According to Activision Book a record profit Last year during the pandemic, it was clear what the main driver behind it, the continued success of Call of Duty, both as an annual release and as a permanent presence during the Warzone Battle Royale.
The result of that? According to Activision, their new goal is to make their other franchises more like Call of Duty. Here is something Geoff Keighley said yesterday about that:
“Activision Blizzard has announced that it will apply the Call of Duty framework to its other franchises, including premium content, free access to all consumers, extension to mobile devices and ongoing regular delivery of in-game content.”
The immediate reaction that came to my mind and many others was… what other franchises exactly?
Activision has been in a strange place for a while.
You have Call of Duty, their main driver, which is clearly amazing.
You own King, the cell phone game maker who is also doing well and who is responsible for millions of DAUs. But it’s hard to see that Candy Crush is one of the franchises here.
Activision lost Bungie, the maker of Destiny, when the studio split from its IP a few years ago. So it’s not, although the Call of Duty model might probably best apply to it (and Bungie has actually made large chunks of the game free to play – since they left Activision).
That leaves dead franchisees like Skylanders or … Blizzard’s entire catalog, even though we just learned we shouldn’t expect it Overwatch 2 or Diablo 4 next year.
What exactly is Blizzard referring to here?
This is where it gets confusing. I wouldn’t expect them to revive Skylander for this, or use it to say Crash Bandicoot or anything.
As for Blizzard? Three main ways there:
World of Warcraft is known for its subscription model, which is at least a long time firmly Sales driver. It’s more of a very good one these days, I suppose. But if we apply that principle here, we might see larger chunks of WoW popping out from behind the sub-model to attract more players.
Overwatch 2 I was able to see the launch as free to some extent, and I think that’s already going to happen when Overwatch 1 players get Overwatch 2 multiplayer content for free and the story / hero missions with a real “purchase” “Of the game. But probably not for anything near $ 60. I would also assume that Overwatch Multiplayer can simply be played for free at some point in the beginning, as it really stands out that this is not already the case with competitors like Valorant and others.
For Diablo, we’re already seeing part of that strategy with the much derided upcoming release of Diablo Immortal, but once I get my hands on it I can testify that Diablo fans … will probably really like it, and it plays a lot like it Diablo 3.5. As for Diablo 4, while Diablo 3 already has “seasons,” I can see that they are leaning more into that concept to compete with other looters on live service, and to an even greater extent than ever on an ongoing basis Become a “game forever”. So that means that instead of giant Reaper of Souls like expansions, there might just be smaller, more frequent content junk. New zones, new missions, new characters over time. Diablo 3 did that to a certain extent, but I can see that the Call of Duty idea is getting a bit of a reality here. I’m not sure what if any aspect of the game was free to play, considering how much the Diablo franchise is a base sales monster.
Anyway, that’s my analysis for now. Of course, this doesn’t take into account any new IPs Activision may be trying to create, although I feel they are clearly happy to rely on their old favorites. I’m curious to see how this plays out and if it can particularly revitalize Blizzard, although it runs counter to the philosophy of many of their series.