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Candy Crush Helps Activision Blizzard Microtransactions Sales Top $4 Billion in 2017

Activision Blizzard is rated a "Hold" in our Game Trader: Video Game and Tech Stock Ratings and is undoubtedly a gaming juggernaut with major gaming pillars in PC, console, and mobile gaming across genres. Thus, when a company as massive as it releases it's financial results for a year, the numbers are expected to be similarly massive. The company didn't disappoint as mobile gaming led the charge in a year that saw Activision sales top $7 billion in 2017.

"This was a record quarter to cap off a record year for Activision Blizzard," said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, in the report. "In 2017, our community reached new milestones for engagement, our business delivered record revenues and cash flows, and we made important progress in building future growth opportunities such as the Overwatch League™."

The number is a clip above the $6.61 billion earned in 2016 and in-depth details can be found on the report itself, but the real talk of the town will be the earnings made on "in-game net bookings", which includes microtransactions, post-launch DLC, subscriptions, loot crates, and the like. Interestingly enough, Activision Blizzard's stock is down 3% today.

With no new major game releases, Blizzard experienced record revenue for the year on the backs of Overwatch, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft. This alone can serve as one of the biggest examples of content like microtransactions and DLC delivering profits hand over fist for developers and publishers but, there's more.

These numbers are huge, no doubt, but one must consider just how massive a net Activision casts over a collection of companies. For example, these numbers include mobile powerhouse King, which had two of the top-10 highest-grossing titles in mobile app stores. Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga grew in customer spending for the fourth quarter in a row and King pulled in $2 billion in in-game net bookings itself. 

Mobile gaming is going nowhere but up, most likely. Blizzard is continuing to grow with Overwatch League officially underway. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is in the works. With these things and more, expect Activision to grow even more. Despite the obvious earnings from microtransactions, also expect a continuing conversation around the long-term cost of games as well.

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