In the latest investor report by Activision Blizzard, monthly active users have continued to decline over the year, with Q4 2021’s results showing the company reporting a total of 371 million MAUs, down from 397 million just a year prior.
On the revenue side, Activision Blizzard, despite the controversies surrounding the studio the last few months, seems to have weathered the storm financially, as the quarter-over-quarter revenues saw a small bump compared to Q3. Overall revenue seems to have stayed rather steady, seeing $8.80 billion in revenue in 2021 compared to $8.09 billion from 2020. However, when you directly compare Q4 2020 with Q4 2021, the latter did see a small decrease, from 2.41 billion to 2.16 billion, respectively.
Blizzard specifically is reportined its “strongest engagement and net bookings” for World of Warcraft outside a mainline expansion year. This, of course, doesn’t account for World of Warcraft Classic seeing an expansion, The Burning Crusade Classic, which released June of 2021. Blizzard does, however, attribute the strong engagement thanks to housing both Modern and Classic under the same subscription.
Looking ahead, Blizzard is “planning substantial new content” for World of Warcraft in 2022 – one of which could be the upcoming Eternity’s End update. The investor release, however, stops short of stating that players will see a mainline expansion hit the MMO this year. However, they do touch on the recently unveiled survival game set in a new IP, as well as the mobile title for Warcraft we reported on previously.
Activision touched on the lukewarm response to Call of Duty: Vanguard this year, stating that net bookings year-over-year declined in the franchise in part thanks to that response as well as lower engagment in its battle royale title, Call of Duty: Warzone. This year’s Call of Duty titles, as well as Warzone improvements will be helmed by Infinity Ward, which Activision states is working on the “most ambitious plan” in the franchises long history.
Notably absent is any reference to the ongoing union forming at Activision studio Raven Software, largely in response to the firing of 12 QA workers late last year. The studio works on QA for Warzone, something which many fans have been frustrated with as bugs and more continue to permeate the title.
Since Q4 2020, though, it’s been clear players are leaving for other titles. Activision Blizzard King saw a decline in MAUs since Q4 2020, dropping from 397 million MAUs to 371 million in Q4 2021. Blizzard, for their part, lost another 2 million users between Q3 and Q4 2021 alone, dropping from 26 million to 24 million – and losing 5 million total since Q4 2020 (29million MAUs to 24 million MAUs). This could be in part due to the ongoing lawsuit the company is facing since July of 2021, though Blizzard has been shedding users for years, down from a reported 38 million in Q1 2018 (a 36% drop in players overall).
While Blizzard doesn’t give a break down in player numbers for each of its games, it’s not hard to asusme many of the players could be from World of Warcraft, as games like Final Fantasy XIV and others rise in prominence (to the point where the developer has to stop selling its game – twice – to try to keep up with demand).
Unlike previous investor reports, there was no conference call today, with Activision Blizzard citing the current ongoing acquisition by Microsoft. Citing that it is “customary during the pendency of an acquisition” to not hold a conference call, it doesn’t state whether future reports will follow suit. Recently it was made known that the FTC wil be leading an anti-trust review of the Microsoft acquisition.