Blizzard Games Aren’t Doing So Great Lately

Blizzard Games Aren’t Doing So Great Lately
Overwatch 2, which was first revealed in 2019, was recently delayed. (Image: Blizzard)

Blizzard is in the eye of a storm. In the wake of a departing studio head and two major delays of anticipated games, the Diablo and Overwatch developer is bleeding players across the board, as it revealed during an Activision Blizzard earnings call last night. Across its portfolio, the studio’s monthly active users plummeted by 13 per cent year-over-year, to 26 million.

It’s no stretch to say that Blizzard is in somewhat of a liminal phase, for obvious reasons. In July, the state of California filed suit against Activision, alleging a deep-seated culture of sexual harassment and discriminaton, with many of the claims levied directly at Blizzard. Studio president J. Allan Brack stepped down within a few weeks, and was summarily replaced by joint studio heads Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal, the latter of whom announced her resignation yesterday. In August, following Kotaku reporting about the so-called “Cosby suite” mentioned in the initial lawsuit, two creative leads on Diablo IV were let go from the company.

Read More: Everything That Has Happened Since The Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Was Filed

Blizzard’s dwindling playerbase can be chalked up to a confluence of factors. For one, its release slate has been relatively thin as of late, with the future not looking so flush either. In September, Blizzard released Diablo II: Resurrected, a remake of the 2000 dungeon-crawler that looks prettier than the original but fundamentally plays the same. Yesterday, the forthcoming blockbusters Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 were delayed from unspecified release dates to unspecified but definitely later release dates.

The developer’s debatably biggest and most reliable hit, World of Warcraft, has faced competition in recent months too, thanks to a little game called New World. Though the Amazon-published MMO released to eye-popping numbers, interest has cooled somewhat. But it’s still quite healthy, consistently sporting six-figure concurrent player counts, according to tracking site SteamDB.

Screenshot: Google / Kotaku Screenshot: Google / Kotaku

Amid everything, Activision Blizzard’s stock (ATVI) dropped by more than 10 points overnight, the most significant single drop it’s seen in six months. This quietly reveals the market’s priorities, huh?

Of course, the stock market is all made up, and single-day drops happen all the time. It’s the trend that counts in the long run. But right now, the trend’s not looking great for Blizzard.

 

Comments

  • Let’s not forget the slew of undesired changes to WoW made by developers who have only been on the team for a few years. Changes that have removed some of the heart and soul of the game in an attempt to make it as grey and bland as possible in the name of making it a safe space, or something.

    • If the current devs want to remove or change assets in their game because it reminds them of unsavoury people that may or may no longer still work there then more power to them. It’s Blizzard’s game. They can do what they want with it.

      • They can do what they want with it, and what they want is to drive as many players and long time fans away as possible it seems. All the power to them.

    • When has WoW fans ever been happy with any decision they have made? Even in the early years, seemingly every choice was the worse choice. And the same could be said of many MMO. The devs are always the villains of them.

      • You’re not wrong, but that doesn’t also mean that the devs can’t make poor choices which is certainly the case with WoW for a while now.

      • the blizzard dev teams have consistently made mistake after mistake year on year in WoW.

        This isn’t on the players at all. This is on the devs thinking they know better. The players have not been happy because the Dev team keeps repeating the exact same mistakes the players keep telling them are mistakes.

        Stop huffing that copium.

    • That has literally nothing to do with why people are leaving the game lol.

      They are leaving because of gameplay changes, and illogical character moves like Sylvanus becoming genocidal.

      WoW’s issues started directly under the wankers who thought sexual exploitation of women was comedy gold.

      Stop projecting your toxicity, when people have been having issues since basically after burning crusade lol.

  • Lol the shout out to New World and Amazon hahaha.

    Typical Kotaku, only have issues with whatever the current hot issue is. Y’all still getting paid right!!

      • It’s being morally offended only with what is cool or popular to hate on at the time (or not getting ad $ from).

        Read a few articles and see who they take cheap shots at and those they let pass.

        • I mean, I get it. During Grayson’s reign of terror, it was week after week of shitting-on-Twitch articles filled to the brim with backlinks to previous shitting-on-Twitch articles. Even the rare “Twitch did something right” article would have the inevitable “yeah but what about these things”.

          But the difference here is, Blizzard is shit now. Even if the whole 3+ lawsuits never happened, it would still be a shit company. The people who made the company a shining example of quality have all since left. All the talented writers have left. New hires are in and gutting WoW of any personality, and they don’t give a shit what the playerbase wants. The team making Diablo 4 are already making the same mistakes of Diablo 3. Overwatch only got worse after it was released and has been stuck in maintenance mode while that dev team can’t even finish Overwatch 2. Starcraft 2 was at least narratively a terrible successor to Starcraft 1, and that whole series is pretty much dead. Heroes of the Storm, one of the few games that was visibly made by a passionate team, has been stripped of all but a skeleton crew to make sure the servers don’t turn off over night. Hearthstone… well, nobody talks about Hearthstone anymore, do they? People are still waiting for promised patches for Warcraft 3: Reforged, an absolute shambles of a game, but really that game is abandoned and we all know it.
          The only good thing Blizzard have done lately is Diablo 2: Resurrected, and that’s only because a completely unrelated company was in charge of developing it!

          So sure, Kotaku has biases. I’ve pointed it out in the past myself, don’t you worry. But Blizzard remains indefensible.

    • It’s entirely relevant. WoW has been a massive revenue source for Blizzard, and significant competition would hit Blizzard’s bottom line.

      • Interesting that they mentioned New World but not FFXIV taking market share. They’ve both growth considerably in the same time frame.

  • Good riddance to bad rubbish, never thought I’d feel that way about the Blizzard I once know and loved but just put them out of their misery.

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