Activision forecasts that 2020 will beat the $7.5 billion all-time record highs set in 2018.
COVID-19 is a boon for publishers like Activision-Blizzard who push lots of live services. Activision's business model is accelerating strongly thanks to stay-at-home lockdowns: Spending in Warzone and Modern Warfare is up, pushing Activision segment earnings up by 270% in Q3 to $773 million. Operating income is now at its highest point in the last 10 years. Revenues were up 29% to $1.954 billion. 90% of Activision-Blizzard's Q3 earnings were from digital, which is higher than any other publisher on the market today. To say Activision is well-suited to weather COVID-19 would be an understatement.
Things are going so good for the publisher that 2020 should be its best year ever. Activision-Blizzard expects to earn a record $7.675 billion in revenues in 2020, up $175 million from the previous records set in 2018. Right now, 2020 has the best operating income in the last 10 years, and has the second best net income as well.
Activision still has a whole other quarter to rake in earnings--a Q4 period that includes Black Ops Cold War and Shadowlands, the former of which is expected to significantly boost overall earnings.
In this case, Activision-Blizzard's lack of releases is actually a big asset. The less games are in development, the less impact COVID-19 had on work-from-home measures; expenses decrease, and a smaller games pool means games are less likely to be delayed.
The company's string of consistent live games is enough to keep earnings going for whole quarters without any major frontline releases. This is especially true for Warzone and Modern Warfare, but we'll see even more engagement once Black Ops is released.