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Activision Blizzard Q3 2018 Earnings Call
Activision Blizzard has their earnings call today.

  • Activision Blizzard had 345 million Monthly Active Users in the quarter.
  • Blizzard had 37 million MAU in the quarter. (Identical to last quarter)
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth set a new day-one franchise record with more than 3.4 million units sold-through.
  • World of Warcraft engagement grew strongly quarter-over-quarter. The expansion saw strong participation in value-added services.
  • Next year will be World of Warcraft's 15th anniversary, with events both in and out of the game.
  • Hearthstone recently surpassed the 100 million life-to-date registered player milestone
  • Players spent a record 52 minutes per day in Activision, Blizzard, and King games in the quarter.
  • Viewership of Activision Blizzard games was up substantially this quarter, and in the month of October, Activision Blizzard had seven of the top 20 most viewed games on the industry’s largest streaming platform
  • BlizzCon drew over 40,000 fans in person with millions more livestreaming from around the world
  • Overwatch League continues to build on the success of its inaugural season with the announcement of the sale of another six teams in September, again at a substantially higher valuation than the team prices in the first season.
  • The total Overwatch League roster is now at 20 teams, with nine teams outside the U.S
  • Many top mobile games are based on IP originally created for console and PC, so the company is investing in mobile releases for Activision and Blizzard fanchises
  • Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world.
  • When the time is right, the team will reveal other Diablo projects in the works.
  • There are a lot of players that are eager for more Diablo content on PC and console, that came through clearly from BlizzCon.
  • Launching Diablo Immortal is only the beginning, there will be updates.
  • The team is only going to release when Diablo Immortal meets the community's high standards.
  • Taking a game to mobile with Blizzard quality standards can open Blizzard franchises to a new audience, especially in China where Blizzard is a strong brand.
  • It's important that Diablo Immortal is an excellent experience when released.


The Hearthstone Pop-Up Book Available on Amazon
The Hearthstone Pop-Up Book is now available for purchase on Amazon! This is a charming story told with the game's signature wit and whimsy, fully illustrated with center pops.




Developers Working on Mobile Titles Across All Blizzard IPs
In a recent press conference for Diablo: Immortal at Blizzcon, executive producer Allen Adham stated that mobile games for other Blizzard IPs are currently in development. Here is a recap of the specifics from the press conference. Wyatt Cheng is also part of the press conference.


  • Many of Blizzard's best developers are now working on new mobile titles across all of Blizzard's IPs.
  • Some of them are with external partners, like Diablo: Immortal; but many of them are being developed internally only, and they'll have information to share on those in the future.
  • Blizzard's approach to mobile gaming comes from many people over the last few years shifting away from playing primarily on desktop to playing many hours on mobile.
  • Allen says that they have more new products in development today at Blizzard than they've ever had before and the future is very bright.
  • Diablo: Immortal is being designed with the intent that people of all ages can play it, and will not be a mature rated game.
  • This is an opportunity to introduce Diablo to a much wider audience around the world.
  • NetEase has been a partner of Blizzard for awhile and this partnership happened organically. There are developers here and in China working on this title.
  • Diablo: Immortal being mobile was decided because the fidelity of mobile phones is getting to the level of being almost equivalent to PCs.
  • Wyatt says that most of the criticism comes from being skeptical of the game, but many who have played it on the show floor started skeptical but thought it was awesome.
  • Blizzard is always trying to innovate and this is just one of the ways they are experimenting with new genres.
  • They do emphasize that they are working on multiple Diablo projects and the hard-core PC fans should take note of this.


WoW Subreddit Developer Interview
The WoW subreddit also interviewed Ion Hazzikostas during Blizzcon.

