Activision Blizzard Q4 2014 Transcript

Activision Blizzard Q4 2014 financial report conference call was held today at 1:30pm PST. Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime reported the latest updates on all current and upcoming games. Overwatch and StarCraft: Legacy of the Void beta testing have no ETA, but he confirmed these will start in 2015.

In addition, Team 5 is working on more Hearthstone content. So far 9 million players have signed up for Heroes of the Storm beta.

Highlights

  • At BlizzCon® on November 7, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment announced a new intellectual property, Overwatch™ — a highly accessible multi‐player game featuring an amazing cast of heroes and set in an all‐new Blizzard game universe.

  • On November 13, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment launched Warlords of Draenor™, the fifth expansion for the #1 subscription‐based MMORPG in the world, World of Warcraft®. The expansion sold‐through more than 3.3 million copies as of the first 24 hours of its availability and helped drive World of Warcraft to more than 10 million global subscribers at the end of 2014.

  • On December 8, 2014, Blizzard Entertainment launched Goblins vs Gnomes™, the first expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The release of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft on Android tablets followed on December 15, 2014.

  • On January 13, 2015, Blizzard Entertainment began the closed beta test for Heroes of the Storm™, its upcoming free‐to‐play online team brawler featuring iconic heroes from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history. To date, more than nine million players have signed up to beta test the game.

  • In January 2015, Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft reached more than 25 million registered players.

  • Additionally, in 2015, Blizzard Entertainment expects to begin beta testing Overwatch

Activision Blizzard Q4 2014 Transcript

Activision Blizzard Q4 2014 Transcript

  • Overwatch going to beta soon this year. No ETA.
  • Blizzard working on new Hearthstone content

Activision Blizzard Q4 2014 Transcript

Dennis Durkin: In 2014, Blizzard generated record avenues and near-record operating income. The year was driven by Diablo III: Reaper of Souls and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, both of which generated significant revenues and income that will not have comparable releases this year.

In addition, we expect WoW subs to decline as we have seen historically in the year following the release of a large-scale expansion.

In terms of new releases, in January, Heroes of the Storm Blizzard second free-to-play game entered closed beta. While we expect it will take time to ramp in monetization as it builds its audience, we are very excited about the opportunity we have in front of us with this game.

In addition, this year, Blizzard will continue to release new content for Hearthstone as well as bringing the game to mobile devices later in the year.

Lastly, Overwatch, which was just announced in November, is expected to go into closed beta later this year. While we are very excited about this new franchise, it has not been factored into our outlook.

Finally, Blizzard will continue to invest in our own distribution platform, Battle.net, which will need to support a significantly larger audience and commercial capabilities going forward.

 

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Mike Morhaime: Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated and talented employees around the world, Blizzard Entertainment delivered one of our most successful years ever.

In 2014, we released award-winning expansions: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor (on Windows and Mac), and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (on Windows, Mac and Consoles).

We also launched our first free-to-play game, Hearthstone, which has collected Game of the Year awards, and nominations as well.

Hearthstone was released first on Windows and Mac; and later on iPad and Android tablets, bringing Blizzard into the mobile space for the first time.

Additionally, we supported Hearthstone with two major content releases: the Curse of Naxxramas Adventure and Goblins vs. Gnomes, our first expansion. Our success across multiple game genres and platforms in 2014 drove Blizzard’s best-ever annual revenue, and more importantly, helped us continue expanding our global community of gamers.

On the World of Warcraft side, we ended the year with the release of Warlords of Draenor in November. As we previously announced, the expansion was a great success in all regions, pushing the global player-base above 10 million. The introduction of the character boost as well as design updates to the game made it much easier for lapsed players to return to World of Warcraft, and quickly reintegrate themselves into the community.

Looking ahead, we’re already preparing new content and features to support the game in the coming months. As with previous expansions, we do anticipate a decline in subscribership in the coming months, particularly out of Asia, where the subscriber-base has been more fluid.

Moving on to Hearthstone, the game continued to excite and attract players around the world. After announcing the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion at BlizzCon in November, we launched it a few weeks later in December. This was followed shortly after with the Android tablet version of the game. All this activity helped drive Hearthstone’s highest monthly active players ever in December, as well as our highest revenue quarter-to-date for Hearthstone.

