Wednesday, February 13th 2019

Activision Blizzard Doubling Down on Diablo, Warcraft IPs Amidst Changing Market

The times have been rough for the Activision Blizzard juggernaut, as changing market conditions and lack of differentiated IP launches have led the company into a sort of stagnant position in the market - in both launches and revenue sources. The recent split from Destiny developer Bungie took out a bite from one of the company's additional streams of revenue amidst dwindling World of Warcraft subscriptions (after the usual spike post launch for Battle of Azeroth) and the lack of any new sources of income in the close future. This saw the company's stock valuation coming down, and was bookended by the recent layoff of some 8% total of the company's workforce (around 800 out of its 9,600 employees). Reports peg these as being mostly outside of the game development workforce, though, which could give traction to the report that the company is doubling down on IP-related development, instead of shying away from it - a sensible move, if you'll ask me.

Activision Blizzard COO Coddy Johnson reiterated Blizzard's fantastic IP reserves, and wants the company to achieve a higher cadence in content releases that follow the type of high-quality launches they achieve in their World of Warcraft expansions - but on other, more differentiated revenue sources. Johnson also reiterated more resources being put to work on the Diablo franchise, saying that "Diablo's development headcount will grow substantially", with "The teams are working on several projects for the franchise as well as the global launch of Diablo Immortal."
Sources: Kotaku, Venture Beat
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29 Comments on Activision Blizzard Doubling Down on Diablo, Warcraft IPs Amidst Changing Market

#1
trparky
Here's to hoping that the next Diablo game doesn't completely suck.
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#2
Zubasa
trparky, post: 3994030, member: 170376"
Here's to hoping that the next Diablo game doesn't completely suck.
If they would even make one.
Activision might turn it into another Battle Royale :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#3
c2DDragon
Zubasa, post: 3994070, member: 30988"
If they would even make one.
Activision might turn it into another Battle Royale :laugh:
AND for Android/iOS only :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#4
notb
trparky, post: 3994030, member: 170376"
Here's to hoping that the next Diablo game doesn't completely suck.
You may not like the direction Diablo series is going, but you can't deny it being an absolute hit.
IMO D3 is great on PC and even better on consoles. I wish I had time to actively play online like I had with D2. :/
Posted on Reply
#5
trparky
notb, post: 3994099, member: 165619"
You may not like the direction Diablo series is going, but you can't deny it being an absolute hit.
IMO D3 is great on PC and even better on consoles. I wish I had time to actively play online like I had with D2. :/
I've played Diablo 3 but lately the fun is just not there anymore. Sure, you have the Seasons now but that just adds to the grind.
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#6
NC37
If they had turned Overwatch into an MMO like they originally wanted to...

You know it's trouble when all success rests on Blizzard. Blizz nearly collapsed their own cash cow in WoW. Silly it got to the point that private servers running vanilla were more interesting than modern content. Enough to invest in bringing back the original game and going back on all the welfare systems they put in place because scrubs couldn't figure out how to not stand in stuff.

CoD...they finally changed it from the old Q3a engine but it's still nothing really different. They aren't capable of innovation and they fired or ran off guys who did it.

Bungie is nothing more than a lifeless husk of it's former self. Completely gutted by MS and now wanders the earth peddling lifeless pseudo MMO shooters. Losing Destiny was no big loss. They tossed out an incomplete sequel that DLC didn't even really improve. Then they decided gamers would be more than willing to spend the cost of another full game on an expansion which promised to fix the original game, and at the same time, killed off a fan favorite character which was leaked to heck before it ever launched. Gah, so much nonsense.

Time to bring back Marathon, Bungie. Or heck, Myth. Sadly we'll probably just get Destiny 3 and then Bungie declares bankruptcy.
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#7
Vayra86
trparky, post: 3994030, member: 170376"
Here's to hoping that the next Diablo game doesn't completely suck.
That ship has sailed with Diablo 3 vanilla, and dropped off the edge of the world with its expansions and console versions, only to get nuked to oblivion in space by Immortal's announcement. They dumbed it down and its not going to get smart again, which is what it needs to restore its glory.

So no, forget it. Go elsewhere: Grim Dawn (best option IMO), Path of Exile, Torchlight, the list is LONG these days.


What they need right now, is a new shot at Starcraft Ghost. Some singleplayer focused IP that builds on their rich settings. Alternatively, they need Warcraft 4. Or some Starcraft-inspired persistent world WoW spinoff. Whatever it is, they need to revitalize the idea that Blizzard can create beautiful worlds to walk around in, with gameplay that just keeps on giving. Not silly card games and deathmatch maps or an infinitely scaled content box, that is kindergarten level development and everyone can do that nowadays. Fun at times, but never Blizzard core business. They're (were?) too good for that.
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#8
bug
They lost me when they starting requiring Internet connection for single player games.
And Diablo 3... there was a time when I couldn't imagine not preordering that. And then... no multiclassing in a modern RPG? I just went Path of Exile.
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#9
umageddon
I know its probably been said a million times and Im sure there are a million people who would say it wouldnt work, but I always thought a WOW reboot (ie - completely new graphics/game engine) would be cool.

Instead of adding/changing/fixing/modifying the exisiting antiquated WOW spagetti code, just reboot it, start over and have the ability to import your characters from the old WOW into the 'new world'
Posted on Reply
#10
Xzibit
umageddon, post: 3994920, member: 173705"
I know its probably been said a million times and Im sure there are a million people who would say it wouldnt work, but I always thought a WOW reboot (ie - completely new graphics/game engine) would be cool.

Instead of adding/changing/fixing/modifying the exisiting antiquated WOW spagetti code, just reboot it, start over and have the ability to import your characters from the old WOW into the 'new world'
Given it took them 10yrs just to start updating the original models. I wouldn't hold my breath.

