Activision Blizzard (ATVI - Get Report) shares traded lower Friday after the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft video gamemaker posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings but guided for slower profit growth into the second half of the year.
Activision said adjusted non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in June came in at 38 cents per share, down 7.3% from the same period last year but firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 26 cents per share. Group revenues, Activision said, rose 6.15% to $1.396 billion, a figure that also topped analysts' forecasts of a 1.19 billion tally.
Looking into 2019, Activision said it sees adjusted non-GAAP earnings of 20 cents per share for the third quarter, and $2.15 for the full year, up 10 cents per share from its prior forecast, with revenues of $1.1 billion for the three months ending in October and $6.2 billion for the 12-month period.
"Our second quarter results exceeded our prior outlook for both revenue and earnings per share. In the first half of 2019 we prioritized investments in our key franchises and we expect to expand reach, deepen engagement, and drive player investment as a result. We're very encouraged by the early results of this renewed focus," CEO Bobby Kotick told investors on a conference call late Thursday.
"Our 300 million players spend tens of billions of hours every year watching and playing our games and yet we believe we're just scratching the surface in terms of fulfilling the reach, engagement and player investment potential of our franchises," he added. "We see even more clearly than ever before the potential for growth across all our franchises as we create great content for new and existing platforms, leverage our wide array of business models, and capitalize on new engagement models."
Activizion Blizzard shares were marked 1.4% lower following last night's results to change hands at $48.67 each. That move would trim the stock's year-to-date advance to around 4.8% and value the Santa Monica, California-based group at around $37.26 billion.
"We continue to submit that 2019 is a rebuild year with the company focusing scarce resources on highest ROI projects, as well as exploring various/new monetization models," said Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju. "To that end, management highlighted that COD 2019: Modern Warfare will not have season passes as well as feature cross-platform play. This should presumably allow monetization across a greater player base via live services/extra content releases."
"In addition, COD Mobile, which already soft-launched in Canada and Australia, is expected to reach tens of millions of first time COD players," Ju added. "This increases our comfort for Activision to ultimately regain some of the share it has ceded during 2018."