Activision-Blizzard Q1 2022: Revenues plummet, Blizzard loses another 2M players

And Diablo Immortal launches June 2 - and comes to PC

Mister World Orlando Fontaine Warcraft, with a tip of the hat to our commentariat.

Welcome back to our regular coverage of Activision-Blizzard’s quarterly financials.

As of this morning, we have Q1’s results, comprising January, February, and March 2022, a bit earlier than the company usually posts Q1. Activision-Blizzard on the whole saw a large drop – around 18% – in revenues last quarter and an even larger decrease – 24% – compared to Q2 2021. MAUs for ABK on the whole held steady at 372M, but that’s owing entirely to King’s successes, as Activision and Blizzard both lost players. Activision alone saw a 49% revenue decrease and the loss of a full third of its players since Q1 2021. If it weren’t for King, in other words, this would all look even worse. ABK attributes the dips to “lower premium sales for Call of Duty: Vanguard versus the year ago title and lower engagement in Call of Duty: Warzone.” This is word for word the same reason offered last quarter.

ABK Q2-22: $1.77B
ABK Q4-21: $2.163B
ABK Q3-21: $2.07B
ABK Q2-21: $2.30B
ABK Q1-21: $2.28
ABK Q4-20: $2.41B
ABK 2021: $8.80B
ABK 2020: $8.09B
Blizzard Q1-22: $274M
Blizzard Q4-21: $419M
Blizzard Q3-21: $493M
Blizzard Q2-21: $433M
Blizzard Q1-21: $483M
Blizzard Q4-20: $579M
Blizzard 2021: $1.827B
Blizzard 2020: $1.905B
Blizz MAUs Q1-22: 22M
Blizz MAUs Q4-21: 24M
Blizz MAUs Q3-21: 26M
Blizz MAUS Q2-21: 26M
Blizz MAUs Q1-21: 27M
Blizz MAUs Q4-20: 29M
Blizz MAUs Q1-19: 32M
Blizz MAUs Q1-18: 38M
We have even worse news here again for Blizzard itself. The company lost another 2M players in a quarter when it had releases, including WoW’s Eternity’s End in March. ABK actually admits here that Blizzard revenues fell year-over-year owing to “product cycle timing for the Warcraft franchise,” which is the closest we’ve seen anybody at ABK or Blizzard admit that its expansion announcement (for Dragonflight, announced last week) was severely delayed. The company usually tries to bluff its way through this section by talking up vague metrics and WoW Classic, but it doesn’t do that this time; instead, it focuses entirely on the pipeline going forward. (We’ll be covering the Diablo Immortal date and PC release in a separate article.)

Blizzard Q1 2022 revenue all by itself was $274M, a decrease of $145M compared to Q4 2021 and a decrease of $209M compared to Q1 2021 – that’s a staggering drop of 43% quarter-over-quarter.

Unfortunately, the loss of another 2M monthly active users (MAUs) over the quarter means Blizzard has now lost 16M players, approximately 42% of its playerbase, over the last four years; just in the last year, it’s lost 5M players (18.5% decline over a one-year period).

As always, we note here that Blizzard intentionally reports MAUs this way to obfuscate which games are gaining and losing players. However, Blizzard usually declares when one of its games has increased in MAUs in a quarter, something it did not do for the last three quarters now, so we assume all of its games were hit again, including WoW.

38M in Q1 2018
37M in Q2 2018
37M in Q3 2018 (BFA)
35M in Q4 2018 (mass layoffs)
32M in Q1 2019
32M in Q2 2019
33M in Q3 2019 (WoW Classic)
32M in Q4 2019 (Blitzchung)
32M in Q1 2020 (COVID-19)
32M in Q2 2020 (COVID-19)
30M in Q3 2020 (COVID-19)
29M in Q4 2020 (COVID-19, Shadowlands)
27M in Q1 2021
26M in Q2 2021 (TBC Classic, WoW 9.1)
26M in Q3 2021 (D2R, lawsuits)
24M in Q4 2021 (Lawsuits, drought)
22M in Q1 2022 (We Are Here)

Activision-Blizzard has again said it will “not be hosting a conference call, issuing an earnings presentation, or providing financial guidance” pending the Microsoft buyout. Here’s the full recap since 2015:

As longtime readers surely know, Activision-Blizzard, its leadership, and its games have been the subject of much-deserved criticism and scrutiny the last few years following an absolutely absurd list of scandals, including multiple rounds of mass layoffs, the Blitzchung boycott, C-suite payouts, shady stock deals/votes, abusive compensation, labor uprisings, a mass exodus of devs, plummeting playerbases, falling revenues, the ongoing sexual discrimination/harassment lawsuit, federal investigations, fired execs, destruction of evidence, workplace mismanagement, the strike, unionization attempts, unionbusting efforts, allegations against Bobby Kotick, stock drops, and the Microsoft buyout. On the gaming side, we’ve seen pipeline struggles, canceled BlizzCons, and the fact that Blizzard missed WoW’s two-year expansion cadence, as well as delayed Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV.

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