Activision Blizzard currently operates five business units. The three core segments are gaming publishers Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, and King, each with individual gaming franchise portfolios. In addition, ATVI also operates film production subsidiary Activision Blizzard Studios and eSports organization Major League Gaming Corp. (MLG) as non-reporting segments.
Gaming series published by ATVI businesses include first-person shooter franchise Call of Duty, dungeon crawler Diablo, Warcraft (including World of Warcraft and Hearthstone), hero shooter Overwatch, and social gaming classic Candy Crush Saga.
Activision: gaming hits
Every major gaming company has its long-running tentpole franchise – for EA it is FIFA, for Ubisoft it is Assassin’s Creed and for Activision, it is Call of Duty. The sun rises, the sun sets, and every fall there is a new main series Call of Duty release, the most recent one being Call of Duty: Vanguard in November 2021. Despite its launch almost at the end of the calendar year, CoD:Vanguard ranked among the top-grossing video games in the United States in 2021 (with the 2020 release Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War placing second). As of April 2021, the Call of Duty series has sold over 400 million units and players for the free-to-play battle royale release Call of Duty: Warzone reached 100 million.
Blizzard: long-running fan-favorite properties
Activision Blizzard’s Blizzard Entertainment business segment is focused on its long-running Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft series, with 2016 hero shooter Overwatch being the recent exception.
Despite its origins as a turn-based combat series, Warcraft has found mainstream prominence with the 2004 release of World of Warcraft. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is one of the most popular MMOs of all time and its most recent Shadowlands expansion sold 3.7 million copies during the first day of release. Blizzard’s dungeon crawler Diablo is no slouch either, with Diablo III (2013) ranking among the best-selling PC games of all time. The game’s eagerly awaited sequel Diablo IV was announced at BlizzCon 2019 and after numerous delays is not likely to be released before 2023.
In May 2021, Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre stated his vision of bringing all the company’s major franchises to mobile. Bolstered by the strength of the mobile gaming market and the success of Call of Duty: Mobile, this decision seems like a foregone conclusion. However, finding a balance between satisfying the wants of old and new gaming audiences while ensuring a future for the company is a tricky process.
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