Registered players for the game have now reached over 25 million, capping off a spectacular start for Hearthstone. It’s gratifying for us to see how the global Blizzard community has responded to our first foray into a new genre; as well as the free-to-play market and gaming on tablets. We will keep working hard to build on last year’s momentum with more content in 2015, as well as the upcoming Android phone and iPhone versions of the game.

We do have another free-to-play game in the pipeline with Heroes of the Storm (our Online Team-Brawler). This is a genre that has proven to be very popular in the online space in recent years. We are excited to put our unique spin on this genre, in a game that stands out from the rest, with highly accessible play and iconic Blizzard characters from the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo universes.

Heroes of the Storm has recently hit some major development milestones including the start of closed beta in January, along with sales of the Founder’s Pack (a digital bundle for $39.99) that gives player an array of heroes, skins and other content; as well as instant access to the beta test.

We are continuing to ramp up our infrastructure and game service capabilities, allowing us to open up the game to more of the 9 million players who have signed up for beta testing. Excitement around Heroes of the Storm continues to build as we are seeing more grass-root tournaments pop up and major eSports entities are already creating professional teams for the game.

Looking further ahead, we gave the world a glimpse of what’s next for Blizzard at BlizzCon.

We kicked off the show by unveiling Overwatch, a team-based first-person shooter featuring an amazing cast of characters of heroes; and set in an all-new Blizzard game universe. The announcement trailer for Overwatch was a viral sensation on the Internet, while attendees and press alike raved about the gameplay after trying an early build on the BlizzCon show floor.

In addition to Overwatch, we also showcased the final chapter in the StarCraft II trilogy: Legacy of the Void. This will be a stand-alone expansion, meaning anyone can jump right into the StarCraft II experience without needing to own the previous games. We expect beta testing for both Overwatch and Legacy of the Void to start later this year.

For a while now, we have been discussing the strong pipeline of Blizzard games. Gamers have long known us for World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo. Now with Hearthstone added to the mix, and Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch soon to follow, we will have more games in more genres and on more platforms than ever before.

As busy and successful as 2014 was, we’re looking to build on that momentum this year and deliver even more excitement to players in 2015.

 

Past Activision Blizzard financial conference calls for trend research in our archive.

[SPOILERS and SPECULATION] Who is Cho’gall’s Master, and what does it bode for Draenor?

He comes…

A burning question has resonated in the minds of many, especially myself, since Warlords of Draenor’s unveiling: how will the expansion’s story progress and conclude?

The prospect of how Warlords of Draenor storyline comes to a close is still a mystery. By all accounts, all that we know for sure pertaining to WoD’s conclusion and final raid tier is the following: Grommash Hellscream will be involved with the final encounter, and it will be heavily Legion themed. Aside from this tidbit shared by Tom Chilton, what happens upon Draenor post-6.0 is a complete mystery. The single plausible route to formulating what will play out next in WoD is speculation, and the recent slaying of Mythic Imperator Mar’gok surprised many with a new development in the lore.

Before jumping into any speculation, let’s review every significant lore event that’s occurred so far in WoD:

The Red Shirt Guy’s BlizzCon 2014 Predictions

BlizzCon 2014 is nearly upon us and, as with every year, speculation about the convention’s announcements have run wild. Here are my predictions for what we shall see announced this year.

Things I’m Very Sure Of:

Hearthstone expansion, it’s been teased to fan sites over the past weeks and the Hearthstone website posted a strange article hinting at new features. From these various teasers, I’m fairly certain the Hearthstone expansion will be mechanical themed in terms of the new cards added, and will have a spectator mode and a new gameplay mode, “speed rounds,” in which each player is given only fifteen seconds for their turns.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void reveal. Blizzard released several StarCraft II sound files over the past few days which are titled respectively “See” “…you…” “…at…” with the last one uploaded only 11 hours ago as of this writing. Yes, technically LoV can’t be “revealed” as we’ve known about it since before StarCraft II even launched, but this would be the first public look at the expansion, similar to Heart of the Swarm‘s reveal trailer several BlizzCons ago.

