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Mobile games are Activision Blizzard’s biggest source of revenue



It is still so strange to see Candy Crush and consorts dominating the finances of this video game titan…

Born from the merger between Activision and Vivendi Games, Activision Blizzard is today a true titan of video games. The developer and publisher’s catalog contains some of the most iconic licenses in history. Between the legendary franchise Diablothe inimitable World of Warcraftthe excellent Hearthstoneor even the famous call of dutythe firm has everything it takes to outrageously dominate both the PC and console ecosystems… but ironically, it’s not these illustrious sagas that contribute the most to filling the giant’s coffers.

According to the group’s financial results presented by PCGamer, PC and console games respectively brought in $367 and $332 million last quarter. A fortune, it is undeniable. But these figures still pale in comparison to those of the real golden hens that hide on the side of the mobile ecosystem…

But you don’t have a phone!?

Arguably the best embodiment of this trend lately is Diablo Immortal, the mobile spinoff of the famous saga. His announcement during a memorable evening in November 2018 was punctuated by some memorable projections, such as the now famous “Is it an April Fool’s Day out of season?“of the famous”Red Shirt Guy“. But probably the most iconic line of the night was the very awkward “But you don’t have a phone!?” by chief designer Wyatt Chaeg, cold-picked by boos from the public.

And at the exit, it did not miss. Audiences quickly realized that this game was exactly what fans expected – spoiler, that’s not a compliment. Remember that we are talking about a huge microtransaction abyss that goes far beyond the cosmetic dimension alone, and whose very existence is an unambiguous middle finger addressed to grinders frenzied from the start.

However, even if the monetization policy is disgusting, it must be admitted that Cheng had hit the mark: most players actually have a smartphone, and Diablo Immortal brought in lots and lots of money for the publisher (see our article).

Some will consider this to be a pragmatic commercial maneuver in tune with the reality of the market. Others others will judge this economic model much more harshly. But what is indisputable is that with 100 million dollars raised in just a few months, immortal has turned into a printing press with… diabolical efficiency.

Candy Crush crushes the competition

If these microtransactions make so much money, it’s not thanks to the average player. As with any mobile game, the average spend remains modest. To make its game profitable, Activision Blizzard is relying on a tactic already well known in the world of mobile gaming which consists of creating a real addiction in a handful of players who are both vulnerable and likely to spend incredible sums, often compulsively.

If this concept reminds you of anything, it’s probably that you’ve heard atrocious stories of people who simply went broke on seemingly innocuous titles like Raid Shadow Legends, Mafia City… or the essential candy Crush.

It’s no coincidence that Activision Blizzard paid nearly $6 billion to acquire King Digital Entertainment (KDE), the creator of candy Crush and other aggressively monetized games. The return on investment has been absolutely gigantic; still according to the group’s financial reports, in the 2nd quarter, candy Crush and other KDE stamped games would have brought in no less than .. $684 millionwhich is about as much as all PC and console games combined (42% of total sales)…

Suffice to say that with such figures, we have not finished seeing mobile games bloom to the brim with microtransactions…

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