Activision Blizzard, the American video games publishing company known for its signature products Call of Duty, Starcraft, Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, and the up-and-comer Overwatch, has been showing its presence in the eSports industry for a while now.
Besides the recent acquisition of MLG and creating a new division dedicated to eSports, last week’s announcement of its financial results for 2015 has shown that the company has made clear where it’s heading in the future: all-in eSports.
“eSports is another long-term growth pillar for our company”
A statement made by CEO Bobby Kotick during the conference call where the results were announced reinforces what the company’s directions for the future will most likely be. Additionally, there was a lot of talk on how the 2015 results show that this is the industry where the company’s interest should be focused on.
“In the fourth quarter, our monthly active users grew to the highest level ever, to 80 million users,” Thomas Tippl, the company’s COO, said on the call.
With so much development for it successful products in the pipeline – Call of Duty, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and others – it’s not surprising the company has had such an amazing year of fan acquisition.
“Upon the expected close of our acquisition of King later this month, we’ll have over half a billion monthly active users in 196 countries, which as an entertainment network ranks only behind Facebook, YouTube, and WeChat in monthly active users.
We’ll have seven times the audience members of Netflix and have a larger audience than Snapchat and Twitter combined.”
The company’s statistics speak for themselves and with a growth like Activision Blizzard’s, it’s very clear that the path towards competitive gaming or eSports is the right one for the future’s success of the company. Kotick added:
“Last year our Activision Blizzard games were played for over 14 billion hours, and spectators watched over 1.5 billion hours of video content based on our games. In 2014-2015 season, fans of the NFL watched about 7 billion hours of nationally televised games, which is less than half the time spent engaged with our franchises.
Those televised games generated approximately 7 billion dollars of broadcast rights fees for the NFL, and another 4 billion dollars in other revenues, including sponsorships, merchandise, and ticket sales.”
Traditional sports-like ambitions
“When we think about our franchises, we think about our responsibilities to our fans and the associated business opportunities through the lens of these leagues, like the NFL, the Premier League, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NHL,” said the CEO, adding that that this way of looking at things will generate revenue.
“Our franchises today generate revenues principally through the sale of interactive content,” the company observed.
And those other revenues that sports leagues pull in is a wide-open field for Activision Blizzard.
“When you look at ESPN, with 80 million subscribers and you see the flight of some of those subscribers, and the opportunity that we see there is roughly $5 billion of operating profit there, $4 billion of league payments for the broadcast rights. And we have 80 million of our own players, and over a long period of time we think that watching a video game competition is going to be a tremendous opportunity.”