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Activision Blizzard sees record Q1 earnings -- 80% of which came from digital sales

The company reported record-setting Q1 earnings, driven in large part by Blizzard and King -- which makes more sense when you see digital now accounts for 80% of the company's revenue.

Activision Blizzard reported earnings for the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year today, and the numbers were better than it predicted -- thanks predominantly to Blizzard games.

Activision Blizzard is claiming a new company record for Q1 revenues and profits, reportedly generating (GAAP) $1.73 billion during the three months ending March 31st. That's 19 percent higher than revenues during the same period a year ago, and a bit better than the $1.55 billion Activision Blizzard had expected to generate.

Intriguinly, it's also 80 percent digital. The company reported $1.39 billion of its quarterly revenue was generated from "digital online channels", which includes digital game sales, subscription fees, and microtransactions -- AKA loot boxes.

During the same quarter a year ago, the company reported that just 64 percent of its revenue was generated digitally, even though that was the first quarter that revenues from recently-acquired Candy Crush developer King were incorporated into the company's earnings reports.

When it came time for company chief Bobby Kotick to issue a statement in the accompanying press release about what drove these revenues, he only mentioned one currently-released Activision Blizzard game: Overwatch.

The company claims it is now Activision Blizzard's eighth "billion-dollar franchise", and that it along with Hearthstone helped propel Blizzard's monthly active user count during the quarter up 58 percent year-over-year.

By comparison, the monthly active user counts reported by both Activision and King fell year-over-year. In terms of earnings, King still led the pack for the quarter, generating 42 percent of the company's revenue, while Blizzard accounted for 39 percent and Activision just 19 percent.  

In terms of profit during the quarter, Activision Blizzard (GAAP) earnings per diluted share hit $0.56, up from $0.48 a year prior -- which the company again claims as a new Q1 record.

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