One major presence in the game industry that isn’t losing any of its stature is Activision Blizzard – and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
The company announced its first quarter earnings through a report earlier this week, indicating that it’s earned $1.28 billion in revenue for the period ending March 31, 2015, with “over 150 million active users around the world,” according to CEO Bobby Kotick.
He added, “Our talented teams around the world continue to create experiences that inspire our audiences. In the last 12 months, we had over 150 million active users around the world who played our games for more than 12 billion hours and spectators who watched over a billion hours of linear programming based on our games. In the past year, Activision Blizzard’s communities grew by more than 25 percent.”
Combined, both Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Destiny have attained over 50 million registered players, and a lifetime revenue of over $1 billion.
However, that doesn’t mean the company’s year is done yet. In fact, it’s just getting started, and a big marketing push is expected from all corners.
One major player in the game is Skylanders, the company’s interactive toy game line. It’s become the number one kids game and console franchise in the world, despite competition from Disney with its Infinity series and other games, like Warner Bros. Lego Dimensions, entering the fray. Activision Blizzard should announce a new Skylanders product next month around E3, if not sooner – and will pour big money into spreading the word about it.
Call of Duty has sold significantly well over the years, with last year’s Advanced Warfare performing up to company expectations. That trend should continue this year with Black Ops III, which will launch on November 6th. The game is already getting a healthy marketing push, with the first gameplay trailer already making the rounds and pre-orders live through both digital means and stores. The trailer is below.
In addition, Destiny will continue to have a steady focus, as the developers at Bungie are not only preparing a highly anticipated House of Wolves expansion (set to release sometime this summer), but an even bigger add-on coming in the months ahead. It hasn’t been fully disclosed yet, but Activision should have more details on this around E3.If that’s not enough, the publisher is also putting some reliance into older, more popular franchises from a few years back. The company formally announced the return of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise earlier this week, taking on more of a “classic” feel from the series instead of motion-sensitive based games like Tony Hawk Ride. Pro Skater 5 will arrive later this year for Xbox One and PS4, with a release planned for older consoles afterward. It sold very well for several years, and with the right marketing push, Activision could definitely bring it back to form.The Guitar Hero franchise, which set sales records years ago with its popular Guitar Hero III: Warriors of Rock, will be reborn with Guitar Hero Live later this year. It will be packaged with a newly designed (but easily accessible) guitar controller, as well as two ways to play. Guitar Hero Live will feature “live” crowds, while Guitar Hero TV introduces a new competitive angle, where players can challenge one another and switch “channels” depending on what they’re in the mood to play. A variety of bands will also be introduced in the game, with new songs being added regularly as downloadable content. Expect a big push behind this one as well, with a general focus on being able to play with popular music. The trailer is below.
That’s not to mention Blizzard’s plans on the PC front. The company’s first-person shooter, Overwatch, is making the rounds, set to enter beta test this fall; Heroes of the Storm, which was recently featured on an ESPN2 broadcast, will make its way to beta this month; and a new StarCraft II expansion is in the works, set to launch later this year. All three of these games should get a tremendous push, especially on the eSports front, where they’re expected to be popular favorites.
Activision Blizzard has a lot of work ahead of it with all its franchises, but considering its sales success thus far for the year, it should have no problem pulling ahead for a big year.