  • Story
    • The major story arc for an expansion is planned out months to years in advance.
    • The Alliance will learn of Saurfang's escape from a Horde hero in their midst and try to understand how a prisoner escaped from under their nose.
    • There's more to creating a story than just listening to the community's perspective. Stories must have highs and lows then invoke different emotional responses from many different people in order to be meaningful and that means sometimes having frustrating moments which may be upsetting to some fans.
    • There has to be a balance between highs and lows in a story.
    • The PTR is when they’re more likely to take feedback from confused players and change things. Ultimately they feel that they need to trust creative impulses within the team and be story-focused, but they do listen to feedback.
  • Warfronts
    • The team admits that lack of clarification for how Warfronts cycle was not done well this caused a lot of confusion that can be addressed with better communication by Blizzard.
    • Warfront cycles were created to give more content that ebbs and flows based on player activities.
    • The new Warfront will have a rotating set of actual daily turn in quests while the contribution window is open. Different materials will be needed everyday rather than 13 things for you to do on day 1 and then zero for the rest of it.
    • The team wants to focus on smaller chunks of world content available more often over larger chunks that are only available every couple of weeks so that there feels like there is more to do.
  • Azerite Armor
    • With Azerite Armor, they hoped to have a system where players are always building toward a more interesting upgrade - making new decisions on a regular basis, but they some of these iterations in Battle for Azeroth haven't translated as well as they had hoped.
    • Having one spec trait to choose from and one generic trait was a major folly of the system upfront and they hope that the new second outer ring will address this by having several choices tailored to your spec to choose from right away.
    • The hope is that adding an additional ring of traits will lessen the sense that there’s only one Azerite piece that you have to have for a given situation. The new currency system for targeting specific high-iLevel Azerite pieces should also help with that.
    • They are still listening, still open to making changes as needed and hope that players trust that they care deeply about the matter and aren’t ignoring feedback because they think everything is fine.
  • World Quests
    • They admit that world quests have a lot of repetition and are looking for ways to address this, but the system as a whole is a much better one than past expansions where you only visited specific hubs in the world for daily quests after leveling to cap.
    • They’d like to make world quests more varied and engaging than just “find the closest rare elites and kill them” to complete an emissary.
    • Incursions are essentially world quests but are way more story driven and meaningful because they incorporate the war.
  • Professions
    • The team believes that the quest system for professions in Legion was too heavy based on feedback.
    • Later patches plan to add small quest content that tries to give importance to the professions that you have chosen.
  • Legendaries
    • The devs are open to having legendary items where it makes sense.
    • They want to avoid past experiences of having players get lucky and being 20% stronger than anyone else because of it, guilds having bad luck and getting no legendary drops, or stacking players because they have legendaries.
  • Guilds
    • A lot can be done for the improvement both on the recruitment side and from a player looking to find a guild. That is something they're working on and will have some improvements to roll out later on in Battle for Azeroth.
    • They want to make sure guild identity matters, but past iterations of buffs and level systems caused newer guilds to struggle to keep up, which limits the diversity of options.
  • Crucible of Storms
    • There will be a quest chain for both Horde and Alliance to explain the events leading to the raid. It will differ slightly based on faction.
  • Sanguicells
    • Enchanters will have new recipes that will actually convert Sanguicell into Expulsom for personal use.
    • A universal cooking recipe will allow you to use Sanguicell in place of rare fish for the highest level of raid feasts.
  • Emissary Rewards
    • The team switched from random rewards to specific ones so that players could decide if they wanted to do the cache for the day.
    • The rewards were recently increased to make it more worthwhile to players to complete emissaries.
    • In retrospect, Paragon reputation should have been in Battle for Azeroth since launch to keep world quests and reputation more relevant.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Activision Earnings Call, Hearthstone Pop-Up Book, Mobile Titles for Blizzard IPs started by chaud View original post
Comments 373 Comments
  1. RangerDaz's Avatar
    Story
    The major story arc for an expansion is planned out months to years in advance.
    The Alliance will learn of Saurfang's escape from a Horde hero in their midst and try to understand how a prisoner escaped from under their nose.
    There's more to creating a story than just listening to the community's perspective. Stories must have highs and lows then invoke different emotional responses from many different people in order to be meaningful and that means sometimes having frustrating moments which may be upsetting to some fans.
    There has to be a balance between highs and lows in a story.
    The PTR is when they’re more likely to take feedback from confused players and change things.
    Ultimately they feel that they need to trust creative impulses within the team and be story-focused, but they do listen to feedback.


    Is Ion lecturing the playerbase how to write a story? Is he calling us confused? If the whole playerbase is confused about Blizzard's story, maybe the problem is not on the playerbase???
    Man, every time he speaks, this guy disappoints me.
  1. Boomzy's Avatar
    Ion is a lawyer. Always keep that in mind with everything he says.
  1. korijenkins's Avatar
    "Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world." What the hell does that mean?

    From what I've seen fans reactions should indicate the game will be a pile of garbage.
  1. TriHard's Avatar
    "Many of Blizzard's best developers are now working on new mobile titles across all of Blizzard's IPs."

    Ohh how the mighty has fallen, I guess they weren't working on anything, they put Tom Chilton, Holinka and all these devs onto mobile projects.

    Absolutely horrible, lmfao.
  1. apelsinjuice's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TriHard View Post
    "Many of Blizzard's best developers are now working on new mobile titles across all of Blizzard's IPs."

    Ohh how the mighty has fallen, I guess they weren't working on anything, they put Tom Chilton, Holinka and all these devs onto mobile projects.

    Absolutely horrible, lmfao.
    100% a "wow" mobile game is coming as well, soon.
  1. dranlord's Avatar
    well for the look for the earning call blizzard is doing good.

    And that is what ppl need to get in their head, you and me maybe dont like what they doing but others are, and as a companies they need to grow to keep doing things
  1. Exer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigxy the Lemming View Post
    "Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world." Really...? Can someone show me what makes Blizzard believe this?



