Activision Blizzard had its fill of gloating over the most epic launch ever engineered in the history of digital entertainment with Modern Warfare 2's release, yet in the end the publisher's console game business still account for a relatively small portion of its overall earnings.
Indeed, Activision Blizzard president and CEO Robert Kotick is a lot less concerned than he used to be over a waning future for disc-based gaming software. That's because a great deal of Activision's recent earnings before interest and tax instead stem from "non-console-based video games", particularly its online gaming business encompassing (you guessed it) the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft.
When quizzed by the Wall Street Journal over slumping sales for "traditional disk-based games", Kotick explains:
"I care a lot less. It used to be, I would religiously look at weekly retail sell-through data, but it's a very small part of our business now. Today, probably 70% of our operating profit comes from non-console-based video games. So, while you might see a month-to-month change or volatility against expectations, that doesn't really get us too concerned."
Furthermore, Activision Blizzard's VP of corporate communications, Maryanne Lataif, later confirmed that the 70 percent figure cited by Kotick does not and is not meant to include any console DLC sales. What "non-console-based video games" do include are PC and iPhone software.
To be sure, Kotick does not expect packaged software at retail to disappear anytime soon, due in part to certain gaming experiences being impossible to deliver solely through digital download channels alone. The biggest example is Activision's Guitar Hero franchise.