It is important to keep in mind what is going on within Activision Blizzard at this time regarding ongoing allegations about the work culture. The ongoing lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the company is over reported toxic workplace culture. The bulk of the suit focuses on “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please check out our previous coverage here.
Usually, these results are released over an investor call but this time around, the publisher released its results in a press release. It cites the ongoing transaction happening for Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard as the reason why the information had to be released in this manner. Nonetheless, the results reveal that Blizzard’s Warcraft, Warcraft-related, and Diablo franchises are doing well. King’s mobile software is doing great, too, but Call of Duty took a hit this year.
“Call of Duty net bookings on console and PC declined year-over-year in the fourth quarter, reflecting lower premium sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard versus the year ago title and lower engagement in Call of Duty: Warzone,” Activision Blizzard’s press release reads. “Fourth quarter in-game player investment on console and PC remained well above the level seen prior to the March 2020 launch of Warzone.”
The press release also confirms something mostly widely-known to people that keep up with Call of Duty: this year’s annual release is being developed by Infinity Ward, the team behind 2019’s Modern Warfare. Activision says Infinity Ward is working on “the most ambitious plan in franchise history, with industry-leading innovation and a broadly appealing franchise setting.”
However, Call of Duty mobile saw net bookings grow year-over-year in the fourth quarter, driven by distribution of the title in China. Activision also says it is continuing to expand its studios and development resources worldwide to continue forward with plans for “ongoing live operations and new, unannounced titles in the Call of Duty universe.”
On the Blizzard side of things, World of Warcraft saw record engagement.
“Within the Warcraft franchise, fourth quarter World of Warcraft reach and engagement continued to benefit from the combination of the modern game and classic under a single subscription,” the press release reads. “In 2021, World of Warcraft delivered its strongest engagement and net bookings outside of a modern expansion year in a decade. Hearthstone fourth quarter net bookings grew year-over-year, driven by a steady cadence of new content.”
The press release also says that Blizzard is planning “substantial” new content for the Warcraft franchise in 2022, including new experiences for both World of Warcraft and Heartstone. It also says Blizzard is planning to release “all-new mobile Warcraft content into players’ hands for the first time” in 2022.
On the Diablo side of things, Diablo II: Resurrected sold more units in its lifetime thus far than any other Activision Blizzard remaster in an equal time period.
“Blizzard is making strong progress on its pipeline, including new experiences in Warcraft, ongoing development in Diablo and Overwatch, and an exciting new IP,” the press release reads.
King’s software, which is primary based on mobile devices, saw both net bookings, growth, and engagement grow year-over-year.
These quarterly results come just a few weeks after Microsoft announced it was acquiring Activision Blizzard for a record-breaking $68.7 billion. Check out how this acquisition stacks up against other entertainment acquisitions and then read about the dead Activision Blizzard franchises we hope Microsoft and Xbox bring back after that.