Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 Investor Call
The Activision Blizzard earnings call was this afternoon. We've highlighted some of the written results below.

  • Activision had 127 million MAUs in the second quarter, down from 150 million MAUs in the first quarter, down from 128 million MAUs in Q4 2020, up from 111M in Q3 and 125M in Q2.
  • Blizzard had 26 million MAUs in the second quarter, down from 27 million MAUs in the first quarter, down from 29 million in Q4 2020, down from 30 million in Q3 2020, and down from 32 million in Q1/Q2 2020.
  • World of Warcraft net bookings again grew a double-digit percentage year-over-year, driven by the launch of Burning Crusade Classic.
  • Subscriber numbers and hours played were higher following the release, demonstrating the importance of Classic in enabling more ways for players to engage.
  • World of Warcraft remains on track for much stronger engagement this year than is typical outside of a modern expansion year.
  • The latest expansion of the Hearthstone franchise, Forged in the Barrens, delivered expansion-over-expansion net bookings growth for a second consecutive release following its March launch
  • The team is pursuing additional opportunities to make Diablo Immortal even more engaging for a wider audience, with the launch now slated for first half of 2022
  • Blizzard continues to make strong progress on Diablo 4 and is allocating substantial resources to creating exciting in-game content to drive engagement over multiple years
  • Overwatch 2 development passed an important internal milestone in recent weeks. After a great response to the recent community update, the team is looking forward to revealing more of the game in the coming months as they approach the laterstages of production.



Blizzard Employee Letter to Leadership
IGN shared Blizzard employee's letter to management.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
To CEO Bobby Kotick and the Activision Blizzard executive leadership team,

We are The ABK Workers Alliance, an organized group of current Activision Blizzard, Inc. employees committed to defending our right to a safe and equitable workplace. That right remains endangered as the stories of abuse and mistreatment continue to grow in scope, and new accounts of harassment perpetrated by current Activision Blizzard employees have continued to emerge since the publication of the DFEH’s lawsuit.

Last week, we took collective action to demand better working conditions for women and other marginalized groups at Activision Blizzard King (ABK) by writing an open letter signed by more than 3,000 current employees. We organized the #ActiBlizzWalkout at Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine headquarters where more than 500 workers walked out and hundreds more participated virtually around the world.

Our request for action crosses studio lines, including workers from Activision, Beenox, Blizzard Entertainment, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software, and Vicarious Visions. Our goal is for the executive leadership team to address their response to the California DFEH lawsuit, acknowledge the reality of working conditions across our organization, and commit to meaningful change at Activision Blizzard.

We communicated a list of four demands aimed at protecting our most vulnerable workers. These are: (1) an end to forced arbitration in employment agreements, (2) the adoption of inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, (3) increases in pay transparency through compensation metrics, and (4) an audit of ABK policies and practices to be performed by a neutral third-party. Importantly, we demanded that this third party be selected by an employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force.

In response to our demands, you wrote a letter to employees expressing a commitment to doing a better job of listening. You said you would do everything possible to work with employees in improving our workplace. And yet, the solutions you proposed in that letter did not meaningfully address our requests. You ignored our call for an end to mandatory arbitration. You did not commit to adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. You made no comment on pay transparency.

One of our demands, a third-party audit of ABK practices and policies, was ostensibly addressed by your decision to hire WilmerHale to conduct an internal review. While we commend the idea of hiring a third-party firm to perform an internal review, The ABK Workers Alliance cannot support the choice of WilmerHale as an impartial reviewer.

We reject the selection of WilmerHale for the following reasons:

  • WilmerHale’s pre-existing relationships with Activision Blizzard and its executives create an unacceptable conflict of interest.
    • Activision Blizzard has already been a client of WilmerHale, who you used to dispute the Diverse Candidate Search Policy proposed by the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund and UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust earlier in 2021.
    • ○ Frances Townsend is known to have relationships with multiple partners at WilmerHale, including former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
  • WilmerHale has a history of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action.
    • WilmerHale states on their public website that their services include “advising on union awareness and avoidance”.
    • WilmerHale used anti-collective action tactics in their work with Amazon & Uber.
    • In media portrayals, WilmerHale is regularly referred to as a “Union Busting Firm”. We are already seeing the effects of this ideology in actions that leadership has taken to restrict our freedom of association since last week, including reducing the size of listening sessions and limiting access to those sessions.
  • The WilmerHale partner leading this investigation, Stephanie Avakian, specializes in protecting the wealthy and powerful.
    • WilmerHale outlined Avakian’s work as: “...counseling and defending financial institutions, public and private companies, hedge funds, accounting firms, investment advisors, boards, corporate executives, and individuals facing regulatory and criminal investigations and litigation with the government.”
    • In Stephanie’s speech highlighting her successes with the SEC, all of her significant examples included achievements in favor of investors, retail clients, and customers, but does not once mention employees or laborers. We need legal representation that centers on the concerns of our current employees, rather than investors.

We call on you and your executive leadership team to do better, and to fully address our list of demands. We will not abandon our cause. Our ranks continue to grow across multiple Activision Blizzard studios. While there are structural problems that only you can address, we are already taking steps to improve our workplace through a number of employee-driven initiatives:

  • Worker-to-Worker Mentorship: We are building a mentorship program where workers can seek career advice, support, and sponsorship from a network of colleagues in a safe external channel outside company communication networks.
  • Open Listening Sessions: We will host listening sessions that will be recorded and disseminated across the organization to facilitate ongoing conversation, education, and emotional support for employees.
  • Community Meetings: We will facilitate monthly employee meetings, in a secure external channel, to discuss our concerns, desires, and progress toward achieving our goals. All current ABK employees are welcome to participate in these conversations.

