Activision confirms the success of WoW Classic helped offset 'declines in Hearthstone and Diablo'


WoW Classic is doing work

Activision has released Blizzard’s financial data, and it kind of hints at what’s to come for the company in addition to shedding some light on how their 2019 went.

The big win? World of Warcraft Classicis a hit, and according to Activision “highlights the potential for compelling new content releases to amplify the size of our communities.” The company is saying that it has kept engagement “well above pre-Classic-levels” from a global standpoint, which includes the population of the core non-Classicversion.

Monthly active users for Blizzard games is reported at 32 million, with the end of 2019 seeing an active player size (defined by subscriptions) for World of Warcraftat “more than twice the size of its second quarter ending level.” As a result, there is going to be a “rapid cadence” of content for WoW Classic, as well as an aggressive strategy to push the upcoming Shadowlands expansion.

Although Activision notes that Hearthstone“drove sequential growth in engagement” in the fourth quarter with the Descent of Dragonsexpansion and the new Battlegrounds mode, the series is experiencing “declines” along with Diablo(which makes sense as the last major content drop was years ago), which is being offset by the more-popular World of Warcraftand Overwatch.

Speaking of Overwatch, Activision credits the Switch version for giving it a shot in the arm and expanding the userbase to 50 million players globally “since launch,” alongside of the success of the Overwatch League, which returns in February with 20 teams and a new YouTube streaming deal. The publisher also reminds us all that we have phones, and that Diablo Immortalis coming in mid-2020. Overall, Blizzard netted a revenue stream of $595 million in the fourth quarter (roughly half of Activision’s $1.42 million and more than King’s $503 million), with an operating income of $260 million (a 44% margin).

As a whole, Activision is moving toward more remakes and remasters as a result of the success of games like Crash Bandicoot, but did not specify if that philosophy would extend to Blizzard more so than it already has.

Activision Blizzard Fourth Quarter Calendar 2019 Results Conference Call [Activision]