Activision/Blizzard Investor’s Presentation Tomorrow Morning

As we posted last week, there’s an Activision/Blizzard “corporate presentation” tomorrow morning, California time. You can listen to it live-streamed online, via the ATVI investor’s page, though if you’re hoping for game news and content, you will probably be disappointed. See our past coverage of these types of conference calls for more details, but they’re very dry and almost entirely about finances and sales — the content would be basically identical if ATVI sold cars or toasters or soybeans.

Here’s the news quote:

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATVI – News) today announced that members of senior management, including Robert Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, Inc., will be giving a corporate presentation at its analyst day event on Thursday, September 1, 2011 from approximately 9:15am Pacific Time to 1:00pm Pacific Time.

The presentation will be broadcast over the Internet. To access the webcast, please log on to

A number of readers asked if we’d be doing our usual live chat during the event, but as it’s 3.5 hours long and there’s no real prospect of any new Diablo 3 info… I don’t think so. We’ll post a news update after the call though, just in case there are some interesting revelations. Also, anyone who is bored enough at work to listen and who wants to report back can feel free to use these comments for that.

Update: News about Activision/Blizzard’s just-reported record first-half profits that will no doubt make up much of tomorrow’s discussion.

The French media conglomerate noted that record digital sales of Activision Blizzard’s online-enabled franchises — up more than 20 percent compared to the same half last fiscal year — helped drive revenues for the company.

Vivendi revealed that Activision Blizzard purchased approximately 43 million shares of its common stock for a price of around $479 million. It noted that, as of the end of this fiscal half, Vivendi holds a 63 percent interest in the video games company.

Update #1: As expected, the conference call was largely about ATVI’s recent profits, especially from digital sales. Coverage of that here and here, for instance.

That’s a lot of games sold and that brings up the question of DLC. They title sold 18 million map packs since launch which equals to about 270 million dollars; making $7 million more than Modern Warfare 2 and $9 million more than World at War.

With numbers like that, the publisher as a whole must be doing well right? Of course it is. Digital revenue for Activision Blizzard reached an astounding $1.7 billion dollars over the past 12 months. It will only increase when Diablo 3 launches as well. Blizzard will be taking undetermined fees off the top of player-to-player items sales. It’s bound to go up.

Update #2: Coverage of the conference via their Diablo III-related slides, and Rob Pardo’s comments on the Real Money Auction House.

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68 thoughts on “Activision/Blizzard Investor’s Presentation Tomorrow Morning


    (Breaking Bad reference, not spam)

  2. I live in the financial world and past coverage of these events always baffled me.  Last conference call people were PISSED that a solid date wasn’t laid out for the D3 beta.  Do people not understand the STOCK MARKET IMPLICATIONS if a company were to miss ANY projected date for any milestone?  That is why the D3 beta date was given in the Q3 window – very hard to miss such a broad date, and therefore very hard for the market share price to dip on any negative news.  Remember, a company’s first responsibility is to the stockholders.  It would be financial malpractice for the business suits to try to pin down an exact date for release, only to potentially miss that date.

    • Probably not. There’s some paint I need to watch drying.


      Who will be the have-a-go-hero who will endure 3 1/2 of Bob?

      EDIT – You watch, the buggers will announce the beta start date on this one and we’ll all be sat here oblivous. Watching that damn paint drying.

    • Eh, I’ll toss it on myself as background while I work.  I’ve never heard one of these before.  But there’s no chance that I’ll keep it on for the whole thing.

  3. Got the stream going as well, will tune in occasionally, gosh i thought there would be a chat on diabloincgamers this time 🙁

  4. “as for the beta still on track to go beta later this quarter…not ready to commit to a release date”

    well there we have it….no new info
    still hoping for 3rd quarter beta

    Q & A time now

  5. life time value of a diablo 3 player question to mike
    “diablo 3 auction house no predictions how popular to be, expect engagement and longevity in diablo 3.”

  6. “expect engagement and longevity in diablo 3.”


    That’s a funny turn of phrase Ward.  He’s talking about D3 as a whole or the AH?

  7. question about diablo 3 coming out in 2011 vs 2012 question for Mike
    “comes down to a lot of moving parts, auction house not fully tested, were not in beta, AH may not ready for prime time…
    brand new infrastructure with a lot of moving parts”

    some of the quotes may be off a little but basically what mike said
    not sounding good for 2011 folks

  8. So, CoD:MW3, CoD:Elite and some Skylanders so far.
    Guys, what is that song that playin’ right now on conference ? Just wondering. 😀

  9. “Diablo 3 is very item centric, the things being done on the back end for Diablo 3 AH could be used in Starcraft 2 type AH especially for custom maps” Mike

    second to last question…

    that’s it all done with questions

    Well its all done

    I think there might be a few hints in all that anyone else think so?

    • Hell yes, he told that conference continue in 5 minutes or something.. and darn, it’s already like 15 minutes.  😆

  10. Talking about foundation for success….13 #1 selling games.

    Hyping the Blizzard corporate culture.

    57 million boxes sold not counting World of Warcraft.  Graphic shows Diablo tops tied with WC and SC lagging – interesting!

    Now into each franchise.

    SC – sales numbers and reviews etc etc.  E-sports! Ha, and Barcraft, awesome.  HotS plans, all vague.  Blizzard DOTA again, that was announced like a year ago, sheesh.

    WoW – Still # 1.  Portuguese version planned for Brazil – hopefully this is good news for our D3 forum poster who was concerned about latency from South America, if Blizz is going to have more infrastructure down there.

