Activision Blizzard’s last earnings report surprised investors – changes disappoint fans
While not as big as some of Activision Blizzard’s other esports, the game has plenty of fans and a lot of game titles to show for it. Just a little while ago, news about the next Call of Duty were released, and sparked a bit of outrage over the use of white phosphorus as a weapon, among other things.
All that aside, the CoD World League Championship 2019 is almost upon us. Fans are now waiting to see which of the 32 teams that qualified will succeed on the tournament next weekend, between the 16th and 18th of August. Even while that’s still going on though, another topic has made headlines – Activision Blizzard itself.
Long since known for the fact that just about every one of their releases turns into an esport, and a successful one at that, official numbers tell a different story. After a quarterly earnings report, the company happily announced that they outperformed their expected income, yet investors are a bit spooked.
Why? Because of the lack of games in recent years. Sure, updates and amendments to games like Overwatch have been common, but actual new titles, not so much. Blizzard itself was quick to assure that they would continue working on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Diablo.
Now, if you noticed something missing there, you’re not alone. Titles like Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft are notably absent. With StarCraft having long since been one of the very pillars of Activision Blizzard’s lineup, the end of an era may just be upon us. Fans everywhere are upset that the company de facto announced the end of franchises many gamers have loved and followed for decades.
It’s understandable though – Overwatch is one of the top earners now, while StarCraft is only performing well in South Korea – the rest of the world has considerably less interest in the classic series.
This comes just after a report that Blizzard actually scrapped a Starcraft-based shooter they had in development for years, in order to shift manpower and resources to Overwatch and Diablo, specifically. This is already the second cancelled Starcraft-based shooter, and odds are it was the final attempt, for a while at least.
As for hard numbers – Activision’s revenues were down to $1.4 billion from the same quarter last year. Sure, that’s still a lot, but it is also a steep decline of nearly 15% from the previous $1.64 billion the company made. Net income has also lowered somewhat, despite having some pretty solid income sources. The main one, surprisingly, is Candy Crush. The casual title has 258 million active users. In a funny twist, CoD Black Ops 4 ‘only’ has about 37 million, making THEM the casual gamers here!
With a staggering amount of zeroes at the end of their earnings report, it’s clear they aren’t about to go broke, but the casual attitude shown by executives discussing the above topics with media and investors does feel concerning – are Activision Blizzard getting a bit too comfortable?