Would be cool tho and probably get me playing again.
Posted on Reply
#11
Vayra86
umageddon, post: 3994920, member: 173705"
I know its probably been said a million times and Im sure there are a million people who would say it wouldnt work, but I always thought a WOW reboot (ie - completely new graphics/game engine) would be cool.

Instead of adding/changing/fixing/modifying the exisiting antiquated WOW spagetti code, just reboot it, start over and have the ability to import your characters from the old WOW into the 'new world'
How do you imagine that to work? Not getting the spaghetti code but into a new engine and with a ported character/playerbase? And why would it be any different from the WoW we already have plus some new graphics? I mean... the best it can achieve is postponing the inevitable for perhaps one or two more expansions. The problem with WoW isn't its graphics, its the playerbase. Game has evolved and is simply end of life, no kind of reboot will ever bring that classic vanilla feeling back. No matter what replaces it, if it isn't fresh and actually new, it won't work. Its the same with Diablo as well. If they do another Diablo 3, it will end up just like the current iteration. Input > Output, doing it again and expecting different results is... strange to say the least.

Games evolve. You simply cannot remake vanilla WoW and not get major flak from the community for omitting all the improvements it gained over the years. With those improvements also came a more streamlined experience, quality of life features and a much lower barrier of entry. The vast majority won't take kindly to making the barrier of entry high again - the playerbase that really looked for the challenge as a baseline in the game (and not just another difficulty level like it is now) is loooong gone, only some truly hardcore addicts have stayed. Diablo 3 has the same problem with difficulty. The real number-crunchers in the community have left for greener pastures, because they do exist and are called Path of Exile, for example. There's a good reason that game is so profitable even though its free to play with an extremely lenient business model. People wánt to donate something because it fills a strong demand in the market, and that demand is the void Diablo 3 left behind - the same void fans experienced once more when Blizz announced Diablo Immortal. Somehow, even with the old team long gone people are still waiting for another Diablo 2.

I will say, Blizzard is going to have to do some very serious soul-searching to find that old spirit back and return it to its game releases. I have strong doubts that they even can. Talent is not simply replaced and the business model defines whether it gets room to grow - HotS, Overwatch and Hearthstone are the worst places for cultivating that talent and mobile gaming even more so.
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#12
Palladium
Both WoW and D3 need to be more than endless grind treadmills.
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#13
bug
Palladium, post: 3995757, member: 151466"
Both WoW and D3 need to be more than endless grind treadmills.
I would argue that about every game, but what can you do? The publishers have determined endless grind is what rakes the cash in. The plague has spread to mobile gaming as well :(
Posted on Reply
#14
64K
Those 2 games have made Activision/Blizzard a fortune. It makes sense that they would want to expand and rake in more cash.
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#15
trparky
64K, post: 3995772, member: 148270"
Those 2 games have made Activision/Blizzard a fortune. It makes sense that they would want to expand and rake in more cash.
Raking in the cash for the sake of raking in the cash is bullshit. The real fans of the these series of games can't stand it.
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#16
Prima.Vera
Cannot believe I'm saying this, but first, they need to start working on the graphics. 17 years old engine just doesn't cut it anymore for both Diablo and Warcraft. They need to improve drastically the animations also, especially in Diablo, the A.I., the worlds (the worlds in D3 were the most boring and flat from any H&S games ever, there were that bad), etc, etc. Last but not least, please bring back the good quality story from Diablo 2, not the junk from D3 which made no sense...
Posted on Reply
#17
trparky
Prima.Vera, post: 3995825, member: 98685"
Last but not least, please bring back the good quality story from Diablo 2
Uh huh. preach it. The story line of Diablo 3 has been pretty bad. Lately they've just been riding the coat tales of the Seasons but with no new story. OK, we defeated the big bad guy. Now what? We've not seen new story in the last two years.
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#18
64K
trparky, post: 3995823, member: 170376"
Raking in the cash for the sake of raking in the cash is bullshit. The real fans of the these series of games can't stand it.
I get what you're saying and I agree but Activision is a publicly traded company. Making massive amounts more money is their biggest priority.
Posted on Reply
#19
trparky
64K, post: 3995828, member: 148270"
I get what you're saying and I agree but Activision is a publicly traded company. Making massive amounts more money is their biggest priority.
But if you alienate your fans then what? Oh yeah... no sales, no money, and then eventually bankruptcy.
Posted on Reply
#20
bug
trparky, post: 3995823, member: 170376"
Raking in the cash for the sake of raking in the cash is bullshit. The real fans of the these series of games can't stand it.
But they're not raking in cash for the sake of raking in cash. They're raking in cash because people go for the grind.
Posted on Reply
#21
trparky
Well the old fans, like me of Diablo 3, want new story so that we can continue where we left off. Until that happens... well, you get the idea.
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#22
bug
trparky, post: 3995847, member: 170376"
Well the old fans, like me of Diablo 3, want new story so that we can continue where we left off. Until that happens... well, you get the idea.
Old fans are not the target audience anymore ;)
Posted on Reply
#23
trparky
bug, post: 3995862, member: 157434"
Old fans are not the target audience anymore ;)
Well then, Activision/Blizzard or whatever they want to call themselves can slowly fall into oblivion. Oh wait, they already were.
Posted on Reply
#24
bug
trparky, post: 3995864, member: 170376"
Well then, Activision/Blizzard or whatever they want to call themselves can slowly fall into oblivion. Oh wait, they already were.
Only for you and me. They still seem to be doing pretty well, despite not appealing to us anymore.
Posted on Reply
#25
trparky
Their stock price seems to be contrary to that statement @bug .


To have your stock price lose nearly half its value isn't exactly good.
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