Blizzard looks to mobile for next iterations of multibillion-dollar franchises
Blizzard – one half of world-leading video game company Activision Blizzard – is looking to cash in on some of its most popular franchises with a move to mobile. In a lengthy article published at the end of November, gaming new site Kotaku reported that popular action role playing game Diablo would gain new life as a mobile app – Diablo Immortal. But fans are more interested about another prospect that the article mentioned only in passing: the possibility of a Pokemon Go style World of Warcraft.
Check out the cinematic trailer for Diablo Immortal below:
Some fans were concerned that Blizzard would be selling out with a move to mobile. “Hard core” gamers have traditionally preferred to spend their time on PCs and consoles, seeing mobile as an option that appeals to “casual gamers”. But Blizzard denies that mobile is a poor-man’s choice. In a statement, a company representative said:
“Blizzard has been and continues to be a developer-driven company. All of the games we create represent ideas our game developers themselves are passionate about. This is as true for Diablo Immortal as it was for Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, or Overwatch, or any game we’ve ever made. We believe that the best games to make are ones that our developers believe in.”
Diablo is a big deal, games-wise, with its original version (made way back in the 1990s) and its sequel (made in the 2000s) both selling in excess of 2 million copies. But those figures pale in comparison to another Blizzard classic: World of Warcraft (WoW). WoW is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMOPRG), and helped to define the genre. By 2016, it had more than 100 million registered players, and by 2017, it had garnered over $9.23 billion revenue. That makes it the most popular video game ever made, as well as one of the highest grossing.
According to Kotaku, WoW will also be getting the mobile treatment – in a version inspired by runaway Nintendo success Pokemon Go (which introduced casual gamers to Augmented Reality). The article reads:
“The natural extension of that was for one of Blizzard’s incubation teams to develop a Warcraft version of Pokémon Go, which is in development for smartphones now. Surely it occurred to the decision-makers at Blizzard that this Warcraft spinoff could be a massive revenue generator, but the game is also in production because lead designer Cory Stockton (formerly of World of Warcraft) is a huge fan of Pokémon. (People who have played the Warcraft mobile game say it’s also got a lot more to it than Pokémon Go, including single-player mechanics.)”
That could be very big news indeed for investors, as WoW is a proven cash cow, and the Pokemon Go game structure is wildly popular. Add to that the fact that mobile gaming is massive in China and India (video games’ fastest developing market), and Blizzard could be sitting on the gaming world’s next multibillion dollar-smash hit.
Dominion holds Activision Blizzard in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.
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