    D1 in late 1996 and pioneered ARPG.  20.5 million sales to date.  DIII to be based on boxes and digital sales in the West, no reveal yet for other regions but prob. like SCII.

    Auction House will facilitate safe item trades.  Rob Pardo will be on later to discuss.  Very excited about pipeline, D3 in beta later this month.

    (Closing remarks)

    Unannounced MMO still unannounced.

    Rob on after teaser video showing DH.

  11. Um, about Ward’s posts.   Even assuming the feeds splintered, Mike still hasn’t taken questions here.

    • Sentarius im telling you even the main page has all the new info up Elly and Rush have posted. It ended a while ago.

  12. Rob:

    Talking about, DIII, and RMAH. debuted with Diablo, and showing the original interface.  “Wild Wild West” wrt cheating; no client-server models, etc.  PKing.  “Unwashed masses”!

    Diablo II: “Wild Wild West but only slightly less wild.”  Had to  declare hostile; client-server model.  Item economy due to random items, but trades in chat rather than in game and SoJ based economy.  Failure on the part of Blizzard to make gold viable.  Lot of areas for improvement.  Single player was a local character and couldn’t interact online.  Non-persistent characters were “horrible” for the longevity of the game.  No friends list or matchmaking, etc.

    So for DIII they want to keep you connected to friends; friends list and cross-game chat. SCII / RealID model.

    Online only, fans are resisting but they still like it.  You can still play by yourself as long as you want, but then one day when you find a great item that you want to sell, you can.

    Matchmaking for PvP.  Emphasis on co-op play, letting people hop in, dynamic difficulty shifts, etc. (old hat).

    Now talking about banner system, which shows your playstyle as well as achievements,  somewhat customizable.

    Moving on to the AH.

    Loot is incredible important, all items are randomized.  Key diff between WoW and DIII.  You need to trade to get the best gear.  People would arrange trades in chat then go in game.  Eventually sites arose where items were sold for money; these were not Blizz. authorized and promoted fraud.

    AH will be like WoW, but RMAH is the big new thing.  All in-client, but hopefully a web client eventually as well.  They want to let players stay in game though.   Gold and items can be sold and they hope to add the ability to sell characters, post-release.  Idea is a separate AH for each real world currency.  Rob doesn’t think there will be deal-hunting between AHs because in WoW we saw every faction every server with a AH and all well stocked.  And that’s a lot more AHs than there will be in DIII, WHICH THEY EXPECT WILL HAVE A SIMILARLY SIZED PLAYER BASE. (!)

    AH will have smart-search and all that.  Due to random items its harder to know what you’re looking for, so smart search will be very helpful.

    Shared stash.   Interesting, one reason is they think that if you’re in game looking for a particular item you might not remember that a different character already has it…

    The AH will have secure item transfer, which is a feature no 3rd party can offer.  

    In other MMOs in Asia developers are creating items and selling them to players, which breeds player resentment.  Blizzard is going to let players determine the economy themselves and as a result are the good guys in the industry.

    Players will be anonymous during trading.  (!)

    Gold AH, of course.

    Hardcore limited to gold AH, they don’t want to see people spend money on a character and then lose it.

    AH from a transaction point of view:  Listing fee and transaction fee.  Nominal fee just to list, another nominal one to complete transaction.  Both will be a fixed flat fee per transaction, not a percentage.  Reason for listing fee is to limit auction house spam.  Lots and lots of items won’t be valuable enough to spend real world money on, and they don’t belong on the RMAH.

    They want to make the AH easy for players so there will be a certain number of free listings each week.  Money in virtual account can be returned to the AH or used for “other Blizzard services.”  (!)  This will also suck people into the RMAH system, of course.

    Reason for transaction fee [being flat] is to help make it clear that Blizzard makes balance changes to improve the game, not to make the RMAH more profitable.  With flat fees Blizz profits strictly from volume, so their incentive is to make the RMAH something that as many use as possible.

    There is a cash-out fee as well, which will be handled through a 3rd party that remains unannounced but they are very close to announcing.  Each time a transaction is complete you must choose between cashing out into your virtual account or to the third party, and Blizzard hopes that most money will go to the virtual account.  That keeps money in the system and, again, it can be spent on Blizzard services.  Rob emphasizes again that the more money stays in the AH system the more transactions and the more fees for Blizzard.

    Rob says that thinking players first this is something players really want.  Ten years ago they would have resisted more, but now they want it, and if Blizzard doesn’t provide it someone else will.  It will be a great system for buyers and sellers because some have more money than time and some have more time than money and all benefit.  He specifically mentions that someone with a lot of time could use it to fund their WoW subscription.

    Rob thinks this would not work in WoW because of “fundamental game design and how it works.”  He thinks microtransactions aren’t successful when they’re tacked on and not integrated, but here it will be good for players, Blizzard, and the game.  Will add longevity to the game.  AH itself as a major, fun game system.

    Rob says thanks and hands it off to the CFO.

  13. Q&A fairly dull.

    Diablo question:  Hard for us [investors] to gauge how long it will last.  Can we quantify how long the average gamer played DII or projections for DIII?

    Answer: We’ve seen our previous games have had a very long shelf life, people tend to play Blizzard games, compared to other PC games, longer.  Supporting the Auction House will help extend the life of DIII by adding another dimension to the trading game.

  14. In a few days it will be Demo Day, when the startups we funded this summer present to investors. Y Combinator funds startups twice a year, in January and June. Ten weeks later we invite all the investors we know to hear them present what they’ve built so far.

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