WoW sees ‘growth’ in Q4 2015; Legion still on track for summer

ActivisionBlizzard has posted its Q4 2015 financial report, touting record digital revenues up 20% year over year, thanks in part to game exports to Chinese audiences, but revenues were down quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. CEO Bobby Kotick says that once the company’s acquisition of King Digital is complete — and isn’t yet, so it’s not reflected here — “[Activision] will have the largest game network in the world, with over 500 million users playing [its] games every month.”

According to the investor call, 2015 was the first year more than 50% of Blizzard’s revenue was derived from sources other than World of Warcraft. Mike Morhaime told investors that WoW saw quarter-over-quarter growth for the game following last fall’s BlizzCon. It is unclear how growth is defined in this context.

We aren’t hearing hard numbers on a World of Warcraft subscriber bump or dip today, thanks to Blizzard’s decision that Q3 2015 was to be “the last quarter [it planned] to provide subscriber numbers” because of other metrics (like “engagement” metrics) that it claims are “better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance.” The game dropped 100k subs in Q3 2015, 1.5 million subs in Q2 2015, and 2.9 million subs in Q1 2015 following the launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion in November 2014. At last known count, it stood at 5.5 million subs, down from its 2010 peak of 12 million.

The Legion expansion is still expected to launch this summer following the franchise’s movie.

Gamasutra notes that analysts predicted a record $2.2 billion for the quarter compared to Acitivision’s predictions of $2.15 billion, neither of which Activision reached with its $2.12 billion yearly revenue, partly a result of “foreign exchange” currency issues. Activision stock is down slightly on the news as well. While King’s acquisition isn’t reflected in Activision’s numbers today, its own fiscal report wasn’t glowing.

As to other games in the company’s portfolio, Hearthstone logged over 40 million registered players prior to the last adventure launch, while Destiny counts 25 million registered users and is still on track for a 2016 expansion and 2017 sequel. Overwatch launches soon too:

Blizzard Entertainment’s team-based shooter, Overwatch, will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in spring of 2016. An initial closed beta test ran from October 27, 2015 to December 10, 2015, and the game reached top-viewed status on Twitch. Closed beta testing resumed on February 9, 2016.

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schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

JeremiahWagner schmidtcapela 
For Cataclysm, heroic dungeons were fun if you had a fixed, well coordinated group to do them; if you had to rely on the LFD, they were an absolute nightmare. And my scheduling issues means that, even though I was in a raiding guild at the time, I wasn’t able to do any guild-sponsored dungeon runs, having to rely on the LFD for all my heroic dungeon runs.
It’s part of why I didn’t even get to try raiding in Cataclysm before leaving the game. The old world revamp killed all enjoyment I previously had in leveling alts; removing fast travel options meant that traipsing around the world to do old content I had skipped got a lot more boring due to all the time wasted to travel; and putting on the LFD content that was meant to only be doable by well geared and coordinated groups guaranteed that the experience would be atrocious for anyone that depended on the LFD to run heroic dungeons. So I went through all the solo content on my two main characters (Horde and Alliance), saw that there was nothing left to do that could be even marginally enjoyable, and gave up on the game after having played it since Vanilla.

Also, BTW: I could easily pull 4+ mobs at once while questing in Cataclysm, playing solo. Of course, that was a huge downgrade from WotLK, where I could pull 20+ mobs at a time and never be at risk of dying. Though I guess being a raid tank, always aware of everything around me and all my survival options, helps with that.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Love to hear how they explain WoW’s “growth” even though we know subs are declining and the game is currently in a long content draught.  Perhaps they define growth differently than the rest of us?

JeremiahWagner
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JeremiahWagner

schmidtcapela JeremiahWagner  A lot of the time raids were more hardcore then I was looking for too, but other things like heroic dungeons were amazing fun! Heroics for a long time were just perfect. They were hard enough that you needed to use things like cc sometimes and the healer would need to be on their toes from time to time, but they were not so hard that groups would have to give up a lot. Quests were hard enough that grabbing a friend to help make it a little easier was often a good idea , but not quite so hard that you had to have someone with you. Now the vast majority of questing is easily done solo , pulling 2 – 4 – even 6+ mobs at once to finish quests in a matter of seconds.

Geering
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Geering

jauffins Geering Zuji Karl_Hungus ArbsX They did because it was just a re-skinned version of Warcraft II.

So Blizzard was forced to redo everything. And what happened? Well, Starcraft went on to do quite well, allegedly.

I know it’s unthinkable, but not accepting every crap the companies feed you can lead to good results for both parties. Starcraft being a prime example.

Madda
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Madda

jauffins Madda ArbsX Karl_Hungus Except Warlords has accelerated the pace, to where Legion seems to be where Blizzard needs to get their shit together or they’re going to have a bad time.

But good job being late to the comment section here. ^^

jauffins
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jauffins

Boardwalker I’m not a hater. On the contrary – I’m actively subscribed, and find myself having bought a few too many WoW Tokens because it’s quicker for me to make $20 and get 35k gold than it is to go farm 35k gold. I am very disappointed in the game that I’ve seen go downhill for years, however.

jauffins
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jauffins

Geering Zuji Karl_Hungus ArbsX People dismissed Starcraft? LOL

jauffins
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jauffins

Madda ArbsX Karl_Hungus I appreciate the sarcastic/troll-ish comment, but it doesn’t change the fact that Blizzard has been in somewhat of a downward spiral with World of Warcraft for a number of years.

jauffins
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jauffins

Oh, Blizz. Gotta love the staggered expansion with no meaningful content for 12+ months.

schmidtcapela
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schmidtcapela

Boardwalker 
WoW revenue has in the past increased even as subscription numbers decreased due to Blizzard finding new ways to fleece its player base. So, talking about “growth” here, without explaining just where the growth is, is ambiguous at best.