Warlords of Draenor patch content. Jeremy Feasel mentioned on Twitter that they will be showcasing some new pet battle information, which means, even if it’s just pet content, there will be information about 6.1 and beyond. My personal guess would be a showcase of Tanaan Jungle, perhaps discussion on how the patch cycle will work as they have been rather vague in past interviews, and if they’re ready, a preview of the updated blood elf models.

Things I’m Not as Sure Of:

Overwatch. Blizzard has filed 7 trademarks for this recently, one months ago and the others over these last two weeks. Considering all the different trademarks I’d hazard to say Overwatch is a new IP, and possibly the “big announcement” that Blizzard employees have been alluding to on Twitter. As for what it is, I’d theorize it’s the setting and lore made for the canceled Titan project put into a non-MMO game of some type, but it’s just a guess with no real evidence backing it up.

Heroes of the Storm beta announcement. Nothing for HOTS has been teased the way Hearthstone has, but with the “final phase of the technical alpha” having started a little while ago, now would be the perfect time to announce when HOTS will enter its beta test. I’d also expect some new heroes and possibly new maps to be shown off as well.

Eye of Azshara is fake. Yes, someone would have had to spend $299 and commit a crime to get that trademark up if it’s not genuine, but at this point things aren’t looking to be in EoA’s favor. It hasn’t been filed in any other country, whereas Warlords of Draenor was quickly trademarked in other regions after its discovery. I would certainly like it to be genuine, I might even make a series of posts about what I would want to see in a hypothetical Azshara expansion, but at this point I doubt it has anything to do with this year’s BlizzCon. Hopefully I’m wrong on this one.

 

Looking for Group – Documentary Premiere at BlizzCon

A few months ago, a secret project was being created. Asking the help of the community, Blizzard asked players and fans to share their feelings about a World of Warcraft adventure that we started 10 years ago.
And so, on November 8 at 5 p.m there will be the premiere of World of Warcraft : Looking for Group, a documentary made for that special moment!
World of Warcraft®: Looking for Group – Documentary Premiere at BlizzCon

Join us Saturday, November 8 at 5 p.m. PST for the premiere of World of Warcraft: Looking for Group, an all-new documentary celebrating 10 years of adventure, camaraderie, and /dancing on mailboxes all around Azeroth. This decade-spanning archive explores the history of WoW with the people who create it, collects stories from players around the world, and takes you into corners of Blizzard and the WoW community you’ve never seen before.

Join us either in person at BlizzCon at the Main Stage in Hall D at 5 p.m. PST, or watch it free on the World of Warcraft Tournament Live Stream. You’ll also be able to find it on the official World of Warcraft YouTube page and official World of Warcraft site.

 

 

Activision Blizzard Q3 2014 Conference Call – Transcript

The Activision Blizzard Q3 2014 financial report conference call revealed a few details of importance surrounding Blizzard Entertainment games.

  • Hearthstone coming to Android Tablets in December 2014.

  • Hearthstone coming to iPhones some time afterwards. No ETA.

  • Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is shifting to Closed Beta soon.

  • Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with more than 7.4 million subscribers as of September 30, 2014, ahead of the upcoming World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor release.

  • During the quarter, Blizzard Entertainment’s newest franchise, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, exceeded 20 million registered users life to date.

  • In North America and Europe combined, for the third quarter, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III: Reaper of Souls-Ultimate Evil Edition was the #4 best-selling console title, and year to date, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls remained the #2 PC game in dollars.

 

Transcript

This is a partial transcript of the conference call, gathering the comments from Robert A. Kotick (Activision Blizzard CEO, President and Director) and Mike Morhaime (Blizzard Entertainment CEO).

Blizzard’s new-found focus on storytelling is a step in the right direction for World of Warcraft

Azeroth logo

“Gameplay first.”

The first thing you see upon Blizzard Entertainment’s mission statement webpage is this statement, standing firmly as the first of “eight core values” that serves as the code for game development within this massive company.

It’s no secret that Blizzard has always prioritized gameplay over other elements in their video games. This core value of “gameplay first” is what’s lead the studio to being seen as a titan within the video game industry. The immersive world and fluid combat of World of Warcraft; the gameplay improvements and tweaks brought upon Diablo 3 with Reaper of Souls; the near perfect RTS elements of Starcraft; all of these worlds that have been crafted by Blizzard offer fantastic experiences in gameplay as a whole.

