In today's quarterly earnings call, Activision Blizzard announced their financial results and talked about their games.
For Hearthstone, they made two specific callouts for growth.
- Hearthstone's Hours Played metric has grown year-over-year this past quarter.
- Battlegrounds has strong sustained engagement.
They also called out the upcoming content releases for Hearthstone.
- Hearthstone Duels
- Hearthstone's new progression system
- Madness at the Darkmoon Faire
- Blizzard had 30 million MAUs in the third quarter.
- World of Warcraft®MAUs were stable year-over-year. Anticipation continues to build for Shadowlands, the next expansion for modern World of Warcraft, ahead of its November 23 launch. World of Warcraft franchise engagement is at its highest level for this stage ahead of an expansion in a decade, with Shadowlands presales well ahead of any prior expansion.
- Hours played in Hearthstone® grew year-over-year in the third quarter, with the Battlegrounds mode seeing sustained strong engagement since its release last November. This November will see the broad release of Duels, a new player-versus-player mode, alongside a new in-game progression system and the latest expansion, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire™.
- Overwatch®continues to have a large and dedicated community, with 10 million MAUsin the quarter, over four years since launch.
- Millions of Overwatch fans have engaged through the 2020 season of the Overwatch League™, with the October Grand Finals being the most-watched event in the league’s history.
Monthly Active Users Decreases
The number of monthly active users (MAUs) on Blizzard's side of the business has decreased since the first two quarters of the year.
Although this alone isn't very alarming when you consider some regions of the world have relaxed their covid-related quarantines and more people have returned to school and work, we've now seen an overall decline over the past few years for Blizzard.
Of the 30 Million MAUs for Blizzard, a third of them belong to Overwatch (10 Million MAUs) and although numbers were not provided for World of Warcraft, the press release states that they have been "stable year-over-year". This doesn't really give us much insight into which games are losing players since the last quarter, but it looks like World of Warcraft isn't on that list.
The metric shared with Hearthstone was carefully picked, as they always are with earnings reports, to show that the number of hours the game has been played has increased. This does not mean that Hearthstone has also grown in players though, it could just be that we've has some strong content releases during Q3 that kept its existing players in-game longer.
Hopefully, Hearthstone has some nice gains in Q4 with Duels and Madness at the Darkmoon Faire.
Looking at the MAUs across Activison Blizzard, which includes Activison and King (Candy Crush) as well, we can see the company as a whole lost MAUs from Q2.
|Monthly Active Users|
|September 30, 2019||December 31, 2019||March 31, 2020||June 30, 2020||September 30, 2020|
Again, this is possibly Covid-related with things getting more relaxed in some regions during the last quarter meaning more people aren't sitting on their computer playing games all day. It still remains an overall decrease from Q1, prior to the pandemic.
Activision Blizzard Needs to Hire 2,000 New Workers
GamesBeat interviewed Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, where he stated they needed to hire an additional 2,000 workers to meet their production demands (via VentureBeat). This is interesting considering Blizzard laid off 800 employees last year and it was reported earlier this month that Activison Blizzard was going to be closing their office in France, leading to 400 layoffs.
Granted, many people who worked at Blizzard and lost their jobs were not on the development side of games, and needing more workers for production says they are looking for developers more than anything, it remains an interesting development.