history, including sequels from our biggest franchises as well as exciting new IP. While fiscal 2021 will be a light new release year, we expect to deliver strong results, reflecting the diversity and strength of our catalog and live service offerings. We have an array of titles that we will begin to launch in fiscal 2022, which we expect to drive sequential growth that year. Our Company remains superbly positioned – creatively, operationally and financially – to capitalise on the many positive trends in our industry, and to deliver continued growth and returns for our shareholders over the long-term.”
Tencent online gaming revenue climbed by 31% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2020, reaching CN¥37.29bn (£4.389bn), driven by the strong performance of its smartphone portfolio, with both domestic titles (Peacekeeper Elite and Honour of Kings) and international releases (PUBG Mobile and Clash of Clans) fuelling growth. Combined revenue across its smart phone games (excluding online) reached CN¥34.76bn (£4.000bn). A slight decline was noted across the conglomerate’s PC division, which earned CN¥11.80bn (£1.357bn), attributed to the closure of internet cafes across China in response to Covid-19, as well as the “soft” performance of its Dungeon Fighter Online (DNF) title.
In a statement, Tencent Chairman and CEO Ma Huateng said, “As the world tackles COVID-19, our thoughts and hearts go out to all the people who are suffering from the pandemic. During this difficult period, we seek to provide online services that keep people connected, informed, productive, and entertained. So far, our businesses have proved resilient and cashflow-generative, enabling us to increase our investment to fulfil our mission of ‘Tech for Good’”.
Zynga has posted revenue of USD$404m (£326m) for January-March 2020, an increase of 52% from the same period last year and a record for the company. In spite of this, the mobile developer-publisher posted a net loss of USD$104m (£83.9m) for the quarter, significantly higher than the USD$26m (£21m) loss the company forecasted in its previous guidance. Zynga states that the record revenue and high loss are interlinked, as it had to pay a combined USD$120m in earn-out considerations to Small Giant Games and Gram Games, which the company acquired in 2018 for initial sums of USD$560m (£452m) and USD$250m (£202m) respectively, following their strong performances through the quarter. Zynga’s advertising revenue also fell significantly through the quarter, down over 26% from Q4 2019 to USD$59m (£48m).
The increase in engagement across its portfolio as a result of stay-at-home measures have been cited as having a positive effect on revenue for the year, and as such has revised its guidance upwards, predicting USD$1.6bn (£1.3bn) to be generated through the financial year. However it also predicts a loss of USD$245m (£198m) for the year, USD$200m (£161m) of which consists of continued earn-out payments to its acquired studios.