Despite all these obvious positives in Blizzard’s video games, what elements have they overlooked? In this case, and for this piece, there’s one element that to the opinion of several fans have always been lacking severely: Storytelling.

Activision Blizzard Q3 2014 Financial Results Conference on Nov 4

Activision Blizzard plans to release the Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results on November 4, 2014. Check out Blizzplanet after the conference call to learn any new updates concerning the various Blizzard franchises. This conference call will take place a week before BlizzCon 2014.

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)— Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its third quarter 2014 results after the close of the market on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 . In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

To listen to the call, please log onto:

http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

Or dial:

U.S. and Canada : 877-681-3367
International: 719-325-4770
Passcode: 5237379

Anyone planning to dial in to the call should RSVP to Pam Beaver at:

E-mail: [email protected]

A presentation corresponding with the conference call will be available in Adobe Acrobat format at http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

A replay of the call will also be available approximately three hours after the call’s conclusion and archived for one year in the Investor Relations section at www.activisionblizzard.com

 

Blizzard cancels TITAN the next-gen MMO

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This is probably one of the biggest news from Blizzard since the announcement of Walords of Draenor last year. In an interview with Polygon, Christ Metzen and Mike Morhaime announced that after 7 years of development the unannounced project called TITAN, was simply cancelled due to the loss of fun during the development.

During that time, there was revamp of the project multiple time, this is maybe where Blizzard team lost the passion making what could have been an ambitious MMO using next-gen technology.

Blizzard has officially canceled development on its mysterious next-generation massively multiplayer game Titan. The company confirmed the news to Polygon in a recent interview.

This revelation comes after at least seven years in development and word last year that the developer was going back to the drawing board to reevaluate the project.

Speaking to Polygon, Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime reiterated that the company has technically never officially announced Titan, though it hasn’t been shy to talk about the game over the past seven years. “We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs,” Morhaime said. “So we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine. And it didn’t come together.

Read the all article from Polygon, right here.

 

“We didn’t find the fun,” Morhaime continued. “We didn’t find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that’s the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no.”

Medivh (Possibly) Sighted in the Warlords of Draenor Alpha

A big surprise has been unearthed in the Warlords of Draenor alpha. A youtube poster known only as “WoDBeta” has uploaded a video of the quest “All is Revealed” in Frostfire Ridge. The quest has players use an “all-seeing eye” created by Khadgar to spy on Gul’dan and the Shadow Council. Gul’dan is seen accompanied by his usual accomplices Cho’Gall, Teron’gor and Giselda the Crone. However a fourth ally can be seen standing next to Gul’dan, his appearance obscured by shadows.

Once Gul’dan notices the presence of the all-seeing eye, the shadowy being vanishes while the other four remain. Who is this Mysterious Figure? There is one individual who immediately comes to mind. Someone who both greatly resembles the figure’s silhouette, and has a very strong connection to Gul’dan at this point in time. The Last Guardian, Medivh… (Though he’s technically not the Last Guardian anymore due to Med’an, but that’s still kind of Medivh’s title)

Azeroth Choppers: Winner unveil tomorrow + Episode 8 this week!

Hello. Paul Jr recently wrote on his twitter account/facebook that unveiling of the winning choppers of warcraft, will be unveiled tomorrow. The Vote-polls closed yesterday, and it´s now up to Blizzard to count all votes, and announce the winner of the Azeroth Choppers. Who will win? Horde or Alliance? It have been a close lead between both choppers, and it was up to the fans to vote their favorite, and the one that will get an FREE-ingame input to the game. Rumors has it that both choppers will get put into the game, although the losing chopper will have a price or discount in Blizz Store. SO far we don´t know yet, but if they made two choppers, why don´t put both in-game? At least, Paul Jr is ready and pumped up by the response and the journey, and is excited to unveil the winner! Also, Episode 8 of Azeroth Choppers go live on thursday June 5th.

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We will have more information about the event once Blizzard gives official news, Stay Tuned!

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Are you excited for Warlords of Draenor? Fear not, Blizzard will announce news very soon!

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