Activision Blizzard misses on Q4 earnings as ‘Call of Duty’ bookings fall

The entrance to the Activision Blizzard Inc. campus is shown in Irvine, California, US, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) reported its Q4 2021 earnings after the bell on Thursday, falling well short of analysts’ estimates on the top and bottom line. The report will be the company’s first since Microsoft (MSFT) announced it will acquire the video game giant for $68.7 billion in January.

Here are the most important numbers from the report compared to Wall Street’s expectations, as compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares were flat following the announcement.

Microsoft’s pending acquisition, which it hopes to have tied up by 2023, would give the company access to Activision Blizzard’s vast library of game titles, chief among them the “Call of Duty” franchise, which has been a massive success for the gaming giant.

If the acquisition passes regulatory approval, Microsoft would be able to not only offer exclusive access to Activision Blizzard’s intellectual property via its Xbox consoles, but further build out its Game Pass subscription service as well.

So far, Microsoft has said that it wants to keep “Call of Duty” available to Sony’s PlayStation users.

Microsoft’s Game Pass, which costs $9.99 per month, lets users download a rotating collection of more than 100 games on either their PC or Xbox. The $14.99 per month option, however, lets gamers play on both PC and Xbox, as well as access Microsoft’s cloud gaming platform, which lets you stream games to everything from your smart TV to your smartphone or tablet.

Both Microsoft and Activision have also framed the move as a means to speed up Microsoft’s metaverse ambitions, though it will still take years for the technology to reach consumers.

Activision Blizzard, meanwhile, continues to grapple with the company’s culture issues. In July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the firm, saying it operates a fratboy culture where male employees sexually harass and grope their female colleagues. The company has also been accused of gender and racial discrimination when it comes to time off and pay practices.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also looking into the gaming giant about allegations that executives didn’t inform investors of continued workplace harassment. Activision Blizzard also agreed to pay $18 million to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle that commission’s own investigation into the company.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to resign following the close of the deal.

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