It’s those damn microtransactions
Activision Blizzard has been a monolith in the gaming industry for nearly fifteen years, best known for titles that have dominated the markets like World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. While its PC games have provided some of the greatest successes over the years, both critically and commercially, the company’s latest financial report lets on that the tides might be turning in a significant way for the company. During the second quarter of 2022, Activision Blizzard made more than half of its total revenue from mobile games, which is more than PC and consoles combined (thanks, PC Gamer).
While Activision Blizzard brought in $332 million in PC sales, and $376 million in combined console sales, mobile games raked in more than all the other platforms combined (including an extra $105 million in the “Other” category with revenue from distribution, esports leagues, etc.) with a staggering $831 million.
This time last year, the numbers were more evenly distributed — PC made $628 million, consoles made $740 million, and mobile games made $795 million. Activision Blizzard’s mobile games were still the highest earners, but the shift in revenue streams this year was substantial. In case you were wondering, a driving factor in the year-over-year growth is that developer King’s Candy Crush (published by Activision) is still somehow killing it.
This report is following two big news stories for Activision Blizzard over the past few weeks — gamers’ contempt for Diablo Immortal despite its huge sales numbers, and the Call of Duty franchise losing 50 million active players in the past year.
It’s pretty easy to make the connection on how these circumstances affected the company’s profits, especially considering one dude spent over $100,000 on Diablo Immortal microtransactions. Players have also been vocal in their distaste for Call of Duty: Vanguard, from the title’s WWII aesthetic (which doesn’t mesh well with flashy cosmetics that players like so much) to its gameplay. Of course, there are other factors at play here, like the release calendar for example, and I’m sure there are plenty of behind-the-scenes goings-on we just don’t know about.
Mind you, all of this is going on in the midst of new rumors that Activision Blizzard is taking part in union-busting tactics yet again, and after months of settling a massive sexual harassment lawsuit. It’s been a tumultuous time in the company, to say the least, but regardless, it proved that even when its reputation is arguably the worst it’s ever been, it’s still capable of bringing in huge profits.