As these actions show, we love our studios and care deeply for our colleagues. We share your expressed unwavering commitment to improving our company together.

We are doing what we can, and we call on you to do what we cannot.

Sincerely,

The ABK Workers Alliance

Twitter: @ABetterABK
This article was originally published in forum thread: Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 Investor Call, Blizzard Employee Letter to Leadership started by chaud View original post
Comments 248 Comments
  1. Lorgar Aurelian's Avatar
    World of Warcraft net bookings again grew a double-digit percentage year-over-year, driven by the launch of Burning Crusade Classic.
    Subscriber numbers and hours played were higher following the release, demonstrating the importance of Classic in enabling more ways for players to engage.
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
  1. Pheraz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorgar Aurelian View Post
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
    Yeah it is all made up by streamers. WoW is still far more popular than FF. (no irony)
  1. LedZeppelin's Avatar
    wonder how much the store/token/whatever is carrying the wow net booking numbers
  1. Shadowlands-is-fake's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pheraz View Post
    Yeah it is all made up by streamers. WoW is still far more popular than FF. (no irony)
    Well like they say, it's because of TBCC. But both the TBCC fatigue and the streamer exodus happened only recently, within the last couple of weeks or so. So that will show on the next earning's call, if it does have an impact.
  1. Video Games's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorgar Aurelian View Post
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
    You know q2 ends june 30th and not in july where most of it took place? Including all the lawsuit things?
  1. Nerraw's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorgar Aurelian View Post
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
    Reminder that Q2 ended on June 30th, so this call does not include any of the recent developments and the effect those would have had on player numbers.
  1. msmollymillions's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by LedZeppelin View Post
    wonder how much the store/token/whatever is carrying the wow net booking numbers
    well they keep losing users but are making money...so a lot? I'm sure they managed to snag a lot of players on 6 month mount subs right before the news broke that caused a lot of players to re-evaluate their dedication to Blizzard. Funny thing is Blizzard now has 6 months to convince that player the sky isn't falling and they might succeed since so many people are hopelessly addicted.
  1. HitRefresh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorgar Aurelian View Post
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
    These numbers aren't going to reflect what happened in the past couple weeks though.
  1. Break The Ice's Avatar
    Nice to see classic doing well for blizzard. looking forward to wotlk.
  1. HateTrain's Avatar
    Q3 is where we're going to see the kickback if any. Q2 ended End of June, before most of this.
  1. Felrane's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lorgar Aurelian View Post
    well so much for the FFxiv Exodus.
    As others have said most of that takes place after this Quarter. Also you can play both at the same time...
  1. gleepot's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by HitRefresh View Post
    These numbers aren't going to reflect what happened in the past couple weeks though.
    that's because nothing really happened, streamers just like to pretend like they mean anything
  1. Wangming's Avatar
    So Blizzard is losing between 1 and 2 million monthly active users with each quarter.

    Everything else is mostly just worthless PR talk that, if written down when it happened, aged like fine milk.
  1. Vutar's Avatar
    You sure told them union!!! Great job writing a sternly worded letter...

    Next time, they'll surely take you seriously!
  1. btlcryct's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by HateTrain View Post
    Q3 is where we're going to see the kickback if any. Q2 ended End of June, before most of this.
    Realistically we might not see the results for a year. A few in my guild bought the 6 month option the beginning of July before all this happened (they figured they'd be staying with 9.1 freshly released), which means they will be "subbed" until January 2022. This means if they choose to walk away after that, it won't show until the 2Q22 report. They'd technically be on it for 1-4 weeks of 1Q2022.
  1. Mendzia's Avatar
    Can't wait for next one. PepeLaugh
  1. dope_danny's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wangming View Post
    So Blizzard is losing between 1 and 2 million monthly active users with each quarter.

    Everything else is mostly just worthless PR talk that, if written down when it happened, aged like fine milk.
    Thats about it really. They are not growing. They are shrinking. At best the whales spending makes that an even stagnancy overall. For now. But everytime a whale leaves their only metric they can use as a positive shrinks a little.

    They aren't attracting new players. They aren't keeping existing players. They are just milking the ones that have yet to leave for more money per player.

    Theres a term for that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_decline
  1. McNeil's Avatar
    So Classic continues to do well despite some of these so-called experts telling me otherwise. What a surprise.

    They continue to lose MAU and I'm surprised that its only by a million this time. I wonder what the next call will look like after all of these recent events.
  1. Zalraki's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by McNeil View Post
    So Classic continues to do well despite some of these so-called experts telling me otherwise. What a surprise.

    They continue to lose MAU and I'm surprised that its only by a million this time. I wonder what the next call will look like after all of these recent events.
    They are going to need some major store sales to make up for the losses this quarter. So... incoming new TBC store mount!
  1. Tonkaden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pheraz View Post
    Yeah it is all made up by streamers. WoW is still far more popular than FF. (no irony)
    2-3 streamers are responsible for the numbers you see for FFXIV on twitch. Outside of Asmon and Summit, FFXIV is well below WoW in viewership.

    Please don't use twitch as a measuring stick for success.

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