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Activision Blizzard Q1 2021 Earnings Call

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Blizzard held its first earnings call of 2021 yesterday and here are the highlights.

  • Activision Blizzard significantly exceeded its prior outlook for the first quarter, delivering very strong growth across their largest franchises. 
  • The company wants to hire more than 2,000 developers over the next 2 years, including tripling the size of certain franchise teams by the end of next year as compared to 2019.
  • The Warcraft franchise maintained its strong momentum, while Blizzard's team continued to make good progress on a rich pipeline and extending key franchises to mobile. Blizzard had 27 million monthly active users (MAUs).
  • Shadowlands continued to drive strong results following its record-setting release in November, with first-quarter franchise net bookings growing sharply year-over-year (Y/Y). The Shadowlands expansion has built on the substantial increase in WoW's scale since the launch of Classic in 2019.
  • WoW saw strong reach, engagement, and participation in value-added services, along with a particularly high number of new players joining the community for the first time, boosted by initiatives to enhance the onboarding experience.
  • Blizzard is building on this momentum with further content for the modern game and the upcoming introduction of The Burning Crusade Classic.
  • Hearthstone's Forged in the Barrens expansion is on track to deliver expansion-over-expansion net bookings growth for the second consecutive release.
  • Ahead of the launch later this year, Diablo 2: Resurrected saw very positive feedback during early testing in April and online viewership of the alpha test was the highest ever for a Blizzard game test
  • Diablo Immortal entered its second phase of testing and is on track for global release later this year.
  • According to President and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre, Diablo IV will advance the art of the action RPG genre.

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The company wants to hire more than 2,000 developers over the next 2 years, including tripling the size of certain franchise teams by the end of next year as compared to 2019.

...

So after years of layoffs (during profitable times)...It feels like this is an effort to get entry wage level workers to replace experience.  

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17 minutes ago, Migol said:

...

So after years of layoffs (during profitable times)...It feels like this is an effort to get entry wage level workers to replace experience.  

Not surprising. Though judging by some of the profiles of the fired people, I'm guessing they were avoid future lawsuits. A lot of prounouns and rainbow colored hairs there

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There is enough "Experienced" inside Blizzard. Having eager young people is best thing can happen for future of this game

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46 minutes ago, Migol said:

...

So after years of layoffs (during profitable times)...It feels like this is an effort to get entry wage level workers to replace experience.  

Layoffs were mostly for positions like e-sports management and customer support. Dev teams in NA have nothing to do with some customer support employees in Europe, they actually hired more devs.

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1 hour ago, Arcling said:

Layoffs were mostly for positions like e-sports management and customer support. Dev teams in NA have nothing to do with some customer support employees in Europe, they actually hired more devs.

They've said that each time they've done layoffs, but they've couched the language in stuff like "less than 10% were from development staff".   To turn it on it's head, if they say that when they're laying 200 people off, it means probably 15 or so of the game staff was let go.   

To say nothing of how annoying it's gotten with the customer support layoffs you mentioned...I miss the people who actually did in game customer support when you put in an in game ticket.    Or how their promised communications improvement fell down like a dead frog on the pavement with all the cms and whatnot disappearing, etc etc.      It's not like dev layoffs are the only thing that affects us customers.

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