Activision Blizzard earned more than $4 billion on in-game purchases in 2017

Activision earned $7 billion in net revenues in 2017, which is an awfully impressive number, although maybe not all that surprising surprising given the games in its stable: Overwatch, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and a few others you may have heard of. But what's really interesting (or potentially terrifying, depending on your perspective) is that more than half of that amount—over $4 billion—comes from in-game purchases. 

The bulk of that amount is delivered via King and its Candy Crush games, Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga, which were number one and two among the top-ten grossing games on the iOS and Android app stores in 2017. But it was hardly alone, as Blizzard (I know, what a surprise) was able to deliver more than $2 billion in revenue without having to actually make a new game. 

"Blizzard generated record results for the year with no major game release, fueled by a steady stream of content and events across their franchises, in particular Overwatch, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft," Activision Blizzard chief financial officer Spencer Neumann said in the earnings call (via Seeking Alpha).   

Destiny 2, despite its struggles, is part of that success as well: As we noted yesterday, Destiny 2's Curse of Osiris expansion had a better attach rate than the first expansion for the original Destiny. The release of Zombie Chronicles for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 further demonstrated the value of DLC, as Activision Blizzard president and COO Coddy Johnson said it was "the number one add-on offering of the year for PlayStation North America," despite Black Ops 3 being almost two years old when it came out. 

"In-game services, features and content continue to engage our fans and help drive our results, delivering a Q4 record of over $1 billion of in-game net bookings and an annual record of over $4 billion," Johnson said.   

"Just as impressively, player investment in additional virtual goods and services surpassed investment in downloadable content in 2017 for Call of Duty and for Destiny, and we expect that to be the same for 2018. Activision has a great digital roadmap ahead including Destiny 2’s expansion pass and Call of Duty: World War II’s season pass." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.