Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Despite time-tested titles such as World of Warcraft, Blizzard appears to be losing its grip on gamers at an alarming rate. This is according to figures shared by MMO news site Massively OP, which show that the developer/publisher has managed to lose as many as 11 million players over the last three years (38 million in Q1 2018 vs. 27 million in Q1 2021)—a 29 percent loss based on its own preferred monthly active user count. Luckily for Blizzard, revenues are still up thanks to WoW Classic and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, as well as free-to-play online digital collectible card game Hearthstone.

  • 38M in Q1 2018
  • 37M in Q2 2018
  • 37M in Q3 2018 (BFA)
  • 35M in Q4 2018 (mass layoffs)
  • 32M in Q1 2019
  • 32M in Q2 2019
  • 33M in Q3 2019 (WoW Classic)
  • 32M in Q4 2019 (Blitzchung)
  • 32M in Q1 2020 (COVID-19)
  • 32M in Q2 2020 (COVID-19)
  • 30M in Q3 2020 (COVID-19)
  • 29M in Q4 2020 (COVID-19, Shadowlands)
  • 27M in Q1 2021 (this quarter)

[…] the investor report is coming on the heels of some massive public relations disasters, as Activision-Blizzard forced yet another round of layoffs and investor groups alleged that CEO Bobby Kotick could pocket as much as $200M in bonuses. Last week, the company announced it was halving Kotick’s future salary and bonuses, which frankly seems like an empty gesture under the circumstances […]

Sources: Massively OP, Activision Blizzard

Join the Conversation

16 Comments

  1. The moment Mike Morheim bailed from Blizzard, the company has never been the same.
  2. Sadly blizzard has been crumpling for a long time ever since Activision kind of put the cuffs on them.
  3. You know, it might help if the company actually released new games once in awhile.

    Yup. They could have also released MANY Diablo 3 DLCs since that launched and I would probably have bought them all. Or Starcraft 2 DLC. Nope… keep milking the WOW cash cow and do remakes no one asked for.

  4. Yup. They could have also released MANY Diablo 3 DLCs since that launched and I would probably have bought them all. Or Starcraft 2 DLC. Nope… keep milking the WOW cash cow and do remakes no one asked for.

    I will say I’m actually looking forward to the Diablo II remake. I really enjoyed that game.

  5. Imo one of their big misstakes was splitting starcraft 2 in 3 parts, it took a huge amount of time to bring those out and some of that could have been used on new games, ofc throwing away titan (if I remember the name correctly) was also not their best idea at least they salvaged a little from that for overwatch.

    Also iirc they have 2 teams working on wow expacs and one of those seems to be lacking vision and originality, it would also help if they did not try to reinvent the game every expac.

    And ofc as with every studio that get’s to big for it’s own good they shedded too much of the original talent.

  6. Well, appears that’s just for WoW, not Blizzard as a whole.

    Now, granted, WoW was a juggernaut. But it’s not Blizzard’s only massive title.

    I could list off a pretty big list of things I think Bliz has done wrong, but fact is, almost every title they put out is ~huge~, and stays big for a long time. The only rival they really have is Rockstar in that regard. If I were a game developer, I’d consider myself pretty successful to have a single game with the player count and revenue that even Bliz’s worst title brings in.

    I don’t agree with many things Bliz does, but I can’t deny they have printed money for a lot of years. As the old addage goes though, "What have you done for me lately" seems to apply – it is not suprise that player count is down, and I’d suspect across the board. The last title they came out with (Overwatch), has been out for 5 years this month… and that’s a long time to sit on nothing and ride it out, even for a company like Blizzard, who tends to only move at glacial speeds. Nothing really big apart from Overwatch 2 (and remakes, which will probably do well) is really on the horizon either – WoW keeps doing it’s biennial Xpac, D3 keeps wondering if you don’t have a smart phone, and SC seems to be content to ride the Korean e-Sports scene into the sunset.

  7. They have made a lot of blunders over the past few years. The Blitzchung banning, erasing Taiwan, Warcraft III Reforged, Overwatch power creep, "Do you not have cellphones?" Just to name a few. They’re about to bungle the TBC release in WoW Classic by making changes to it despite promising otherwise. Diablo II Remaster is just an easy carrot on a stick to try and slow the bleeding.
  8. As long as CoD brings in the dough Activision will keep allowing Blizzard to….be Blizzard.
  9. As long as CoD brings in the dough Activision will keep allowing Blizzard to….be Blizzard.

    Avtivision is largely who has murdered blizzard. Put bean counters in charge of creative people, and marketers in charge of writers. It has literally gone off the rails like GM did back in the day. What helped turn GM around… putting the engineers back in charge. You NEED gaming enthusiests, and creatives running and creating a good gaming company. When you take that away you’re just milking an IP until it’s dry.

  10. Avtivision is largely who has murdered blizzard. Put bean counters in charge of creative people, and marketers in charge of writers. It has literally gone off the rails like GM did back in the day. What helped turn GM around… putting the engineers back in charge. You NEED gaming enthusiests, and creatives running and creating a good gaming company. When you take that away you’re just milking an IP until it’s dry.

    Knowing how to make good games does not make you good at running a company, look at Chris Roberts or John Romero

  11. Knowing how to make good games does not make you good at running a company, look at Chris Roberts or John Romero

    Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and hiring or partnering with others to full those gaps is important. So yes agreed if you think you know all you’re prone to failure of epic proportions.

  12. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and hiring or partnering with others to full those gaps is important. So yes agreed if you think you know all you’re prone to failure of epic proportions.

    I do agree that you need to let the game makers make the best possible games, and not let managers or marketeers decide what game needs to be made, they should be there so everyone get’s what they need to get things done in a timely manner.

  13. Romero was a developer that helped make Doom and maybe quake but failed when he went to make dikatana horribly but he did not lead teams on the other games.

    Roberts had the lead on a couple of games, privateer, and the wing commander titles but I think the only reason anyone got anything published was he was forced to actually put something out.

  14. Romero was a developer that helped make Doom and maybe quake but failed when he went to make dikatana horribly but he did not lead teams on the other games.

    Roberts had the lead on a couple of games, privateer, and the wing commander titles but I think the only reason anyone got anything published was he was forced to actually put something out.

    That’s exactly my point, Romero has gone from project to project after leaving id software thinking he was the man, only to fail miserably everytime, Same for Roberts, if there is noone to force him to finish a project it spins out of control like star citizen.

    Hence my point you need the managers to lead companies and developpers to make games, some can do both roles, others not so much.

Leave a comment