    Whether you care for Az or not, I think this video shows enough all the Diablo aspects that (probably) goes away in Diablo: Immortal. I mean seriously, I didn't see ANY blood in what they showed except bugs that had green acid coming out of them.

    https://youtu.be/wx1xc0WnZ_E
    If the president can deform reality to make it more pretty for his ego and his base, why can't blizzard do the same.
  1. WoWGoneBad's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyphael View Post
    I hate cell phones, sure as hell don't play games on them and never will, so my perspective of Blizzard's future isn't very bright.
    I have owned 6 cell phones over the last 12 years. I used them maybe a max of avout 100 or so hours. They served me more as alarm clocks and calendars than a phone.
  1. apelsinjuice's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dranlord View Post
    well for the look for the earning call blizzard is doing good.

    And that is what ppl need to get in their head, you and me maybe dont like what they doing but others are, and as a companies they need to grow to keep doing things
    activision blizzard stock is down 10% the last 1-2 days, how is that "doing good"?
  1. Queen of Hamsters's Avatar
    No surprises there.

    Fractions of the playerbase passionate enough to care beyond just playing the games or not, throw fits of rage at perceived wrongdoings whilst the business ticks on as usual.
    I had to chuckle at the "muted" label though.

    I was already set on not touching Immortal, but knowing it'll be kiddy-friendly makes me even less inclined. Waiting on the actual Diablo projects.
  1. Prime92's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chaud View Post
    [*]Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world.

    And the Bullshit Award of the year 2018 goes to....

    Idk, isn't lying this way in coflict with stock laws or something?
  1. Gadzooks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by korijenkins View Post
    "Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world." What the hell does that mean?

    From what I've seen fans reactions should indicate the game will be a pile of garbage.
    Translation: "US/EU fans are rejecting the game, but they're not the intended focus. Don't worry, we'll print money with this game in China."

    They say in the call they're focused on the Chinese market. It's so obvious, I can't understand why anyone refuses to see it, unless it's just stubborn denial.

    There's a damned good reason why this game is being done with Netease, is PG rated instead of M, and is on phones: China. Period.

    Netease is already Blizzard's partner in China. They license WoW and Hearthstone and other titles there through Netease, and all finances flow throw them to Blizzard. Companies in China have to be Chinese owned to publish there, so it's a no-brainer to use Netease, and just fortuitous that they already had an MMO-RPG platform that could be adapted to Diablo, it saves money. Netease is ENORMOUS in China, they're not just some small game publisher, they're like the AOL of China. They will get this game into far more hands of players there, than in the US/EU. Netease also has the support systems for lootboxes and microtransactions in place, that Diablo:I can tie into, and more games in the future. It's all there.

    Fight it all you want, this is happening, and I don't think Blizzard/ATVI really cares what we think. If we buy it, cool, but they're rubbing their hands over the Chinese market, and building several more Scrooge McDuck money vaults to swim in from it. Look at it this way - it might fund more desktop titles. One can hope, anyway.

    More and more I'm convinced Morhaime stepped down, because he just doesn't want to run a mobile gaming company, no matter how much money it makes.
  1. Biomega's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MrFiddleswitch View Post
    The problem isn't that Blizzard is developing mobile games - honestly, I'm surprised it's taken this long for them to have more mobile games after Hearthstone did so well. The problem isn't even Diablo: Immortal, which will likely end up a decent mobile game. I could easily see them tapping Warcraft RTS, Starcraft, World of Warcraft Pet Battles (pokemon Go with wow pet battle system and integration with your wow account pets - I would dump hours and likely many dollars into that game), etc. for mobile and be able to make quality, engaging content like Hearthstone has proven to be.

    The backlash from Blizzcon is that they headlined a mobile game that was meant for the eastern market at the western markets "big con", and further added insult to injury by poorly setting expectations because they ran a massive marketing campaign for Diablo to the western market leading up to Blizzcon. We knew we weren't getting D4, but they could have (and should have) squashed the rumors of D1/2 remaster announcement or D3 expansion/character pack content. This was even further complicated by them having some seriously poor PR toward loyal fans when those fans asked some hard questions about this direction, instead of handling things professionally. This announcement should have been at PAX East, and the Headline should likely have been Warcraft 3 Reforged for this Blizzcon - especially since it too had a playable Demo.

