The Blizzpocalypse that we all thought might be coming in the wake of the many scandals involving Activision Blizzard over the past few months was both milder and more severe than might have been anticipated. Today's Q3 2021 financial report showed the company, at best, holding its ground in some areas while backsliding in others; in any case, it's not being burned to the ground, like Sylvanas Windrunner did to that tree.
Overall global revenue for the quarter was $2.070 billion. By comparison, the previous three quarters saw revenues of $2.413b (Q4 2020), $2.276b (Q1 2021), and $2.296b (Q2 2021), so Q3 2021's revenue is down, but by about the same as it was between the most recent Q4 and Q1.
Indeed, those quarters came on the heels of seven straight quarters of sub-$2 billion revenue. Q3 2020 saw $1.954 come in, so business is actually up for Blizzard year-over-year. However, CEO Bobby Kotick has to justify his outsized salary somehow, and a drop in revenue on a quarterly basis -- even if it's bigger than it was a year ago -- might have been enough cause for him to announce last week's policy changes, which included a drop in Kotick's compensation.
More serious issues -- at least in terms of the company's games, if not its corporate wrongdoing -- were raised on this afternoon's conference call. In that, it was confirmed that Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV would be delayed out of 2022. Despite that news, there's no word yet on whether the Overwatch League will walk back its promise of using Overwatch 2 for the 2022 season. At this point, it's an open question as to whether the game will be ready for 2023.
In addition, one of the two people tasked to lead Blizzard following the removal of J. Allen Brack is stepping down. Jen Oneal said that she'll be leaving the company by the end of the year, not because she is "without hope for Blizzard" but because she wants to "step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well."
As a parting gesture, Activision Blizzard has agreed to donate $1 million to non-profit organization Women in Games International. Oneal will be transferring her responsibilities to Mike Ybarra, who will remain on board as Blizzard's president.
As I said at the start, today's news isn't all bad for Activision Blizzard, but it's far from good. And while there are sure to be gamers upset to see their highly anticipated titles be delayed and wanting to blame "all that other stuff" for those delays, consider this: First, we don't know if the recent troubles contributed to those delays in any significant fashion, and even if they did, it's better in the long run for the employees, past, present, and future -- and by extension, the games they make. Thinking otherwise turns you into a less-wealthy version of Bobby Kotick, who's only interested in short-term gains at the expense of a better long-term future.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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