“Black Ops Cold War” broke sales records during its debut.

“Black Ops Cold War” broke sales records during its debut.

Blockbuster video game franchises “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” continue to deliver big returns for Santa Monica-based publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.

The company announced on Dec. 4 that the “Call of Duty” franchise has in the past 12 months netted more than $3 billion in total bookings, a metric that includes product sales and in-game purchases.


Meanwhile, the latest expansion in the “World of Warcraft” series, “Shadowlands,” broke an all-time sales record for a PC game upon its debut Nov. 23, selling 3.7 million copies at launch.


Activision Blizzard released new titles in both franchises last month. “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War,” the latest installment in the company’s popular action series broke a franchise first-day digital sales record upon its debut, according to the company.


The number of total “Call of Duty” games sold over the past 12 months is now 40% higher than at the same time last year, Activision Blizzard reported.


Both sales and the amount of time players spend in game have surged amid the pandemic. According to the company, November was the biggest month in “Call of Duty” history in terms of both total players and number of hours played.


Those figures have been helped along by the release of titles supplementary to the core games in the series, including “Call of Duty: Mobile” and free-to-play game “Call of Duty: Warzone.”


All told, Activision Blizzard says more than 200 million people have played at least one of its “Call of Duty” games in the last year.


“World of Warcraft” has also attracted a high number of players over the last year. The massively popular multiplayer game, which requires a subscription to play, has attracted more subscribers in the months leading up to the latest release than at any point leading up to the release of a prior title in the franchise.


The company also said “World of Warcraft” players have logged more hours in the game than at any point in the last decade.


The popularity of the “Call of Duty” series in particular helped Activision Blizzard outperform industry expectations in its most recent quarterly earnings report. The company reported that net revenue had risen to $1.95 billion in the third quarter of 2020, up from $1.28 billion during the corresponding period a year earlier.


“Call of Duty” General Manager Byron Beede said in a statement that the company plans to keep current players engaged with a “continuous pipeline” of new content and special events.


Part of the company’s strategy to bring in new players rests on development of mobile games tied to its signature console and PC titles. Activision Blizzard Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre said in a November earnings call with investors that the company aims to develop mobile games for all of its franchises.

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