    Another simple solution would have been a "teaser" trailer for D4, (which is obviously in development) ala the recent Elder Scrolls 6 or Starfield trailers from Bethesda E3. Just having a simple background of flames with Diablo like music and a logo would have been enough to completely change the narrative, regardless of if it really gave any details about the game. You don't need to show Diablo - or any of the characters in case the game's narrative is still in the "flux" phase of development (which rumor has, it is and has shifted multiple times so far). Just a simple announcement trailer to wet the appetites with followup at another con or Blizzcon next year.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there either - based on what was said multiple times at Blizzcon following the DI announcement and then reiterated during the investor call today, they are shifting development away from PC for mobile, instead of simply expanding their teams for mobile. Hearing Blizzard quote, on multiple occasions during Blizzcon, and now to investors that they have, (and I'm paraphrasing here because I can't find the exact quote) "Many of their best developers now working on mobile titles across Blizzard's IPs", is a real problem for fans, as mobile games should be there to compliment Blizzard PC games, not take over for them.

    There is nothing wrong with Blizzard tapping the mobile market - it's huge in the east, and growing in west - but Blizzard shifting development to mobile in lieu of PC will likely lead to slower development of PC assets (which are already too damned slow vs. industry average), and likely a decline in the quality of their PC assets, as they are moving "their best developers" to mobile.

    This shift is what has long time fans upset and feeling a bit betrayed. Is it a bit entitled? Sure, but many fans that are upset, including myself, have been invested in Blizzard PC games for more than 20 years. To see the company that my money helped build shift their focus away from long time loyal fans in lieu of making a quick buck on the eastern markets is beyond disappointing, and I don't think it's wrong for myself, and other like me, that have supported Blizzard through thick and thin, to have a strong opinion - and further voice that opinion.

    Sorry for the long write-up, just trying to break it down for you from the perspective of someone who is voicing their opinion in a polite way (these people that are flat out attacking Blizz employees really need to grow up!), but is a part of the negative reaction.
    Excellent summation, and exactly echoing my own thoughts as well.

    We're not pissed because we got a mobile game at Blizzcon - we're pissed because we ONLY got a mobile game, and because of what the whole situation says about the future of PC development. And that has basically nothing to do with how good a game Diablo Immortal will turn out in the end.
  1. Thetruth1400's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by chaud View Post
    [*]Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world.

    This right here shows just how disconnected Blizzard is with their customers. The audible boos heard with their announcement, even with the audience reaction muted, was clear as day that the customers didn't receive it well.

    If that wasn't enough, the video upload to Youtube, which currently stands at 26 downvotes for every single upvote, clearly shows that the consumer thinks it is absolute garbage that is anything but well received.

    No Blizzard, you know the shitty mobile game is going to make you money hand over fist because it's cheap to make and will no doubt rely on predatory practices to ensure more money coming in. It may have been well received in the board room of the stock holders, but it definitely isn't in the eyes of the player base and customers.
  1. bostonblend's Avatar
    "Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world."

    I've lost all respect for this company after this, jesus christ. I actually don't understand how anyone could be this delusional.
  1. dranlord's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by apelsinjuice View Post
    activision blizzard stock is down 10% the last 1-2 days, how is that "doing good"?
    that is base on the reaction after blizzcon, they just need to fix it with something and is fix
  1. Bangdingow's Avatar
    If nothing else, the announce of Diablo: Immortal at Blizzcon shows just how out of touch they are with they're fans. They got booed at their own convention. Imagine Warren Buffet taking the stage at his famous Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting and getting booed. Imagine Tim Cook getting booed when he reveals the new Iphone. You are literally in a room with 40,000 of your most dedicated fanboys and you make an announcement so appalling and horrendous that you get booed?

    Maybe it's sheer stupidity, maybe it's arrogance but whoever gave the green light really messed up.
  1. niv78's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dranlord View Post
    well for the look for the earning call blizzard is doing good.

    And that is what ppl need to get in their head, you and me maybe dont like what they doing but others are, and as a companies they need to grow to keep doing things
    Actually they're not, which is why their stock has fallen almost 20% in the past week. They just released a new COD game, a new WoW expansion and a new Destiny expansion and their user numbers have actually decreased from last quarter. That's a bad sign, and the market is showing it.
  1. dranlord's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Biomega View Post
    Excellent summation, and exactly echoing my own thoughts as well.

    We're not pissed because we got a mobile game at Blizzcon - we're pissed because we ONLY got a mobile game, and because of what the whole situation says about the future of PC development. And that has basically nothing to do with how good a game Diablo Immortal will turn out in the end.
    i said the same in another post, Blizzard should have done something like Bethesda did on E3, that they announce ES blade for Mobile, and tease ES VI

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by niv78 View Post
    Actually they're not, which is why their stock has fallen almost 20% in the past week. They just released a new COD game, a new WoW expansion and a new Destiny expansion and their user numbers have actually decreased from last quarter. That's a bad sign, and the market is showing it.
    decreased??? they have the same number.
  1. LanceOmikron's Avatar
    Fan reaction was muted, but fan's reactions at BlizzCon confirmed Diablo Immortal will be well received by players around the world.
    Suuuure. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

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