Blizzard continues to lose millions of players, but new games are coming

Stay awhile, and listen...

Blizzard has lost another two million players across its titles.

Reporting its latest financial results, Activision Blizzard said Blizzard specifically saw 27m monthly active users in the first quarter of 2021.

As MassivelyOP points out, that's down from the 29m MAUs Blizzard had in the previous quarter. In fact, Blizzard has lost almost 29 percent of its overall active player base in three years.

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While that's not great for Blizzard, it's worth pointing out the company hasn't released a brand new game since Overwatch came out in May 2016. Since then, World of Warcraft has of course seen expansions and the release of World of Warcraft Classic, but the likes of MOBA flop Heroes of the Storm, real-time strategy game StarCraft 2, and action RPG Diablo 3 have seen waning interest.

Blizzard has also endured a tumultuous time in recent years. The growing influence of Activision on the company has reportedly caused significant problems internally. Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime left in October 2018, as have a number of high-profile developers at the company, including Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan and much of the original Hearthstone team.

Blizzard has also been affected by layoffs, and suffered significant reputational damage following the controversial suspension of Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai.

Reporting its financials, Activision Blizzard said Blizzard specifically saw revenue grow seven percent year-on-year, led by the strong growth in the Warcraft franchise. World of Warcraft's Shadowlands expansion "continued to drive strong results".

Here's the detail: Blizzard revenue was $483m, increasing seven percent year-over-year with "very strong" growth for World of Warcraft partially offset by "product timing". Operating income was $208m and business operating margin was 43 percent for the consistent year-over-year.

Hearthstone's latest expansion, Forged in the Barrens, launched on 30th March 30 and "is on track to deliver expansion-over-expansion net bookings growth for the second consecutive release".

Clearly, Activision is looking to the future when it comes to Blizzard. Burning Crusade Classic is coming out soon. Diablo 2: Resurrected, a remake of the much-loved action RPG, launches later this year and has seen positive feedback. Mobile game Diablo Immortal is "on track" for global release later this year. Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 are both in the works, although there's no release window for either game. And there are multiple unannounced mobile games in development. In November 2018, it was reported that Blizzard was making a Warcraft-themed take on Pokémon Go. Perhaps this is one of them.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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