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In the four years since 2017, the average monthly user base for Blizzard games has fallen from 46 million players to 26 million, according to details made public during the publishing giant's latest earnings call.
Activision Blizzard has been in the headlines of late for all the wrong reasons, with serious allegations of workplace misconduct (and more) resulting in the company being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Development work on Blizzard's World of Warcraft franchise has stopped, and that team issued its own statement on the situation within the company, pledging to remove certain content from the game. In early August 2021, Blizzard president J Allen Brack left the company, while Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has promised changes will be made.
If you want an explainer on what's been going on at Activision Blizzard, please watch our video below...
On August 4 2021, Activision Blizzard went ahead with an earnings call for investors. This largely skimmed over the allegations and the suits dogging the company at present, and focused on the products. How was Overwatch 2 doing? Diablo Immortals is delayed, is that a problem? Something, something, Call of Duty 2021, something. But what also came out was a striking stat regarding the active monthly users for Blizzard titles, including those in the World of Warcraft and Diablo franchises.
As reported on GameRant, active users have fallen from a peak of 46 million in the second quarter of 2017, to 26 million in the second quarter of 2021. Naturally, 26 million active monthly users is still a remarkably high figure - but a drop of 20 million in four years sure is noteworthy. Reddit user ItsMikeMeekins posted a graph (embedded below) showing the dips alongside the release of new Warcraft products. Correlation, or coincidence? Who can say for sure.
It's not just player numbers that have taken a hit, of late - the continuing issues at Activision Blizzard have led to mass staff walkouts and the company's stock price falling over 6%. Thousands of staff co-signed an open letter calling Kotick's official response to the lawsuit "abhorrent"; and one of the company's own investors, SOC Investment Group, has said that Activision Blizzard's proposed actions to improve its workplace "do not go nearly far enough" (as reports GamesIndustry.biz). This isn't a story that's going away, despite Activision Blizzard's fairly lacklustre attempts to steer the conversation back to new games.
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard
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